Dec 30, 2008

Vosges Haute Chocolat - My Sweet Treat from Las Vegas

I'm back from Vegas!
Haven't been to Las Vegas for more than 2.5 years,
Now I have discovered even more yummy joints in this dessert city,
I'll post up some local restaurants in the future, but let's start with something sweet first!

Vosges, the chocolate boutique located on the first floor of Caesars Palace's Forum Shop.
My friend told me about this place before the trip,
However, after shopping for hours, I completely forgot about it..
I was like a busy bee, flying here and there to search for the best bargain,
My hands got sore carrying the legs got tired...then all the sudden, I saw this purple cute space,

Without a second thoughts,
I used up my last energy, hasted to the store, and shopped even more.

Exotic truffle collection 16pc-

Close up for the Viola truffle-

I think this is the cutest one among all other truffles in the box,
Haven't tasted it yet, figured I'd better take a nice picture before I devour it.

Here is the description from the website for Viola:
Made with "milk chocolate + candied violet flower. A classic combination of milk chocolate and fresh cream, topped with a touch of Provence, France. In Victorian times, candied violets adorned cakes, pastries and puddings."

So far I only tried the bacon one (yes, you heard me, I said BACON!) and the yam one.

One night I was in a hurry rushing to leave my place and meet up with my friend,
Didn't even have time to read the description, I just picked one truffle from the box and ate it on the way.

I am so glad that I didn't read the description.
I was guessing what in the world were the ingredients inside that little black sphere.
In my mind, there were caramel and pepper,
Because the first thing that hit my palate was the creamy and silky texture inside the truffle,
Quickly after that,
I tasted a few small bits of spicy "objects,"
It's like biting into tiny peppercorns.

When I got home, I couldn't wait to open the box again to read the description,
The name of the truffle is "Field Songs," made with roasted yams, maple syrup, and African grains of paradise.
Wow! I was wayyyyyyy off!

And here is the close up picture for the bacon truffle I had-

After taking one bite-

I'm in love with those exotic truffles,
They look good, taste good, and fun to play with!

The name for the bacon truffle I had is "Blues."
The bacon was "slow-roasted on steaming applewood embers, imparting a rich, sultry smoke flavor that gently emerges beneath the milk chocolate."
The description from the box tells it all!

When I was in the boutique, they also have honey flavored truffle as one of the seasonal items.
Too bad I'm the only one who really enjoy chocolate in the household,
Otherwise there won't be one box of truffles, but tons of them sitting in my bags right now!

That is a good thing or a bad thing?
Cindy's Rating: 7

Vosges Haute Chocolat - Las Vegas
Located in Caesars Palace

3500 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Forum Shops, Suite R04
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 836-9866

Dec 22, 2008

White Chocolate Chips and Macadamia Cookies? Scones?

Can I call that cookies? Maybe fat cookies will do?
Or I can disguise it as a scone?

This is what happened...
In my head,
There was a image of a dozen perfectly round, flat cookies lining up on the baking sheet.
And everything seems right during the "cookie" making process,

When I lid up the light in the oven,
I saw a dozen fat...scones?
What is that!?

Starring at those fatties...
I gradually transferring them to the rack,
Hoping that as the heat dissipates, the cookies will miraculously loose some of the weights..

Nope, that did not happen.

Kinda disappointed..(very I should say)..
I took a bite of my over weighted cookie,
Not bad at all!
Oh well, I guess having supersized cookies once a while isn't a bad idea.

Ingredients (for 15 fat ones or 20 skinny ones)?

1/2 cup of butter (room temperature)
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of honey
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of white chocolate chips
1/2 cup of chopped macadamia


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheits.

Mix the melted butter and the brown sugar till well blended.
Add the egg and beat till soft and fluffy.
Then pour in few drops of vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of honey, and mix for a little bit longer.

Have another bowl ready,
Mix the all purpose flour, salt, and baking soda,
Then transfer those ingredients to the other bowl, mix everything till well combined.
Stir in the white chocolate chips and macadamia.

Have a parchment paper line up on the baking sheet,
Scoop the mixture as little balls onto the sheet,

Here's where my mistake happened,
Make sure you don't get too greedy and scoop a gigantic portion to the baking sheet,
Just a little bit will do, melon baller will be a good tool here,
Maybe press it down a bit can help also.

Set those mixture about 1 inch apart.
Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, or till slightly brown on the top.

Cindy's Rating: 7
(Even though it's fat, my "scone" still tastes pretty good!)

By the way,
I gonna go to Vegas for the holiday, probably won't be online for a few days,
So before I get back to my blog, I would like to wish you guys....

Merry Christmas !!!
Ho ho ho ho~~~!

Dec 16, 2008

Pork and Pickled Cabbage Hot Pot - 酸菜白肉鍋

Snow alert!
I'm so happy that my snowboard season is finally here!
It's been too long since the last time I set my feet on the board,
The snow season has been delayed every year,
We really need to do something to solve this global warming crisis!

(Cough cough) I got carried away there,
Let's save the global warming talk later yep?

So with happy tears circling in my eyes,
I finally got on my board last weekend at Mammoth Lakes,
It was freezinnnnnggggggggg, but I absolutely loved it!

Sadly, happiness can never last too long,
I had to drag my sore legs, aching muscle, and empty stomach back to real life.
There is nothing I can do about my exhausted body,
I can make something to warm up my stomach!

- Simplified pork and pickled cabbage hot pot -

20 slices of thin sliced semi-fat pork (I used shabu pork from Mitsuwa)
2 bundles of pickled cabbage (I used nearly two bags from Ranch 99)
12 shitake mushroom (stemmed)
1 box of grilled tofu (medium firm tofu works too)
2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 fermented bean curd 豆腐乳
2 tablespoons of sesame sauce
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of hot water
(You can use the soup to replace the water. However, remember to use less soy sauce since the soup is salty already)


Take out the pickled cabbage from the package,
You can make it yourself, but I'm talking about simplified version of the hot pot here.
Rinse it with water and soak for at least 10 minutes.
Chop it into thin slices and drain the water before putting into the pot.

Have a medium soup pot ready,
I use ceramic cooking pot (砂鍋) for this dish,
It's like one of the must haves cooking ware for Chinese food, love it.
So pour in the water till about 70% full,
Bring to a boil,
Turn to medium heat and toss in 2 chicken bouillon cubes,
Give it a stir so the cubes can melt evenly in the pot.

Add all the ingredients except pork slices to the soup,
Bring to a boil again then let it simmer afterwards.

Remember to taste the soup before serving,
I like it really sourish, so I add lots of pickled cabbage into the pot,
You and adjust the flavor by the using different amount of pickled cabbage.

For the pork slices,
It'll be wonderful if you have an induction cooker,
The soup will remain its temperature,
And you can "shabu" the meat and eat it immediately after the color turned white.
However, if you don't have an induction cooker, it's no big deal,
Just toss in all the pork slices and serve the dish right after the meat is cooked.

Oh, don't forget to dip the pork slices with the sauce!

For the sauce, just mix all the sauce ingredients together and stir it well.

The whole dish can be done in less than 30 minutes,
(I feel like Rachel Ray here)
Feeling cold there?
This dish will definitely do the job!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Dec 10, 2008

Veggies with Black Bean Soy Sauce 蔭醬油炒時蔬

Got veggies?


4 bundles of bok choy 青江菜
2 small bamboo shoot (You can buy the peeled, packaged ones from Chinese supermarket)
1 small onion
12 shitake mushroom
Black bean soy sauce
Soy sauce
Extra virgin olive oil


Let's prepare the veggies first.
If you are using the fresh bamboo, peel off the outer tough skin,
The outer skin has a dark brown color and lots of fiber,
Just remove it till the the white center part is showing.
Cut the bamboo into thin slices,
Remember to discard the very bottom slice.

For other veggies,
Simple chop the onion into thin slices,
Remove the root part for the bok choy,
And pick out the stems for the mushroom, gently rinse it or clean it with a damp kitchen towel.

Now let's move on to the real cooking part.
Have a pot of boiling water ready,
Toss in the mushroom, bok choy, and bamboo slices,
Let it boil for about 10 seconds, drain it well and set aside.

In the meantime,
Drizzle some olive oil in the pan,
Toss in the onion and sprinkle some salt,
Cook till the onion turns translucent.
Add about 4 tablespoons of black bean soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons of water,
Bring to a boil,
Transfer all the veggies back into the pan,
Give it a quick stir, cook for another minute,
This healthy veggie dish is ready to go!

Cindy's Rating: 7

I love to have one bite of bamboo first and then eat the whole mushroom right after,
The crunchiness from the bamboo plus the soft texture from the mushroom always make my palate very happy!

Dec 1, 2008

General Tao's Chicken - 左宗棠雞

Update for my wisdom tooth trauma.

So I went to the dentist the day before Thanksgiving,
Yes, smart me,
What a way to avoid a feast, an opportunity to munch on roasted turkey by visiting the dentist right before Thanksgiving.

I even brought Sprinkles cupcakes to the clinic as a way to "bribe" the nurses there,
Hoping that my journey of popping out the wisdom tooth will be less painful,
Did it work? Well, I hope so.
To make long story short,
Basically, in order to get rid of my stubborn tooth, the dentist had to knock it into 3 pieces.
All that hard work is because of my crooked tooth,
It shapes like a little hook on the bottom,
Think about Captain Hook, get the idea?

Ended up I was on the bed/or on the sofa the whole day on Thanksgiving.

But I'm glad that everything is over,
I can't wait to chew on some meat after eating days of soft food,
Let's have General Tao's Chicken for dinner!


1 lb of boneless chicken thigh meat (cut into bite sizes)
Few red chili peppers (remove the seeds and cut into slices)
*I use 5 small chilies, spicy food rules!
5 to 8 cloves of garlic (peeled, sliced)

For the marinate:

2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine
2 teaspoons of corn starch 太白粉

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of ketchup
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of black vinegar
2 teaspoons of Chinese cooking wine


First let's marinade the chicken for at least 30 minutes.

Heat up some frying oil in the pan,
Wait until it turns very hot, toss in the chicken,
Fry the chicken till the sides turned slight brown, remove the chicken and set aside.

Pour out some oil from the pan, but make sure there's at least 3 tablespoons of oil left,
Toss in the chili and garlic, cook till the aroma comes out,
Make sure you don't burn the garlic!
So before that happens, pour all the ingredients for the sauce into the pan.
About 10 seconds then pour the chicken back to the pan,
Cook till the sauce is reduced to half,
This dish is done!

Cindy's Rating: 7