Yearly Archives: 2009

Chocolate Cake Truffles

I first had this chocolate cake truffle when my co-worker made them and brought them to the office.  They were amazing!  I have modified the recipe and removed the oil and frosting to make it lower in calories and fat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of chocolate cake mix (or make your own from scratch)
  • Nasoya Chocolate Silken Creations: 3/4 cup
  • Milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips: 1 big bag

Directions:

  1. Bake the chocolate cake.  If using the store bought chocolate mix, instead of oil, replace it with apple sauce on a 1:1 ratio.  It doesn’t matter what kind of pan you use to bake the cake.
  2. After the cake is cooled, put the entire cake into a big bowl and mash up the cake so it’s in crumbs.
  3. Add the chocolate Creations to the cake crumbs.  A very moist dough will form. 
  4. Use a small cookie dough scoop to scoop out the mixture onto a plate.  Roll each of the little balls in your palm to make sure the ball is tight and compact.
  5. Put the chocolate balls into the freezer for at least 4 hours.
  6. Heat the chocolate chips in the microwave to melt.  If you like your truffles with a soft chocolate shell, use just the melted chocolate.  If you like a crunchy chocolate shell, after melting the chocolate, add more chocolate chips into the melted ones so you temper the chocolate. 
  7. Dip the chocolate cake balls into the melted chocolates and set aside to set.  This part will be messy.  I used a spoon in one hand and a pastry brush in the other hand to brush the chocolate on.  Or just wear gloves if you don’t want to get your hands all sticky.
  8. After the chocolate sets, it’s ready to enjoy!

Remember these truffles must be refrigerated at all times as Silken Style Creations require refrigeration.

Enjoy the Go!

I’ve seen a lot of marketing tactics over the years.  I learned about them in business school and as a person who works in marketing now.  While I was in New York, I now have seen marketing taken to a whole new level.

Charmin, the brand that makes toilet paper rolls, rented out a building in Time Square.  There is a lady dressed in a toilet costume outside the building encouraging people to go inside.  The slogan is: Charmin, Enjoy the Go!

Enjoy the go

So you go up the escalator and there are lots and lots of bathrooms.  There is also a DJ there encouraging people to, well…go!  Drop it while it’s hot!

After you have made your attempt to go, successful or not, you arrive at a computer station to rate your “go.”  There are also 2 computer stations for you to tweet and update your facebook status on what you have just experienced.

There is a play area for kids to jump in a roll with toilet paper rolls!

Toilet Paper roll bin

Remember those graffiti you see when you use a public restroom?  Well, Charmin is letting you have the opportunity to “Leave your Mark” in one of their bathrooms, 21st century style.  How can I pass this opportunity up to market the company I work for? Go Vitasoy!  Remember to eat lots of tofu and drink our Fiber Fortified San Sui Soymilk to help keep you regular!

Leave your mark

Leave your mark 2

Then as a keepsake of the “go” you just experienced, jump on this big toilet and the staff there will take a picture of you and print the picture out for your to take home and show all your friends.

Charmin Big Toile

As grossed out as you might be right now, this is definitely one of the coolest marketing ideas I have ever seen.  Seriously, look at it like it’s a science.  People lined up and waited to experience this, other than just the convenient fact that they needed to find clean bathroom in Time Square.  Did this marketing experience make me want to switch my toilet paper brand from Cottonelle?  Absolutely not!  The use of the yellow lab puppy as the Cottonelle mascot is just too irresistible.  Cottonelle toilet paper is the official toilet paper for Latte’s House.  Think poopy thoughts!

New York Trip

Luke had the opportunity to go to New York for a conference so I decided to tag along.  We dropped Latte off to be a wild woman at the kennel and started our road trip.  For the first night, the number one thing on our mind was food….GOOD FOOD!

DAY 1:

We had dinner in   on 32nd Street and Broadway.  BCD Tofu house is a big Korean food chain specializing in…tofu!  More specifically, tofu hotpot, a popular dish for Koreans.

BCD Tofu House Tofu Pot

Luke had Korean BBQ Squid.  Luke loves squid!

BCD Tofu House BBQ

After our fabulous dinner, we walked two doors down to what would become our newest obsession in dessert: Pinkberry!

Here is there menu: notice the calorie labels since it is a requirement in New York.

Pinkberry Menu

So the idea is that you pick the flavor of frozen yogurt, in my case, green tea flavor, then you choose your toppings: mochi, mangoes, chocolate, and captain crunch!

Pinkberry Green Tea

Luke chose the passionfruit flavor with: mochi, strawberry, mango, and granola

Pinkberry Mango

This was delicious!  We talked about it for the next 4 days, none stop!

On this night, we bought tickets to see Phantomof the Opera.  If you are Broadway first timer, I highly recommend this show to start.  It’s the longest running show on Broadway.  Even though the show is old, the music is always wonderful and special effects are still great by today’s standards.

DAY 2

This day was a very rainy day.  Because of the rain, we canceled our plan to go to Chinatown and the World Trade Center memorial as their are quite far.  We decided to walk up 5th Avenue and look at all the stores and decorations.  Luke is a big fan of basketball which meant the NBA store was a must stop for him.

Here is Luke vs. MBA players in height:

NBA Store Height

Here is Luke’s hand size vs. Dirk Nowitzki’s hand size:

NBA Store Hand

FAO Schwarz had a huge store on 5th Avenue.  Check out this nutcracker soldier made of candy:

Candy Nutcracker

This was my favorite Christmas tree on this trip, inside the Westin hotel we were staying at:

Westin Christmas Tree

Tonight was also a very important night, we were going to a Japanese restaurant called En, recently reviewed on Food and Wine magazine.  I made the reservation 3 weeks in advance to eat here.  I was especially interested in this restaurant because their own hand made tofu got a very good review in the magazine.  Since I work for a tofu company and eat lots of tofu, I had to try En’s tofu at least once.  After getting there and looking at their menu:

En Menu

Luke and I decided on the Kaiseki set, which is a set menu based on ingredients that are in season.  Our first course was called O-Banzai.  It’s came in 3 little dishes.  The flavors ranged from very light (right) to strong (left) to start off our palettes.

En O Banzai

Then we had sashimi:

En Sashimi

Before moving on to the next course in our Kaiseki dinner, our special ordered tofu hot pot came: The tofu was made in the pot since it was in the pot’s shape.  The garnish included dehydrated seaweed, green onions, and radish.  The sauce was an acidic sauce, not very salty.  It was a very special dish, the tofu was very light, softer than silken tofu and had a nice beany flavor.

En Tofu Hotpot

Then moving on with our Kaiseki dinner to miso marinated black cod:

En Black Cod

The next course was also tofu, which En made themselves.  Instead of hot, this time it’s served chilled: the chilled version actually seemed a little firmer than the hot pot version, probably due to the time the coagulant had to set.  It was paired with light Japanese soy sauce as the only added flavoring.  Very very good again.

En Chilled Tofu

Next was the main course, which was pork belly in the original menu: I thought it was really funny that this dish came with a Chinese version of soy sauce marinated egg.

En Kakunni

Instead of pork belly, I traded for sea bass:

En Sea Bass

The next course is the traditional bowl of rice to end the meal.  Keep in mind by this time we were very very full already.  Usually in Taiwan we get a steamed bowl of sweet rice with fish roe on top.  En decided to do Ochazuke, which means rice in tea, or fish sauce.  This is the perfect dish to have on a warm day.   First it comes with the fish sauce on the side, a clear broth and the rice in a bowl.  You are suppose to pour the broth into the rice and mix everything together.

En Ochazuke Before

En Ochazuke

Last but not least, dessert finishes this perfect meal: pumpkin ice cream!  Even though I was really full and couldn’t finish my ochazuke, I had no problem finishing my ice cream here!

En Dessert

While we were there, I think we were the only table that ordered Kaiseki.  The other tables ordered individual dishes from the menu.  We’ll have to try that next time, definitely worth coming back again!

New York also has numerous cupcake bakeries.  I think Crumbs has the best cupcake though.  The Magnolia bakery cupcake was quite small for the price.  Crumbs cupcakes came in many flavors: Boston cream, Smores, Cappuccino, Red Velvet, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Mint…etc.  Just remember, one cupcake is not for one person.  Eat only a couple of bites at a time as each cupcake has about 500 calories!  Even though cupcakes are a great dessert, we still like Pinkberry!  Pinkberry rocks!

Crumbs Bakery

New York’s night scene is also very beautiful since you get to see the Christmas decorations light up.  Rockfeller center had a huge tree and looked beautiful with all the lights.

Rockfeller Center Christmas Tree

R*d L*bster Cheese Biscuits

I love these biscuits from the very well know restaurant chain R*d L*bster.  They give you a whole basket of these before your meal and they always come warm, fluffy, and delicious!  Here is my healthier version:

Ingredients:

  • Bisquick mix: 2 1/2 cups
  • Soymilk (unsweetened): 1 cup
  • Shredded cheese: 1 cup

Mix everything together in a mixing bowl.  If the mixture looks really dry, add a little more soymilk, one table spoon at a time.  Portion the mixture and form into little balls.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and enjoy!

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Thai Chiang Mai Curry

I love Thai food and I have recently started to learn how to make them.  This dish is suppose to be eaten with egg noodles but I didn’t have any on hand.  It went really well with rice though!

Ingredients:

Heat pan and start by adding all the liquids, then the dry powders, tofu, and mushrooms.  This way your tofu and mushrooms won’t stick to the pan and you won’t need any cooking oil.  After the pot starts to boil, turn to low heat and cook until mushrooms have softened.

Note: The corn starch and soymilk are in replacement for the unsweetened coconut milk.  I find coconut milk to be too heavy.  I am sure milk would work the same way.  The corn starch is used to thicken the curry since coconut milk is very thick.  The ratio is about 1 cup of milk to 2-3 tsp of corn starch, depending on how thick you like your curry.

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Thanksgiving 2009 – Massachusetts

Every Thanksgiving since Luke and I have been together, he wants me to make this brine turkey.  I learned this from the food network by Alton Brown.  This brine turkey is very easy to make:

  • Chicken stock: 1 gallon
  • Ice Water: 1 gallon
  • Salt: 1/2 cup
  • Sugar: 1/4 cup
  • Onion: 1 medium
  • Apple: 1 medium

Boil some of the stock to melt the salt and sugar then cool it down.  Find a big container that can fit the turkey with all the liquids, about 5 gallons and put the turkey, chicken stock, water, and ice all into the container breast side down.  On the morning you want to make the turkey, turn the turkey breast side up so the other side will get the brine.  Brine the turkey for at least 12 hours, 24 is better.  Remember to keep the turkey in a cold place and fill it up with ice at the top.  Having made this turkey while living in Wisconsin, keeping the turkey cold was NOT a problem!

When you are ready to cook the turkey, boil the onion and apple with water in the microwave to cook it.  Stuff the onion and apple into the stomach of the turkey.  Heat the oven to 500 degrees and bake for 30 mins to brown the top of the turkey.  After 30 mins, turn the oven down to 350 degrees, cover the top of the turkey with foil.  Bake the turkey until the breast is at 161 degrees, about 2 1/2 hours for a 14 pound turkey. 

Take the turkey out of the oven and rest for 15 minutes.  During the resting period, DO NOT remove the meat themometer.  Remember, the turkey is resting, don’t disturb it! 

After the turkey is all rested, carve and serve!  Happy Thanksgiving!P1010883

Korean Miso

Ever seen Korean miso (fermented soybean)?  We went to H Mart today and someone was demoing miso soup.  Check on this jar of miso!  Yes, this is the only size it comes in.  Notice the left hand corner label says this is a 4.4 pound jar!

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Mochi Bread! 韓式麻糬麵包

Ever heard of Mochi bread?  It’s all the rage for the past couple of years in Taiwan.  There are 2 types of mochi bread: one that is crunchy on the outside and chewy like mochi on the inside and one with the regular bread but with a mochi stuffing inside.  I like both but the first type with just the dough is very different and special.  Thanks to H Mart that recently opened, I finally have access to this special flour again!  Before this, my parents were my dealers for this addiction of mine! 

This is what the package looks like:

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There are 2 packages of the flour inside one box. 

Here is the recipe:

1 package of the flour

1 Egg

5 Tbsp water

Mix into dough, divide dough into 8 to 10 pieces. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

I put canned pumpkin into the bread before I bake it as stuffing which turned out great!  Perfect dessert on a cold day!

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Fall Colors at White Mountain in New Hampshire

Ever since we moved here, so many people have told us about the fall colors of New England.  A group of friends invited us to go to White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire to sight see.  Since White Mountain National Forest allowed dogs, we decided to take Latte along for this mini road trip.

Latte has an obsession with car rides.  She doesn’t care if the car ride ends at the Vet office or dog park, she just LOVES car rides.

Wind in Latte's ears

Yellow me with a yellow lab with yellow trees!  Say YELLOW!

We found this little path by a bridge that was lined with the yellow leaves.  Many have fallen already since it was considered peak of the season.  Me with yellow jacket, with a yellow lab, with the yellow trees.

 Even though the local map says we are on a mountain, the mountain is not very high at all.  There were quite a bit of rivers and waterfalls though.

Beautiful view by the river

 Latte was super excited by all the stops we made as mostly were next to some body of water.  She was really distracted.  This is us attempting to make her look at the camera:

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 No fall color trip should be complete without the view of a tree with leaves turned completely red.

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 After a whole day of driving, Latte and I found our dinner together!

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紅豆餅 – Taiwanese Red Bean Cookie

紅豆餅 is my all time favorite, must have when I go back to Taiwan.  After living in El Paso and Wisconsin, I have come to face the fact that if I want to eat 紅豆餅, I have to make it myself.  That’s when I bought myself the tools to make it!  Here is how:

Ingredients:

  • Egg: 1
  • Flour: 130g
  • Corn Starch: 40g
  • Baking Powder: 3g
  • Powdered Sugar: 50g
  • Milk or Soymilk: 100g
  • Red bean paste: 1 cup

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together to create the batter
  2. Be careful not to over beat the batter because you want the cookie to come out fluffy
  3. If the batter seems really thick, as in hard to spread when you put the batter into the mold, add a bit of water 1 tablespoon at a time to dilute it.
  4. Heat the mold on the stove, spray a little cooking oil so the batter releases easily.
  5. Take a soup spoon and put into the mold. 
  6. Immediately spread the batter around and make sure you coat the side, this will build a little “wall” so you have room for filling
  7. Repeat filling the batter for the other 3 molds
  8. Put red bean filling in the middle for 2 of the molds
  9. After about 2 min, check the ones without the filling to see if you can release it.  They should be light golden in color on the other side.
  10. Release the ones from step 9 and put it on top of the ones with the filling
  11. Cook until golden brown, flip if needed to get the same color on both sides.

Note: feel free to substitute the filling to other things like taro paste, chocolate, sesame paste…etc.

Mold

The delicious result!

The delicious result!