Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chinese Valentine's Day (七夕情人節)

Before I decided to post this, I got a special request a few days ago from my little sis in Taiwan. Apparently August 23rd is Chinese Valentine's Day! (Actually, it's July 7th on the Chinese lunar calendar.) I've been living outside of Taiwan for so long that not only I did not know when the holiday is, but I don't have much of a clue about it either! Yes, shame on me! I guess out of "guilt", I'd better post the two recipes she requested for this special holiday.

She told me that she wanted to make 2 things for her special "other half": One is a chocolate dessert so she can write her messages to him; the other one is the famous Chinese dish, Kung Pao Tofu (宮保豆腐). Why Kung Pao tofu, and not chicken? Well, her beloved one does not like eating meat, she explained.

As a Taiwanese person raised on traditional Taiwanese food, I never had this dish while I was growing up, until I went to NY and saw it in all the Chinese restaurants. It's kind of a standard, must-have dish in Chinese restaurants for Westerners (like her "other half"). It is typically quite a flavorful dish, with marinated chicken and lots of chilis, but when you think of tofu, it's rather bland and boring, so to make it as good as the traditional chicken dish is a challenge! I tried my best to fulfill my little sis' wish, so if you're looking for a healthy alternative for this dish, hopefully you'll take a peek at my vegetarian version and maybe even try it. 

Since my sis will be doing the cooking--which means it has to be super easy and require only "cooking 101" skills (sorry, sis, I don't mean to bash you...I'm just teasing), I had to "lower" my standards and level to "think" like her and "cook" like her to create these recipes (more teasing!). You would think it's easy, but as it turned out, it wasn't!  (I guess that makes me no better than her!) Especially for the dessert, she wants to do something that looks fancy but is very simple at the same time. OK...

I love to bake myself but I'm no pastry chef! I looked through my "Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook" and the One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes caught my eyes. That's it, it's perfect for her (and for me too!) I adapted the recipe and made it even more chocolaty and fancy for her. It's a perfect dessert for such occasions. If you're a beginner in baking but you want to impress your lover (friend, other half, whatever...), I encourage you to try it out. It's not as difficult as it looks. By all means, do not be afraid!

I want to thank my little sis for giving me this opportunity to help her and to do this post. I learned a lot through creating these two recipes, and I certainly had a lot of fun doing it, since it was for someone I care about. Little sis, I put a lot of my love in these recipes and hopefully it will bring you a sweet and happy Chinese Valentine's Day. Thank you, this post is dedicated to you! At last, I would also like to thank my hubby for staying up late helping me as my "blog technician" and giving me 200% of his support!!

To view both recipes, click the links at the bottom of the page.

原本上星期想po跟有關Soji的文章跟其它食譜,結果接到"花痴"老妹的text, 才知道今天將是中國七夕情人節,她請求我幫她擠出兩個能夠使她"花痴本能"更加發揮出來的食譜,既然是中國的特別節日,我決定把她給我的這個"任務"趕在今天po上,並給大家中英文版的食譜。

老妹給的這"任務",說難也不是;說簡單也不是。她的廚藝程度算ok, 但是甜點方面的話…我只能用"幼幼班"來形容(醬說好像很不給她面子),要為她寫食譜的話,得"降低"自己的水平,並以她的"思考方式"及"廚藝程度"來考慮這件事(可憐的老妹又再度中槍XD)。

老妹的請求每次都很"特別", 她問我:1. 如何做宮保豆腐?  2. 如何做簡易的巧克力甜點或在現成的巧克力上擠上字樣或圖型。(馬上有被難倒的感覺…)

生為台灣人的我,對宮保XX之類的四川菜一點也不熟悉,加上家裡又不吃辣,一直到出國在紐約居住之後才發現這是一道很多中國餐館必有的菜,而且很是受老外歡迎,我這老妹就喜歡上一個口味典型的老外(啊我是在說自己嗎???) 那為何不是有名的宮保雞丁,而是少見的宮保豆腐呢?  因為"這人"不愛吃肉。


至於甜點的話,我雖然超愛,但我說不上什麼糕點廚師。我自己平時做的糕點,很少在上面放奶油之類的裝飾,一來是有點偷懶,還有就是我其實不太"吃那套",對我來說那些裝飾雖然美麗,但很不健康。老妹本來提到用奶油,糖,及色素…等等卻被我拒絕 (sorry, 我可是為妳美麗的身材及健康找想喔!)

翻出我的一本糕餅大全,稍微參考了一個巧克力杯子蛋糕食譜,並想到可以利用苦甜巧克力醬和少許的白巧克力或糖霜來作裝飾,看起來難度高,卻很容易,很適於我這甜點廚藝不太精,但又想show off的痴情老妹,情人肯定會吃到流淚!搞不好倆人就這樣…(我是說到哪裡去了?干我屁事哩?!)

不過說真的,雖然只有短短幾天的時間寫這篇post有點趕,   但還是忙的蠻開心的,  我自己也學到不少新的東西,想趁這個機會謝謝老妹讓我做這個"任務",我會po這篇都是因為她,  所以想把這篇文章特別獻給她,  這2個食譜充滿著老姐的愛,   希望能帶給妳一個幸福快樂的七夕情人節! 順便在這裡也想感謝一下親愛的老公在最後一刻開夜車當我的"科技顧問"並給予我百分之百的支持! 

Kung Pao Tofu - 宮保豆腐
Easy double chocolate cupcakes with mocha ganache - 摩卡濃情黑巧小蛋糕


Anonymous said...

Also, since Kuo Po Tufu and desert which I have not read are the sub-page of Chinese Valentine's Day, they cannot be found in the labels on the side bar. Would you consider to tag them to receipts as well? I believe you can tag multiple labels in a posting. Just another suggestion! Mei

2sisterset1cat said...

Hi Mei, Thanks for kindly leaving your suggestions on all three of my posts! I will respond to all of them here (since its more practical). These are actually things that I was already aware of and have discussed with my little sis, but since I've been out of town for the last 2 days, I took a little break from working on it. (Who wouldn't want to run away after being stuck in a room for several days with their computer and only 4-5 hours of sleep a night!) As you noticed, I even added more Chinese text right after Valentine's Day along with links at the bottom of the page (but not in two places on the same page, since it wouldn't look so good) and yes, I haven't done the other pages yet.

About the "receipt" you mentioned, I think you probably meant "label." We have been labeling all of our posts, but so far, I have only tagged those 2 recipes under RECIPE (see top), since I knew I would be redoing them anyway. (Don't ask me why - it would take me forever to explain how blogger works....zzzz....), but the short of it is that I'm purposely leaving them as they are for now, because there's a little surprise we're going to give to you readers! (Oh, no! You made me have to give it away here!!!)