Tuesday, March 20 –
From one week to the next everything changes, that’s for sure. This week there were ten of us: me, Wonderful Boyfriend, Roommate Extraordinaire, Mr. Hero, Hot Momma, BabyBear, Amine Chef, BeatBox, MoneyShot, and SlotMachine. That’s a full house!
I started with the dessert so that it would be ready to go after dinner. I made the scone mix as it was written, except for the maple sugar. I couldn’t find it at either of the two stores I went to, so I just used regular white sugar it its place. I also think that when I rolled them out I made them too thin, so they browned by nine minutes instead of fifteen. They were light, fluffy, and wonderfully buttery. Without the maple flavor I wish that I had thought to put vanilla in instead, but it worked just fine with the strawberries and cream. I quartered sixteen strawberries and let them marinate in sugar and the red wine I was drinking (works just as well as port, if not better!). Then I blended the other strawberries with the sugar and lime juice. (I didn’t have lemon, but it worked just as well.) I put the strawberry puree and marinated strawberries back in the fridge until dessert time.
Because there were so many of us, some with food allergies, I had to make the burgers in several different steps. First, I took the bison and I added salt, pepper, garlic, and rice to it and mixed it together. Then I separated out seven different patties (because at the time that’s how many people I thought I was feeding!) and kept two off to the side. Then I mixed the other five back together with the bbq sauce, paprika, and mustard. I left the smoked Gouda cheese out as something that people could put on top if they wanted to. Then I re-made the five patties and let them sit until we were ready to go. The two late-comers brought extra beefalo, and I didn’t have more rice for them but I did put in the same spices. I put them to the side as well.
Next came the poutine. Heaven help me, I’m pretty sure my arteries were clogging up just looking at that hot mess. I took frozen “fast food fries” and I baked them as per their packaging. I heated the gravy from a jar on the stove, and then I mixed the chopped up cheese curds into the gravy so they would melt. Then I poured the gravy/cheese meltiness onto the fresh-out-of-the-oven fries. I had people dig into the mess right in the kitchen so that they wouldn’t get cold. Holy good god. Even though I used turkey gravy instead of beef gravy, it was still amazing and I pretty much never want to ever see it again because I won’t be able to say no. If you are even considering being on a diet – don’t go near this stuff!
I also made sweet potato fries (also frozen and then baked) for the people who didn’t want to die a happy, fat mess from the poutine. They were a great addition in my opinion, but then again I will always love sweet potato anything. I didn’t take a photo of them because they disappeared so quickly.
On the side for the burgers I had a plate of lettuce, tomato, and onion. I also put out ketchup, mustard, dijon, mayo, relish, bbq sauce to put on the buns. I also made the sauce that is on the recipe, and let me tell you what, it was AH-mazing. I think it might be my most favorite burger topping ever! Mayo with bbq sauce, relish, and horseradish. Sound weird? It wasn’t. It was so good I want to just make a jar and keep it in the fridge to use during the summer when we are bbqing all the time. Epic yumminess!
I cooked the burgers on the stove this time (the bbq had been loaned out to friends) but that didn’t stop them from being delish. The burger that I had (meat, bun, sauce, tomato, lettuce, and onion) was moist and amazingly delicious, but very, very crumbly. I don’t know if it was the fact that it was bison or that it had rice in it, but it made for a very, very messy dinner. Worth every bite, but messy.
Next came the desserts. I made fresh whipped cream with sugar and vanilla. Then I put on each plate two scones (remember I rolled them out too thin), scooped some marinated berries on top, drizzled the unstrained coulis next (why strain it when it’s all yummy goodness?) and then I scooped some whipped cream on top. This dessert was probably one of the best strawberry shortcakes I’ve ever made. Even Mr. Hero, who is the strawberry dessert expert in our group, said that they were the right texture, flavor, and richness. They weren’t too sweet, too crumbly, too dry, or too drowned in sauce. They were the perfect blend of all the right aspects of a strawberry shortcake dessert.
Things I have learned: When serving a messy, hot disaster like poutine it is just easier to put it onto a large plate and let people pick from it as finger food. It would have been too hard to get it all onto separate plates for people. It did, however, make it so that everyone was crowded into my walking space in the kitchen – so next time remember to move it out to the table so people flock over there.
Manitoba Smoky Bison Burger
- 1 pound(s) ground bison (buffalo; see Shopping Tip)
- 1/2 cup(s) cooked wild rice (see Kitchen Tip)
- 1/2 cup(s) shredded smoked cheese, such as Cheddar, gouda, or mozzarella
- 2 tablespoon(s) smoky barbecue sauce, divided
- 1 tablespoon(s) paprika, preferably sweet Hungarian
- 2 teaspoon(s) Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon(s) minced garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
- 1/4 cup(s) reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon(s) sweet pepper relish or pickle relish
- 2 teaspoon(s) prepared horseradish
- 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
- 4 slice(s) tomato
- 4 thin slices sweet onion, such as Vidalia
- Preheat grill to medium.
- Place meat, rice, cheese, 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce, paprika, mustard, garlic, pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Gently combine, without over-mixing, until evenly incorporated. Form into 4 equal patties, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
- Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, relish, and horseradish in a small bowl.
- Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the burgers until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 155 degrees F, 5 to 6 minutes per side.
- Assemble the burgers on toasted buns with the barbecue mayonnaise sauce, tomato, and onion.
Tips & Techniques
Kitchen Tip: Be sure to plan ahead for cooking the wild rice — it takes 40 to 50 minutes. To cut down on cooking time, look for “quick” wild rice, a whole-grain rice that cooks in less than 30 minutes, or “instant” wild rice that’s done in 10 minutes or less.
Tip: To oil the grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs, and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to spray the food with cooking spray.
- 1 quart vegetable oil (for frying)
- 1 (10 ¼ ounce) can beef gravy
- 5 medium potatoes , cut into fries
- 2 cups cheese curds
1 Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep heavy skillet to 365°F (185°C).
2 Warm gravy in saucepan or microwave.
3 Place the fries into the hot oil, and cook until light brown, about 5 minutes.
4 Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
5 Place the fries on a serving platter, and sprinkle the cheese over them.
6 Ladle gravy over the fries and cheese, and serve immediately.
Ottawa Valley Strawberry Shortcake
Maple Crunch Scones
- 2 1/2 cup(s) flour
- 1/8 cup(s) sugar
- 1/8 cup(s) granulated maple sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) baking powder
- 1/2 cup(s) butter
- 3/4 cup(s) milk
Marinated Local Strawberries
- 16 in season strawberries, quartered
- 2 tablespoon(s) white sugar
- 2 tablespoon(s) Port wine
- 1 cup(s) cold whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoon(s) white sugar
- 2 cup(s) sliced fresh strawberries
- 2 tablespoon(s) white sugar
- 1 splash(es) lemon juice
- Mint sprigs, for garnish
- Maple crunch scones: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugars, baking powder) into a bowl. Cut in butter until butter is pea-sized. Add in egg and milk. Blend until it is emulsified. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is about 1 inch thick.
- Using a round 4-inch cookie cutter, cut scones. Makes approximately 12 scones. Score and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow them to cool and cut them in half.
- Marinated local strawberries: Mix strawberries, sugar, and Port wine together and allow to marinate for 10 minutes. Reserve.
- Chantilly cream: In a large stainless steel bowl, add cream and begin to whip it with an electric mixer or using a balloon whisk. As soon as the cream starts to thicken, add vanilla and sugar. Continue to whip until it forms soft peaks similar to that of a soft-serve ice cream cone. Reserve.
- Strawberry coulis: Blend strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice together in a household blender and strain through a strainer. Reserve.
- Assembly: Slice the scone in half. Place the bottom half in the center of your plate. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the strawberry coulis on the scone bottom. Arrange some of the marinated strawberries on the scone and top that with a healthy dollop of the Chantilly cream. Place the scone top on the top and garnish with a mint sprig. Drizzle some additional strawberry sauce for color and flavor. Enjoy.