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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Juicy Chicken Burgers with Honey Mustard Sauce

I got the idea for this recipe from one of my favorite cooking magazines back in the States. I think I made the actual recipe in the magazine a few times and it was awesome. Then I moved here to China with my family in 6 suitcases and I had to try and remember a lot of my favorite recipes since I didn’t have them on hand. This is the recipe I came up with based on local ingredients.

These really are the most delicious burgers. The shredded apples and onions not only add amazing flavor to the burger, but they help the burger keeps moist. Where burgers can sometimes be dry, this recipe is guaranteed to not be so.

Suggestions: My kids prefer ketchup on their burgers but I think that honey mustard sauce perfectly compliments this burger. I only use granny smith apples for this recipe because I love the tart flavor of granny smith apples and they are crispier and hold up better during cooking.
If you’re on a low carb diet, skip the roll or bun- this is a patty you can eat plain. I’ve included a tbsp of flour but you could easily make these gluten-free by using a ½ tbsp of cornstarch instead. And this is another recipe that is delightfully simple!


Ground Chicken Breast-two packages or roughly 1 kg(I get them at City Shop; not sure if any other stores have ground chicken breast)
1 small apple, shredded
¼ red onion, diced
1½ tsp salt
1 tbsp chicken bouillon powder
Fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp flour
2 eggs

Place ground chicken in a bowl.
Peel apple.
On the larger side, grate apple all the way around until you are down to the core. Discard core.
Add grated apple and diced onion and mix until combined.

Add salt, powdered chicken bouillon and mix.
Add pepper.
Add eggs.
Add flour. Mix until combined.

Using a measuring cup drop 1/4 cup (50gms) of  chicken mixture onto hot greased frying pan. Use the back of a spatula to flatten out into a round patty shape.

Cook 4-5 minutes then flip. Then cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes.

Honey Mustard Sauce 

1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp mustard

Mix honey and mustard together.

Serve burgers with honey mustard sauce, ketchup, tomatoes, lettuce or onions.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Homemade Lemon Extract

I love making homemade lemon poppyseed muffins. They are so easy and so much cheaper then buying a muffin mix. Last year I brought back a few bottles of lemon extract from the States for the purpose of using them for homemade muffins. Then this summer my mom bought me a great book called "Make the Bread, Buy the Butter" where the author made her own lemon extract. Needless to say I decided to forgo packing all those bottles of extract and instead packed the book instead!

200 ml Vodka
zest from 3 lemons

Buy Vodka and lemons. I bought vodka off of Taobao because I just wanted a small bottle of it that I could reuse for storing the extract. Make sure you select fresh lemons with bright peels. Stay away from lemons that appear dry.
Zest all three of your lemons. Make sure to only grate the yellow part- do not get any of the white part.
Put zest into a bottle that has a lid. I just used a canning jar because it was what I had.
Add vodka.
Secure lid

Store in a dark place for 10 days, taking it out once a day to shake.
After ten days your extract is ready to use.
Strain the peel out of the alcohol.
Find a bottle or use the same one you got the vodka from and label it.
Use a funnel and pour your extract into the bottle.
And you are done. I probably spent 35 quai on this and it will last me for an entire year.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dulce de Leche

I had never heard of this method of making dulce de leche (caramelized sweet milk) until my dad saw it online and decided to try it. I must admit I thought he was a little crazy at the time, but it works great and who doesn't love caramel?
When I came to China I was surprised that sweetened condensed milk was readily available at every grocery store.(I guess when you see everything that is lacking, it strikes you odd that they actually do have an item you're looking for)
This dulce de leche make a great caramel dip for apples, or you can use it in place of icing to spread on a cake or brownies. Or what would be simply amazing (which I haven't tried, but just thought of right this minute) would be to use it to make caramel apple crumb pie. Oh, baby. I just might have to try that and report back. Anyway, enjoy!

1 can of sweetened condensed milk


Peel the label off of the can and place the can in a pot. Cover with water.
Bring to a boil. Boil for 3 hours.
Add more hot water as needed as the water will evaporate and you need to keep the can covered at all times (*Or risk an explosion in your kitchen)

I heat up a glass of water in the microwave for this so it doesn't bring down the temperature in the pot.
After the can has boiled three hours, turn of the heat. Drain the water and replace with cold water. Do this a few times until the can is cool.
Open and enjoy your dulce de leche!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cilantro Lime Ranch Salad Dressing

In the western U.S where I hail from there is a small restaurant chain called Cafe Rio. It is the favorite Fresh-Mex restaurant of a whole lot of people I know. Whenever all my family gets together (3 siblings plus spouses) we have to have at least one "Cafe Rio" night. This involves, making guacomole, shredded chicken or pork, cilantro rice, Mexican black beans, pico de gallo and this salad dressing. Tonight we didn't go all out with all the usual Cafe Rio stuff. Instead we just ate it over barbarcoa pork Mexican salads with the cilantro spicy rice I posted earlier, pico de gallo and shredded cheese.
This is another recipe that I've had to "china-fy" (to use my friend Josette's term)
But the alterations work and it is amazing! It will keep for a week after it is mixed. In our house it is always all gone within two days.

Two 100 g containers of plain yogurt
1 packet of ranch dressing mix (or equivilant - I bring over the big container from the States and then just measure out enough powder for one batch of dressing. I haven't looked but I'm pretty sure City Shop carries individual packets of ranch dressing mix)
2 tbsp lime juice
1 small tomato, seeded (just cut the top off and then squeeze out the seeds and pulp and discard them into the trash)
1 clove garlic
1/2 a hot green pepper, diced.
good bunch of cilantro
2 oz cream cheese


Assemble all of your ingredients.

Add everything to the blender except the cream cheese and blend until smooth.
Add 2 oz (or 1/4 of a brick of cream cheese) to the blender. (if you want to omit the cream cheese for calorie counting purposes, feel free. Your dressing will be a lot more runny and will lack thickness, but it will still taste great)
Blend until smooth.
Serve over your favorite taco salad or add to the filling of homemade burritos.