Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting (Perfection!!)

July 20, 2011 § 4 Comments

I found it. FINALLY. The perfect vanilla cake-recipe.

I’ve had some disappointments in the past – the recipes I tried were a little too dense, a little too coarse, a little too dry, etc. But this, everyone, this is the absolute perfect combination of moist, light, and fluffines that will blow your mind.

Cupcakes are my major weakness. I immediately want one even after I hear the word “cupcake” being said, so the other day when I ordered 3-dozen cupcakess from Billy’s Bakery for our best-selling book’s Publisher, I knew I had to satisfy my need.  And I did. (A little too much.)

I am a fan of most bakery’s cupcakes in the city – Magnolia, Buttercream Bake Shop, tbsp, and Sugar Sweet Sunshine. I want to try all of them!


1. I love a light, whipped frosting so I highly recommend this one. I’m also a little paranoid lately about all the artificial chemicals in food-coloring so I made my own using crushed cherry-juice.  I think it was worth it and looks decent!

2. I know there’s an insane amount of pictures, but it’s because I think cupcakes are so dang cute.

Stephanie’s Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Makes 18 Cupcakes

Total preparation and cooking time: 1 hour


  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 heaping tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 (1 1/4 cup) sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup of milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until nice and fluffy, around 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla, mix 1 minute.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each one. Mixture might look curdled, it’s all good!
  6. Add milk and oil, mix well.
  7. Add flour mixture in 2-3 installments, and mix until JUST combined. Over-mixing = death of a light, moist cake.
  8. Line your cupcake pans with cupcake liners, and add around 2 heaping tablespoons of batter to each.  They should look around 2/3-3/4 full.  Don’t put too much batter or else it will spill out of the pan.
  9. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, mine took 19 minutes exactly.

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Adapted from Billy’s Bakery 


  • 1/2 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1 crushed cherry (optional)


  1. In a stand-mixer, cream butter until smooth – around 3 minutes.
  2. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, milk, and vanilla. Mix until desired consistency.
  3. I frosted half with white frosting, and half using the crushed-cherry-tinted ones. Go crazy!
*I sure did…

Ice Cream Mania – Earl Grey, Green Tea, and Coffee Ice Cream

July 11, 2011 § 5 Comments

Earl Grey Ice Cream Recipe

Adapted from MAC&CHEESE Review


  • 1 cup reduced fat 2% milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 8 Earl Grey Tea Bags
  • 5 large egg yolks


  1. Warm the milk, cream, and sugar in a saucepan. Remove from heat, place tea bags in the pan, cover and steep at room temperature for an hour. Squeeze them so that the excess flavor is released. Remove tea bags.
  2. Rewarm tea-infused milk. Whisk egg yolks together in a separate bowl.Slowly pour the milk mixture into the bowl with egg yolks, whisking constantly.
  3. Return the milk and egg mixture to the saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring and scrapping the bottom of the pan constantly until the mixture thickens to a custard and coats the spatula. (About 8-10 minutes.)
  4. Cool the mixture by refrigerating overnight.  Freeze in your ice cream maker the next day, and then put into a freezer-friendly container and let it chill in the freezer for at least two hours (preferably overnight). Enjoy!

Green Tea Ice Cream Recipe

Adapted from David Lebovitz


  • 1 cup reduced fat 2% milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons green tea (matcha) powder
  • 5 large egg yolks


  1. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour the cream into a large bowl and whisk in the matcha. Set a mesh strainer on top.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
  4. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream, then whisk it vigorously until the custard is frothy to dissolve the matcha.
  5. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Enjoy!

Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

Adapted from David Lebovitz


  • 1 cup reduced fat 2% milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans or ground coffee (decaf unless you want the caffeine in your ice cream)
  • 5 large egg yolks


  1. Heat the milk, sugar, whole coffee beans, salt, and 1/2 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan until it is quite warm and steamy, but not boiling. Once the mixture is warm, cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour. If using ground coffee, strain through a cheesecloth into a large bowl.
  2. Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set on ice over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside.
  3. Reheat the milk and coffee mixture, on medium heat, until again hot and steamy (not boiling!). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly pour the heated milk and coffee mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm milk, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  4. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof, flat-bottomed spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 minutes.
  5. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible. Then discard the beans. Stir until cool.
  6. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Enjoy!

Iced Crac…I mean Coffee. Iced Coffee.

July 3, 2011 § 7 Comments

Thanks to my beautiful friend Lina and her recommendation to check out The Pioneer Woman (seriously, how had I not known about her earlier…?), I decided to try out one of her amazing posts on a fairly simple thing. Iced Coffee. And then I fell in love with her.

So why is it necessary to make a post about iced coffee?  Why not just brew some coffee and let it cool, add some ice and milk and sugar, and be done with it? Because then you probably won’t end up with this ridiculously addictive (as if coffee isn’t addictive enough already) amazing iced coffee that’s not diluted, perfectly sweet, and with that just-right amount of cream in the background.

I was a little intimidated with the sheer amount of coffee Ree made in her entry, so I halved it to a gallon and a half pound of coffee.  Which is almost all gone.  So yes, I understand why she made two gallons and I will surely do the same from now on. I also didn’t have any condensed milk on hand, so I made my own with some evaporated milk and sugar. 1 measure of evaporated milk to 1 1/4 measures of sugar. So for me, it was 1 cup of evaporated milk and 1 1/4 cups of sugar, melted together in a pot until just melted, and cooled and then refrigerated until I needed to use it.

This iced coffee is perfect.

Without further ado, here it is (preparation time: 8-12 hours/overnight):

The Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Iced Coffee Recipe


  • 1 pound Ground Coffee (good, Rich Roast)
  • 8 quarts Cold Water
  • Half-and-half (healthy Splash Per Serving)
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk (2-3 Tablespoons Per Serving)
  • Note: Can Use Skim Milk, 2% Milk, Whole Milk, Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners, Syrups…adapt To Your Liking!

Preparation Instructions

(Adapted from Imbibe Magazine)

In a large container, mix ground coffee with water. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature eight hours or overnight.

Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a pitcher or other container. Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all liquid to run through. Discard grounds.

Place coffee liquid in the fridge and allow to cool. Use as needed.

To make iced coffee, pack a glass full of ice cubes. Fill glass 2/3 full with coffee liquid. Add healthy splash of half-and-half. Add 2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (can use plain sugar instead) and stir to combine. Taste and adjust half-and-half and/or sweetened condensed milk as needed.

Thai-style Chicken with Coconut Milk Sauce – Iron Chef-Style!

July 1, 2011 § 3 Comments

Have you ever opened up the pantry and refrigerator, simply at a loss of what to make or eat? And then, reach into that very-same pantry, and pull out a package of ramyun and resign yourself to an extremely satisfying but unhealthy supper?

I grabbed that package of ramyun, and I heat the water for it. I was actually really looking forward to savoring those delicious, al dente noodles while reading THE HUNGER GAMES (freaking…AMAZING!!!) and having a relaxing night in. But then, I thought, “Stephanie, let’s have a challenge. Let’s try to make something interesting using the ingredients you have on hand.” I shut off the heat for my boiling water and looked inside my pantry and refrigerator again.

I found: a can of coconut milk, some chicken bouillon, S&B Curry, chicken breasts, garlic, green onion, an onion, leftover napa cabbage-hearts, ginger, sriracha, and peanut butter. I started to think, what could I possibly make using these, and the answer was pretty obvious – a Thai-inspired coconut chicken curry!

Then I got really excited.  Challenges are good.

I was a little disappointed that I didn’t have any Thai red-curry or green-curry paste on hand (come on, doesn’t EVERYONE have this in their pantry? ;)) so I was a little wary of using my go to curry-rice S&B cubes. I decided I would save those for the very last, and only put them in if everything else turned out horribly. But this was my only “set-back”.

And after a mixture of this, and a little bit of that, I ended up with a chicken coconut “curry” (no “curry” went into the final dish, but it just sounds better) that was really delicious. I WILL TOTALLY MAKE THIS AGAIN! And perhaps I’ll even pick up some red or green curry paste next time, but I’m happy knowing that I don’t need them to make this taste phenonemal.

Thai Chicken Coconut Curry-less Curry

From my very own mind

Approximate cooking time: 30 minutes


  • 1.5-2 lbs chicken breast, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 TB mirin (rice wine)
  • 1/2 TB grated ginger
  • 1/2 TB coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 TB Golden Mountain sauce
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 4 TB minced garlic
  • 2 TB vegetable oil
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Any vegetables you want, thinly sliced (*recommended: bell pepper, bok choy, mushrooms, broccoli, napa cabbage, etc)
  • 2 TB Sriracha sauce
  • 1 13.5 ounce-can coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth/stock
  • 1/2 TB grated ginger
  • 3 green onion stalks, thinly sliced
  • Curry paste or 1/4 S&B curry cube * COMPLETELY OPTIONAL, in fact, only put it in if you don’t like how everything above tastes at the end
  • Juice of 1 lemon * Also optional, cuts through the richness of the sauce a little


  1. Marinate chicken in rice wine, salt, pepper, ginger, Golden Mountain sauce, soy sauce for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat large pan with vegetable and sesame oil on high heat, add 2 TB of garlic and saute until fragrant (5-10 seconds).  Add chicken and cook until golden brown.
  3. Remove chicken from the pan, and set aside in a bowl.  Add more oil if necessary, turn the heat to medium, and add the onions and other vegetables.  Cook until tender, and then add the chicken back into the pan. Stir to mix all the ingredients together, and add the sriracha. Turn off the heat.
  4. In a bowl, mix together the coconut milk, chicken broth, ginger, 2 TB garlic, and pepper. Whisk together.
  5. Turn the heat back on to medium, and carefully add the coconut-milk mixture.  Mix together, and then taste.  Add salt if necessary. If you’d like, you can add about 1/4 of one of the cubes of curry, but again, completely optional.
  6. Add green onion to the sauce, and turn off the heat.  Serve with rice. Garnish with a wedge of lemon or lime.
  7. ENJOY!

Potatoes au Gratin – Pommes de terre gratin

June 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Potatoes are easily one of my favorite foods. They are remarkably versatile – they’re good fried, boiled, mashed, steamed, baked, stuffed…just about anything!

So when you put potatoes – milk – butter – cheese – and more butter together…it’s pretty much a recipe for AMAZING.

The only thing that I think makes my version of potatoes au gratin a little more special is that I like to slice my potatoes razor-thin, using a mandolin. If you don’t own one, no worries, just slice them as thinly as possible, but it’s definitely easier on your fingers and the slices come out much more uniformly if you use a mandolin. The delicacy of the thin layers makes this extra-delicious. (And I believe every kitchen needs a mandolin…they’re SUPER handy.)

I used golden, purple, and red potatoes because they’re what I had on hand, but feel free to use russet. I also added gruyere cheese because that’s my favorite.

Potatoes au Gratin Recipe

adapted from


  • 3 lbs assorted potatoes, sliced into razor-thin slices using a mandolin
  • salt and pepper to taste, season liberally
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter a 1 quart casserole dish.
  2. Layer the potatoes into bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Season liberally with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and salt, and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour cheese over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven. Optional if you like a golden crust: remove aluminum cover 15 minutes before you take out the gratin.

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

June 12, 2011 § 1 Comment


In honor of my darling Serena’s birthday, I baked these cupcakes for her “surprise” dinner at Tartinery. Happy 26th doll!


1. Don’t add too much of the chunky strawberry sauce to the frosting, try adding *only* the “chunks” of strawberry and as little liquid as possible.  I unfortunately didn’t do this, so it watered down my frosting so much so I couldn’t pipe it how I wanted to!

2. So now to completely go against #1, please DO add as much liquid as possible when filling each cupcake batter with the chunky strawberry sauce, and don’t be afraid to really pour it in. The cupcakes are a little dry without the extra boost from the sauce, so definitely feel free to add a heaping teaspoon of the sauce + liquid.

3. I reduced the sugar amount in the cupcake recipe below by 1/2 cup already, which was perfect for me, but if you have a sweet tooth, add 1/2 cup more.

Chunky Strawberry Sauce Recipe

  • 1 1/2 pounds strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut into large dice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Place strawberries and sugar in a medium, nonreactive saucepan and stir until strawberries are coated in sugar. Mash with a potato masher until about half of the strawberries are completely smashed but some medium-sized chunks remain, about 1 minute.
  2. Place the pan over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbles form along the pan’s edge, about 5 minutes. Skim any foam from the surface of the sauce with a spoon and discard. Add lemon zest and juice, stir to combine, and bring to a full boil, cooking until foam coats the surface, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and skim and discard the foam. Let the sauce cool to room temperature. Transfer to a container with a tightfitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/3 cup Chunky Strawberry Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat at low speed until the sugar and strawberries are incorporated, about 15 seconds.
  2. Increase speed to medium high and beat until the frosting is light and whipped, about 3 to 4 minutes. Refrigerate in a container with a tightfitting lid until ready to use. When ready to use, beat the refrigerated frosting in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 1 to 2 minutes until it reaches the desired spreading consistency.

Strawberry-Filled Cupcakes Recipe

2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
1 cups granulated sugar
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup Chunky Strawberry Sauce
Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting


1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line 2 (12-well) muffin pans with paper cupcake liners; set aside.
2. Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
3. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light in color, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light in color and airy, about 3 minutes.
4. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and the sides of the bowl. On medium speed, add the egg whites 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

5. Next add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

6. On low speed, slowly add the milk and vanilla and mix until combined (the mixture will look curdled). Add the reserved flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 15 seconds.
7. Fill each muffin well about three-quarters full. Using a spoon, create a small indentation in the batter by slightly spreading it from the middle out toward the edges. Measure 1 heaping teaspoon of the strawberry sauce and place the back of the teaspoon inside the indentation. Rotate the spoon, letting the sauce slide into the indentation. Repeat in each well.
8. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes. Set the pans on wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pans and let cool completely on the wire racks before frosting.

DakDoriTang 닭도리탕 (Spicy Chicken Stew with Potatoes)

June 4, 2011 § 3 Comments

Dakdoritang is one of my favorite things to eat.  It represents “comfort on a plate” to me. It’s hearty, spicy, filling, and just all-around so satisfying!

I know most people put all the ingredients together and let it stew, which is the normal method and it comes out great, but I seem to have unfortunate luck with this.  Thus, I have created a system of staggering my ingredients so that my potatoes come out perfect. (They’re my favorite part of the dish.) I like my potatoes not too mushy and disintegrated, and whenever I do the one-pot method it always comes out this way so my staggering technique has become fool-proof for me.


1. If you’d like to, you can bring the marinated chicken (without the 3 TB of sauce) to a rapid boil for around 10 minutes and then throw out the water, rinse under cold water, and add the 3 TB of sauce and start from step 3. This gets rid of most of the chicken fat and impurities that you have to skim later on. Next time, I will do this.

Stephanie’s 닭도리탕 – DakDoriTang Recipe

2 TB Rice wine (mirin)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 TB of coarse sea salt
1 whole chicken, cut up, around 3-4 lbs.

Sauce aka “magical elixir”:

2 TB minced garlic
1 1/2 TB rice wine (mirin)
4 TB Soy sauce
1/2 TB hot chili oil
1/2 TB sesame oil
1 1/2 TB honey
4 TB Korean chili paste ‘gochujang’
1/2 TB Sugar
3 TB Korean chili pepper powder ‘gochugaru’
1/2 TB Sriracha hot sauce

5-7 Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
10-12 baby carrots
2 large onions, chopped roughly
2 hot green peppers, sliced
4 green onions, sliced
2~3 cups water


1. Rinse and cut chicken into even-sized pieces, no need to trim extra fat or bones (we want these for flavor!) Add mirin, salt, and pepper to the chicken and mix well, and set aside for 15 minutes.

2. While the chicken is marinating, assemble the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix together well.

3. Place marinated chicken into a big pot, and throw out the excess liquid. Cover chicken with 3 TB of the spicy sauce and mix so that the chicken is lightly coated, and then add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil on high heat and cover, and then lower the heat to medium high. Cook for ten minutes.

4. Remove the lid and skim off as much fat as possible. Add all but-2 TB of the sauce and the onions. Stir well and cover again, for 5 more minutes.

5. Add the potatoes carrots, green onions, and hot peppers and the rest of the sauce. Add 1 more cup of water if you like it a little more stew-like and extra saucy. Make sure you get every last drop of sauce in there! Cook for 10-15 minutes on medium-high heat, uncovered until the potatoes are cooked. (This is the time your sauce will get nice and thick and magical.)

6. ENJOY with a bowl of steaming hot rice.

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

April 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

I have been waiting to make this for 40 days.

This recipe is a shout-out to my most darling friend of Taiwanese-descent, Ellen. Superspy.


1. Only put two star anise, because even if you think it’s not enough, those little suckers are STRONG. And delicious. But just put two, you don’t want to overpower your soup.

2. I didn’t make my own noodles, but one day I will.  Until then, kalgooksoo noodles (jja jang myun noodles) are totally sufficient.

3. I couldn’t find Chili Bean sauce in the grocery store, so I used Chili Black Bean Sauce.  I hope I didn’t make a cardinal error that is an affront to this noodle’s tradition, but it tasted really good!

4. If you can’t find rock sugar, I think it would be fine.  It just looks pretty cool.

5. Ideally you want to boil until the meat has fallen off the bone and your marrow-bones look bare, see below. (That means all the FLAVOR is in your broth! Mmmmm)

Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup
Serves 4
Adapted from TinyUrbanKitchen

3 lbs Beef Shank
2 T vegetable oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch chunk of ginger, chopped
2 star anise
2 scallion stalks, chopped
2 1/2 T Chili black bean sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 carrots, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/4 cup rice wine
1/4 cup rock sugar

8 baby bok-choy, split in half and washed well

2 bunches of fresh hand-pulled noodles
hot sauce


Soak beef shank pieces in hot water for about 5 minutes. Drain dirty water, rinse beef shanks, and set aside. Over medium high heat saute garlic, ginger, scallions, and star anise in vegetable oil until fragrant. Add beef shank and chili bean sauce and saute for a few minutes, until the beef is slightly browned. Add soy sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Add carrots, tomatoes, rice wine, and rock sugar. Add water until everything is just covered. Bring to medium high heat and then reduce to a simmer and cover for 2-4 hours, or until the beef is fall-apart tender. You may need to add water because of evaporation, so please keep a close eye on it! (Optional* Add hot sauce to taste.) Remove meat and let it cool, and then slice carefully against the grain when it is cool enough to handle.  Reserve.

In a separate pot, boil water.  Add bok-choy and boil for 3 minutes, and then immediately submerge in cold water.  Drain, and put aside.

In another large pot, boil water for the noodles.  Boil the noodles according to directions on the package, mine were no longer than four minutes.

In your serving bowl, add the drained noodles.  Add bok-choy on top, and then a few slices of meat (around 5-6 per bowl is good).  Enjoy!


April 24, 2011 § 3 Comments


Burgers are so satisfying. I am so grateful for their existence in the world.

My favorite burgers are:

1. The Bristol Lounge – The Four Seasons Hotel in Boston – The Bristol Burger

2. In-n-out – Cheeseburger

3. Burger Joint – Cheeseburger

4. Shake Shack – Double Stack


I apologize, I have been a little misleading thus far in this post.  I am coming clean now.  This recipe is for a burger, all right.  A REALLY delicious *cough* (veggie) *cough* burger.


If you’re like me, you’ve never entertained the thought of ordering, eating, and let alone making a veggie-burger. But this week, some weird force took over and I ordered a veggie-burger at my local deli for lunch and it was mind-blowingly phenomenal! I knew I had to try to make my own.  My own meat-only-loving brother ate three of these burgers and said they were delicious. I generously adapted this recipe from Guy Fieri, and I really hope you enjoy it!

One note:

1. This is really good, but if you don’t have a food processor it might be a little labor intensive.  You would have to dice everything and mash the beans by hand, which is fine and a pretty good workout, but I highly suggest you use a food processor that will make your job a lot easier. 🙂 Any ol’ food processor will do, just like my ancient one below that we’ve had in my family for years. (Gets the job done!)

Veggie Burgers Recipe

Adapted from Guy Fieri


  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 1 small red onion
  • 4 tablespoons diced pitted black olives
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper or 1 small green bell pepper
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • 2 tablespoons diced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons diced artichoke hearts
  • 15 ounces black beans, drained
  • 15 ounces chickpeas, drained
  • 8 ounces rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (not necessary, use only to taste)
  • 2 cups of bread crumbs, divided


In a food processor, blend together the red onion, bell pepper, garlic, olives, and jalapeno. In a medium saute pan over medium heat, add 1-ounce olive oil and this blend of raw vegetables except beans. Saute until translucent. Remove and cool.

In the food processor, gently pulse all the beans and oats together until they form a coarse mixture, and all the beans have been mashed.  Add the sauteed veggies to the beans and mix thoroughly.  Add the paprika, salt (if necessary), artichoke hearts, and 1 cup of bread crumbs and mix well. Form into around 10-12 patties, depending on size, and then dip each pattie into the remaining cup of bread crumbs until lightly coated on each side.

In a large fry or grill-pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on  medium high heat and fry patties for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden.  Serve HOT!

Serve with or without cheese (I chose cheddar) and buns.  I toasted mine alongside the patties on the frying pan. Ketchup, sriracha, lettuce, tomato, yum.

Also, I think this would taste really good with chipotle mayo.  Just thinking out loud now. And french fries. Mmm…

Crispy Stuffed Tofu with Black Bean Sauce

April 21, 2011 § 3 Comments

There’s never a good time to be allergic to shrimp.

But this was particularly one of those times that I willed myself to suck up my wimpy shrimp allergy and enjoy the amazingness of crispy stuffed tofu that my friend Serena introduced to me. THANKS SERENA!

As the first official guest-visit-post, I was delighted when Serena invited me to come over for some deliciousness that I had only heard about, but had never tasted. These pictures were taken on my phone, so they’re not the greatest quality and doesn’t accurately capture how good these were, but it shows the process of how she made these pretty well!

Crispy Stuffed Tofu Recipe
Adapted from QlinArt
Preparation time: 20 minutes, Cooking: 30 minutes
6 – 8 medium sized cubes of firm tofu (about 2 1/2 inches wide on each side)
12 medium sized raw shrimps (shells and tails removed and deveined), coarsely chopped
1/4 cup ground/minced chicken
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp fermented black bean paste (found in most Asian supermarkets – I use the one from Lee Kum Kee)
1 tbsp garlic oil (browned garlic soaked in oil)
1/4 cup cornstarch and water mix (2 tsp cornstarch diluted in 1/4 cup water)
1/4 tsp hot chili paste
2 cups of vegetable oil to fry
1 tbsp chopped scallions to garnish
To remove water from tofu, place a cutting board on top of the tofu cubes/triangles for about 15 minutes. Weight will squeeze water out. And then pat dry with paper towel. Do this in a sink because a lot of water will come out.

Scoop out about 3 scoops of tofu with spoon from each cube.

Shrimp stuffing:
Mix shrimp, white pepper, salt and sugar well. Mix the shrimp with the ground chicken and cornstarch in a bowl, with your hands, until all well blended.

Stuff the tofu with the shrimp mixture and coat each cube/triangle lightly with cornstarch.

Heat oil in medium sized saucepan on high heat. When the oil is hot, add in 2 cubes/triangles at a time and fry 2 minutes until light golden brown and turn them over to fry the other side for another 2 minutes. Place on paper towel on a large plate. Repeat with remaining cubes/triangles.

Black bean sauce:
Heat a medium sized saucepan on high heat and add in the garlic oil, the black bean paste, chili paste and the cornstarch water mixture. Stir well until you have a thick gravy-like consistency. Add more water if too thick.

Lay the stuffed tofu on a serving dish and ladle the black bean sauce on tofu. Garnish with chopped scallions.

Serve hot while crispy with steamed jasmine rice.

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