Monday, February 28, 2011

Unexpected guest

You must be wondering why I posted such a boring picture. Can you see it? Look at the shadow casted by my pile of clothes! It's a perfect profile of a (pretty unattractive) person. Pretty funny, huh? I was so surprised when I saw it. I wanted to show everyone. Thank goodness for a camera or else that pile of clothes would have stayed there for a while. Yeah, pretty random but it made me laugh. Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Paris on my mind

These delicate macarons from Pierre Hermé survived the plane ride home last spring but were quickly enjoyed after this picture was taken :)
One of my good friend is traveling to Paris soon and today I sent her a list of my favorite places to go in the city of love. Just writing up the list makes me wish I was in Paris again. So many beautiful places to see and amazing food to eat. On the top of my list? Macarons, macarons, and macarons! I love them so much. They come in so many pretty colors and fabulous flavors. The top two places to get them in Paris are Ladurée and Pierre Hermé. They are quickly gaining popularity in the US but finding ones that are as good as the ones in Paris are quite difficult. Until I can perfect these at home, I will just daydream about them. Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy Bites

Don't these look fun? The rainbow sprinkles are so cheery. I love them! They're like a celebration all wrapped up into one little bite. They're aptly named Birthday Cake Truffles and can be found at Momofuku's Milk Bar in NYC These are my favorite but the compost cookie and the cereal milk soft serve with cornflake crunch toppings are so good too.

By the way, David Chang is the chef/owner of all the Momofuku restaurants. He is such an amazing and innovative chef. Before you grab these desserts, make sure you go to the Ssäm Bar and try the steamed pork buns. They're insanely delicious. I can't wait to try all of his restaurants one of these days.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chocolate-covered what?

I wish I thought of covering cheerios with chocolate. They are so tasty! The genius behind it is Jacques Torres aka Mr. Chocolate. The combination of the creamy milk chocolate and the crunchy cheerios makes this treat super addictive. Why didn't I buy the bag of corn flakes covered in dark chocolate too?!?! They're a little bit expensive so I might have to try to recreate these at home. Wish me luck!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nature's Painting

I love that daylight is lasting longer as winter is nearing its end. I'm looking forward to seeing beautiful sunsets like this one after a nice long day (not at 4pm!). The colors are always so mesmerizing. If only pictures can truly capture its beauty. I will always try though :) Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Jewelry Tip

I'm going to visit my sister in NYC this weekend. I have to do some light packing and want to share this awesome tip from my sister. She uses pill boxes to store her jewelry whenever she travels. Those little compartments keep all of the pieces from getting mixed up or tangled. I find the cutest pill boxes (like this cat one) in Chinatown's gift shops. It definitely makes this part of packing so much easier. Thanks for the tip sis!

Monday, February 14, 2011

♥ My Valentine ♥

Isn't he the cutest? I love having those lazy mornings with him...just hanging out, talking and goofing around. I love all the little things he does to make me laugh. This will be our 13th Valentine's Day together and we're still smiling!

♥ Wishing you all a Valentine's Day full of love and giggles ♥

Friday, February 11, 2011

Homemade Marshmallows

Fluffy and sweet and perfect in a cup of hot chocolate. I love the look of these large marshmallow cubes. They're a little messy to make but boy are they good! I used this recipe and added a couple drops of red food coloring (along with the vanilla extract) to get this soft pink color. I also omitted the vanilla bean since I didn't have any on hand. You can also cut the marshmallow block with a pizza wheel or kitchen scissors that have been sprayed with cooking oil or dusted with confectioner's sugar.

Put them in a cellophane bag and tie it with a pretty ribbon and you'll have a sweet little gift. It doesn't hurt to include a few packages of good quality hot chocolate mix either!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chocolate Truffles

I love making truffles. They look so sophisticated but the truth is that they are so easy to make. One bite and you might never go back to the store bought ones.

Chocolate Truffles (makes 10-15 small truffles)

4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (look for good quality brands like Guittard or Scharffen Berger)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, unsweetened shredded coconut, and/or toasted coconut flakes, for coating truffles

1. Finely chop the chocolate with a serrated knife. The smaller you chop up the chocolate the easier it will be to melt it.
2. Place the chocolate and butter into a medium-size glass (or heatproof) bowl.
3. Bring the cream to a boil over medium heat. Immediately pour the it over the chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, stir just until all of the ingredients are blended and smooth. (If all of the chocolate still haven't melted, microwave it for 10-15 seconds until it is just melted.)
4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it into the refrigerator. It will take several hours for the truffle mixture to firm up. You can also leave it overnight.
5. Place each coatings in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
6. Line two small sheet pans or two large plates with parchment paper.
7. Take the truffle mixture out of the refrigerator. Using a mini ice cream scoop, a melon baller, or a small spoon, scoop out 10 to 15 bite-sized balls onto one of the sheet pan.
8. Take one chocolate ball and roll it between the palms of your hands to pack in the chocolate and form a rounder truffle. Immediately roll the truffle into the coating of your choice and place it on the other sheet pan. Continue with the rest of the chocolate balls.
9. Once finished, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until firm. Tightly covered, they can be kept in the refrigerator for a week. Just remember they are best served at room temperature so take them out 15-20 minutes before serving them.
10. Enjoy!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

So decadent yet super simple to make. I came up with this recipe after testing out many other recipes and methods. These will surely make someone very happy. Make sure to package them in a nice box before giving them away (if you haven't eaten them all already)!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

1 pint of strawberries (about 12 large ones)
4 ounces semisweet chocolate (look for good quality brands like Guittard or Scharffen Berger)
1. Rinse and drain strawberries. Pat dry with paper towels; making sure to dry them very well.
2. Line a sheet pan or large plate with parchment paper.
3. Chop the chocolate with a serrated knife. The smaller you chop up the chocolate the easier it will be to melt it.
4. Put the chocolate into a small glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Remove, stir and continue to do this (heat for 15-20 seconds and stir) until the chocolate is just melted. Stir until it's completely smooth and slightly cooled.
5. Dip each strawberry two thirds of the way into the melted chocolate. Let the excess chocolate drip off the strawberry as you lift it. Set the strawberries on the parchment paper and let the chocolate harden (about 20 minutes).
6. Enjoy!

Dress them up!
1. Melt 2-4 ounces of white chocolate with the method above and drizzle it onto the chocolate-dipped strawberries.
2. Dip the strawberries in the chocolate and then cover them with chopped almonds, crushed pretzels, or sprinkles before setting them on the parchment paper.
3. Switch things up: dip the strawberries into the white chocolate and drizzle them with dark chocolate instead.

Friday, February 4, 2011

10 Days Away

Robert Indiana's Love Sculpture at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Me. It is so iconic and is one of my favorite sculptures. I just love how this one is stacked and the symmetry that resulted from it.
I'm one of those people who loves to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. Valentine's Day is coming up soon and I'm so excited. To me, it's a celebration of love; not just romantic love so don't limit it to just your lover. It's also the perfect day to give all your loved ones something sweet. In honor of Valentine's Day, all of next week's posts will be simple sweets that you can make and give to all of the special people in your life. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Lunar New Year!

We went to California several years ago to celebrate Lunar New Year. These beautiful red & yellow chrysanthemums were sold in the open markets in Little Saigon. Aren't they amazing?
I always feel so lucky to be able to celebrate two New Years. It isn't until tomorrow but I can't wait for the festivities to begin. There will be so many delicious foods and we'll have so much fun spending time with our family. Wishing everyone a New Year full of good health, better fortune, and much happiness!