Hot days ask for spices. Lots of them. And long meals eaten outdoors. Grills and barbecues and cold beers and white wines. All the good things in life.
For me, a delicious summer meal should involve meat. And my newly discovered love for spices. A burger, preferably, with a glass of sparkling white wine and some roasted veggies on the side. As simple as that.
Let's start with the meat part, for now. I am a big fan of meat, but consumed moderately - once the week, and only kosher. Which means that sometimes I depend on the available supermarket offer. I am not living in America after all, where the range of kosher meat is amazing and you only need ideas to make all those meaty dish to happen. Before the Jewish High Holidays, I wanted to offer myself a meat overload, in preparation of what was supposed to come. Just to be sure that my stomach is getting ready.
As a busy mom, frozen burgers are the answer to many serious foodie problems. All you need is to defrost them and add the right ingredients and salad - very easy fresh tomato and cucumber salad, for instance.
Happy owner of a 10- beef burger pack, I started to build up our star of the lunches for the next days. Luckily, the generous reserve of spices I got from Spice Kitchen UK, part of their Brand Ambassador Program, solved 99,9% of my questions and challenges.
First, need to defrost the burgers. Therefore, I place them on baking pan for around one hour.
Meanwhile, the search for the best spices, began. I tried to use at least 8 different spices, spread to every burger. One got a special treatment, as I wanted to try a gourmet variant, with a truffle oil addition. This is the only burger that got some oil, as for the rest, I only used spices.
I smear the spices on both sides of the burgers, to be sure that the flavors are equally distributed all over.
I've used the following selection of spices (for each side of the burger, I used 1/4 teaspoon). When not mentioned otherwise the spices were offered by Spice Kitchen UK:
- Fenugreek - was the best surprises. Its hints of roasted maple, which means both a sweet and bitter add, it melted perfectly with the original beef flavor. Note to myself: experience more with this amazing spice.
- Harissa - is a classical Moroccan hot spice, but it cannot get older. Recommended if you love your meat hot and very spicy!
- Aleppo Pepper - it is a very versatile spice, that adds a fruity pleasant note. Pleased to discover it matches meat as nicely as it does with avocado.
- Urfa Biber - it never disappoints when it comes to coming together with meat. It adds that special flavor and balance that goes very well with any kind of meat (tried with turkey and now with beef and nothing to complain about).
- Ras el-Hanout - it is a very rich spice, which has an impressive list of ingredients (from star anise to rose petals, cumin, turmeric, paprika and nutmeg, among many others). It goes very well with foods which are 'neutral' (not with a very strong flavor, such as corn or couscous) and opens up a complex range of tastes and impressions.
- Berbere - it never disappoints when it comes to meat, and I was very happy to reinvent a - despicable at a time - childhood traditional meal. It has a balance of tastes, from very spicy (paprika, black peppercorn, red chilli, garlic), to moderate mild ones (fenugreek and cardamom).
- Black Pepper - from my own reserve of spices...- as simple as that. Pepper, especially the black one, always adds a particular spicy note to every meal, and to some cocktails too (Bloody Mary, anyone?). I smeared over the burger also 1/2 teaspoon of truffle oil, my purchase from www.viani.de.
- Special Grill Mix - a mix available in the Turkish stores in Berlin, which has: paprika, pepper, chilli, coriander, garlic and celery salt.
Preheat oven at 250C.
Leave the burgers to cook, while moving them from a side to another every 20 minutes or so.
Preparation time: 15 minutes+the time requested for the burgers to defrost
Cooking time: 1 hour
Disclaimer: Spices offered for review by Spice Kitchen UK, but the opinions are, as usual, my own.