Making Burgers a Smashing Success

Want a five-star, mouth-watering burger at home? Smash it. It’s an easy way to make a crispy, juicy and amazing burger in your own home.

I’m on my forty-third trip around the sun and I am only just now starting to figure out the simple things – like how to brown hamburger.

If it means getting it to that grey colour where you can add taco seasoning or marinara sauce, that is merely called cooked. It’s not browning.

Browning means letting the meat sizzle in it’s own juice until you start getting the crunchy bits. It means letting it darken to a rich brown colour that boosts a carmelized flavour and aroma. It means taking your time, not stirring often, to let the meat shine. It means. leaving it alone to work its magic.

How does this translate to burgers? Smashingly.

To be more specific, smashing your burgers on a hot grill will flatten them enough to allow them develop the caramelization and crunchy bits. And it is as easy as it sounds. It also works with Beyond Meat (ground).

  1. Make two – 3 oz balls of meat for each burger. It’s a double but only brings the meat content to 6oz.
  2. Heat grill, griddle or frying pan.
  3. But meat on the grill and smash it flat (use a meat iron or even parchment paper and the bottom of a cooking pan)
  4. Flip once.
  5. Bon appetite.

As demonstrated here by my lovely husband:

Bring the fine art of amazing burgers into your home or backyard!

Getting My Craft On: Cards

I love making cards. I make holiday cards, thank you cards, new baby cards and birthday cards for anyone.

It’s a way to flex my creativity while giving a homemade creation to show some love to the recipient.

The first of the year has been a busy one for me. There are several birthdays and the arrival of a new baby to celebrate. And when I say busy, I mean fun.

It all started about five years ago when I was trying to find the perfect one for my younger sister. They were either the “another year older” cards, which doesn’t make sense to send since I’m the older one, or the overly sappy “you are my best friend” cards. Where’s the one that says, “We come from the same gene pool and that may be all we have in common but I love you anyway’ cards? Does Hallmark make those?

No? So I started. Turns out, I like playing with paper, glitter and glue.

Here are just a few of my recent creations:

1) Celebrating the arrival of my nephew!

2) My husband’s birthday

3) My brother-in-law’s birthday:

That’s it for now. I have a few in the hopper for Valentine’s Day and two birthdays in March!

Cinnamon Rolls – Conquering the Fear of Rising

Growing up, I have fond memories of gooey cinnamon rolls and steamy bowls of chili. While most people thing this is an unnatural combination, you would be surprised at how delicious this can be.  The fact that it was a monthly lunch option available at my grade school cafeteria only makes the idea that much stranger.

First Attempt - Cinnamon Rolls
First Attempt – Cinnamon Rolls

Making homemade cinnamon rolls, for me, has always had this intimidation factor.  Whenever one starts learning a new crafts, skill or honing a talent, there is often a sense of overwhelming as new vocabulary, theory and practice comes into play.  For me and cooking, recipes that include the words “rise” and “yeast” are often red-flag for “way to complicated.” I accept that these recipes are beyond my skill level.

Well, until recently.

For our wedding, we asked friends and family to provide us with pictures of their family and their favorite recipe. One of Mike’s relatives offered us a hand-written recipe card for “Sticky Love Buns,” which is pretty much cinnamon rolls.  The idea of homemade cinnamony goodness appealed to me and scared the daylights out of me.

I pulled the recipe out and stared at it long and hard for a few days.  In my head, I was weighing and measuring the difficulty of the recipe, especially for an early Friday morning, and my skill level going into the experiment.  Both my sister and Mike warned me about the persnickety “rising” element in the equation.

Second Attempt Cinnamon Rolls
Second Attempt Cinnamon Rolls

I will admit, the first attempt was edible but it wasn’t something to write home about either.  I got antsy about the rising and decided to make the rolls the night before, take them out of the fridge in the morning and let them warm to room temperature.  I forgot that not only did they need to warm but they would also need additional time at that temperature for RISING. I tried to rush it by placing them in a warm oven — which only pre-cooked them.  There was no rising action and the rolls were a bit more done than they needed to be.

Rather than writing off cinnamon rolls as not my strong suit, I decided I needed to do it one more time.  This time, I got up early and made them from scratch. I let them sit at room temperature for about an hour and a half, enough time for them to rise.  I popped them in the oven, reducing the time a bit and pulled out pretty perfect rolls.

Cinnamon Rolls RecipeIf nothing else, this exercise has taught me two things:

1) There’s no need to fear yeast or rising instructions. It just takes a bit of practice.

2) Have patience. Cooking takes time. No need to rush it. It’ll all come out in . . . the oven?