It’s Impossible To Screw Up A Burger!

Every time I make a burger, I think of those shows like Kitchen Nightmare or Restaurant Impossible and when the restaurant can’t even make a decent burger I think to myself, no wonder you’re about to shut down! Seriously, making a good burger is so simple.

What you’ll need:

  • Ground Beef (80-85% Lean)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cheese (optional)


Form the ground beef into patties however big you want them, but make sure you don’t pack them too hard or over work the beef, then take your thumb and put an indentation on one side of each patty (this helps them from shrinking). In a small bowl pour as much of the seasonings you want in, I always pinch a little bit and lick it to make sure it tastes good and is not too salty. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over both sides of the patties. If you’re cooking them in a pan like I usually do, cook them on each side for 2-3 minutes (this depends on how thick your patties are and how done you want them to be). If you want melted cheese on your burgers during the last minute of cooking put a slice of whatever kind of cheese you like on the patty and cover with a lid. You’ll get the perfect burger every time!

Pho Anh Dao – Sacramento

If you don’t know too much about the Vietnamese culture, let me tell you a little bit about us. Here in California, we’re everywhere! We dominate San Jose, Sacramento and Orange County. The men love smoking cigarettes and drinking strong iced coffee sweetened with condensed milk brought to them by Vietnamese girls in skimpy bikini’s and lingerie. The women love to wear premium denim, high heels and Louis Vuitton bags. But all of us VN people share one thing in common, PHO! It’s a dish that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I’ve had pho in many different places all around Cali, but the one bowl of pho noodle soup that almost makes my heart skip a beat just thinking about it, is the bowl of noodles from Pho Anh Dao. I’ve been told from the owner that there is no MSG in their broth, it’s always fresh and piping hot. There are two different kinds of broth – chicken or beef. Pho Anh Dao is famous for their chicken pho but they sure know how to make the beef one too. In the photo above is my usual, beef pho with brisket and meatballs. I don’t care that it’s summer and 100 degrees outside, I can eat this anytime! If you ever have the chance to try this place, make sure you don’t get there too late… when they run out of their fresh ingredients, they close up for the day!

Baked Salmon and Mashed Potatoes

I am all about cooking delicious meals real fast. Khanh and I have been packing up the life we’ve built together in our San Francisco apartment because we’re moving back to our hometown Sacramento. I wanted to make one last special meal for him here that didn’t take up too much time and effort. So I turned to this Giada De Laurentiis baked salmon recipe that I’ve used before and really loved. I also added a side of mash with fontina cheese. Our dinner was bittersweet… Delicious and sad that it’d be the last real meal here.


  • 2 (5 ounces each) salmon fillets
  • 1 teaspoons olive oil plus 1 tablespoons
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sprinkle salmon with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir the tomatoes, shallots, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Place a salmon fillet, oiled side down, atop a sheet of foil. Wrap the ends of the foil to form a spiral shape. Spoon the tomato mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and tomato mixture, covering completely; seal the packets closed. Place the foil packet on a heavy large baking sheet. Repeat until all of the salmon have been individually wrapped in foil and placed on the baking sheet. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Using a large metal spatula, transfer the foil packets to plates and serve.

For the mash, I boiled fingerling potatoes-skin on, drained the water, and put it back on low head, then added a bit of butter, milk, salt and freshly grated fontina cheese.

Rustic Bow Tie Pasta

My future mother-in-law gave me cherry tomatoes from a farmers market this past weekend. I could’ve gone the easy way out and had them with some salad or even eatm them by itself. But, I thought why not use them to make pasta for dinner. I already had pasta bow tie pasta in the pantry and fresh basil so I didn’t even have to go to the market for anything. I don’t have an exact recipe but if you cook, you’ll get the gist of it.

Here’s what I did:

  • minced a few cloves of garlic
  • diced a quarter of a medium sized onion
  • chopped about 10 leaves of fresh basil
  • removed the casing from one Italian sausage
  • washed the cherry tomatoes (probably equaled to a small box you could buy at the store
  • cooked enough pasta for two

I took a medium sized pot and brought water to a boil. As the water was heating up, I sautéed the garlic and onion until it was fragrant. Then I tossed in the tomatoes and when they started to burst open I smashed them until it started making a sauce. That’s when I started cooking the bow tie pasta (you could use any pasta you wanted to though) which took 10 minutes to become al dente, then I threw in the basil and sausage into the skillet I was using for the sauce, as the tomatoes started to cook down I put some of the water that the pasta was cooking in into the skillet, cooked it down some more for a few minutes and by the time the pasta was done the sauce was done too, so I strained it and put it right into the skillet, tossed it all together and was ready for dinner!

If you decide to try this, I hope you like it. It was very fresh and easy. 🙂

Feeding Your Partner

Every now and then you gotta show your partner that you love them. I say, the way to ANYONE’S heart is through their stomach. Although we have a 5 month old baby girl and a busy schedule, I try to cook something special for the hubby once a week so he knows how much I love him. Last week, I prepared filet mignon with a balsamic reduction.

Let’s just say, he was very happy… 😉

So sharpen those kitchen knives and get cooking!