Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes
This cookbook review was prepared by Christie (photos by Ian) of Coco Bean and Me.
At first glance Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes doesn’t seem like a cookbook that would make a dent in the life of a daring baker or cook, but if you look past the cheesy cover enveloped by Bobby’s grinning face you will find a very well thought out and concise book on three specific dishes. Yes, you guessed them, burgers, fries and milkshakes.
When I think of the all-American chef, the first person who comes to mind is actually Bobby Flay, so it’s no surprise that he has written one of the most in-depth and detailed cookbooks on simple American Cuisine. Each section starts out with a few pages of meticulously thought-out tips and tricks for the beginner and seasoned cook. I was very surprised at the thoughtful arguments that Flay put forth for fresh ingredients and simplicity.
So if you didn’t know, Coco Bean is comprised of me, Christie, who cooks and bakes, and Ian, who does the photography. That being said, the only time that I will put my feet up and leave all the cooking to Ian is when the BBQ is involved. Out of the 34 elaborate and mouth-watering burgers in the book, the two that we chose were the signature Crunch Burger with chips on top, and the Blue Cheese burger. I read every word of Flay's introduction to burgers and gave Ian the Coles notes on what I had learned.
That night we ate some of the most flavourful patties that either one of us had ever experienced. They didn't take long to make and involved tips that Flay recommends, but they made the difference. Some important notes that Ian says have "changed BBQing forever" are using certain ratios of meat to fat, not adding fillers, creating a dimple in the center of the hamburger for even cooking and only flipping the burger once. We thoroughly enjoyed both burgers, but both of us agree that the Crunch burger was our favourite. I know it sounds a little eccentric and excessive to add chips, but to quote Ian “It is the quintessential burger, every ingredient works perfectly against the others.” You can’t beat that!
In the fries department I once again hung off every word that Flay wrote for the perfect french-fry. Unfortunately according to Flay perfection takes a lot of waiting time and we opted for the simpler Sweet Potato Fries. I did not want to share them. Although they never acquired the crispness of a traditional French fry due to the amount of sugar in the potato, a point that Flay dutifully makes, they were beautifully flavoured and paired perfectly with the Blue Cheese Burger.
We also dabbled in the condiment department using a recipe that Flay gives for homemade pickles. I thought that they were decent, but not that different from the store-bought. Ian, on the other hand, considered them fantastic and worth the week of waiting. I guess it’s just your personal preference.
When it came to the shakes we had to wait a couple days until Ian’s friend could join us. I call him the “Milkshake Connoisseur”. This man drinks so many milkshakes that I’m sure he has broken some sort of world record. Now Flay again outlines many milkshake tricks of the trade and I found the most impactful one to be the type of ice cream used. Flay states that only top quality vanilla ice cream such as Haagen Dazs® will do. With this in mind we all shared two different shakes, one a Banana-Milk Chocolate Crackle milkshake that utilizes the chemistry of the freezing point of chocolate to create wonderfully small pieces of chocolate crackle that fit through the straw. Yes, he thinks of everything. The second was a Black and White Milkshake made with vanilla ice cream and homemade chocolate sauce. The connoisseur enjoyed both and gave two thumbs up, a very prestigious rating coming from ‘The man’.
Let me just say a few words about the homemade chocolate sauce that was used in the Black and White Milkshake. In five minutes Flay gave me the tools to create a dark and dangerous syrup that I have become severely addicted to. I now eat ice cream once or twice a day covered in the delectable syrup. If you only take away one recipe from this book, this is it!
Both Ian and I thought that this was a wonderful cookbook filled with simple yet perfected recipes. If you see Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes in the bookstore look past the tacky cover and dive into the perfected works of a true American Chef.