Sharon Thompson: Tinker's takes the cake at H'Artful of Fun

swthompson@herald-leader.com,Sharon ThompsonFebruary 18, 2014 

At the recent H'Artful of Fun, restaurants and bakeries displayed their best creations hoping to take home plaques of honor. The event, which benefited The Living Arts and Science Center, gives awards for the best desserts and booth decor. Tinker's Cake Shop, 317 West Maxwell Street, received The People's Choice award for its cake pops as "Most delicious dessert." The bakery also received the "Best overall table décor" award for its wedding cake display. Call (859) 252-9636 or go to Tinkerscakeshop.com.

Other awards went to: Azur for best presentation of a savory dish; Midway School Bakery, best presentation of a dessert; Louisiana Passion, most delicious savory food; and Dupree Catering, overall star of the show.

The 6th annual “Old Friends Along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail” dinner and bourbon-tasting will be Saturday at the Seelbach Hilton Hotel in Louisville.

The event is a benefit for Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement facility in Georgetown. Cocktails begin at 6 p.m. with samples of Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Woodford Reserve and Maker’s Mark. Tickets are $100. Call Jennifer Quinlan at (502) 585-9292. The Seelbach is at 500 South 4th Street.

A two-course Bourbon-themed dinner will be served by the Oakroom’s chef de cuisine Patrick Roney. His menu features hot smoked wild Arctic char with Bourbon Barrel soy butter, and bacon -wrapped pork loin stuffed with collard greens.

GrillGrate for even cooking

While you’re trying to stay warm this winter, you might want to think about grilling and using a new grill grate.

The GrillGrate has interlocking panels that work on any grill to form a new grill surface and is supposed to cook food more evenly, and block flare-ups so food doesn’t get burned or charred.

It’s available in sizes for rectangular or round grills and is placed on top of existing grates. A set of two standard rectangular grates starts at $39.99 and includes the GrateTool (part fork, part spatula), which allows you to lift food off the grill, not scrape it, and doubles to clean debris from grooves . Go to Grillgrate.com  .

$100,000 burgers

America’s highest paying burger contest has named 10 finalists who will compete for a $100,000 grand prize in May.

The Sutter Home Build a Better Burger recipe contest cook-off will be held at the Sutter Home Winery in St. Helena, Calif. on May 17. Five finalists have combined beef and jam in these recipes for chipotle bacon maple jam burgers; Lone Star hoss burgers with smoky bacon cheese spread and apricot and onion jam; over-the-top truffled burgers with caramelized balsamic onion jam, roasted garlic aioli and goat cheese; Mexicali burger with esquites (a Mexican snack) and pepita crema; savory French toasted burgers with seasoned arugula, bacon-shallot chevre, and merlot mustard.

Five recipes competing for the $15,000 prize in the alternative category are: Barbados tuna burgers with caramelized orange and ginger-garlic aioli; sour apple pork burgers with Cheddar cheese, cayenne-apple-candied bacon, and potato chip-onion haystacks; red lantern lemongrass-glazed chicken burgers with shiitake mushrooms and sriracha mayo; German currywurst burgers with tomato curry-ginger jam, curry-glazed pork skins, and sweet pepper, apple, and fennel slaw; and “chicken dressed as duck” burgers with spiced cherry mostarda and orange-thyme aioli. Go to Buildabetterburger.com   for the finalists’ recipes, including this one:

RECIPE

Chipotle bacon maple jam burgers

Chipotle bacon maple jam: 10 ounces bacon, sliced crosswise into ¾ -inch pieces 1 onion, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons maple syrup 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped 1 tablespoon adobo sauce 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar ¼ cup Sutter Home zinfandel Large pinch kosher salt Large pinch freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Pear, spinach, and hazelnut salad: 1 cup julienned pear 1 cup baby spinach 1/3 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts 2 tablespoons finely minced onion 1 teaspoon maple syrup 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar Large pinch kosher salt Large pinch freshly ground black pepper

Patties: 2 pounds ground chuck 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely chopped ¾ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves ½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves 2 teaspoons kosher salt ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack 6 ounces Maytag or other blue cheese, crumbled 6 bakery white hamburger buns, split 1½ cups sour cream and onion potato chips

Heat a grill to medium-high.

To make the jam: Heat a large fireproof skillet on the grill. Add the bacon and cook for about 5 minutes or until just starting to crisp. Remove the bacon from the skillet, leaving the rendered fat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 seconds. Return the bacon to the skillet and add the syrup, chile, adobo sauce, vinegar, wine, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes. If the mixture gets too dry, add a little water. Stir in the mustard and set aside.

To make the salad: Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl.

To make the patties: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form the portions into patties to fit the buns.

To cook the patties: Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, just until done, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. During the last few minutes of cooking, top the patties with equal amounts of the cheese and place the buns, cut sides down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers: Spread a generous layer of the jam on the cut sides of the buns. On each bun bottom place a portion of the salad, a cheese-topped patty, and some of the chips. Add the bun tops and serve immediately.

Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.

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