Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hometown Patty Melts


Do you live in your hometown? By that, I mean the town of your birth? Small town? Big city? Open countryside? I spent the first 24 years of my life in the same town, my hometown, the town of my birth. After we graduated from college, hubbyman and I headed out to the Pacific Northwest eager to create a good life for ourselves all by ourselves. We were young, in love, and full of modern day pioneer spirit.

That was 22 years ago, and I’d say that we succeeded in our plans. We’ve lived 20 of those years in this house and this is the only home my children know. It is located in their hometown; the town of their births. It’s a big town, but a good one. Over the years, we’ve talked about moving – to a different house or a different state. My hubbyman is always the one to bring it up and he always brings up the same location ... southern Utah. He craves wide open spaces; however, we don’t want to uproot our children unless the advantages of moving far outweigh anything we’ve already got. We have always remained here, in our house, and have created many wonderful memories herein. Utah remains one of our favorite vacation spots, so he gets his outdoors Utah fix that way.

The other day, to no surprise, hubbyman brings up moving again. I tend to simply smile and nod, having lived through this conversation before. Now before you start thinking that my man is miserable because we’ve never moved, just brush that thought aside. If he really wanted to, we'd have moved long ago. ANYWAY ... so he starts the conversation the same as he always has. However, this time, he totally catches me by surprise. He doesn’t mention Utah. He mentions moving HOME. That word – home – refers to Indiana, the home of our respective hometowns, with streets, sidewalks, parades and parks we walked upon with younger legs. The state I met, fell in love with, and married my hubbyman. Where my dad lives, near where my sister lives, and close to all of hubbyman’s relatives. HOME.

Oh, that word is a powerful one. Will we actually move? Probably not. After all, where we live now is home to my children. But, oh, the thought of it. I’ve spent the last couple of days reminiscing about home. Small towns. Hot, humid summers. Lightning bugs. Acre upon acre of corn. Family. Gallons of iced tea. White Christmas’ every year. And sun. Lots and lots of sun. For days now, I’ve enjoyed my mental trip down memory lane.

Another memory I associate with home is eating Patty Melts. When we were dating, my hubbyman and I would meet for lunch at a local restaurant, and we always ordered the same thing. I would get the French Dip, and hubbyman would get a Patty Melt.

What’s a patty melt? Well, it’s a wonderful hamburger sandwich. On bread, you layer a hamburger patty, Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, and grilled onions. Oh, and the bread should be both buttered and slathered with mayo ... and then grilled itself before you start the layering process. Take a walk with me down memory lane as we make a Hometown Patty Melt.

Hamburger patty – cooked the way you like it.
Thick slices of bread – you need something hearty. I used a ciabatta roll. Texas toast would work great. Rye bread would be outstanding, too.
Butter
Mayo
¼ cup water
Additional 1/4 cup water
Swiss Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
One onion sliced in ½ rounds

Here’s how I made it. I opted to pan fry the burgers ... usually I grill them, but I wanted some fond in the fan for when I sauteed/pan fried the onions. These aren’t caramelized onions. You’ll see what I mean in just a minute.

Season your ground beef to your own taste. I used that wonder of wonders called Montreal Steak Seasoning. Form kind of thick patties. Heat a skillet over fairly high heat.Place the burger patties in the pan, but don’t crowd them. Immediately turn the heat down to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side for about 5 more minutes. Add ¼ cup of water; it should steam up significantly. Place a lid on the skillet, and steam the burgers until cooked through; about 3-4 more minutes. Take the lid off the pan, and remove the burgers to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm. Boil off any remaining liquid.Add the sliced onions to the pan, and stir fry for a minute or two. Add another ¼ cup of water, and scrape up any fond on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the water has evaporated ... just a minute or two. Push the onions to the side of the pan.Return the burgers to the pan, and place your cheeses on it. Cover for a minute or two until the cheese is melted and gooey. Take your bread, and spread both butter and mayo on one side of each slice.Place spread side down in the pan, and toast it in the pan as much as you want. I went for a light toasting.Now assemble your sandwich and really pile on the sautéed onions. This is a really flavorful, filling, and messy sandwich. Slice in half and serve with something light like fruit or a salad.Hello baby! Don’t fret if some of the onions slide on out. Just snatch the little guys right up and pop them in your waiting mouth! Take a bite. Make yummy noises. Sadly, this version is not gluten free. Although, if you want to eat it steak style, simply serve it without the bread.Ah, one bite of this transported me back home. For any of you who are homesick, or for those of you who still enjoy living in your hometown, whether it’s located in a big metropolis or off of a small country lane, here’s a link to a tune from another Hoosier boy that I listened to way back when I lived in my own small town. This always makes me smile. And dance. Yep, I was dancing in my kitchen and eatin’ my patty melt. Singing with the radio. John Cougar Mellencamp singing “Small Town” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eDkAG3R0h8

28 comments:

Jan said...

Those burgers look yummy! I love your onion picture - all brown and scrummy.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

absolutely fantastic - i'd love some of these on a saturday night while watching a good movie on a cold night!

Cathy said...

Home is a powerful memory. My family has lived in the Willamette Valley for over 150 years. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

Oh my, the patty melts look delish. My favorite kind of sandwich.

Peter M said...

Those onions have won me over...yumo-O!

Marjie said...

There's nothing like a good patty melt. And I'd love to have some place I remember as home. Your kids are still young enough and have visited your home enough that they could transplant, if Mr. Paula really means it! Hey, then we'd only be 2 states apart - we could visit each other! Maybe have patty melts, french dip and tea!

RecipeGirl said...

I don't live in my hometown... the town I grew up in, but I visit often!

Great memories here- my mother used to make Patty Melts all the time for dinner when I was little. Yours look better with those onions!

Cheryl said...

I have lived within 20 miles of where I was born my entire life! I love those patty melts, I attempted to make them once, hubby hated it. I have to try your recipe!

noble pig said...

I don't live in my hometown, haven't for 18 years. This patty melty has the absolute yum factor...I would go home for it.

Grace said...

decadence. those caramelized onions really get my saliva glands going. :)

OhioMom said...

Okay, anything with fried onions wins a yes vote from me :)

I was born and raised right here in Cleveland, Ohio .. never lived anywhere else. Mama came here with her family from Pennsylvania in 1918, Daddy came north from Tennessee during the depression .. not planning on leaving either.

The Blonde Duck said...

I need one of these right away. Like now.

Did I ever tell you I made your French Bread Pizza? We LOVED it!

Lo said...

I think... I shouldn't read yummy blog posts before I've eaten dinner.

This burger looks fantastic.

As far as home... I always thought I'd move away from HOME. But, so far, we've rooted pretty well. The possibility comes up now and again, but I think we grow into this city as it grows up around us. Hard to break up!!

Jan said...

Paula, my mouth is watering, they look stupendous.

I have to say that I never ate anything like this growing up, but then I'm a looooooong way from home. :-)

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Ohhhh I LOVE patty melts, usually here they are made with rye, but it is the onions that make them so good!

Thanks for giving me reason to make bread :)

Pam said...

We want to move back home eventually. There is something comforting about it - being near roots and family.

This patty melt is killing me! I would scarf one down right now if I had it. Delicious!

Marjie said...

Test message

Mary said...

That patty melt looks absolutely delicious. It would be hard to move the children at this point, but home will still be waiting for you once they go to college. Sometimes life has to be taken in small swallows rather than gulps. Bloomington is a great town.

Bridgett said...

My hubby mentions moving back to his home quite often and I am waiting for that day when we do! While I have been in California all my life, I would jump at the chance to live in London. But all in all, either way, I am happy.
Ah, who can resist a patty melt? My goodness, Paula, you outdid yourself once again with this bit of decadence!

Kevin said...

That is one tasty looking burger!

Aggie said...

Oh Paula, loved reading your post (as I always do!)...I miss home too. My hometown is in NY, but I moved at age 10 to a small town in FL that has quadrupled (actually more...less than 18,000 residents to almost 100,000 in 20 years) in size since I left. In my heart I hold my memories even though I don't recognize either towns/cities anymore...

On a food note, my mouth is watering at 8am for that burger! I have a thing for patty melts...especially that one!!

Deborah said...

I don't think I'd ever move back to my hometown in New Mexico...and although I do live in Utah (not southern, though) I don't know if we'll be here forever. I guess only time will tell!

I haven't had a patty melt in ages. Maybe that's what we'll have for dinner tonight!!

Pam said...

Well, I wouldn't call my hometown (St. Louis) small, but I sure do miss it. And I miss the patty melts that my girlfriends and I always got at the Woolworth's diner whenever we went shopping.

Dawn said...

oh hubby would love these! I just posted burgers too!
I love the onions!

Nazarina A said...

You have perfect how to pictures. Your patty melt looks so succulent!

Manggy said...

Ooh, I just cooked myself a skillet burger a week ago, with delicious onions on top too. I overdid them though, d'oh! It may not be home to me but it still is very comforting food indeed :)

Lori said...

Oooh, that looks "Cheeseburger In Paradise" good!

I'm still in my hometown. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to start over somewhere new, but then I'd be separated from our two families. That would bum us out.

I love Marjie's term: "Mr. Paula." :oD

Sara said...

This looks so good - I've heard of patty melts before, but have never actually eaten one. That needs to change, and soon!

Lilivati said...

I feel fortunate that I have TWO "hometowns", both adopted. We moved less than some but more than most when I was growing up, eventually landing in Indiana. I'm not going to lie, I despised Indiana right up until the point I moved away- and then I missed it so much I moved back a year later!

So beyond my nuclear family, I don't have many relatives here. There is the family home on the northside of Indy. All my significant other's relatives are from Indiana, and they've become a kind of adoptive extended family for me.

We're fortunate live in Bloomington, where we went to college, and we both are utterly in love with this town. I consider it my second "home town". :)

Also, the patty melt looks AMAZING, and I must make one soon.