Tuesday, May 22, 2012

homemade burgers

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. This Victoria Day long weekend brought us so many good times and great food, it might just take me an entire week to recap all the goodness. I think the most memorable event of the weekend was our first ever attempt at making burgers from scratch with a meat grinder.
This all began when I picked up some fresh sirloin steaks. I chose this cut because the cap of fat along the side was a great way for us to control how much fat went into our meat.
From here Nuno got to play. He sliced the beef into long strips and then chilled the meat in the freezer for 5 minutes before passing it through the grinder on the coarse grind setting. Then he went in for a second pass through the finer grind for our burgers. No eggs, no breadcrumbs - just our fresh ground meat formed into patties and chilled.

We then decided to take them to-go for a picnic.
Because these burgers are the star of the meal we had veggies and dip on the side. I always keep fresh veggies around for snacks and we all enjoy them with ranch dip.
Our little grill works really well and we love to just set up a spot on the grass and eat off a blanket. 
The burger family! Our burgers were lightly salted and peppered just before grilling. A topping of gruyere cheese and a pile of caramelized onions for ours while Owens had cheddar and ketchup.
Our burgers were melt-in-your-mouth with a real beefy taste. The texture was really light and the flavour tasted like a sandwich version of French onion soup.
It really was a huge success - the burgers and the picnic. We've always really loved picnics and eating outdoors but because of Owen we've scaled it way back in the past few years. This year he really seems into it. For years our favourite spot has been Queenston Heights Park. I'd say this is one of Ontario's best kept secrets because when you come here you pretty much get your own little piece of well manicured real estate. There is hardly ever anyone there and I can't figure out why. It's picture perfect with a gorgeous view of the Niagara River from high up on the escarpment. There is a playground and splash pad with well maintained bathroom facilities. It's also perfectly situated near bike paths along the Niagara River Parkway. We recently installed a seat for Owen on the back of Nuno's bike, so we took our bikes along with us for a ride in 75 degree temperatures. 

After years of impromptu picnics, I thought I'd share my picnic checklist:
• Barbeque (if using), 2 barbecue lighters & 2 propane tanks or briquettes, lighter fluid with matches, bbq scouring brush
Picnic basket 
Ice Packs
Thermos with water, juice, lemonade etc.
Salt & Pepper
Tin Foil
Metal spatula
Table Cloth w/ weights
Outdoor games & toys 
• Bug Repellant
• Sun Screen
• Band-aids
• Wet Ones
• 2 Plastic bags, one for garbage and one for dirty dishes
It also helps to write a list as you prep your food. Anything prepared, write it down as you finish so you don't forget it. Then imagine what you'd use to assemble the food while on the picnic and pack that as well. Even forgetting a sharp knife can foil plans. Once on your way there really isn't anything else to do but just relax and enjoy.

1 comment:

alicia said...

holy crap now that's how you have a picnic! here i was having hoagies and chips like a sucker. <3