Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Santa got run over by a reindeer?!

No. But he did encounter some unexpected turbulence on his long flight from Vancouver.

This chocolate art sculpture by Thomas Haas (my favorite chocolatier!) was a belated Christmas gift from my good friend Liz. Despite a valiant effort from Liz to keep Santa safe during his flight, he still sustained several injuries along the way.

Poor Santa. But nothing I couldn't fix with some melted chocolate and a tube of white icing.

Well, I'm happy to say that Santa and his chocolate house have been restored to their former glory :)

Happy New Year!


Monday, December 21, 2009

The best kind of gifts are the ones you can eat...

I got a wonderful surprise in the mail last week, a container of homemade fudge, sent by my friend Erin and lovingly made by her mother-in-law, Lois:

I have to admit I was skeptical at first when Erin told me about her mother-in-law's famous fudge. I'd never really been a fan of fudge before, all the varieties I've tried have either been too sweet or artificial tasting. But Lois' fudge, which she's been making for the last 30 years, was melt-in-your-mouth AMAZING, especially the white almond flavor. So good in fact that I was forced to ration out the remaining pieces so we wouldn't devour it all in one sitting (and so hubby and I wouldn't fight over it).

The next day I called Erin and pleaded her to get the recipe from her mother-in-law...

Lois' Famous White Almond Fudge
(makes 3 lbs)
3 cups sugar
3/4 cups butter (margarine will also work but butter is better, see note*)
2/3 cup or 6oz evaporated milk
1 12oz package of white (vanilla) chips
1 7oz jar marshmallow cream
1 cup sliced almonds, crushed (see note**)
1 scant Tbsp almond extract

Combine sugar, butter and evaporated milk in 2 ½ qt saucepan. Bring to a FULL ROLLING BOIL stirring constantly. Continue boiling and stirring for a full 5 minutes over medium heat. Use a timer, don’t guess. Remove from heat and stir in chips until completely melted. Add marshmallow cream, nuts and almond extract. Pour into a buttered 9x13 pan (I like to use glass pans). Cool at room temperature. I like to cut the pieces just before they are completely cooled but don’t try to remove them until they are completely cooled.

Phyllis' notes:
*I detected a hint of salt in Lois' fudge so I used salted butter
**I substituted chopped slivered almonds because they were all I could find in our local supermarket (try shopping for baking supplies the day before a blizzard hits the Northeast). But I really loved the results using the skinless almonds, it gave the fudge a lovely milky white color throughout:

Perfect for the holidays...

Thank you to Erin and her husband Dan for sending us the fudge (and for not eating it all before it could make it to the post office).

And a special thanks to Lois for sharing her easy and fabulous recipe.

Thank you so much for thinking of us :)


Friday, December 4, 2009

It's Raining Bulgogi

Have you seen
Ninja Assassin yet? This movie is NOT for the faint of heart, possibly the most violent movie I've ever seen, with buckets of blood and severed body parts flying everywhere. Gratuitous violence is not typically my thing, but I owed hubby Kris a movie after I forced him to watch New Moon (the 2nd movie in the Twilight series) with me last week.

While the plot kinda sucked and the supporting actors were really annoying, I found myself completely captivated by the lead actor, Korean R&B/pop mega-star
Rain (in his first starring role in an American movie). Although his lines were minimal and consisted mostly of 5-words-or-less sentences, I couldn't ignore his magnetic on-screen presence, although hubby would argue that I was just mesmerized by his sexy abs (hubba hubba). Seriously, Rain's body is SICK in this movie (I'm talkin' zero percent body fat, people!)

I guess I must've been living under a rock or something because prior to watching Ninja Assassin, I'd never even heard of Rain, who apparently is one of the biggest stars in Asia. He's also a frequent player on the
Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world - currently ranked #9, right below the Pope!

Over the past few years, Rain's been involved in a heated 'rivalry' with his Time 100 arch-nemesis, political satirist/comedian
Stephen Colbert. Check out the Colbert/Rain rivalry in this hilarious video from Comedy Central (be sure to stick around till the end of the clip for a dramatic 'Dance Off' between Rain and Colbert):

The Colbert Report
Stephen vs. Rain
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor

So wait a minute, isn't this blog normally about food? Hold on, I'm getting to it...

A couple days ago I had a sudden craving for
bulgogi so I decided to make it for dinner that night. I haven't made bulgogi at home in a very long time, so of course hubby got a little suspicious and accused me of craving Korean food only because I had "Rain on the brain". LOL! Guilty as charged :)

(Ninja Assassin-style, inspired by Rain)


4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/3rd cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp brown sugar
Juice from 1/2 of an Asian pear, grated
2 Tbsp mirin
2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
1/2 red onion**, roughly chopped

1 - 1 1/2 lbs thinly sliced ribeye steak***
2 tsp vegetable oil
splash of Coca-cola****
cornstarch slurry, 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp of cold water (optional)*****


Puree marinade ingredients till smooth in a food processor or blender.******

Place sliced ribeye into a gallon-sized ziploc bag and pour marinade over. Tighly seal bag and lightly 'massage' the marinade into the meat. Marinate for at least 4 hours, refrigerated, flipping the bag over half way through the marinating time.

Drain excess marinade from ribeye. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet/frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir fry for 3- 5 minutes till meat is is almost cooked through and edges start to caramelize a bit (if your pan isn't large enough, fry in two batches to avoid over crowding, you don't want to end up boiling the meat).

When meat is almost cooked, throw in a splash of coca-cola for some extra sweetness and flavor and let simmer for a minute.

If using the cornstarch slurry, add now and simmer for another minute.

Serve immediately, over white rice. Or make a bulgogi lettuce wrap with Boston lettuce, white rice, and a dab of Asian chili sauce (
kochujang, sriracha, or chili garlic sauce).


*this is not meant to be an authentic version of bulgogi, just a yummy one :)
**traditional bulgogi recipes usually use green onions/scallions but I find sometimes that gives the bulgogi an grassy unappetizing flavor so I use red onions instead
***I buy razor-thin frozen slices of ribeye at my Asian food market, if you can't find it pre-sliced, freeze your steak for 10 minutes to make it easier to slice thinly
****I just happened to have coca-cola around so I thought "Why not?!" Actually this isn't really that strange because I've seen people marinate their meat in 7-up or cola before!
*****totally non-traditional, but I like to thicken and shine up my sauce a bit with cornstarch, but you can leave the sauce thin and it'll still be delicious
******I puree the marinade because I hate having garlic or onion chunks in the finished product