Friday, February 12, 2010

Everyone’s seeing red!

We are definitely “in the red” right now.  But that’s a good thing!  This year, Chinese New Year’s happens to fall on February 14, Valentine’s Day.  This is only the third time since 1900 that these two red-hot occasions have coincided.  And how fitting…it’s the Year of the Tiger, which is supposed to be filled with passion and great love.  So mail out the red hearts and surround your house with red roses, then buy yourself a new red outfit and give your loved ones Chinese red envelopes of good luck money.  Let the dual festivities begin!

Celebrate Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year with this non-traditional combination:  chocolate-dipped fortune cookie, nested on scoops of mango and raspberry sorbet.  The extra-sweet surprise -- the custom fortune inside!  Read on for details, and see recipe post.  

So far, I have posted a variety of Dragon Lady recipes, but haven’t shared any traditional Chinese desserts yet.  Well, there’s a reason for that.  There really aren’t any.  Okay, there are a few (which I will post down the road), but for the most part, the Chinese are not known for their sweets.  I think that’s mainly due to the fact that most Chinese people do not care for sweet, rich, sinful desserts.  “Dessert” is actually a word that’s almost non-existent in the Chinese vocab.  Unless you consider sliced oranges a dessert.  Growing up, that’s how we’d end many of our traditional Chinese meals -- with a platter of sliced fresh fruit –whoopee!  No wonder I’m a chocoholic now.  I’m making up for years and years of sliced oranges for dessert.  Someone please pass the peanut M&M’s!

However, I think there is one Chinese sweet that everyone loves:  the fortune cookie.  Alright, I know that’s really an American thing, but let’s not get technical here.  Work with me, people.  In celebration of the Chinese-New-Valentine Co-Celebration, I considered adapting a homemade fortune cookie recipe so you could write and insert your own custom fortune cookie messages.  Cute, huh?  However, it is a time-consuming and tedious task.  And once I found out about this tip, I thought “why bother?”  My dear friend Katie P. told me about a local company that makes fortune cookies with your custom fortunes inside!  They’re delicious (made-to-order, so they’re fresh), they’re fast (2-3 day turnaround) and they’re a bargain (60 cookies for $8.00)!  Simply print and cut out 60 fortunes measuring 2 ½” x 1/2”, and bring them down to Tsue Chong Co., at 810 S. King St. in Seattle’s International District (206.623-0801).  If you don’t live in Seattle, you could probably find a place in your local International District.  Or call Tsue Chong and they will ship!  They will print your custom fortune for you for $3.00 more (but you’ll be limited to one message).

To satisfy that chocolate fix, and also make these fortune cookies more “Valentine’s Day-ish”, I have posted a simple technique to dip them in chocolate for a beautiful and delicious finish!  But don’t just make these for the Chinese New Year/Valentine’s Day holiday.  After all, the rendezvous of these two occasions won’t happen again until 2048.  Consider surprising your guests with these custom treats at your next dinner party, birthday celebration, anniversary party, wedding.  Or serve alongside small scoops of mango and raspberry sorbet at the end of a simple Dragon Lady dinner.  Trust me, it beats sliced oranges anyday!

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