55. Hamburger Pie

First things first. And I don’t want everyone to get too excited…but #55 has a JELL-O MOLD!!!

Pizza Burgers. Seriously, does that look good to you?

I know that I shouldn’t be put-off by the phrase “Hamburger Pie,” because there are many perfectly good pies that involve meat. Chicken Pot Pie and Shepherd’s Pie, for instance. But seriously, doesn’t Hamburger Pie sound a little bit gross? It’s like Pizza Burgers. There are certain foods that shouldn’t be mixed (and I apologize to all the Pizza Burger fans out there. They served them at my high school’s cafeteria and were Cat Food Burgers to me). Pie and hamburgers, in my opinion, should not be hybridized. Ever. And, oh crap.

Bask in the glory that is Cher in Bob Mackie

Just using the word ‘hybridized’ makes me think about the X-Files again and the bees and those clone kids that look like Children of the Corn. Believe me, I’m super-enjoying re-watching the whole series and all, but it’s totally overridden my already pop-culture saturated brain. Example: when the news broke that Bin Laden had been capped, my first thought was: it’s highly suspicious that there was a ‘burial at sea.’ Hmph. I know what the government is capable of.  Dude is so still alive! yelled my inner-Mulder. See? It’s an issue. Soon I’m gonna try tracking down Cher with The Great Mutato in tow.

Speaking of Cher–will she still be playing Vegas when I’m there in July? And if so, how can I finangle some super-cheap tix (and convince Cleve to go with me)?

Must. Stop. Non-sequitors. Let’s talk Jell-O, shall we?

Mandarin Orange Mold Salad! After the jump!!!

Firstly, I want to thank Miss Mandi Dominick for so graciously donating Jell-O molds to the Dinner is Served! project. This blog is made possible by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts and by contributions from readers like you.

Here is me and Mandi back in the day at Nico’s Recovery Room in Pittsburgh being so very tragically hip:

Mandi looks fab. I, on the other hand, am wearing a plaid jumper and, inexplicably, sporting what seems to be Cindy Bradyesque sausage curls on my giant head.

Anyway, Mandi sent me Jell-O molds so I can prepare delicacies like Mandarin Orange Mold Salad. I cut the recipe in half because all of my molds are 1-quart or less. I can’t imagine what a 2-quart Jell-O mold looks like. It must be enormous. But I digress, here is the recipe:


2 cans (11 oz. size) Mandarin oranges
2 packages (3 oz. size) orange gelatin
1 pint orange sherbet
1 can (13 oz. size) crushed pineapple, drained


Drain half the Mandarin oranges and keep syrup. Add enough water to make 1 1/2 cup liquid. Pour into saucepan; add gelatin and bring to a boil. Remove from fire and stir until dissolved. Add sherbet and stir until melted. Chill to consistency of egg white.

Fold in orange segments and pineapple. Pour into 2 quart mold. Chill several hours.

The only issue I had with this recipe was the vague “chill to consistency of egg white.” One, not too appetizing a comparison and two, it seemed egg white consistency right after adding the sherbet. Whatevs. I chilled it for 30 min or so and then folded in the oranges and pineapples. By the way, I was so glad that mandarin oranges made another appearance. It had been a few meals since their last appearance and I was afraid that I was going to become Vitamin-C deficient.

Once in the fridge it was all easy, breezy, Jell-O mold!

Set, and in warm water to loosen up.

To my delight, it came out in one swift movement.

There it is. Like a sunburst of nubbins! My first real Jell-O mold.

I liked the Mandarin Orange Mold Salad (Well, of course I did! It was Jell-O!). But aside from that, the consistency was good. I think that the sherbet gave the mold a bit more heft, and I put more orange segments and crushed pineapple than the recipe intended.  As for the flavor–well it took me until now to realize what it tasted like. And that was TANG! The preferred beverage of astronauts everywhere and what I drank every morning for the first 10 years of my life. Now I want Tang. When I lived in Brooklyn they sold Tang Light (diet tang) at the Pathmark. I have not seen it anywhere since. Damn you, company that produces Tang! Why do you no longer offer me all of the delicious flavor of Tang with a fraction of the calories?

I also think that the Jell-O coming out in one piece out of a decorative mold (and not resembling raw meat) didn’t hurt, either. Again, my gratitude goes out to Miss Dominick.

Onto some more sides before tackling that pie.

Only 2 people live in my apartment. Why does my fridge look as though I feed 3 kids as well?

I just joined a Farm Club. Arganica Organic Farm Club, to be exact (So I got my first grab-bag crate last weekend. I was pleased. The selection was better than I expected and it was of good quality. I got a shit-ton of stuff for $25. Here is a picture of my refrigerator post-delivery.  The Jell-O mold already in the fridge (right under the light of God).

I admit that I like my produce to be pretty. I’m one of those assholes who stands in the vegetable section and shuffles through the onion bin for five minutes until I find one that is that perfect tapered-bulb onion shape. Well, you can’t pick and choose when the food is delivered right to your door. I like that part. But organic produce typically ain’t pretty. Don’t believe me? Check out these mutant carrots. Pesticide-free, better for me, mutato carrots.

 That’s a measuring tablespoon for scale.

That’s a 19-pound cat for scale.

In summary, those are big fucking carrots. And I wanted to use said big fucking carrots in this meal. I didn’t have any green limas. So what I did was combine some garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and sautee some monster organic carrot and organic yellow onion (non-scary) with frozen peas. Sorry limas, but I didn’t have you already in stock.

Done. A tasty, economical, and earth-friendly facsimile of the suggested dish.

The soup! Yeah, I kinda forgot about the soup and at the last-minute and fudged this together from stuff  I had in my house: Lipton onion soup mix, Italian bread, and Mozzarella cheese. This is how it went:

  1.  Mix water and packet. Boil.
  2.  Top bread with cheese and put in toaster oven until cheese is melted.
  3.  Put bread on top of soup in bowl.

I have to admit that I loved this soup. It was my favorite part of #55 (well, maybe it was the dessert). And damn it was cheap. How much is a box of those onion soup thingies? Like a dollar? My cheapskate French onion soup is one of those things that I will totally make again when supplies are scarce and time is short.

Pre-baked Hamburger Pie

The main event. The Hamburger Pie. I liken it to a clunky quiche. It is the dense doppleganger of a Quiche Lorraine (Doppleganger! I will resist the urge to begin a Twin Peaks tangent). Both have pie crusts that are filled with a mixture of meat, eggs, onions, and cheese. But whereas chopped bacon and swiss are suspended in the custardy center of a quiche, the hamburger pie is ground beef lumped in a sour cream and cottage cheese mixture.I tried to lighten it up with fat-free sour cream, fat-free cottage cheese, and I substituted ground turkey for the beef (also, ground turkey was BOGO at the Safeway). But this ‘pie’ was still quite substantial.

I don’t want to give the Hamburger Pie a bad rap. It wasn’t inedible. If anything it just needed more oomph. It was kinda bland. But bland in that ‘kids would want to eat this for dinner’ way.

So if you perchance are reading this and have kids, say, under 12 (?) they might like the novelty of a hamburger pie. Especially if served with hamburger condiments and French fries or onion rings. It’d be one way to get some dairy/eggs in. Maybe…? Let’s face it, I have no fucking clue what kids would eat or not eat. The last time I spent a substantial amount of time with small children is when I tried the whole ‘make money by babysitting’ thing. I think I was in Jr. High. Anyway, I did it for one summer and I was done. I didn’t care if the kids launched themselves off a couch while watching Barney. Follow your bliss, toddler! But even at 13 I was able to recognize that I didn’t like kids enough to hang with them for $6 an hour.

White Russians, anyone?

This is a very appropriately timed post considering that it’s Mothers’ Day.God love ya, moms of the planet.

To wrap up #55, the closer was simply divine. A Kahlua Sundae. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, and rich, decadently coffee-flavored Kahlua. I am glad that the denouement was an adult dessert.

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4 Responses to 55. Hamburger Pie

  1. Salome says:

    I mistakenly believed that the Jell-O Mold was an extinct species. What’s next, the Dodo?

    I have to say, I can see myself wolfing down that hamburger pie!

    • Emily Brungo says:

      Jell-O mold *so* not extinct. It never went away! And believe me, there are many more to come (some including vegetables and meat–for reals). But do you think that I can somehow bring back Elvis?

  2. Salome says:

    You know what this calls for, right? An Elvis-shaped Jell-O mold!!

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