Archive for the ‘It’s my turn to cook tonight’ Category
Think burgers and you often think fast food – a sad little meet patty, a slice of tomato and pickle squashed between a soft sort of bun – an on-the-run sort of thing…
Well time for a re-think – I now think burgers and I think succulent beef between stunning bread with a scrummy sauce and some fresh tasty vegetables. I was lucky enough to judge the Best Burger Competition and when they say best – they mean best!!!! What inspiration – the competitors went all out and created some stunning burgers. And actually most of these ideas you could do too!!!
A guy likes a girl with a bit of meat on her bones! And your own body will love you if you eat more red meat. NZ Beef and Lamb is the perfect way to help keep you looking and feeling great! Everyone knows that teenage girls prefer chicken to a steak….but don’t let the blood fool you. That juicy red piece of beef or lamb will provide you with a wide range of essential nutrients. Most importantly for us girls it has a huge amount of IRON.
Iron is essential to keep our blood healthy and helps keep us energised so you can spend more time having fun with your friends! If you eat your meat with a glass of OJ or put some kiwifruit in your salad you can absorb even more of that precious iron. By choosing lean meat cuts, you can save yourself from the fat AND can be sure its packed with protein. Protein help us to feel satisfied so you don’t need to eat heaps and you can save room for one of my yummy fruit desserts.
So girls-healthy blood and bundles of energy. I know what I’m having for dinner tonight!
Who can resist a tasty meaty burger…Not me! And I love it even more if I know it’s healthy. Did you know there is heaps of awesome stuff hiding in your burgers too!
Lets start with the best bit-right in the middle. NZ Beef + Lamb is packed with iron which helps keep us free from the nasty winter flu. With your juicy meat patty keeping you in good health… The only thing standing in your way will be the other contestants! The bun (bread) makes up our best energy source in the form of carbohydrates. This stuff will keep you powering on in the heat of the kitchen. Finally the real goodness – the vegetables. This gives your burger that extra edge. No matter which ones you choose you can be sure they are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. All things which keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out!
So no matter what happens on the day, include these three things and your burger will be a winner. Best of luck!
Burgers have got everything going for them – taste, variety and nutrition. I know most of us aren’t too worried about nutrition when we are teenagers – there is plenty of time to worry about heart attacks and things like that when we get older – but it is great when you find a food you love that is good for you as well!!
the bread is the carbohydrate – which is your bodies preferred form of energy. If you want it really healthy use a wholegrain bread because that has more fibre – a bonus… ( you need the fibre to keep you healthy on the inside and make you regular – if you know what I mean)
the meat - is the protein and lots of other goodies here. No getting around it your body needs protein to work! Beef and Lamb are loaded in iron which we all need to cart the oxygen around our body. Not enough of that and you will simply run out of steam! makes you go and go and go..
Make sure you use lean meat ( fat is not good – gives you yuk skin and a big bum!!) and take care not to add fat when you are cooking it.
the vegetables and/or fruit – this is the real good stuff – now I know lots of you will say you don’t like vegetables – get over yourself!! There are lots of different ones so there are bound to be some you will like – and just ‘cos you didn’t like it when you were little does not mean you wont like it now. I used to hate mushrooms, but now I can’t get enough of them! So even though you might have been a bit outspoken on what foods you like/dislike when no one is looking might be a good idea to have another taste!! You might get a mushroom surprise like it did!
Vegetables and fruit give you a range of vitamins and minerals as well as phytonutrients – these are the things that give the vegetables their color – so if you want to cover all your odds make sure you use vegetables of different colors – that way your body will get everything it needs. Using fruit in your burger is great – a bit less ‘ordinary’ and gives your burger a ‘wow’ factor You’ll get lots of points from a nutrition perspective too!
the sauce or chutney – this binds all the flavors together – if they are fruit or vegetable based the better , watch our for ones which are loaded in fat and/or salt. They are ok if you only use a little bit but if you want to smother the burger in a sauce go for the lower fat and salt ones…
Every year judges comment on the lack of seasoning, so the trick is to test your burgers to make sure you use enough.
A few tips:
- Freshly ground or grated spices have a more intense flavor than stuff that has been grated or ground ages ago – this is true for freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.
- Play around with the different types and coarsenesses of salt. Coarse sea salt, fine sea salt, flaked salt and herb flavoured salts all work and taste differently.
- Dry rubs are combinations of dry ground spices and or chopped herbs. When applied liberally to a good piece of meat add a wallop of flavor. When cooked at high heat the rub will create a crust of flavor that locks in the juices and flavors the meat inside. You can be quite generous with your layer of spice rubs because the intense flavour of the spices is mellowed by cooking
Wet rubs contain almost entirely dry ground spices, but they are then moistened to the consistency of a loose paste by the addition of small amounts of liquid, often water, wine, or stock. Where dry rubs tend to be best cooked at high heat, and or seared to create a crisp outer crust, wet rubs are best cooked slowly, at lower heat. So it’s most likely you are going to want a dry rub for your burger.
Finally, it’s good to experiment - some strong flavors like mustard and ginger can swing from a great addition to a rub, to completely overpowering. Try it first to get it right!
A chef taught me that
‘food should be a symphony of flavours working together in your mouth – not a food fight where many flavours are competing and you can’t work out what they are!’
I think that is pretty cool advice – simple is good!
You do have a very defined time so practice enough to know exactly what you have to do when. You have got exactly an hour, so in your head know what you should be doing after 15 minutes, 30 minutes and 45 minutes. Not realizing you are running late until you get to 45 minutes is scary! (Believe me this is like any exam so it’s a good habit to get into)
Ask your teacher for tips, is there anything you could do in advance or steps that aren’t 100% necessary?
I think it is a really good idea to have all your ingredients well labeled and easy to access. So as you are unpacking make sure everything is placed so you don’t have to waste time looking for it.
Make sure you arrive in plenty of time so you are not worried about being late and you have enough time to have a look around the kitchen so you feel relaxed.
And I know you know this – BUT MAKE SURE YOU BRING EVERYTHING!!! Make a list and tick it off as you pack it.
A horrible tale – I was once doing a food demonstration in Rotorua. We arrived in plenty of time because I wanted to see the kitchen. As we were unpacking the car we realized the beautifully packed food was still in the box on the kitchen bench in Tauranga (40 minutes away and not time for a return journey). NOT a good look. A massive panic, a massive dose of stress but I will NEVER do that again!! Learn from my mistake.
Once you know you are well prepared so you can do your best, it will be a lot more enjoyable. Have fun!
Check out burger competition for more info.
I reckon it’s a good idea to cook your burger for a few friends and get their HONEST feedback – better still if you know a chef who you can cook it for, do it. Chefs love to be asked for professional advice especially if it about recipes for kids or kids cooking!! You are bound to pick up a couple of tips that just might give you the edge. They may offer advice with seasoning too.
These are a few things I think are really important…
- Food looks better on white plates – stay safe. You can make things a little more interesting by using a different shaped white plates, or a white plates with a ‘self texture’. This lets the food be the hero not the plate.
- Your garnish has to be ‘related to the food’ – in other words if you have one herb in your pattie don’t introduce another herb as the garnish.
- Colour is good – green, red and yellow foods are excellent contrasts to cooked meat and bread – use them to your advantage. Remember beef and lamb has to be the hero so don’t hide it too much!!
- Garnishes are nicer if they are edible.
- You need a sprig of garnish not a tree – don’t go over the top
- Clean up slops and smears on the plate if you drip anything while serving (you know that!)
And my last tip – make sure your burger looks fresh and appealing – you don’t want it to look like it you have played with it for ages to get it ‘right’!
Have a look at what kids did last year…
The patties can’t be served undercooked, rare or pink. You need to make sure the internal temperature gets to 70oC (minced meat and hamburger patties should be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 70oC.) You need to know how long it takes, at what temperature to get a pattie your size to that temperature. Check it when you practice.
btw – If you really want to impress the judges you will likely get noticed for using a temperature gauge as it highlights your knowledge of cooking!!
The other trick is that the outer surface of the pattie looks and tastes best when it is caramelized to a gorgeous golden brown colour.
So the rule – fry rather than stew.
I have found if you put too many patties in the pan and don’t have it on a medium high heat then you get into trouble. Turns into a stew and is a sort of greyish colour. Not good.
FOR MORE TIPS ABOUT COOKING CHECK OUT BEEF + LAMB SITE
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