Happy Valentines Day! I hope you are spending the day with someone who is special to you. Today DH and I walked on the beach in Captiva Island and shared a glass of wine at sunset. It was wonderful, but you know, I think my favorite part wasn’t even the vacation surroundings, but rather, our taking the time to really talk to each other. I hate to admit it, but sometimes we can get so caught up in school-work-everyday mundaneness that we don’t take time like this- and we should, every day. One thing I like about Valentine’s Day is that commercial aspects aside, it does provide us with an excuse to spend some serious quality time with people we love.
I haven’t spent Valentine’s Day outside of the United States anywhere but in Japan. Interestingly, in Japan Valentine’s Day leaves something to be desired in terms of romance. As Wikipedia, that fountain of general (collaborative) knowledge explains, “Thanks to a concentrated marketing effort, Valentine’s Day has emerged in Japan . . . as a day on which women, and less commonly men, give chocolate or flowers. It has become an obligation for many women to give chocolates to all male co-workers. In Japan this is known as giri-choko (ç¾©ç†ãƒãƒ§ã‚³), from the words giri (“obligation”) and choko, (“chocolate”). This contrasts with honmei-choko (æœ¬å‘½ãƒãƒ§ã‚³); chocolate given to a loved one. Friends, especially girls, may exchange chocolate referred to as tomo-choko (å‹ãƒãƒ§ã‚³); from tomo meaning “friend”. ” Probably my most vivid impression of Valentine’s Day in japan was formed while I hung out at a senior high school in Chiba Prefecture and watched a veritable parade of girls march up to one male English teacher’s desk and pile it high with love letters and homemade chocolates and cookies. I wasn’t quite sure what magic he possessed that had impressed all those girls, but clearly he presented a very bright flame to those moth-emulating girls. Valentine’s Day is practically national koku-haku (å‘Šç™½), or love confession day, because women are supposed to give the boys they like some kind of sweet. Unfortunately, after going to all the trouble of showering the object of their affection with some sweet dessert treat, they then have to wait for another equally constructed holiday called White Day. On this holiday on March 14, “men are expected to return the favour to those who gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Originally, the return gift was supposed to be white chocolate or marshmallows; hence “White Day”. However, lingerie and jewelry have become common gifts. “(source= Wikipedia)
I have to admit that I don’t miss that custom of giri-chocolate or a one-sided valentines Day “confession” here back in Mountain View. However, I do have a sneaking fondness for “Tomo chocolate,” and in that spirit I’d like to share a recent recipe I tried for homemade, incredibly easy fudge. Chocolate junkies can use this recipe anytime to fight chocolate cravings. but I do believe the best usage of it is to whip up a batch and share it with a friend. I took mine over to my new neightbor’s house when she threw a party and invited many of her neighbors, to oodles and oodles of slightly inebriated but positive acclaim.
So, here’s my “tomo-choco” recipe just for you. I’d love to hear about how you enjoyed your Valentine’s Day, what fabulous new recipes you came up with, and your favorite ways to spend special time with your DH/W, DB/G, or DP! Enjoy.
How to Make Easy Fudge From Scratch
Chocolate Macademia Nut Fudge and Pistachio Fudge Recipe
12 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or a combination of the two, chopped
1 14 oz. can condensed milk
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup macademia nuts (or other nuts of choice)
Prepare one 9 inch square pan (Or two small bread pans) by spraying lightly with nonstick butter flavored oil or lining with wax paper.
Put pistachio nuts in one small ziploc bag and whack it with a rolling pin or other threateningly heavy object until broken into pieces. Do the same thing with your macademia nuts.
Put a heavy-bottomed pan on a burner on low and add your chocolate and condensed milk. (Make sure there is no water in your pan) Slowly melt your chocolate, stirring frequently. When it has almost melted take it off the burner.
Sprinkle the bottom of your pan with a light layer of pistachio nuts on one side and macademia nuts on the other. Pour a layer of chocolate, sprinkle a layer of nuts on top of that (same nuts for the same side), and repeat until you end with all your chocolate in the pan and nuts sprinkled on top. Let cool and then refrigerate until firm. Cut into little squares and freeze for chocoholic attacks. You can also give some to friends and loved ones.