Vegan Stuffed Peppers


I feel like every time I start a new post it begins with something like “so…. I haven’t posted in a while…”. This time it’s been over 7 months… so… I haven’t posted in a while. As usual, it’s not that I haven’t been cooking, but more so that I’m lazy and a) don’t measure anything which makes writing a recipe fairly difficult, b) don’t make things that look nice enough to take a picture, and c) forget to take pictures. This time (a) and (b) are still true and while I did take a picture, it’s a fairly crappy iPhone picture so (c) is pretty much true too (forgot to bring the DSLR). I figured I was due for a post though, so here it is.

The husband and I recently decided to go to Haiti this year with a team from our church. One thing the team decided to do to help fundraise this year was to make a steak dinner for people at church. It was quite the event – over the course of one night we fed ~80 people a three-course meal from salad and bread, to steak (or chicken) and mashed potatoes, to five different dessert options.

I love steak. If you’ve never had steak prepared in a sous vide cooker you really should give it a try. Sadly I, and several others, did not partake in the steak deliciousness due to various forms of fasting for lent. So I was in charge of making an alternative option. After perusing the internet for “vegan main dishes” I settled on stuffed peppers – mostly because they had the highest presentation potential.

Most recipes for stuffed peppers include rice and cheese but some folks were doing more restrictive fasts, so rice and cheese were out. I’d never made stuffed peppers before and was a little nervous that they’d be disastrous, so I decided to do a test run the day before. It turned out ok, but I’m glad I did the test run because I was able to make some adjustments before the actual dinner.

Some things I learned:

  • Pick peppers with the flattest bottoms you can find.Otherwise they might tip over.
  • If the peppers are not able to stand up by themselves, they can be baked in muffin tins. For presentation purposes this isn’t ideal because the muffin tin will leave a ring around the outside of the pepper.
  • Most recipes will say to bake for 45min-1 hour. If all the ingredients inside the pepper are fully cooked it really only takes ~25-30 min to soften the pepper.
  • When using naturally sweet vegetables like red peppers, sweet potatoes, and corn, extra seasoning is needed to offset the sweetness.

I’m not going to post a complete recipe because as I mentioned earlier I didn’t measure anything. Plus, people have different taste preferences, so the ingredients can be combined in whatever ration one prefers. For the dinner we served the peppers with a side of guacamole, which makes everything better. Here’s how I made my peppers.


  • Red bell peppers (2)
  • Sweet potatoes, diced (1 medium cut into ~1 cm cubes)
  • Frozen sweet corn (1-2 cups)
  • Canned black beans, drained and rinsed (1 can)
  • Tofu, diced finely (1/4 block)
  • Yellow onion, diced finely (~1/4 onion)
  • Tomatoes (1-2, not entirely sure what type they were)
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Paprika
  • Cumin

Wash and dry the peppers. Cut the top off (but save it) and clean out the seeds from the inside of the pepper. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut tomatoes into 1/2 inch chunks. Cook over medium heat in a pot. Use a potato masher or fork to mash the tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste and allow to simmer until thickened (20-25 min).

While the tomatoes are simmering, heat olive oil in a frying pan or wok and cook the onions until tender (3-5 min). Add the sweet potatoes and continue to cook until the potatoes soften (8-12 min). Add the tofu,. corn, and black beans and continue to cook for another 3-5 min. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, and cumin (I have no measurements for any of those – my method is to add sparingly and taste as I go).

When the tomatoes have reached the desired consistency (make sure they’re not really watery), add them to the pan and mix thoroughly.

Scoop filling into the peppers and place the top of the pepper on top. I cooked five peppers in a dutch over and three in a muffin tin. For the ones in the muffin tin, I wrapped them in aluminum foil. Bake (wrapped in foil or covered in the case of the dutch oven) for 30 min. Uncover/unwrap, take the tops off, and broil (tops as well) for 3-5 min.


Aloo Gobi


It’s August! Where did the summer go? It seems like summer just started, but it’s already almost over…

Since the wedding, life’s been pretty busy. We went to Boston for a few days to see my parents. We chilled out there, watched fireworks on the fourth, and had a banquet for my parents’ friends. Then we headed to Taipei for a bit to see the husband’s side of the family. Did a lot of eating and had another banquet. I dubbed that the international wedding tour.

We’ve been home for a few weeks now. Life continues to be busy here in Madison. This is pretty much the first Saturday we’ve had to ourselves. So I tried cooking the hubby’s favorite Indian dish.

The first time I heard of aloo gobi was from the movie Bend it Like Beckham. The main character learns from her mother how to make this traditional dish. I watched the movie when I was in high school, but I think it wasn’t until I moved here that I actually tried the dish. It never really sounded appealing to me, but I think I tried it at an Indian buffet place one day and discovered that it was good.

I looked up recipes on the internet and decided on this recipe. I sent the hubby outside to play basketball and made this dish to surprise him. I followed the recipe pretty closely, but used ground cumin, ground ginger, and ground coriander instead of cumin seed, fresh ginger, and fresh coriander. I’m not a fan of chomping down on cumin seeds or chunks of ginger, so I think I made a good choice to use ground instead. Otherwise though I followed the instructions pretty closely. I also got to use our new LeCreuset dutch oven that we got for our wedding.

I didn’t really bother taking a good picture of it. Just snapped a quick picture on my phone. I used a rice cooker to make basmati rice and got some naan at the store which I pan-fried in butter and garlic. It wasn’t the best naan I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t awful. All in all we both enjoyed the meal so I’d recommend this recipe.

Sous Vide Pork Sliders

The plate was tiny, so this picture is a bit of an optical illusion.

The plate was tiny, so this picture is a bit of an optical illusion.

Today my fiance and I went to a church potluck today for the “families” in the church. It’s a little weird in my mind to think of us as a family since we aren’t quite married yet and we certainly don’t have any children (at least not that I know of). I guess we’ll get there soon enough though.

For the potluck, we ventured into the land of sous vide. A good number of years ago a friend of mine told me about the concept and how he was thinking of buying a semi-ghetto build-your-own sous vide machine kit. The idea is that you seal (or vacuum seal) meat with seasoning and cook it in a water bath at a low temperature. This prevents it from getting overcooked. Then you take it out and sear the sides for texture. At that point I thought the method was kind of cool, but thought this friend was pretty nuts to buy a make your own kit.

Fast forward a few years to now. A different friend (although these friends do know each other) has gotten into a sous vide craze. It’s great for cooking meat and for cooking things in large quantities. Today was my first time doing it by myself. I don’t really know where I got the idea for asian style sliders, and as usual I ended up just winging it. So I’ll go into what went into it, but I don’t have any measurements.

So what I did was marinate pork tenderloins overnight in gallon size ziplock bags. I put them in a pot with water and the sous vide cooker at 140 degrees (F) for around 3.5 hours. Then I seared the outside. To make the sliders I used King’s Hawaiian Roll and topped with some Asian-style slaw made with cabbage, carrots, green onions, and some seasoning.

They turned out pretty well. The pork was really tender and the flavors paired well with the sweetness of the Hawaiian rolls. Overall I’d call this one a success!

Pork tenderloin marinade:
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Minced garlic
Brown sugar
Rice vinegar
Red pepper flakes

Shredded cabbage
Shredded carrots
Finely chopped green onions
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Rice vinegar
Minced garlic
Sriracha sauce

Spaghetti Burgers


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
Garlic powder
1 cup grated pecorino romano
2 eggs, beaten

For the “burgers”:
All the ingredients from this recipe from

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!

Baked French Toast


2 posts in one month! Haven’t done that in a long time.

This past weekend was pretty busy and eventful. It was fun, but also tiring. I have retreats the next two weekends, so the next couple weeks will be equally if not more exhausting. Saturday started off with a brunch for the non-undergrad women at my church. My roommate and I “hosted” (albeit at someone else’s house), so we made lots of food including the french toast from this post, scrambled eggs with cheddar and spinach, and hashtagbrowns (aka #browns). We also played some get-to-know you Bingo which revealed the “beliebers” among us as well as the die-hard T-Swift fans, and made cute bookmarks.

Yesterday I played basketball and badminton for the first time in months. It was really fun and it was nice to get some exercise, but man I am SORE today. My roommate and I hosted Sunday dinner last night, although I didn’t actually help cook. As many of you know, my church has hangouts on Sundays that involve sports and dinner. We started out a few years ago with just a handful of young adults (like, 15), and last night we had 49 young adults and undergrads! We are looking to find a new venue though since 49 people in an apartment is just a teensy bit cramped.

There were a few other things that happened this weekend, but those were the highlights. A few people at brunch asked me for the recipe for the french toast, so I figured it was worth putting up here. It’s funny because my pastor’s wife actually sent this recipe from Rachel Sheldon’s blog almost 2 years ago for a baby shower. She was at the brunch on Saturday and didn’t recognize it!

I ended up making a few adjustments, but all in all the recipe was really good!

1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 loaf Texas Toast
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
cinnamon for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix melted butter and brown sugar.
Spread 1/2 of the butter/brown sugar on the bottom of a 9×13 pan
Layer Texas toast slices on top of that.
Spread the other 1/2 of the butter/brown sugar mix on top of the bread slices.
In a separate bowl, beat 4 eggs. Add in milk and vanilla extract.
Pour 1/2 of the eggs mixture on the bread. Sprinkle on a little cinnamon.
Put a second layer of toast.
Pour the rest of the egg mix on top and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 min, covered.
Remove foil and bake an additional 15 min.

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

Winter = dark = no good natural lighting

Winter = dark = no good natural lighting

So it’s been a while since I last posted (I feel like I say that a lot). As usual the lack of posts hasn’t been due to an infrequency of cooking here, but rather due to the fact that a) I haven’t cooked many new things lately, b) of the the new things I have tried, none of them have been all that visually appealing, and c) I’m often times too lazy to try to make them visually attractive for a picture.

I did try some new slowcooker recipes for coq au vin, chili, and broccoli cheddar soup. The first two turned out quite well, but the broccoli cheddar soup was a major disaster. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but some form of dairy curdled and stuff burned, and it was all in all unpleasant. I think it’ll be a while before I attempt another cream-based slowcooker soup.

The coq au vin recipe turned out pretty well. Unfortunately I can’t remember what recipe I used (it happened in September) and I also didn’t take a picture of it. All I can remember is that I used chicken thighs, garlic, mushrooms, frozen pearl onions, carrots, and red wine. I think I browned the chicken before putting it in the slowcooker so that the chicken would maintain intact, but that’s about all I remember. It was good though, so I might try it again and actually write down what I do.

The chili was for snacks after service at church one Sunday when my family group was in charge. We ended up making probably around 100 servings in 8 slowcookers. I have a picture of how it turned out (below), but it’s not a picture that’s worth making a whole post on. I also freehanded a lot of the recipe, so I don’t have measurements of what went into it. I might also try this one again to actually get a recipe.


Anyhow, for some reason I felt like baking cookies, looked through my repository of saved off cookie recipes, and well here they are! The recipe came from Scrambled Henfruit. I followed it pretty closely, but instead of using the individually wrapped caramel candies I used caramel bits because they didn’t require manually unwrapping each caramel. As a result, the caramel to cookie ratio ended up a little low because I wasn’t sure how many bits to use per cookie. I used 5, so probably 7-8 is the right number.

Regardless, the cookies still taste pretty good. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow whether other people (other than me, my fiance, and my roommate) like them.

Guest Post: Mama Oh’s Kimchi


Awhile back I was talking to my pastor’s wife about making kimchi. I love eating kimchi, but I had no idea how to make it. I guess I didn’t have enough motivation to try to find a recipe online or anything either. But at some point in the conversation we agreed that it was the mark of a “real Korean woman” to know how to make homemade kimchi.

Recently, some other friends who shared my enthusiasm for kimchi and I finally decided to give it a try. I didn’t actually organize this experience so it was nice to just join in. I didn’t even have to find a recipe because some of the others are Korean and asked their mothers.

The process took up much of the day — we soaked the cabbage for 3 hours, made the paste, then coated the cabbage in the paste and jarred it. Now it has to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours, then in the refrigerator for 3 days. But we did a preliminary taste test and it tastes really good. It’s definitely cheaper and better tasting than anything you can get in stores here in Madison. I’m really excited to eat it when it’s fully ready.

Below is the hand-transcribed recipe of Mama Oh’s kimchi
photo (1)

Note the quote of the day at the bottom of the page. “Get into the armpits of the kimchi; get it all in there so you hear it laugh when it’s tickled!” It sounds ridiculous, but there actually is some logic behind the statement. In order to get the best flavor, it’s important to get the pepper paste in between all the leaves of the cabbage. But yeah. Kimchi armpits. Sounds delicious right?

Achievement for today: I am now a REAL Korean woman (despite being Chinese-American). Yay!

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