Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28: National Hamburger Day and National Brisket Day

National Hamburger Day

Hamburgers are a mainstay of American barbecues.  Normally hamurgers are made of ground beef, but these days "burger" can refer to anything shaped into a patty - veggie burgers made from quinoa or black beans, turkey burgers made from ground turkey, or tuna.  And of course you can top burgers with just about everything you can imagine:  add a slice of your favorite cheese to make a cheeseburger or try stuffing the cheese in the meat instead; fresh tomatoes and lettuce are classic toppings; pickles, peppers, and onions add a tang to the burger; mushrooms add a savory flavor; onion rings and potato chips add a crunch...  the topping possibilities are endless.

Since I recently returned from a country where the wise course of action was to avoid anything uncooked and it seems like I only ate meat and some bread, I feel like I've eaten more meat in the last couple of weeks than I would eat in a whole year.  As a result, I've decided to avoid meat for a while and that meant that to celebrate today, I was going to have a veggie burger.  I checked out the burger recipes from Vegetarian Times and chose one that would require very little time and work.  Oh, I could have just bought a veggie burger patty, but I wanted to cook something, after not being able to cook for so long.

Vegetarian burger mix from Whole Foods
Then, while at Whole Foods to purchase the ingredients, I came across a vegetarian burger mixture in the bulk aisle.  The directions were to mix equal parts of the mixture and boiling water, let it cool, shape into patties, then fry in a pan with a little oil.  I decided to give it a try.
Add water, shape into patties, and
fry just until lightly browned.

While my roommate found the texture bizarre, I didn't think it was any different than most vegetarian burgers.  Oh, there was no way anyone would say that it was the same as a burger, but it wasn't revolting, just different than a real hamburger.  The patties held together and didn't crumble while or immediately after cooking, like so many other vegetarian burgers do.  The flavor was good - I'm not sure if there was a particular spice in the mixture that made it so tasty, but I enjoyed it.  3/4 cups of the mixture and 3/4 cups of boiling water made three good sixed patties and one bite-sized patty.  I enjoyed one of those larger patties on a homemade biscuit with a slice of Swiss cheese, some lettuce, a slice of tomato, and a sliace of homemade pickles. 

It was super delicious, if a bit too large to eat without squishing it flat.  So thumbs up to the vegetarian burger mixture from the bulk aisle at Whole Foods.

Looking for more traditional burgers?  MSNBC lists the best burger cities in the US for 2012 while Men's Health lists the 15 worst burgers.
The burger was just a little too tall.
But it was tasty!

National Brisket Day

Brisket is cow.  More specifically, brisket is a cut of meat from the front half of the cow.  Best cooked with moist heat, brisket is typically used to make corned beef.  You can also barbecue it, which is apparently very popular cooking method in Texas.  Food Network gives an easy, if a bit time consuming, recipe for cooking brisket in the oven

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