Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Trial Size Cooking

Back a while ago, I raved about Bombay Sliders with Garlic Curry Sauce, and ever since that first, head-over-heels-in-love taste, I've been a little bit obsessed with the idea of making them in a tiny, appetizer-sized form for party food because they pack such a darn tasty punch and are just cute as heck.

Finally, yesterday, I was able to indulge this tiny food folly of mine by bringing them to our family holiday get together:


These were roughly 1/2 scale, about two inches in diameter and just big enough for two or three bites. It took some time to assemble them all, but I think they were enough of a hit to make the labor-intensive aspect of the project absolutely worthwhile.

Now, the toughest thing about this whole deal was getting an appropriately sized bun. As written, the recipe recommends using dinner rolls for buns and that works great for a three-to-a-portion entree, but because that size seems to be about the smallest store bought kind of bun out there and is much bigger than what I had in mind, I ended up making my own buns from scratch...an adventure all it's own.

I used a yeast dough recipe for hamburger buns that I found in the Gourmet cookbook, and shaped the rolls using slightly smaller than walnut-sized pieces of dough. After rising, I egg washed them and sprinkled with sesame and poppy seeds which, if you ask me, totally put them over the top on the cute meter.

Technically, although I do have a little bit of experience working with yeast doughs, this was the first time I'd made buns of any kind and I found it tricky to guess what size to make the dough balls so that I'd end up with an appropriately sized product after rising and baking. As a result, while still delicious and fun to look at, the finished product came out somewhat larger than the one big bite kind of thing that I had originally been aiming for. But now that I've got a handle on the bun-making I expect it will be more of an exact science next time and I think I'll have better luck getting a truly tiny, single bite-sized thing.
Anyway, the rest of the mini-making was fairly straightforward. Using the buns as a size guide, I portioned the burger patties using a #40 ice cream scoop (#40 means 40 scoops to a quart). A melon baller would probably work fine too.
For the topping veggies, I chose the skinniest European cucumber I could find, tomatoes that were like a jumbo cherry variety and the smallest yellow onions I could cull from a two pound bag and sliced everything thinly.
Because this is the kind of thing that's just as tasty at room temp as it is hot (another reason it's perfect party food), I cooked the burger patties off ahead of time and then just warmed them up a bit in the microwave prior to assembling.

I speared each of the finished burgers with a toothpick and piled them up pyramid-style on a cake plate for serving.

I'll take some mini fries with that, please!

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