Cooking tutorial: Homemade Gourmet Burger!

Today’s cooking how to is going to feature a dish I think everybody freakin’ loves. You may not openly admit it, but this might just be your secret guilty pleasure!

A nice, big, fat, greasy & satisfying burger. 

With a juicy chunky beef patty, thick portobello mushrooms, fresh crisp lettuce and tangy tomatoes, cheddar cheese and a soft toasted buttered bun…. Preferably accompanied by shoestring fries, for maximum yumness. HALLELUJAH BAYBEH.

You know I really like burger joints but in Singapore we don’t have places like In-N-Out (which I haven’t even tried yet but lawdy lawdy it looks good as in pictures), so we settle for Carls Junior. But god damn it, Carls Jr is NOT cheap at all for fast food!!! $15 for a portobello burger meal.. Are you kidding me? That’s already restaurant pricing. With that money, I can cook up way nicer gourmet burgers using fresh, real ingredients… This is what I’m talking about.

TELL ME YOU DO NOT WANT TO PUT THAT IN YOUR MOUTH. If you don’t then, well… go away. :D

Since this was requested in my cooking post (published a long time ago I’m so sorry it takes me so long to do these things but I’m awfully busy wtf) I’m going to share with you guys a pretty simple recipe for home made gourmet burgers. It is easy to prepare, however relatively time consuming and there’s quite a few steps to be done.. But it will be fun!

So here’s how ya do it!! This is one recipe the MEN in your lives are going to LOVE, and diet watching females are going to hate.

YOU WILL NEED: (this recipe serves 3-4 people)

Beef Patty
♥ — 300g minced beef
♥ — 4 cloves garlic, minced
♥ — 3 tablespoons olive oil
♥ — 1 small white onion, minced
♥ — 1 egg
♥ — half teaspoon salt
♥ — half teaspoon sugar
♥ — a teaspoon of your favorite herb, I used oregano, you can use thyme, parsley, whatever you like

♥ — Optional to include in beef patty: Truffle Oil to mix into the beef patty to make it Y-U-M-M-E-H. It is pricey, so no real need to go out and buy it just for this recipe, but use it if you have it lying around. For good measure I also sprinkled a little “all-purpose seasoning” and paprika because I get a little too excited when it comes to seasoning my food.

Everything Else
♥ — several burger buns
♥ — 150g mini portobello mushrooms, sliced thickly
♥ — 1 large white onion, roughly chopped
♥ — 2 tomatoes, sliced
♥ — several pieces of streaky bacon
♥ — two tablespoons of cream
♥ — chedder cheese slices
♥ — fresh lettuce
♥ — butter for frying and glazing the buns

Step 1: Mix all the ingredients stated in Beef Patty list together. Combine well, cover and let marinate for 30 minutes at least.

Step 2: Preheat your oven to 180 degrees, and butter your buns generously. Use baking paper so they don’t stick to the pan. See the above? That is not enough butter. Lol. I regretted not adding more. Don’t be lazy and skip this step of toasting the bread ok. Untoasted bread = yuck.

Toast bread in oven for approximately 10 minutes or until crisp and soft.

Step 3: Melt a tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of sugar in medium heat, and sautee your onions until they are soft and translucent but not brown or too caramelized. Set aside in a plate.

Step 4: In the same pan (no washing of pan required throughout these steps), fry your sliced portobello shrooms in medium heat with two tablespoons of thickened cream until they are just cooked – not shriveled! Creamy, juicy portobello mushrooms are the best :’)

The above looks weird and kind of gross because of the cream and the caramelized bits from the onions before combining, but don’t worry – that stuff tastes good. *nods* Once done, set aside on a separate plate, again.

Step 5: If your pan is a little sticky, deglaze with some water, throw that out and move on to frying the bacon pieces over medium-low heat, without any oil because bacon is naturally super oily. It is done with the edges are slightly browned, then remove from pan. Or if you like it super crispy and slightly charred, go a little longer!

Step 6: Roll the beef patties into appropriately sized balls, then press them flat to form the disc shape, and gently fry them in the bacon oil over medium-low heat.

I found it was easier to just shape them into discs directly but most people use the above technique. Be gentle when frying and don’t break the patty apart!

Now, it is important to fry the patty in bacon oil so that its adequately salty (and tasty)!

If you’re eating halal and skipping the bacon, you have to add more salt to taste in the beef patty mixture before frying. Maybe use another type of bacon like turkey or beef? After 15-20 minutes, it should be done on the inside and nicely browned on the outside, depending on the size of your beef patty. Check to make sure it is cooked through, but do not cook it longer than it needs to otherwise it will be too dry and chewy. It will probably start sticking to the pan after a few minutes, so add some water every now and then to ensure it doesn’t dry up.

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So when you have finally made it through all of that mess, the fun part begins…. The assembling of ingredients!!!

Prepare all your stuff in individual bowls, like so. You’re supposed to use sliced cheese in the recipe but that’s the one thing I forgot to buy -_- Please ignore my retarded shredded cheese…..

Step 7: Assemble your burger!! This is a messy affair. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty because burgers were not meant for gu niangs or sissies. Because there’s so many amazing ingredients in this gourmet burger, it’s going to be a little wobbly.. but that’s ok – just stick a toothpick through it at the end and it should hold most of its shape!

By the way… this is why you should use sliced cheddar cheese instead. And go for 2 slices :P

Omgggg look at that watery fresh tomato and JUICY PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS GAHHH I can’t even…. and THAT is why I recommend frying your portobello shrooms with cream! I am so hungry now, Jess why do you have to blog about food at midnight?!

You: “IKR Jess, why do I have to read about your food at midnight?! D:”

Congratulations. You have just made your first homemade gourmet burger.

This is what you slaved away in the kitchen for the past hour.
This is completely worth it.

This will impress your man and papa (and probably your whole family, unless the girls are extremely health conscious people, to which you say “Screw You!” and proceed to eat all the burgers by yourself)

This is NOTHING like any other half-assedly made burgers from fast food joints or any lazy restaurants. This is the real freaken deal and I assure you it is delicious. I mean just look at that beef patty.

Step 8: Open your mouth… close your eyes… bring the burger to your mouth… sink your teeth into it. Chew that hearty mouthful in utter content. Swallow.

Smile. Log onto shiberty.com and thank me. You’re welcome!

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Extra notes:

• You may have noticed the bun isn’t as glossy in these pictures, compared to the first. I was a little worried about getting really fat all over again. Like I said before, more butter = better. How did I get the first bun so glazed?! Simple – dip your finger (or pastry brush or whatever) into melted butter, lightly brush all over the bun on both sides. A little bit goes a long way, it is more for looks than taste anyway.

• Serve with potato salad or deviled eggs or best, shoestring fries. Vegetables? Are you kidding me? People who eat burgers don’t want a freaking salad on the side. OMNOMNOM BRING ON THE FAT. (for this meal, at least… then go exercise afterwards)

• I didn’t have any sauces or dips to go with my burger because I like it pretty classic and plain, but you can always slap on some mustard or mayo or ketchup, whatever you like. I recommend dijonnaise or honey mustard if you’re going without the thickened cream when frying the mushrooms.

• Use a decent brand of burger bun. The second one I used was nowhere near as nice as the first one. The thicker and fluffier, the better.

• If you want to be extra kick ass, you can go the extra mile and turn the sauteed onions into onion rings instead. That would be orgasmic. But you’re on your own for that recipe.

• Don’t worry about the calories too much. This whole burger has less than your average mooncake, which ranges from 600 to about 1000 calories. How many mooncakes have you had this Mid-Autumn Festival?

Bon appetit.

xoxo,
Jess

xoxo,
Jess

Cooking tutorial: Thai Green Curry Chicken

A lot of what I cook highly depends on my mood and what my family members request. At the supermarket a few evenings ago, Sam randomly said, “Cook green curry chicken!!!!”

And so, cook green curry chicken, I did.

I decided to record down the process because it was fairly easy and fuss free to make, and I was surprised at how authentic and genuine tasting my home made, first trial green curry chicken was! If you love sweet, thick, spicy, meaty curries… you’re going to love this. Trust me when I say you really don’t have to be a good cook to make this well because essentially it is chopping stuff up and throwing everything into a pot and stir, almost zero kills involved. I know I still owe some of you cooking recipes of ginger chicken, rosti, etc.. sorry for the wait, but hopefully this will appease you for now ;) Rosti is going to be next up on the list if things go well in the kitchen.

So here’s how you can make Green Curry Chicken in your very own kitchen at home, all in just 7 simple steps! 

YOU WILL NEED: (this recipe serves 4-6)

Chicken Mixture
♥ — about 500g of chicken meat, bones removed, sliced into small pieces (I used a combination of thigh meat and fillet pieces, the thigh meat tasted so much better so I recommend that!!)
♥ — 1 large onion, roughly chopped (doesn’t matter yellow or red but I prefer yellow in general)
♥ — 4 cloves of garlic, minced
♥ — half teaspoon salt and black pepper
♥ — 2 stalks lemongrass

Eggplant Mixture
♥ — 1 large eggplant (if you like more veg, you can add in chopped long beans!)
♥ – A dash of salt & pepper

Curry Mixture
♥ — curry leaves
♥ — chilli padi, deseeded, cut into long strips.. add according to your own spice level, I used 3.
♥ – water (approximately 700ml, if not enough add more, if too much let it simmer away)
♥ – coconut cream – 400ml
♥ – white sugar, to taste (I added about 2 and a half tablespoons)
♥ – a good, authentic packet of thai green curry paste. approximately 300g worth
♥ — juice of one lime

Step 1: Slice chicken into small pieces. You don’t really want big chunks of meat in green curry chicken, you’d want thin-ish strips for an easy bite.

Step 2: Prepare lemon grass stalks by cutting away the bottom bulb. I chose to chop mine finely like this, but if you don’t like biting into lemongrass bits then you can opt to use it whole, or cut into strips instead.

Step 3: Cut the eggplants into rectangular pieces as seen above. I’m sure you don’t need me to instruct you on how to mince garlic and chop onions so let’s move on to the next bit…

Step 4: With a tiny bit of oil and about 2 tablespoons water, stir fry all the ingredients listed in the Chicken Mixture with medium-low heat, until the meat seems about 90% cooked. Don’t overcook this or your chicken will be too dry and hard, it will cook even further in your soon-to-be pot of curry anyway. Remove all of chicken mixture, set aside on a plate.

Step 5: In the same pan, cook eggplant over high heat with a dash of salt & pepper until it’s about done but still firm, not to the point that it’s mushy…. If it’s mush before you put it in the curry, it’s going to be a complete sludge by the time it actually is IN your curry. Once done, also set this aside on a plate.

Step 6: Combine all ingredients in Curry Mixture in a large pot and bring to a boil, then let it simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly so that it is evenly mixed through. Do a taste test and at this point in time, you have to decide how thick, spicy, or sweet you like your curry.

 I think curry preferences can differ greatly from person to person, so I’ve just given you a rough guide on the proportions of ingredients I used, but you should definitely alter it to how you like it! I like my curry extremely coconuty, quite sweet, and really spicy. (Y) If it’s not thick enough, let it simmer awhile on the stove, but bear in mind the longer it simmers the more intense the flavors are going to get.

Step 7: Once you’ve got your curry taste and consistency spot on, pour in the Eggplant & Chicken Mixture into the pot, and stir. That’s all there is to cooking green curry chicken!!! I know it doesn’t look like very much now, but give me a sec….. this will all come together….

Ready???



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Hey presto!!!!! What do you know? Not baddddddd right. -nods furiously and agrees with self-



Kob kun kaaaa!

Serve your Thai green curry chicken hot, with jasmine rice! I garnished mine with chilli padi and leftover curry leaves. If you attempted this correctly, your eggplant should be soft but not mushy, the chicken pieces still tender and your curry full of wonderful different spices that literally explode in your mouth. I can take super spicy stuff so I went a little nuts with the chilli, but I think next time I’ll tone it down a little so my family members don’t break into perspiration when they’re eating it. :P There are many things I don’t go out to order in restaurants any more after I’ve learned to cook them, and this will be one of them. The ingredients are inexpensive, it easily feeds my whole family and I think it tastes a helluvalot better than a lot of variations I can get outside.

Although this is a traditional Thai dish, I don’t claim that my recipe is the professional / authentic / genuine / traditional way of making Thai green curry… so if you’re a Thai person and this is totally different from your traditional recipe, please don’t get offended!!! This is just how I do my cooking at home, and I want to share with people easy & yummy ways in the kitchen, which may not always be the classic way of doing things, but it works for me.

P.S – Do choose a good brand of green curry paste. Although I know this is kinda redundant advice because you’re not going to know wth it tastes like until you cook it anyway…. -_- but these were the ones I used.

I used two different packets to try out. Left one from NTUC Fairprice, right one from Thailand… my brother’s gf bought it when she went to Thailand some months back. Even though the left one claims to be authentic obviously nothing beats the real thing on the right!!

The right one was super spicy, and the left one super salty… I had to balance it all out with adjusting the coconut milk to water to sugar ratio.

Have fun making green curry chicken, and pooping fire at night!!!! 

This would be such a great winter dish because its so spicy and shiok that it kept my tummy warm for HOURS after I’d consumed it. You know how some people say certain foods are soul warming, heart warming even… this one confirm tummy warming. Lol.

xoxo,
Jess

xoxo,
Jess

Baking Tutorial: Shiberty’s 3 Steps Butter Cookies!!

Been in the baking mood once again recently, I made a batch of butter cookies that were so insanely yummeh, I just had to churn out a blog post to share with you guys!

Say what, Jess? Have you ever been “out of the baking mood”, considering you work with cakes day in, day out? Lol… I guess what I mean is baking outside of work – just doing it purely for the fun, the way I started out in the beginning.



Behold, my butter cookies!!! 

Quite similar to shortbread but more crumbly and more moist – topped off with lemon curd and sugar sprinkles! This got high raves from every single person who’s tried them (about 8 different people)

I’ve been craving good cookies for so long – I’m a pretty fussy cookie eater. I like it either super crumbly / crispy, or super soft and chewy like Subway cookies. But my problem with cookies is that the crumbly / crispy ones, like from Famous Amos, are usually sooo oily. I don’t know if they actually have a lot of oil or butter in their recipe, since I don’t work there, but I’m pretty sure they do – how else do you explain the “deep fried” texture? LOL. And, I prefer my cookies plain without any chocolate chips or nuts, which too many stores never fail to include. (and I also find Famous Amos cookies expensive… lol /cheapo/)

Then my issue with soft and chewy american type of cookies is that they’re sickeningly sweet. I like sweet stuff, but not when they taste like they’re going to give me diabetes. So, I dug up one of my old recipes, re-invented it a little and bake tasted a batch the other day…. Fwah!!! Perfect batch the first try – I’m so pleased :) The most amazing part is how SIMPLE and fuss-free it is. This is as basic as baking is ever going to get, I find this even easier than baking premixed cakes from Betty Crocker!

So let’s get started.


YOU WILL NEED:

♥ — 2 cups salted butter, softened
♥ – 1 cup white sugar
♥ – 3 teaspoons vanilla extract (or any other flavored extract you prefer – I like plain vanilla)
♥ – 4 cups plain flour (don’t use self-raising or any other type of flour except PLAIN)

That’s all. O_O It’s so stupidly straightforward, I will be very surprised if anyone manages to screw this up. Most of the time, what I cook / bake highly depends on what ingredients I already have in stock at homes. This was an instant winner. I believe most households should have all of these ingredients, if not head out and buy some, everything will only cost you a few dollars.


Q:
How much is “1 cup of X-ingredient?”

A: I googled how much “1 cup for baking” is, and everyone seems to have a different answer. Sigh. The cup I’m using is directly equivalent to 300ml of water. Even if your cup only holds 250ml of water, that doesn’t really matter – it just means your batter will end up being of a lesser quantity than mine. The texture will not be affected since we’re using the same cup to measure everything. Cookies are fuss-free and non-complicated, doesn’t call for fancy equipment or intricate knowledge of baking.. that’s why they were the very first things I attempted to bake 7 years ago ^.^

Step 1: Preheat your oven at 180 degrees C.

Make sure your butter is softened, but not melted into oil, and cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl for several minutes until butter is light and fluffy. If you use an electric mixer, this task only takes less than 5 minutes, but you can also do it by hand.. you’ll just build some serious arm muscles!

Step 2: Add in the vanilla extract. Stir it in, then pour in the flour, 1 cup at time, mix well until batter / dough looks something like the above. It should be very moist, not at all runny, and it will already start smelling like cookies! If your dough is even the slightest bit runny, your butter was too melted.

Step 3: Either grease a baking pan with butter, non-stick cooking spray or just use a baking paper sheet like I did, then line your tray with cookie dough!

You can use your hands to press the dough into circular balls, however I used a piping bag and a large circle piping tip to pipe small circles on. For those who wanna have fun with cookie cutters, unfortunately this recipe is a little too soft and moist for it to work, it will stick to metal. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes at 180, or until slightly golden brown, like in my pictures. You want to leave an adequate amount of space in between the cookie lumps and each cookie lump should only be slightly bigger than a 50 cents coin, because it expands quite a lot when it’s baking. 

Oh yes!! Meet my adorable baking apprentice and sidekick, Sarah, my little next-door-neighbour. Only 4+ years old and she’s already had first hand baking experience with yours truly… I wish I started out experimenting in the kitchen as young as her! I had brought over the first batch of cookies for my neighbours, after which they kindly invited Sam & I over for dinner in their home where we chatted over a meal and some beers. Those cookies must have been good :P After dinner I stole Sarah (actually she insisted on coming along hehe) back to my place where she and I baked the remaining batches together.



Voila!!!!!


Absolutely delicious butter cookies in 3 steps. Come on, admit it - that was easy. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!  These remind me so much of the great butter cookies that come in an old school blue tin, used to love that when I was a kid.. except this is less sweet, and tastes totally of home made goodness.

They taste especially incredible when they’re fresh out of the oven, still warm in your hand.. It melts away in your mouth like a crispy cotton candy of sorts. It’s not too sweet, has a great butter taste, is crumbly in the center and has a crispy outside. 

The perfect cookie, in my opinion! ♥


Sam was blown away even more than myself… I think he had 15 cookies that night. Be forewarned that these crisp little treats are super addictive!! I can’t remember how many cookies in total this recipe made, I think perhaps 50? A lot!!!!!!!! You’ll probably end up giving away most of it to friends like I did, it makes a great surprise gift. Make sure to store them in an airtight container – they’ll go soft in a day if they are left to soak up Singapore’s humidity.

I like them best just on their own, but because I had so many cookies at the end of the night, I decided to experiment with different toppings – this has lemon curd swirled onto the center with some sugar sprinkles – elegant and refreshing! The lemon curd I used was from the Waitrose brand. It has a sweet yet zesty & tangy taste with a smooth jam texture. Yum.

Sarah, however… has something else in mind.

This little cutie adores rainbow colored things & heart shapes – of course she was going to have me let her decorate some her way!

This batch was topped off with cream cheese frosting (philadelphia cream cheese + icing sugar + salted butter) which also turned out to be very popular. I personally prefer the lemon curd because it’s less sinful and more tart tasting, but both are fabulous variations.

My next baking tutorial should be macarons.. they won’t be just any macarons – some VERY special ones. You’ll find out soon-ish, meanwhile I’ll keep y’all in suspense ;) I’ve been meaning to start on this baking project for awhile now.




Good luck and have fun baking, everyone!!!

xoxo,
Jess

xoxo,
Jess
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