I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

daring cooks, february

Something so simple, we've all likely had at least one version of it - but so many possibilities! This month's challenge was to make patties, and I got my act together early enough to try a few different versions. 

The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax & Lis and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties!

Take One: Fish Cakes.

I decided to start the month with one of the provided recipes and so made tuna and rice patties. I do like fish cakes, and there is something satisfying about feeding a family of 5 (3 of them teens/preteens) with one can of fish. Perhaps it's my Scottish ancestry coming into play.

The can of tuna was filled out with white rice, chopped spinach, corn kernels, and bread crumbs. Binding (a must in any patties, lest they collapse into a crumbly mess) was provided by eggs, and the flavors were added with hot chili paste, oyster sauce, green onions, and sweet chili sauce. 

I also learned what I started calling The Best Patty Tip Ever: rather than relying on my eyeballing of portion sizes and shapes (and typically failing miserably at any attempts at evenness), I made the patties in a half-cup measuring cup, just like making sand castles in the old days. Pack it in, shake it out, and voilĂ  - a perfect one every time. They were coated with more bread crumbs, and fried in the skillet.

Delicious! Definitely a make again, and good even as leftovers. There weren't many of those, though, as the cakes were quickly snapped up as second helpings.

Take Two: Quinoa Patties

I love cooking with quinoa as a healthy protein source, and figured it would work well in this medium. I decided to make something up as I went along, and came up with a Mexican-style patty that we all loved. Quinoa, corn kernels, cornmeal, and rice, bound again with eggs, color and flavor from red, green and jalapeno peppers, and seasoned with chili powder and cumin. I used the sandcastle technique (thank you for this, Lis and Audax!) again, breaded the patties in cornmeal, and fried 'em up. A little salsa verde on top, and we were set to go.

They were great! The texture was too crumbly to have gone in a bun, but they held together just fine for eating with a fork. We liked the taste, as I madly tried to remember just what I had put in them so I could repeat the new recipe. These, again, had the added appeal of being a very cost-effective way to feed our family. We've had them once since. 

Take Three: MEAT.

Before: they look normal enough, if a little lumpy.
No patty challenge seemed quite right without a burger. But, I've made burgers loads of times. We use the grill most of the time in summer, so they get plenty of opportunities on the menu. I wanted to do something different. I did some searching and found a recipe from Alton Brown called 'Burger of the Gods'. That seemed to bode well, so I tried it last night for supper. And.

Oh. My. Goodness. I will confess to sitting, paused mid-chew, at the first bite.

Sirloin steak and chuck steak were ground up in the food processor. I added a pinch of salt, mixed it up, and formed the patties. Three ingredients; that was all. The meat's own fibers and fat served to bind the patties, and we fried them in the pan. Normally I hate doing hamburgers in the pan; the taste just doesn't compare to a grill. Even done on the frying pan, however, these were absolutely amazing. 

Hellooooo beautiful!
My 15yo daughter sat and raved between (and during sometimes) bites. My hubby the carnivore absolutely loved them. They are an entirely different food from a ground beef burger - there's just no contest. These were obviously not the most frugal of the three, but we will absolutely make them again.  

All three gave variety, will-try-again recipes, and this month gave me a new understanding of the elements of it so I'll be able to improvise more in the future. Thanks for a great challenge!

I'm still thinking about those steak burgers.... yummmm. 


Sawsan@chef in disguise said...

Brilliant job on this challenge!
That burger looks really good!

DJ.J. Jones said...


Andy said...

Great job. The quinoa ones sound great!

Jenni said...

Great job! All your patties look fantastic!

Vanessa [theteensytinyinsignificantdetails] said...

That meat one looks gooooood :)

Audax said...

Marvellous work on this challenge! You made three versions and I adore them all the meat burger looks superb. Wonderful work on this challnege. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Jo said...

Love the progression from fish to quinoa to MEAT! All three patties look and sound delicious, I'd still be thinking about the steak burger too!