Monthly Archives: May 2011

Burgers, Burgers, and more Burgers


So this is the burger that I am attempting to perfect to submit to the Sutter Home build a better burger contest.  I have to say I was so surprised that the first try went so well.  My hubby even said it tasted good, but I want him to say it tastes great so I have a way to go yet.  The next month should be plenty of time to perfect this recipe:)

I am so excited for this holiday weekend!! There will be lots of food, friends, and fun.  I will definitely try and post pictures of our adventures!!!

Enjoy your holiday!


Pork Potstickers and Dipping Sauce


First, I am so excited to share with you my first iteration of my burger for Sutter Home’s Build a Better Burger Contest.  I am only going to share a picture and how each try goes until I submit the recipe.  This is only because it will change so many times over the next couple weeks I am sure!!! I was like a kid in a candy store just now shopping for the ingredients.

Second, on Wednesday the weather was so horrible all day outside. But , my hubby and I decided to go to see the midnight showing of Hangover II since we did not want to stay in all day and night.  I have never felt so old in my life watching all the teenagers at the movies! But, the movie was definitely worth braving the elements.  Waking up for work the next day was such a challenge, since I only had two hours of sleep.  I decided to cook a simple potsticker appetizer and make Trader Joe’s Orange chicken.  I never got to make the Orange Chicken since we both were so exhausted and fell asleep.  Having said that, I am so happy I made these potstickers for our dinner.   They were just like something you would get in a great restaurant, but much healthier.  This was my first attempt at potstickers, and that being said I will definitely be trying variations.

Pork Potstickers and Dipping Sauce

both from Confections of a Foodie Bride

1/2 lb ground pork
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup chives
2/3 cup green onions
1 cup Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Wonton wrappers (about 30)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 recipe Orange Sesame dipping sauce, for serving (follows)

Cook the ground pork over medium heat until done. Add the remaining ingredients (through garlic) and cook until the greens are wilted nicely. Let mixture cool just a bit and add it to the bowl of a food processor. Process the filling until it reaches the desired consistency.

Lay a wrapper on a flat, dry surface put a Tbsp of mixture in the middle. Using your fingers or a pastry brush (save the dirty-dish sink space – use your fingers), wet the wonton wrapper surrounding the filling and fold the dumpling, pressing the seams together: bring two opposite corners to the center, bring the remaining corners to the center one at a time and press tightly( I made little fans out of them as you can tell from the picture they sealed very well).

Add oil to a skillet (a clean skillet) and add dumplings. Add 1/3 cup water to the pan and cover tightly. Remove from heat when the dumplings are golden brown on one side (about 4 minutes).

Orange Sesame dipping sauce (measurements are approximate)
1 tsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp lite soy sauce
2 Tbsp chives
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp orange juice

Whisk together all ingredients, adjust seasoning to taste.


Wine Infused Spaghetti Sauce


So when I knew I would be starting my new job today, I knew that I would want a comfort meal. Whenever I think comfort food, one of the first thing that comes to mind is my Baba’s (grandmother) Italian sauce. Since we have devoured every little bit she has sent down lately, I decided to throw together an interesting sauce. I had to sneak a little wine in it as my sort of excuse to have some yummy wine tonight. Today’s new fresh start definitely warrants some yummy celebratory wine and food. I have to say I thoroughly enjoy my new job, and look forward to creating yummy dishes to blog about each day:)

Wine Infused Spaghetti Sauce

a Hilary original

1/2 pound ground sirloin
3 Tbs minced garlic
1/4 Tbs dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups crushed tomatoes with basil
2 Tbs tomato paste
1/2 tsp gray sea salt, fine
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock
3/4 cups red wine ( I used a Cabernet Franc)
1/8 cup heavy cream
3 Tbs splenda
1 box whole wheat penne pasta

Brown meat in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat.  Turn and break up the meat until it has started to brown and is no longer pink.  Add in premeasured garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, and tomato paste and cook until all meat is coated.  It may be necessary to add more tomato paste ( I added a little over 3 Tbs).  Then add the first 1/2 cup of wine and let cook for 2-3 minutes.  Then add the crushed tomatoes, splenda, chicken stock, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.  Then add the remaining 1/4 cup of wine and heavy cream, letting the sauce simmer for 8 minutes.  Once the pasta has boiled, add a ladle of starchy pasta liquid to the sauce to tie everything together.  Serve sauce over pasta and garnish with favorite cheese.

Taquitos and Margarita Jello


So if any of you are Cubs fans like us, this is a big series. The Cubs returned to Fenway Park for the first time since 1918. To say the least, watching each game and snacking on delicious treats is the plan. I had a lot of leftover meat from the BEST taco meat recipe (which I will be sharing later), so I wanted to try my hand at taquitos. They turned out gooey and crisp, which was such a treat. Then for dessert, I could not pass up the margarita jello from Annie’s Eats. Both made such a delicious combination to cheer our Cubbies on!


makes 8 taquitos

2 cups of leftover taco meat

6 oz of queso fresco

8 corn tortillas

cooking spray

sea salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. If the meat is shredded, make sure all pieces are roughly 1 inch. Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 90 seconds. Take each tortillas and spread 1 Tablespoon of queso fresco crumbled down the center. Then, take 1 Tablespoon of meat and spread on top of cheese. Start at one end and roll the mixture tightly, placing seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat for the remainder of tortillas. Spray the tops with cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 25 minutes and serve with your favorite salsa for dipping.

Margarita Jello

from Annie’s Eats
1 tbsp. unflavored powdered gelatin
¾ cup water, divided
1 cup sugar
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ cup tequila
¼ cup orange-flavored liqueur (I used triple sec)

In a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over ¼ cup of the water.  Allow to soften for 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the water and the sugar to the pan and heat, stirring, over medium-high heat until the sugar and gelatin are dissolved.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  Stir in the lime juice, tequila and orange liqueur.  Taste and adjust ingredients accordingly.  Pour into small serving glasses and refrigerate for several hours until set.  Serve cold.

Grilled Proscuitto-Wrapped Asparagus


If you are anything like me, the minute your farmer’s market is open you rush to see what goodies are in store for this year.  We are fortunate enough to have a great one a couple blocks away.  This last weekend, I found some great produce which included some beautiful asparagus.  I was searching for a different way to prepare it when I came across a proscuitto recipe.  My husband and I love proscuitto so I figured there was no way this recipe could fail.  I was completely shocked by the simplicity of the recipe, yet depth of flavors.  I did use balsamic glaze instead, which created a sweet crust over the smoky proscuitto. 

Grilled Proscuitto-Wrapped Asparagus

slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats

1 bunch of asparagus, thick or thin
5 slices of thinly sliced proscuitto
Olive oil
Balsamic glaze
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the grill or a grill pan to medium-high heat, and oil the grate.  Wash, dry and trim asparagus spears.  Lay out one piece of proscuitto on a work surface.  Bundle a few spears of asparagus together near one end of the proscuitto, and wrap them up tightly with the meat.  Lay seam side down on a plate.  Repeat with remaining asparagus and proscuitto.  Brush the bundles lightly with olive oil.  Drizzle with a few splashes of balsamic vinegar glaze.  Season with freshly ground pepper to taste.

Transfer the bundles to the heated grill, seam side down, and cook until nice grill marks have formed.  Flip gently with tongs, and repeat on the second side.  Cook until the asparagus has reached your desired doneness, testing it with a fork.  Remove from the grill, transfer to a platter, and serve.

Let me introduce myself


By profession I am a scientist, by choice I am a chef. I love to cook different and exciting things. I cannot wait to share my culinary travels with you. My husband is wonderful in being my tester for all new recipes, and our two adorable dogs love to sniff what I’ m cooking. Cannot wait to share my first recipe with you!