Posts Tagged ‘burgers for kids’
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!!!
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!
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…
Now you guys are allowed to use different cuts of beef or lamb in your burger. You can use any type of beef or lamb cut you like. Time is a bit tight in the competition so you are probably going to use a tender or medium tender meat cut like beef sirloin, rump or mid loin lamb chops that suits dry cooking – which cooks faster.
I would guess that grilling (includes fan-grilling, pan-grilling, barbecuing) and shallow frying (pan frying, sautéing, stir-frying) will be what you will go for.
The rule: choose the cooking method that best suits your meat cut. If you don’t know check it out HERE
Bit of background…
Some meat cuts are naturally more tender than others. Meat cuts from muscles that continually work are less tender. Beef shin (in the leg) and beef chuck (part of the shoulder) are muscles which get a lot of exercise so are tougher. More tender meat cuts come from muscles that are not used for vigorous exercise. The tenderloin or fillet (lying along the backbone) does get much of a workout so is a tender cut.
The method of cooking will also affect the tenderness of the meat cut.
There are two basic types of meat cookery:
- dry heat methods: for the tender cuts – quick cooking
- moist heat methods: for the not-so-tender cuts – slower cooking
FOR MORE TIPS ABOUT COOKING CHECK OUT BEEF + LAMB SITE
Last year I was judge and I am doing it again this year… I just thought you’d like to hear some of the things I think you need to consider…
Coming up… I’m going to blog about things to help you get ready
- hints for seniors – using different meat cookery skills for different cuts
- hints for juniors – using mince
- seasonings – every year the judges comment on a lack of seasoning…
- tips to avoid stress city – hints for cooking under pressure
- presentation and garnishing
- flavour combinations
- working methods for safety – check out my you Tube on Things you need to know so your food wont kill you
- balancing your burger to make it a nutritional goldmine
Wow I have just gone and had another look at the finalists for the Beef + Lamb Burger Competition – your standard is so high!! I am so looking forward to seeing (and tasting) in person what you have come up with. The food looks really inspirational and your presentation is just stunning. I am impressed – it all looks amazing so I guess it is going to be down to the taste and your technique!!
Besides taste I am always am interested in what is good for me – without being over the top I want something which is healthy and has a good balance of ingredients. I believe serving size is something incredibly important – and all of us need to find the balance between too much – which always overwhelms me and puts me off the food – and not enough – you don’t want to finish a meal hungry!
I know the judging is going to be tough!! But I am getting my taste buds all psyched up for a total treat… burgers here I come!! To check out all the other finalists follow this link to burger heaven!!!
food savvy link
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5 reasons to COOK!
5 REASONS TO COOK...
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