Burger Parties

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2010-03-23
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press
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Packed with more than 60 full-color photographs, James McNair and Jeffrey Starr showcase the new frontier in burgers with inventive recipes for prize-winning creations from some of the best chefs in the business.

Author Biography

James McNair is the author of over 40 cookbooks and recipient of the International Association of Culinary Professionals Award of Excellence. He is the honorary chairman and head judge of Sutter Home Winery’s Build a Better Burger® Recipe Contest.
Jeffrey Starr serves as the culinary director and executive chef for Trinchero Family Estates, where he entertains and educates industry professionals in food and wine. He is the culinary director for Sutter Home Winery’s Build a Better Burger® Recipe Contest.


Party Time
A great burger is reason enough for a party! For many of us, life just doesn’t get any better than biting into a big, juicy burger. When all the components are perfect—a patty that’s charred on the outside and moist and tender inside, a high-quality bun that’s toasty warm, spreads that are packed with flavor, toppings that are crisp and cool and balance the burger with sweet and acidic flavors—the combination creates a party in the mouth. It’s no wonder that burgers are America’s favorite food and today are more popular than ever.
     The celebrations that we’ve created for your pleasure are all centered around some of the best—and most unique—burgers you’ll ever taste. Each was a prizewinner or an outstanding finalist in Sutter Home Winery’s Build a Better Burger® Recipe Contest and Cook-Off. The annual search for the best home-cooked burgers in America has been going on since 1990, and James has been head judge ever since the contest began. Jeffrey has been the culinary director and executive chef for Sutter Home Winery and for the contest since 1999. During those years, we’ve encountered an amazing array of creative burgers from good cooks across the country and have chosen some of the best to star in this collection.
     We’ve let the burgers guide us in choosing party themes and offer ideas for creating a festive atmosphere, with suggestions for decorations, table settings, music, and activities. We developed side dishes and sweet endings to complement each burger, along with some spirited wine-based cocktails and wine pairings.
     All of us at Sutter Home Winery’s Build a Better Burger hope that this book provides inspiration for fun celebrations that are perfect for today’s emphasis on relaxed, festive, and inexpensive entertaining. Let’s party!
Creating Fun Parties
Put down that spatula! Before throwing patties on the grill to entertain your friends, you need to do some planning to create a perfect party that is fun for everyone, including yourself.
     First, you need to concoct a guest list of compatible people and send out invitations. Draft the guest list to include an interesting mix of friends with shared or dissimilar interests, which can lead to sparkling conversation. Limit the invitees to a number that you can accommodate comfortably. Remember the “old days” of mailing written invitations? Such thoughtfulness still makes a great impression and can go a long way in establishing the party theme. Our fast-paced lives, however, allow for invitations via personal phone calls, e-mails, or online invitation websites. Even text messages may be okay for invitations to very casual, last-minute parties such as Flip ’n’ Splash (page 83).
Next, turn your attention to creating the right ambience for the party. “Staging” a party with creative, fun decorations and tableware is important to set the mood and atmosphere; our suggestions go for the optimal experience, but you may choose to elaborate further or simplify.
     When planning table settings and linens, keep your parties environmentally friendly by choosing washable real dishes, glasses, flatware, and napkins, or buying disposable products that are eco-friendly and biodegradable. Keep in mind that everything on the table doesn’t have to match, but the pieces should be compatible. Dishes in white, beige, or earth tones can mix and match with just about anything and any theme. A collection of California pottery plates in various colors always go together, as do mixtures of black and white patterns or collections of hand-painted designs. If you have plenty of room and few budget restraints, you might have fun building a party pantry with dishes that work for v

Excerpted from Burger Parties: Recipes from Sutter Home Winery's Build a Better Burger Contest by James Mcnair, Jeffrey Starr
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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