Last year, we polled FN Dish readers: Burgers or hot dogs for Memorial Day weekend? While 44 percent said they would be indulging in both, 35 percent said they were all about the burger. To ensure you cook up tender and juicy burgers this upcoming long weekend, we asked the “Magician of Meat” Pat LaFrieda, Jr. to offer up some tips.
5 Things to Avoid Doing to Your Burger
• Never place your burger on a grill that is not preheated. Always make sure your grill is hot enough and ready to cook on before placing the burger down. Too often people turn on the grill and immediately place the meat down to start cooking — and the end result is never pretty. If the grill is preheated to the right temperature, you’ll notice the difference.
Don’t do these four things to your burger
Every year in the restaurant and out in the field, I use a truckload of vanilla beans. To me, they are as important as flour, sugar, butter and eggs. I consider the vanilla bean the fifth essential ingredient.
So imagine gallons of ice cream flecked with pounds of vanilla beans. Yummers! And how about custards by the kilo with an equal amount of this decadent vanilla sprinkled through every last bite?
So what do you do with pods that served their duty, sometimes even double duty? I could throw them away, but that wouldn’t be prudent. They are extremely expensive and too special to sit in a landfill somewhere in Florida, never really enjoying the fruits of their labor.
A flashbulb went off in my brain. No, not the same magical 60 watt summoning to life the Easy-Bake Oven of my childhood, but a bigger and brighter new fangled one. I realized if I washed the used pods and dried them slowly in the oven on very low heat, I could grind them in a spice or coffee grinder and have the most wonderful vanilla dust.
Get Hedy’s Vanilla Dust recipe
Savoring dessert carries a double meaning in my book. To fully enjoy most sweets, whether they are chocolate, fruit or candy-based, a little salt goes a long way to make the flavors pop. As the pastry chef at Miami’s top restaurant, I’m always trying to nudge guests a little bit outside their comfort zone. Sometimes the easiest way to do it is by baking some kosher salt into raw sugar-dusted sesame shortbread for a supportive boost you wouldn’t even know unless I told you. Or, better yet, go a little more obvious with a sprinkle of light and flaky Maldon sea salt on top of creamy, frozen truffle-like Milk Chocolate Cremoso. I love the raised eyebrows it provokes upon hitting the table — of course shortly followed by the, “Oh, I see, this completely makes sense,” look.
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Hot Tips From Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford:
Pull out the bready insides of your roll when making a super-stuffed sandwich: There will be more room for the filling, plus it will be easier to eat. We used this trick to make space for all of the fixings in Food Network Magazine‘s Mushroom and Ham Po’Boy.
Hot Tips From Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford:
Here’s an easy way to expose pesky bones in fish: Lay the fillet over an upside-down small bowl, then run your fingers over it to feel for bones. Pull them out with small pliers or fish tweezers, pressing down around the bone with your other hand so the fish doesn’t tear. Give it a try with this Cornmeal-Crusted Trout from Food Network Magazine.
If ever a food needed a brand overhaul, it’s salt cod.
Because nothing about that name inspires cravings. It actually sounds like something you spread on an icy walkway to keep people from slipping.
But salt cod actually has a rich history, especially in Portuguese and Spanish cuisine, which treat this simple ingredient with near reverence. Read more »
If you think you’ve done nearly everything a cook can with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, it might be time to talk turkey.
Other than the big bird at Thanksgiving and ground turkey when they’re craving a healthier burger, most people overlook turkey.
Fair enough. Ground turkey can be dry and tasteless. And who has time to roast a bird (or even a massive breast) most nights of the week?
But the turkey tenderloin — a thick strip of meat cut from between the bird’s breasts — turns out to be a convenient, delicious and healthy alternative.
Because the tenderloin doesn’t get much of a workout when the bird is alive, the meat is particularly tender.
And like chicken breasts, it is incredibly versatile, taking well to the grill, skillet or oven and working well with any flavor or marinade.
Get the recipe for Chopped Smoky Turkey Burgers
Last Sunday night on the premiere episode of Chopped All-Stars, the Iron Chef contestants opened up their baskets to find sour trahana. I quickly found myself Googling the term, only to find out several minutes later from Ted Allen that it’s a traditional Greek pasta that is essentially flour kneaded with sour milk, buttermilk or yogurt and some salt.
I couldn’t get a good glimpse of the grain on TV, but imagine a substance similar to couscous.
According to The Food and Wine of Greece by Diane Kochilas, “Until a generation ago, sour trahana was the shepherd’s and farmer’s breakfast. It was made at the end of every summer all over Greece in preparation for the winter months.”
So what can you do with sour trahana? Try cooking it in a soup, like Cat Cora’s Chicken Soup. The longer you cook the grain, the thicker it becomes.
If you can’t find sour trahana in the international aisle of your local supermarket, try searching for it online at a Greek specialty store.
Tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c when four gourmet globetrotters — Keegan Gerhard, Marcela Valladolid, Jeffrey Saad and Aarti Sequeira — take their place on the Chopping Block.
Wild boar: a tasty way to do a good deed.
It’s true — across at least 39 states there are an estimated four million feral pigs and wild boars (they are close relatives and prone to interbreeding) roaming about.
And they are laying ruin to vast acres of land. The problem with wild pigs is they are voracious eaters — shocking, I know — and destroy natural ecosystems.
There is no one solution, but eating them certainly helps. It’s what I like to call taking a bite out of swine.
Bad pig puns aside, people throughout Europe and Asia have been eating feral oinkers for years. Italians are particularly fond of them, turning them into all manner of salumi.
Now Americans are starting to catch on. Feral pig is showing up on more restaurant menus, especially in the South, the epicenter of the problem.
Get the recipe for Fettuccine With Wild Boar Ragu
Peeps get all the glory this month (just check out this Peep Cake), but their plain-old marshmallow cousins can get dressed up for Easter, too. We found this fun trick in the new cookbook Sugarlicious ($18; Harlequin) by Meaghan Mountford: Insert lollipop sticks into marshmallows, then submerge one marshmallow at a time in water. Blot off the excess water with a paper towel, hold the marshmallow over a plate and shake sprinkles over it to coat. Prop up in a cup or foam block to dry.
(Photograph by Charles Masters)