I am giving you some notice. Just in case you were still in denial that January is behind us and we are moving at warp speed through the shortest month of the year I want you to be prepared. Valentine’s Day is NEXT WEEK! On a Saturday no less, so there will be no “let’s just skip it, get each other cards and call it a day”. Getting gussied up to go out on a Hallmark holiday on a weekend is hard enough but on a cold dark Tuesday night in the middle of PTO meetings, soccer practice and other obligations, it is damn near impossible. But alas, Saturday is the day this year and so I would suggest to all of you that you have something planned. And I am not talking to just the men. Ladies, it has become somewhat of a tradition that we sit on our laurels and wait for candies, flowers and champagne while the best we seem to manage for our husbands is a pair of boxers from Target and a leftover valentine from the 24 pack of our 1st graders (thankfully there are only 23 kids in the class). COME ON PEOPLE!! Let’s get some romance up in here. To be honest, I am not thrilled about going out to dinner. Contrived menus, inflated prices and hoards of people trying to pretend that all is right with their relationships makes for a sad and expensive night. Additionally, our youngest has a thing for holidays – she loves planning for them, celebrating them and making them really special. Two years ago Doug and I were presented with cards from her at our Valentine's Day dinner. She had taken a cue from her grandparents and put a $10 bill in each one of them (stapled to the card so it wouldn’t fall out). Her enthusiasm makes it a little difficult to leave her home with her brother and sister and a frozen pizza. So Doug and I will save date night for another more reasonably priced evening (say, February 15) and dine with all of our loved ones at home.
Just because you are staying in, doesn’t mean you can’t serve a romantic meal, Italian style. Here is what I recommend.
Appetizers – a romantic meal should always begin with an appetizer. I recommend the pear and pecorino crostini and a bottle of prosecco (Nino Franco Rustico is my personal favorite). oh, and pepperoni pinwheels for little T, our romantic girl.
Dessert - Molten Chocolate Cake and Strawberry Sauce
(recipe courtesy of Chef Matia at Fonte de’ Medici cooking school)
6 ounces very good quality chocolate (I use Amedei)
5.5 ounces of sugar
2 ounces cake flour
2 ounces butter
2 ounces strawberries
Strawberry sauce: Blend berries and 1 tablespoon of sugar until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Melt chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pot full of boiling water.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and remaining sugar. When the mixture is well combined, add the flour and then the chocolate mixture and work it for a few minutes. Place the mixture into a large pastry bag and refrigerate until you are ready to cook the cakes (Cakes should be baked right before serving). When ready to serve, fill the silicon muffin molds and bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes. When ready, take the cakes out of the oven and let rest for two minutes before removing carefully from the mold.
Spoon some strawberry sauce on the plate, place cake on top of the sauce and dust the cake with powdered sugar. Buon Appetito!
Happy Valentine’s Day!