Monthly Archives: December 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