Monday, February 1, 2010

Have you begun to plan for Valentine's Day?

February. It has arrived. It is the month of amore. The time to show your loved ones how much you care.

Blah, blah, blah!

Now that I have properly described the Hallmark version of the month...

I don't actually buy into this concept – I think effort should be put into your relationships all year. But Valentine's Day can serve as a good relationship "check-up", and a good excuse for a special night in.

So think about it. How do you show your love?

On a daily basis, I show my love by cooking. The time I take to carefully plan a meal, chop the vegetables, tear the herbs, prepare a marinade, plate the food and so on, is time I am spending on my husband. It is time I am devoting to caring for him. It is part of how I show him my love.

Now that the mushy stuff is out of the way, lets talk about the fun side of Valentines.

What does it mean to you? Do you like to cook a nice meal for Valentines? Have you thought about what you want to make this year? What about what you will wear during the cooking and serving process?

I found these very cute aprons and thought you might find them perfect for setting the mood during dinner prep and consumption. They can be found at Maybe they can help spark a plan for your special night.

Whether it is an evening surrounded by candlelight,

or a special breakfast in bed,

if you take the time to plan a meal, every detail should be fun and romantic. I think these aprons could help to set the right mood!

As for my Valentines menu? It is still in the works. I am thinking something chocolate. Here is a recipe I am considering:

Upside-Down Fudge-Almond Tart (Cooking Light January 2010)

Decadent, rich, and intensely chocolaty, this recipe garnered our highest rating for flavor. It's a bit of a splurge, an indulgent way to cap off a Valentine's Day meal. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for up to five days.

Cooking spray
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds, toasted
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons sifted Dutch process cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons golden cane syrup (such as Lyle's Golden Syrup)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Set oven rack to lowest third of oven.

2. Coat a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle almonds in pan.

3. Combine chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler. Cook over simmering water until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; set aside.

4. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, Dutch process cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.

5. Place eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until thick and pale. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating at medium speed 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add golden cane syrup and vanilla; beat on low speed 1 minute or until blended. Add chocolate mixture; beat 1 minute or until blended. Add flour mixture, and beat on low speed just until combined.

6. Pour batter over nuts into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake in lower third of oven at 350° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool tart in pan 20 minutes on wire rack. Invert tart onto serving platter.


  1. I'm not generally a big Valentine's Day person, but since we were stuck inside on snow day #4, the girls and I made homemade valentine's cards. They made one for each classmate and I made one for each of them and my hubby. I think they'll be pleasantly surprised and they will surely be pleased with whatever chocolate treat I choose to accompany the card.

    If I'm feeling better by then, I may make chocolate chip and craisin scones for breakfast Valentine's morning because, like you, I also show my love through food. That's been one of the hard parts of my recovery is not being able to cook for my family.

  2. You know, I thought of you when I wrote that line as I know we have had that conversation before!