burger fix

I had this master plan to do some taste testing in the kitchen and make some of my favorite asian dishes into a burger but as I read some blogs I quickly found out that there are burger companies out there that already do this.  Whaah whaah!  I just haven’t came across them yet.

I purchased daikon recently and it was too hot out to make sinigang (sour soup) with it, so I opted to pickle the daikon along with carrots and try my take at banh mi (vietnamese) burgers.  The key to this recipe is the bread.  Bread makes the HUGEST difference with a sandwich and for banh mis you must have baguette, french or brioche or any crusty bread to hold all that filling and flavor.

Banh Mi Burgers


For Nuoc Mam (fish sauce)

1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup hot water
1 thai chili
2 cloves garlic crushed
Juice of 1/2 lime

For pickled daikon and carrots

1/2 lb carrots, peeled and julienned
1/2 lb daikon, peeled julienned
3 cups warm water
3 tablespoons distilled vinegar
2-3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt

For burgers
1 lb ground beef or pork or chicken (whichever you’d like)
thinly sliced cucumber
sriracha sauce
brioche/baguette rolls


You’ll want to pickle the daikon and carrots first as it takes at least an hour to marinate.  Mix water, vinegar, sugar and salt until every thing is dissolved.   Mix the carrots and daikon together and place in a jar or deep container.  Then add the pickled liquid mixture over the carrots and daikon.  For best results, you’ll want to pickle for 3-5 days.  But an hour is just as good.

You’ll want to use the nuoc mam for the burger, so it’s a good idea to make this next.  Combined all the ingredients and chill.

When nuoc mam has chilled, take 2 tablespoons of the sauce and mix with the beef (or meat of your choice).  I say 2 tablespoons because you’re using fish sauce which is salty to begin with and you don’t want to over salt the meat.  To make sure that the burger is properly seasoned, take a small piece of uncooked beef and place it onto the pan or grill until cooked.   Taste the cooked meat to determine if the taste is to your liking.  If you find it bland, add more nuoc mam to the mixture (again cautiously little by little as you don’t want to oversalt the meat).  Once you’re satisfied with the taste, heat your grill or cast iron pan.  Then start forming your burger patties.  The key to having an evenly cooked burger and one that looks like an actual patty as opposed to a tennis ball is to have the center of the patty indented, while the outsides are higher, similar to discs.

Place your burgers onto the grill or pan.  Cook 5-6 minutes on each side, depending on what meat you’re using and how done you’d like your meat.

While the meat is cooking, slice your rolls and gut one side of the roles to pack with filling.  Toast both sides of the role while waiting for the burgers to finish.

To assemble the burger, take the toasted rolls and place mayo on one side of the roll and sriracha on the other (to your liking of course).  Then add pickled veggies on the bottom, sliced cucumber, cooked burger, cilantro and the top roll… or however you want to assemble it.


Doesn’t that look GOOD?!?

For the leftover nuoc mam and pickled carrots and daikon, you can always make the chicken banh mi or bun thit nuong that I made here.

What gourmet burgers have you made?  Share below.  I’d love to know.

pot roast again

I think I love this hearty dish way too much especially on a cold day.  There’s something so comforting and soothing about having a plate of some yummy and rich pot roast.  This time I tried Elise’s version of pot roast from Simply Recipes; however, because I’m OBSESSED with my slow cooker I used that.  It turned out DELICIOUS!

Pot Roast by Simply Recipes
(modifications by me in red as this was done using a slow cooker)


3 1/2 pounds of beef shoulder or boneless chuck roast
1 tbsp of olive oil or grapeseed oil
salt, pepper, italian seasoning to taste
1 large onion, chopped or sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 cup of red wine
several carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise


Heat the frying pan (get it nice and hot like you would if you were cooking a steak).

Dry the beef with a paper towel (to create that nice crust) and season with salt, pepper, and italian seasoning.

Add oil to the pan and place the beef into the pan.  Sear on all sides for about 2-3 minutes (you just want to create a nice crust remember.  CRUST = FLAVOR!) Also, remember not to move it while its searing on the sides… this will not give you that nice crust.

When the meat is browned on all sides, remove it from the pan and set aside.  Next put the carrots, vegetables, onion, and garlic into the slow cooker.  Then add the meat along with any juices into the slow cooker as well, followed by the red wine.  Place on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours (or until tender). 

Serve with mashed or roasted potatoes or rice.  Whatever floats your boat!


trying to keep warm

Since last weekend, it’s been pretty cold.  It’s been REALLY cold in our apartment and I refuse to turn on the heat because of my fear of a bad headaches.  I don’t know what it is but whenever a heater is turned on my head really starts hurting.  My remedy to keep warm?  Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, layers of clothes, slippers (I HATE wearing socks around the house), and soups/stews.

I had purchased beef chuck the other day and I was about to make beef bourguignon but then I realized we didn’t have mushrooms or bacon.  So I started to google beef stew or pot roast but we had pot roast a couple weeks ago so I wanted to try something else.  I came across Paula Deen’s Old Time Beef stew which is really simple and quite tasty.  The husband gave this recipe two thumbs up.

OLD-TIME BEEF STEW (adapted by Paula Deen)
modifications by me in red


2 pounds stew beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Dash ground allspice or ground cloves
3 large carrots, sliced
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste
flour to dredge
2 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped


Dry the meat and season with salt and pepper.  Then dredge the meat in flour.  Shake off any excess flour. Brown meat in hot oil. Do this in batches if necessary.  Set meat aside on a plate.  Then add water, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, onion, salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, and allspice.  Briefly stir to take the juices of the beef off the bottom of the pan.  Place the meat back into the pot, then Cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and garlic clove (I tried to remove the clove but it became really soft and I couldn’t pick it up).   Add carrots and celery and potatoes.  Cover and cook 30 to 40 minutes longer.  To thicken gravy, remove 2 cups hot liquid.  Using a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch until smooth.  Mix with a little hot liquid and return mixture to pot.  Stir and cook until thicken and bubbly.

This really is a great recipe and pretty simple.  The flavors just compliment each other so well, that I kept going back for more.  I think it may be the worcestershire sauce.  It gave it a a different depth.  Plus it was quicker than the pot roast I typically make.