Spaghetti Burgers

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So the other day I was surfing the internet when I saw this article about spaghetti burgers. I was intrigued by the concept, but thought it was just a carb overload. Spaghetti on bread? I was skeptical.

And then I had an idea. What if the spaghetti was the bun? And what if the burger was a meatball? So of course I had to try that.

I finally was able to find some time and grab a couple friends to experiment. The article mentioned the ingredients that were in the spaghetti “patty” but it didn’t say what the proportions were. Here’s what I ended up with:

For the “buns”:
1 box spaghetti
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 6oz can tomato paste
Oregano
Sugar
Salt
Garlic powder
1 cup grated pecorino romano
2 eggs, beaten

For the “burgers”:
All the ingredients from this recipe from allrecipes.com

In a pot, heat crushed tomatoes and tomato paste with oregano, salt, sugar and garlic powder to taste. Simmer for 20 min.

While the sauce is simmering, cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain and cut into small pieces with kitchen scissors. Add around 1/2 cup of sauce (the noodles should be covered but not too wet), the pecorino cheese, and the eggs to the spaghetti. Using a small pyrex dish or a ramekin, press the spaghetti mixture to about 1 cm thickness. Place on a cookie sheet. Continue until you run out of the spaghetti mixture. Put cookie sheet in refrigerator for 10-15 min. You should be able to make around 14-16 buns (7-8 burgers).

Combine all the ingredients from the meatball recipe in a large bowl. Form 7-8 patties. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Take the spaghetti buns out of the refrigerator. Heat oil in a frying pan or cast iron pan. Fry the spaghetti buns over medium heat for 4-5 min on each side or until crispy.

Sear the meatball patties for about 1 min of each side. Remove and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-6 minutes.

Serve with extra sauce.

Overall the experiment was quite good and we had a lot of fun cooking. The spaghetti buns didn’t solidify/stay together too well so we ended up having to eat with a fork. Perhaps next time I’ll try baking them instead. Or maybe bake them in muffin pans and make meatball sliders instead. But all in all it tasted really good!

Slow Cooker Shredded Korean Beef Burritos

I love the idea of fusion food. It goes along with my whole theory that everything that tastes good paired with carbs (rice/noodles/bread/etc) would taste good wrapped in a wonton and deep-fried. So far this theory has not been proven wrong yet, but I have yet to try some of my crazier ideas.

This time I decided to go the other way. Asian food in a tortilla. Not totally original though. I think there’s some ridiculously popular food truck in LA or something that makes Korean/Mexican fusion. I’ve never had it, but I think the truck has a pretty substantial Twitter following or something.

Anyway, this time I got approval from not one, but TWO Korean friends, so I’m going to say this recipe is a winner! Also, I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I loooove my slow cooker. Slow cookers are amaaazing. You put meat and marinade in and surprise! 8-12 hours later you have delicious, tender, flavorful meat! I either put stuff in before I got to bed or before I leave for work… I wonder if the people on my floor ever wonder why the hallway smells like beef at 5am in the morning.

The parts of this creation came from various places. I took some tips on how to assemble the burrito from New Asian Cuisine, adapted the beef from Stephanie O’Dea’s A Year of Slow Cooking, the kimchi fried rice from Serious Eats, the sauce from my Korean lawyer (well, law student) friend who would probably sue me if I didn’t cite her here, and I served the burritos with some baked wonton chips from Sweetnicks. Phew! I think that’s it.

Ingredients
4.2 lb chuck roast
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup soy sauce
10-11 whole cloves of garlic
1 sweet onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
kimchi fried rice
romaine lettuce (~8 large leaves), cut in half
1 cucumber, sliced thinly
gochujang
sesame oil
garlic powder
8 large flour tortillas
1/2 package wonton skins, cut in half into triangles
olive oil
salt
salsa or guacamole to serve with the chips

To make the burritos
Put the first 7 ingredients (up to “2 tablespoons sesame oil”) in the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-12 hours. Shred with a fork.

Make kimchi fried rice and set aside.

Mix gochujang, sesame oil, and garlic powder. I used about 3 parts gochujang, 2 parts sesame oil and a liberal sprinkling of garlic powder. It’s really just a matter of mixing the three things together, tasting and adjusting until desired taste is achieved.

To assemble, put rice, lettuce, cucumber, beef and gochujang sauce on the tortilla and roll. I’m really not an expert at rolling burritos, but these step by step instructions are pretty good.

To make the chips
Spray a cooking sheet with olive oil. Place wonton skins on, making sure they don’t touch. Spray tops with more olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Bake at 375 degrees (F) for 5-7 minutes or until brown. Serve with salsa and/or guacamole.

Kimchi Fried Rice and Bulgogi

Weekends always pass too quickly. It’s hard to believe that it’s already Sunday afternoon.

Not a lot has been going on here for me. Work has been pretty standard, the IV group I volunteer with just started up again for the school year, and my church is in fall outreach mode. So things have been busy, but nothing out of the ordinary to report on. I think the big news of the month is that I’m going back to my alma mater at the end of the month to attend the career fair. Yay! I’m excited to go back for a visit and see some old friends.

Anyway, this weekend marked my first attempt at making Korean food! Interestingly enough, the first time I had Korean food was my freshman year of COLLEGE when I was visiting my brother in NYC and he took me to a Korean restaurant. I didn’t even really like it that much back then. I’ve been noticing that my tastes have been changing a lot over the past years. On the list of things I never used to eat that I kind of like now: kimchi, eggs (sort of), mushrooms, zucchini, cabbage and asparagus. My mom would be so surprised if she knew I ate these things now cuz I never liked any of them when I was a kid.

So last night I tried my hand at kimchi fried rice and bulgogi (korean beef). Honestly I have never had kimchi fried rice before, so I’m not sure if it was “authentic” but I thought it tasted good. I got the approval of a friend who’s half-korean, so good enough for me. Haha. And I’m not sure about the bulgogi either because I’m not a huge fan of flank steak, so whenever I have bulgogi I always think it’s ok (I like the flavor but I find it too chewy), but not amazing. But I got the approval of a friend who doesn’t eat beef, so again, good enough for me!

On a side note, my friend helped me with the fried eggs because when it comes to cooking eggs, I’m kind of a newbie. I never used to eat eggs, so I never really learned how to cook them. Last weekend I was making hardboiled eggs and I actually had to look up “how to hardboil an egg” on the internet. After getting home last night I found this article about how to fry eggs. I’ll have to try it next time.

Ok, I’m done. Now on to the recipes.

Recipes adapted from Allrecipes.com and Serious Eats

Ingredients for bulgogi
2 lbs flank steak
soy sauce
sesame oil
6-7 cloves garlic, minced
5 tbsp white sugar
3 stalks green onions, chopped finely
ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl/container. I didn’t really measure the soy sauce, sesame oil, or pepper though. For the soy sauce I just poured until the beef stopped soaking it up, for the sesame oil I poured for maybe 2-3 seconds, and for the pepper, I added about 1-2 teaspoons.

Let the beef marinate for at least an hour, but it’s best if you let it marinate overnight.

Cook on high (marinade and all – I literally dumped all the contents of the pot I was marinating the beef in into the pan) in a frying pan until meat is cooked through. (Be careful not to overcook!)

Ingredients for kimchi fried rice
2 cups kimchi (plus juices)
1/2 onion, cut into pieces no bigger than 1/2″
1 tbsp butter
1 green onion stalk, chopped finely
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp gochujang
5 cups cooked rice
1 egg for each person, fried
oil (I used canola)

In a frying pan, heat canola oil. Add the kimchi and onion and cook until the onions have softened. Add butter, green onions, sesame oil, and gochujang and cook until the butter is melted and mixed in well.

Add rice and mix thoroughly. Let sit on medium heat to make the rice a little crispy. Serve with a fried egg on top.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow cookers are amazing. I love that I can dump a bunch of ingredients into it in the morning and when I get home from work, I have food waiting for me! The only thing that is I’m new at this, so I still worry that if I leave it on all day while I’m at work I’m going to burn the apartment down or something. Didn’t set anything on fire this time, whew! 😉

I don’t really have a whole lot else to say… after all I did just post a recipe two days ago. Not a whole lot has changed in the last two days. So I guess I’ll just comment on the recipe. I was skeptical at first because the recipe called for a packet of dry onion soup mix. Seemed like a weird thing to put in a pot roast. But 4.5 stars on allrecipes.com with over 1,000 reviews is pretty darn impressive, so I just had to give it a try. (Incidentally that reminded me of this xkcd comic. Haha, it’s definitely true!)

I made some modifications based off of a couple different reviews and it turned out really well! I unexpectedly had 6 people (including me) for dinner, so I wish I had gotten the 4 lb roast like the recipe called for… but I was really impressed by the tenderness of the meat. It literally just fell apart when I poked at it with a fork! I am happy to at least have enough leftovers for another day or two.

A couple other notes: next time I would put more carrots and use a bigger piece of beef. Also, it’s hard to make pot roast look pretty…

Anyway, it’s getting late and I’m getting old so I’m absurdly tired. Onward to the recipe then off to bed!

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients
2.7 lb chuck roast
1 packet dry onion soup mix
3 large carrots, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1 sweet onion, chopped into 8 evenly sized wedges
6 large white mushrooms, sliced
4 medium red potatoes, diced
6 cloves of garlic
salt
pepper
paprika
garlic powder
1 can beef broth
2 cups water
olive oil

Coarsely chop 2 cloves of garlic. Place in a bowl and cover with olive oil. Microwave in increments of 10-15 seconds until fragrant. Let cool. Rub the roast with the olive oil/garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. Let marinate for 15-30 minutes.

Brown on high heat, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Cut 4 slits (2 on the top, 2 on the bottom) of the roast and insert the remaining cloves of garlic.

Place the roast in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the onion soup mix on, add the vegetables, then pour in the broth and water. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Serve over rice (or I hear mashed potatoes are good too).

Beef with Broccoli

I can’t believe it’s mid-September already. I sure doesn’t seem like I’ve been at work/in Madison for 8 weeks already. But it’s definitely beginning to feel like fall. It’s currently 40 degrees out and there’s a chance of frost. Yikes.

At any rate, work has been keeping me busy, despite the fact that I am still in training and therefore not doing any real work. I’m still taking classes and I have 2 more projects and 3 more tests before I’m certified on my application (although that doesn’t mean I’ll be done with tests for good… I still have many more to come). The point is, most days I’m too tired/lazy to try something new, so I’ve been cooking mostly uninteresting dishes… and pretty much eating broccoli every day.

I decided to post this even though it’s not really unique or particularly Asian, but it’s on pretty much every “Chinese” restaurant’s menu. And in my opinion, this version taste better. 😛

I was hungry, so I finished this all tonight, but that probably means it’s enough for one normal person.

Ingredients
1 crown of broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 lb flank steak, sliced thinly against the grain
garlic powder
vegetable oil
soy sauce
salt
cornstarch
Lee Kum Kee Black Bean and Garlic Sauce

Preparation
Marinate beef with garlic powder, soy sauce, oil, salt and cornstarch.

Heat oil in a frying pan. Add broccoli and stir, sprinkling in a dash of salt. Pour in (approx) 1/4 cup of water and cook, stirring occasionally until tender. Add a spoonful of black bean and garlic sauce (size of spoonful dependent on how salty you like your food) and stir until the sauce is evenly distributed over the broccoli. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat more oil, and add beef in a single layer. Cook until the side facing up starts to turn brown, then flip and cook until browned. Add broccoli back in and mix well.