Cheeseburger Shen Jian Bao

Cheeseburger Shen Jian Bao
Cheeseburger Shen Jian Bao
Cheeseburger Shen Jian Bao
Cheeseburger Shen Jian Bao
Cheeseburger Shen Jian Bao
Cheeseburger Shen Jian Bao
Cheeseburger Shen Jian Bao
Cheeseburger Shen Jian Bao

Happy Tuesday! How was your weekend? Did you watch a lot of sports?? I feel like our TV has been constantly playing football or football recaps for the last week. Reuben probably disagrees with that and thinks we haven’t watched nearly enough football since football season just started. I did get to sneak in about 75% of an episode of Say Yes to the Dress though! Hehehe…

Reuben’s parents are in town so we spent the weekend eating our favorite foods and seeing a beach or two. Whenever we go to the coast, I’m always reminded of how nice it is to live in California. Then the moment we start driving back to the city, I immediately feel the desire to move back to Ohio. On Saturday there was a little Harvest Moon Festival on Clement St. in our neighborhood and it was the sweetest thing! It was small and not trendy at all, but it was perfect and perfectly Asian. There were a lot of tents focused on public service (which oddly felt Asian?) and a few crappy craft stalls., BUT there was a tent selling Dragon Beard Candy and warm mochi covered with peanuts and sesame seeds. OMGGGGG so tasty! That tent alone made the whole event worth it. I loved how the whole community was out on a sunny afternoon enjoying the neighborhood and buying mooncakes! If you haven’t had a mooncake before, this is definitely the time to pick one up! The festival also made for prime dumpling watching. That’s how Reuben and I refer to creeping on cute asian babies.

DID SOMEONE SAY DUMPLING? The last time I shared a dumpling recipe was in MAY! May! That is waaaaay too long to go without dumplings. Shen Jian Bao are sort of a cross between a dumpling and a bun. I would describe them as pan-fried steamed buns. The dough is more like a traditional dumpling dough, but it has the addition of yeast. They are seared first and then steamed to get their characteristic crispy bottoms. So they are sort of like potsticker-ed buns. BUMPLINGS. I sort of like the sound of that. I’ve been wanting to make a cheeseburger dumpling/bun for forever! I thought I would make them in the form of a potstickers but shen jian bao seemed to make more sense because I like the concept of the bun encapsulating the burger patty inside. The filling is comprised of juicy tender ground beef, caramelized onions, extra sharp cheddar for that little bite, and a bit of ketchup for tang. The dough is soft and fluffy with a nice crisp from the pan fried bottom. These are essentially mini cheeseburger sliders, but made cuter via dumpling format!

Cheeseburger Shen Jian Bao

makes 16 large dumplings


2 cups AP flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp instant yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water


1lb ground beef
1/2 large onion diced
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup grated extra sharp cheddar
3 tbsp ketchup
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
2 tsp cornstarch

2 tbsp olive oil for frying (split in half if working in 2 batches)
2/3 cup water for steaming (split in half if working in 2 batches)


  1. To make your dough, combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Make a well in the center and slowly pour in your water while gradually mixing the flour in the water with your other hand. Once all the water has been mixed in, knead with your hands for 5 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough. Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with a wet kitchen towel. Allow to rest for 1 hour in a warm place.

  2. While your dough is resting, make your filling. Add oil to a skillet and heat over medium heat. Add diced onions and cook until softened and slightly caramelized. Should take about 10 minutes over medium heat. Remove onions from heat and place in a small bowl to cool.

  3. Combine beef, cheese, cooked onions, ketchup, salt, pepper, and cornstarch. Mix with your hands until everything is evenly combined. Set aside.

  4. Remove dough from the bowl and give it a quick knead. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions. Roll out your portioned dough into a 4” circle. Place a heaping tbsp of filling into the center. Pinch the bun closed in a counterclockwise direction using your thumb and index finger. Or you can just pinch the whole thing closed in one motions. Place on a flour dusted tray and repeat with remaining bun.

  5. Heat up 1 tbsp of oil in a large pan with a fitted lid over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add 8 buns into the pan pinch side up. It’s okay if they touch. Fry in the pan for 2 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy. Reduce the heat slightly to medium and carefully pour in 1/3 cup of water. It will spatter! Quickly cover the pan with a lid and steam the buns until the water has evaporated, about 8-9 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn! Remove buns from the pan and repeat frying/steaming method with remaining buns.

  6. Enjoy immediately with ketchup and or soy sauce!

Crab Salad Tostadas

Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas
Crab Salad Tostadas

Hi, friends! How is Fall treating you? Isn't it crazy how after a long Labor Day weekend spent outdoors, gardening, cleaning, sleeping in, bbq-ing, and fantasy footballing, that it all of a sudden feels like pumpkin spice and sweater season?? San Francisco doesn't really have seasons, except our Indian Summer should be starting soon... I don't know though. This past week has been chilly and the sun is leaving us way too early in the day. This seasonal change does allow me to breakout all the cozy blanket sweaters I've been antsy to wear again! I'll take any opportunity to wear a blanket out in public. The autumnal equinox is not until September 22nd though! So we still technically have a few more days of Summer! That is plenty of time to squeeze in a couple more tomato toasts and to buy all the pluots at the farmer's market. Have you had a pluot?! I feel like I'm always talking about them on Instagram, but I'm seriously obsessed. It's the best fruit and one of the things I miss most about summer. Sorry, I know this is not a pluot blog.

Should we talk about crab salad? When I was a little 90s kid, my mom would make crab salad with imitation crab meat and serve it up with buttery club crackers and it was the most amazing snack! I can't remember the last time my mom actually made crab salad. But I'm going to call her and tell her she needs to soon. It's so good! I don't know if imitation crab meat was just super popular in the 90s and early 00s and then sort of disappeared from the culinary limelight in recent time, but it needs to come back out! When we were in Mexico City a few weeks back, we saw surimi (fancy way of saying imitation crab) salad tostadas at a whole bunch of places. We didn't actually order it, only because I felt like we need to be adventurous in Mexico and order things like octopus. At the tostada stalls, they would display the crab salad as a mini mountain of crab. It was so glorious and temping... I couldn't shake it from my head. So when we got home I wanted to try recreating the concept but use the nostalgic flavors I remember from the 90s.

It turns out crab salad is stupid easy to make. All it consists of is crab, mayo, onions, salt and pepper. It really is that simple. I wanted to make my life more difficult though, so I made mayo from scratch! Making your mayo makes such a huge difference in this recipe! I added a bit of lemon juice and grated in fresh garlic, which just takes it up a level. It's totally fine if you just use store bought mayo! Just make sure it is fresh. The crab salad is super creamy with a slight crunch from the onions. Then it's plops on top of a super crispy fried tortilla with a slice of avocado. The combo of everything makes for such a great textural contrast and flavor symphony. It's like an elevated crab salad and club cracker snack. Gosh, I could have ate a million of these tostadas! If our indian summer does show up, I'll definitely be whipping up another full tray of these. Thankfully I have blanket sweaters to hide under : ) 

Thanks a ton to Louis Kemp for sponsoring this post and rekindling my love of crab salad - I'm obessed!

Crab Salad Tostadas

makes 12 small tostadas - serves 4


2 8oz packages of Louis Kemp Flake Imitation Crab
1/2 cup mayonnaise (link to homemade recipe)
3 tbsp finely diced red onion + extra for garnish
2 green onion stalks chopped (white and green parts) + extra for garnish
1/4 tsp salt - adjust per taste, amount varies depending on mayo used
dash of white pepper
dash of cayenne
1 avocado halved and sliced
12 small corn tortillas
canola oil for frying

limes for garnish
microgreens or cilantro for garnish  


1. Place crab meat in a medium bowl. Break up the flakes into smaller pieces with your hands. Add in mayonnaise, red onion, and green onions. Give it a good mix. Season with salt, white pepper, and cayenne. Give it another good mix and then cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

2. While the crab salad is chilling, fry up your tortillas. Pour canola oil into a skillet, enough that you have about an inch of oil. Heat over medium high heat. You want it hot enough that the tortillas sizzle immediately as they hit the oil. Place tortillas in the hot oil and fry up for 1 minute on each side. Place fried tortillas on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

3. Assemble your tostadas. Place a scoop of crab salad on a tostada. Place a slice of avocado on top. Garnish with some red onions, green onions and micro greens. Squeeze a bit of lime juice on top and enjoy!

Crab Salad Tostadas

Strawberry Basil Glazed Donuts

Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts
Strawberry Basil Donuts

Hello from Chicago! Well, by the time you read this I will be a zombie trying to make it through the day in San Francisco. I'm currently incredibly full from dinner, curled up in my hotel bed and watching TLC. It's awesome. I'm in Chicago for a couple days for work, so I've been spending my days in a stuffy construction site getting all dusty and punching things. I'm not literally punching things! One of the very last steps of an architecture/interior design project is completing the punch walk, which is when you walk through the entire project noting every little and big thing that needs to be fixed or adjusted. Punching! It's sort of fun but also really exhausting. I would equate it to museum exhaustion. You know, that mental and physical tiredness from slowly sauntering and reading every artist placard. 

After a day of punching, we headed over to Avec for dinner and it was amazing! They had this avocado and sweet potato salad with a garlic dressing and za'atar that I need to recreate the second I'm finally home for an extended period of time and can actually cook again! Gosh, I miss my tiny zero counter space kitchen. I miss making myself matchas in the morning, spending too much time fixing myself a pretty bowl of yogurt, and VEGETABLES. Gosh, I need vegetables. I was also in Cleveland this weekend for some quality family time, which is typically a marathon eating session. So I'm just v v v v v full and am in desperate need of vegetables. Despite the constant discomfort of being full, I do love trying all these new dishes from eating out and getting inspired to create new things in my own kitchen. The notepad in my phone that lists all my random recipe ideas is getting real good and real exciting.

These Strawberry Basil Donuts are actually inspired by the Blueberry Basil Bourdon Donuts from Blue Star Donuts in Portland. They are one of the many things I ate in Portland and said to myself, "oh man, I gotta steal this idea!" 😛 I loved the natural sweetness and tartness from the berries and the herbaceousness (that's a word I think) from the basil. It was a flavor combo I don't encounter often in the dessert world. Instead of blueberries I used strawberries because it's strawberry season in California and the the farmer's market is bursting with them! The strawberries also make a really lovely pale pink glaze that I feel like is very on trend right now if color trends are your thing. I'm also participating in my very first internet food blogger party thing! A bunch of other fellow food bloggers created incredible strawberry inspired recipes! If you're interested in checking them out, here are the links to them all below! Also check out #strawberriesarethejam for some drool worthy content!

Square Meal Round Table’s Roasted Balsamic Strawberry Pavlova
The Cooking of Joy’s Strawberry Matcha Cream Cheese Tart
This Healthy Table’s Strawberry Tahini Shortcake
Flours in Your Hair’s Strawberry Milk Donuts
The Wood and Spoon’s Strawberry Icebox Pie
Smart in the Kitchen’s Rustic Strawberry Galette
The Herb and Spoon’s Strawberry-Jam Filled Brioche Donuts
Better with Biscuit’s Straw "berry" Cobbler  
My Kitchen Love’s Strawberry Rhubarb Tart
Sift and Simmer’s Rose Strawberry Hibiscus Mille Crepe Cake
What Great Grandma Ate’s No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Bars (Paleo, Vegan)
A Modest Feast’s Greek Yogurt With Crispy Quinoa and Roasted Strawberries
Hola Jalapeno’s Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Margarita
Worthy Pause’s Strawberry-Basil Shrub Cocktail
Hot Dishing It Out’s Panna Cotta with Strawberry Jelly
Figs & Flour’s Shrimp Tacos with Strawberry Apricot Salsa
Pie Girl Bakes’ Strawberry Ginger Pie
Crumb Top Baking’s Strawberry Chia Jam Oat Bars
The Gourmandise School’s Strawberry Pistachio Salad
Tiny Kitchen Caper’s Strawberries and Cream Pound Cake
Cook Til Delicious’ Mini Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Ganache
Something New For Dinner’s Watermelon, Tomato and Strawberry Salad with Burrata
A Spicy Perspective’s Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake
Easy and Delish’s Strawberry Brigadeiros
Plays Well with Butter’s Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese, Grilled Chicken, & Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
Katherine in Brooklyn’s Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream
Sugar Salt Magic’s Strawberry Mousse Tart
The Healthy Sins’ Coconut Flour Crepes Topped with Fresh Strawberries and Coconut Yogurt
Lemon Thyme and Ginger’s Strawberry Basil No Churn Ice Cream
Jessie Sheehan Bakes’ Strawberry Basil Turnovers
Bavette Meat & Provisions’ Pickled Green Strawberries

Strawberry Basil Glazed Donuts

makes 12


2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup sugar + a pinch for yeast mixture
1 tsp salt

2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus more for frying


1/3 cup strawberries - hulled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped basil
2 cups confectioner's sugar + more
3 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp salt


1. Combine yeast, warm water, a pinch of sugar in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. You should start to see small bubbles on the surface.

2. In the bowl of your standmixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add in yeast mixture, eggs, and oil. Stir the dough on medium low speed for 7 minutes until smooth.

3. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to proof in a warm place for 2 hours. After proofing, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/2" thick use a 2.5" to 3" diameter biscuit cutter to cut our your donuts. Re-roll your dough scrapes to make additional donuts. Use your index finger to gently press a hole out of the center. Pull the whole part with your hands to stretch out the donut. Place on a parchment paper lines baking tray. Repeat with remaining donuts. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to proof for another 30 minutes.

4. Fill a heavy bottom pot with vegetable oil. I used about 5 cups of oil for my dutch oven. Heat over medium high heat until it reaches 350 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer you can test the oil with a scrap of dough. It should sizzle immediately, brown gradually, and not cook too fast. If it browns too fast the oil is too hot. Fry your donuts in batches for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a wire rack to cool.

5. To prepare your glaze, puree strawberries and basil in a food processor or immersion blender until smooth. Place in a small pot or sauce pan and heat over medium heat for 5 minutes until it has reduced. Place strawberry basil reduction in a small bowl and allow to cool. Gradually mix in confectioner's sugar until smooth. Whisk in milk. Add a little more sugar or milk to reach desired consistency.

6. Dunk a cooled donut into the glaze and allow the glaze to set on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining donuts.

7. Enjoy!

Fried Chicken Bao Sliders


Hello hello hello! I'm back from a long weekend in the desert! It was full of best friends, a fur cladded pool, lots of sun, and a prickly cactus that got stuck in my shoe. I just downloaded my photos and will work on a little Joshua Tree post to share with you guys soon! I'm back home in chilly San Francisco burrito-ed up in my blanket trying to fend off icky germs from flying. I have 5 more flights to take over the next 2 weeks, so I'll be chugging emergen-c and ginger shots for the near future.

Let me see... what is there to update you on??

1. Reuben and I watched The Office in it's entirety in just 5 weeks. Is that insane or impressive? Both? The Office was something I just never got into before, but now it is my favorite show of all time. It's the most perfect show. It's hilarious, it's offensive, it's real, and it's so incredibly sweet. Gosh. I just tear up thinking about how much Jim and Pam love each other. After we watched the last episode it was weird... like, what is there even to watch now?

2. Reuben got me hooked on the latest season of American Idol. So we quickly found something new to obsesses over. The production value of this season is so impressive! Lionel Richie is such a pleasant person! Plus there are countless touching contestant stories, so I still have something to keep me crying every other day. Not that that is hard.

3. Our apartment is going to be the home to a banjo soon. Our neighbors are going to love us.

4. I'm a confident bao maker now. The first time I ever steamed bao dough it was not good. It was bad. They had a weird flavor and didn't really fluff up. Who knows what happened. But after some practice, I got it down!

These fried chicken sliders were inspired by a recent trip to Chick-Fil-A (lol) and a fancy dinner at Liholiho Yacht Club. Just like The Office, I never really got into the hype of Chick-Fil-A. But there is one right by one of my projects, so after some really stressful days it was the perfect eat my feelings pit stop. The bao sliders at Liholiho Yacht Club are filled with grilled beef tongue, peanuts, pickled cucumbers, and some spicy sauce. Their buns are also crusted with poppy seeds, which adds a nice texture but also an awful mess to clean up later. You have been warned that if you go the poppy seed route, you're going to be finding poppy seeds everywhere for the next 3 days. So I guess you could say these sliders are a Chick-Fil-A and Liholiho Yacht Club lovechild!

To make these sliders, you can purchase your own buns at your local asian market or bakery. But I really do love a freshly steamed bun! The buns are super light and fluffy, but have the integrity and structure to support a crispy slice of fried chicken. I highly recommend that you add some kimchi, slice cucumbers, hoisin, and Sriracha for that crunchy, sweet, salty, tangy, and spicy thang. SO GOOD. How do I get in contact with Chick-Fil-A product development reps?!

Have a happy rest of the week! I'll be reporting back after a quick trip to Cleveland and Chicago this weekend : )

Fried Chicken Bao Sliders

makes 12 bao sliders

steamed bao buns:

1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cup warm water
pinch of sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
oil for brushing
Poppy Seeds (optional)

fried chicken:

2 large chicken breast cut into 12 large strips
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dash of paprika
dash of garlic powder
1/8 tsp baking powder
canola oil for frying

sliced cucumbers
hoisin sauce

to prepare steamed bao dough:

1. Mix yeast, warm water, and pinch of sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. You should see a few small bubbles. Whisk in oil and set aside.

2. Combine baking powder, sugar, and flour in a large bowl. Create a well in the middle of the flour and slowly pour in the yeast mixture. Slowly stir the yeast mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon or with you hands. Keep stirring until you have a ragged dough. Add a few teaspoons of water if the dough still feels a little dry. Gather your dough into a rough ball on a clean work surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic.

3. Grease a large bowl with a bit of oil. Place dough ball in the bowl and over with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Place in a warm place (in the oven with the door left ajar) to proof for one hour. Dough should double.

4. Punch down the dough. Place on a clean work surface and shape into 4"x12" log. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Take one piece of dough and roll into a 4"x6" oval. Place oval on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover the tray with a wet kitchen towel and allow to proof again for another 30 minutes. While these proof again, cut out 12 4"x3" sheets of parchment paper

5. Bring a lot pot (that perfectly fits your bamboo steamer) of water to a boil. 

6. Lightly brush each piece of dough with oil. Fold in half. Brush the top with oil and press into a plate of poppy seeds. Place the bun on a sheet of parchment and then place into a bamboo steamer. Repeat with remaining buns.

7. Place the bamboo steamer on top of the pot of boiling water and steam for 10 minutes. Once steamed, remove from the steamer and allow to cool on a wire rack.

to prepare the fried chicken:

1. Marinade the chicken in buttermilk for 30 minutes.

2. Beat eggs in a small bowl and combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and baking powder in a shallow dish.

3. Dip slice of chicken in flour, then in the egg, and then back into the flour. Place on a dish and repeat with remaining chicken.

4. Add canola oil into a heavy bottom skillet until hot (350 degrees). Add in chicken and fry for 5 to 7 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel. Repeat with remaining chicken.

to assemble the bao sliders:

1. Place a piece of fried chicken in a bun, smear on hoisin and Sriracha, add a bit of kimchi and sliced cucumbers, and enjoy!