Monday, February 8, 2016

Gung Hay Fat Choy – Happy Year of the Monkey Vermicelli Noodles

Since this year my husband’s side of the family will not be celebrating Chinese New Year with the traditional Chinese dishes and me being so traditional when it comes to the holiday, for the second time since we have been married, I am making my own noodle dish to eat on the first of the year, with noodles signifying longevity.  In addition to the color red and the oranges and tangerines for wealth and good luck that will be pretty much be everywhere you look in our house, here is to a Happy Year of the Monkey!!  Gung Hat Fat Choy everyone!!


½ packet of dried vermicelli noodles
Bean Curd Sheets – 6 sheets
Chinese Sausage – 1 Pair
2 tbsp oil


  1. Soak the bean curd sheets for 30-60 min until flexible
  2. Steam the Chinese Sausage for about 30 min
  3. Bring pot of water to a boil, remove from heat and steep the dried vermicelli noodles in the hot water uncovered until tender (about 5 min)
  4. Drain when tender
  5. Heat tbsp of oil in pan and on low heat sauté to dry any liquid
  6. Add capful of soy sauce and toss through and remove
  7. In the same pan, heat another tbsp of oil on low heat and pan fry the now flexible bean curd sheets for 5-10 minutes
  8. Top the noodles with the steamed chinese sausage and pan fried bean curd sheets and garnish with green onions



Sunday, February 7, 2016

Gung Hat Fat Choy Prosperity Cake – Fa Gao/Fat Tay

My family was very traditional when it came to Chinese New Year.  With the list of taboos of what we should not do during the New Year was an equally long if not longer list of items we were suppose to do in preparation or to consume on Chinese New Year with Fa Gao/Fat Tay a staple growing up.  However, even among the different areas within China, certain items were more popular or used instead of others.  While we used Fa Gao/Fat Tay, my husband’s family always made Nian Go -  Thanks to a reader of my post last year, they pointed me in the direction of this one that she/he had tried.  By the way, make sure not to use "sweet rice flour" as you will end up with a cross between nian go and mochi vs. the cake like texture of fa gao as I discovered with my first attempt.  So here is my second attempt at trying to replicate the Fa Gao/Fat Tay that I grew up with in my family. 


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Super Bowl 50 Eats That Won't Break Your Resolution

So for any of you have yet to break your New Year’s resolution to eat better, here are a few great Super Bowl options so you won’t feel bad about having a few wings with it.  It is all about moderation!

Go Panthers!  Go Broncos!!  Oh heck, Go Food!!


Friday, February 5, 2016

Super Bowl 50 Alternate to the 7 Layer Dip

The Bay Area has already been counting down to the Super Bowl since the opening ceremonies last weekend with the relighting of the Bay Bridge lights, our own Macy’s fireworks over the Bay, culminating with a concert by Chris Isaak. 

That long awaited Super Bowl weekend is finally here as apparent with all the private jets and increase in commercial flight activity descending into the Bay Area visible during my workouts on the Bay Trail.  With the food-centric Super Bowl parties sure to grace most households, it does not necessarily mean you have to go into a food coma before kickoff. 

So to offer some choices a little bit healthier it can be changed up without sacrificing on taste.  Instead of the traditional 7 layer dip which I use to make all the time, a 4 layer dip based on the Vegetarian Nacho Supreme - loaded with zucchini, corn, and tomatoes over the refried beans will make you feel less guilty if you end up eating double the amount.  If you want some shredded cheese, add some delicious avocado too!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Lamb Burgers

I had 4 burger buns left over from my Juicy Lucy/Lucifer night so since I was stocking up on chicken at the Farmer Joe’s butcher, I decided lamb burgers would be an easy way to use up all those leftover buns.  I normally pair lamb burgers with Tzatziki sauce but since this was a last minute decision with no time for a Trader Joe’s run, I ended up just getting a cucumber and dill veggie dip as my substitute condiment. 


1 1/3 lb of ground lamb
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 sprig of rosemary, leafed and chopped
Tzatziki Sauce
4 Hamburger buns


  1. Mix the ground lamb with the chopped garlic and rosemary
  2. Form into patties like usual (thinner in the middle and thicker on the edges) larger than your hamburger bun as the meat shrinks significantly with lamb burgers
  3. Cook on George Forman grill for about 4 minutes total
  4. Place on bun and top with Tzatziki sauce
Price:   $10 for 4 servings = $2.50 per serving/burger

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Gumbo - Happy Mardi Gras!

This year Mardi Gras happens to be the day after Chinese New Year so since I will be busy with the different family dinners that centers around CNY including next Tuesday, I decided to do mine a week early.  At least it’s still on Mardi!!  

The last time I did gumbo, it was a bit too spicy for me so this time I adjusted down the andouille by 50% and upped the okra by another cup to 4 since I wanted to finish the pack vs. having to figure out how else to cook okra, so it had more of a smoky flavor to it than spicy. 


1 tbsp olive oil
1 whole boneless skinless chicken breast diced
Salt and pepper
1 pkg of andouille sausage chopped (4-5 links) – I only used 3 links to cut down on the spice
4 ribs of celery cut on a bias
2 green bell peppers seeded and chopped
½ onion chopped
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 qt chicken stock
3 cups chopped okra
1 can stewed tomatoes including liquid
2 tbsp dried thyme
Green onion thinly sliced (optional topping)


  1. Preheat large pot over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. Add diced chicken breast, season with salt and pepper and brown for about 2-3 min
  3. Add andouille and cook for another 1-2 min, then remove chicken and sausage onto a plate
  4. Into same pot, melt the butter, then add celery, peppers, onion, and bay leaf and cook for about 5 minutes
  5. Add flour and cook for another 2 minutes
  6. Slowly stir in broth and bring to a boil
  7. Add okra, stewed tomatoes. chicken, and andouille, and thyme back into the broth and bring to a bubble
  8. Reduce to simmer for about 5 minutes
  9. Serve with rice
Price:   $18 for 8 servings = $2.25 per serving

Monday, February 1, 2016

Juicy Lucy/Lucifer

Sticking to my New Year’s Food Resolution, to replicate a dish once a month from eating out, I decided to challenge myself with one I personally was not even on hand to try.  My husband was in Minnesota for work August of last year and was raving about this Juicy Lucifer burger he had at Hell’s Kitchen.  A Juicy Lucy or Juicy Lucifer in his case was apparently born in Minneapolis and is named so because the cheese is sealed into the burger vs. topped with it.

My cousin bought me a Stufz Burger Press last year but I never found a reason to use it until now.  Here is my version of the Juicy Lucy or Lucifer with some sriracha aioli instead of their sweet and spicy red pepper jelly to make it hot as hell!  Speaking of hot, let it cool down a little before biting into it as the cheese will be screaming hot right off the grill. 


1 1/2 lb of ground beef
2 tbsp chopped onions
4 slices of cheddar cheese
4 Burger Buns
Salt and Pepper

Optional toppings:  tomato, lettuce, onions, pickles, sautéed spinach, etc. 

I don’t like raw onions on my burgers and since I did not get a chance to caramelize any, I topped it with a generous amount of Trader Joe’s fried onion pieces (the kind you use for green bean casserole) and dare I say it made it even better than the original!!  Final verdict from the one who had the Juicy Lucifer firsthand, mine had less cheese than the one at Hell’s Kitchen but the Juicy Lucy flavor and experience was all there and a little easier to handle. 


  1. Prepare beef patties (2 thin ones per burger) mixing in some chopped onions into the ground beef
  2. Cut the slice of cheddar cheese into 4 pieces
  3. Onto one of the burger patties, overlap the 4 pieces onto the middle of the burger
  4. Place the second patty on top and seal the sides tightly by pinching the seams if you don’t have a stuffed burger press. 
  5. Sprinkled some salt and pepper on each side
  6. Place on grill for about 4-4 ½ min per each side or 4 ½ min total on George Foreman Grill since it cooks both sides simultaneously
  7. While burgers are cooking, toast the burger buns
  8. Spread mustard and/or sriracha aioli on bun, place on burger, top with your favorite toppings
Price:   $12 for 4 burgers = $3 per burger vs. $14.95 for 1 including fries at Hell’s Kitchen

My Version

Hell's Kitchen Version