SMORGASBORD: Big Buck Burgers ... Wild Salmon Jerky ... Iced CoffeeDo you have a knack for putting together a good burger? Or perhaps you’re known for grilling the perfect patty? Your best burger might have what it takes to win some cash in contests now taking entries. The granddaddy of these is Build a Better Burger, now in its 21st year and sponsored mainly by Sutter Home Winery in Napa Valley, Calif.
By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald
Big buck burgers
Do you have a knack for putting together a good burger? Or perhaps you’re known for grilling the perfect patty?
Your best burger might have what it takes to win some cash in contests now taking entries.
The granddaddy of these is Build a Better Burger, now in its 21st year and sponsored mainly by Sutter Home Winery in Napa Valley, Calif.
Enter the contest now through Sept. 3. The cook-off will be held on the grounds of the winery in May 2013.
The grand prize for the best beef burger is $100,000. If you’re not a beef burger person, you can enter an alternative burger for a chance at a $15,000 prize.
Beef burger patties must have at least 75 percent beef (not veal). Alternative burgers can be made from any ground food, including some beef, but beef can’t make up more than 25 percent of the patty. You can enter as many burger recipes as you like. Burgers are judged on creativity, taste and visual appeal.
For rules and to enter, go to www.sutterhome.com. For inspiration, check out the recipes in the Burger Base on the web site and winning recipes from previous years. Also on the site, cookbook author James McNair, head judge since the contest began, offers tips on burger making and entering the contest.
Crush, swill, enjoy
Back in the days before the refrigerator door could be counted on to crush ice at the press of a button, thirsty folks had to rely on other methods to chill their cocktails. One midcentury lifesaver was the manual ice crusher.
These handy little gadgets might vary slightly by make and model, but they work on the same principle: Flip open the top, insert ice cubes and turn the crank as metal teeth conveniently crush ice cubes into a waiting basket or ready glass. Voila. Some models even allow you to adjust the level of crushing from coarse to fine.
Names like Ice-O-Mat, Dazey and Swing-A-Way could be counted on to crush the toughest ice into submission just in time for cocktail hour. And do it in a fashionable way to boot.
Vintage ice crushers often turn up at garage sales and in antiques stores, and you can easily find them online on auction sites like EBay. Prices depend on make and condition, but a vintage ice crusher can be yours for around $20 to $40.
Wild salmon jerky
From the folks who brought you fleece jackets and river waders comes wild salmon jerky. Patagonia Provisions, the outdoor gear company’s line of edibles, enters the market with three flavors: smoked black pepper (liked it lots), smoked chili pepper (serious kick) and smoked teriyaki (a favorite). For the jerky, they teamed with Canadian conservationists Skeena Wild and smokehouse legend Harald Kossler. Each 2-ounce package is $12.50.
For a store locater or to buy, go to patagonia.com.
How to cook everything
"How to Cook Everything. The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food — With 1,000 Photos” (Wiley, $35) is a bold boast, but obviously longtime New York Times food writer Mark Bittman is not going to teach you how to make everything. Otherwise he’d have stopped with the first “How to Cook Everything,” now 14 years old, and wouldn’t have needed to give the world the companion, “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.”
Instead, the aim with “Basics” is to give novices a collection of essential recipes, each an end in itself but also a building block to learning how to cook.
Bittman has produced a work with an impressive attention to detail. With 1,000 photos to present just 185 recipes, you’ll understand exactly what he means by sauteing or deglazing or any of the myriad techniques. He teaches nearly everything, from cuts of fish to how to cut onions to cutting butter into pie dough. The book’s organization extends its utility.
Techniques mentioned in a recipe are cross-referenced with “Learn more” lessons, which will refresh you on, say, making stock. (The e-book edition makes jumping back and forth a breeze.) The “Is it done yet?” feature — such as five stages of a hard-cooked egg — alone could prove revolutionary to many cooks, beginner or not. Quibbles are few. Images purporting to show stages of pasta doneness all look the same. A tip to remove thyme leaves from the stem is more effective opposite the way he suggests.
New from International Delight, maker of a number of flavored coffee creamers, come three flavors of iced coffee “sweet and creamy coffeehouse drink,” sold in half-gallon (eight 8-ounce serving) cartons in the refrigerated case. The obvious product for comparison is Starbucks Frappuccino, the 9.5-ounce bottles of which, sold unrefrigerated, are labeled more simply as “coffee drink.”
Frappuccino is somewhat sweeter than the International Delight drink; the International Delight drink contains several more thickeners — and is notably thicker. At one store, where a four-pack of Frappuccino (38 ounces) is $5.69 (15 cents an ounce), the 64-ounce International Delight carton is $3.99 (6.2 cents an ounce).
There are three new dessert kits from Nestle’s Carnation brand — lemon bread with lemon zest glaze (add eggs, oil and water), chocolate cream pie with crust and topping (add butter and water) and key lime pie with crust and topping (add butter and water). And the Nestle Toll House Cookie-Brownie Delight kit (add butter, eggs and water) is back. (That’s a bar cookie mix; you swirl the cookie and brownie batters together.)
Look for dessert kits at your local supermarket.