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Valentine’s Day–again?

11 Feb
Valentine’s Day–again?

Good evening, Dear Readers!

Winter hasn’t gotten the memo to knock it off. Atlanta is getting blasted again. It’s cold nearly everywhere.

I am so cold, I put on my one and only pair of long johns to go walk my neighbor’s pug today. I might wear them to bed. As I write this, it’s 36F, and we’ll have a high of 53 tomorrow, if we’re lucky. BRRRRRRRrrrrrrr. . .at least the rain will end.

First, an update from the garden: in addition to the ping-pong sized tomato growing in incredibly cold and wet weather:

20140211-223841.jpg

Guess I’m getting another one. It won’t get much bigger than that before it starts turning red. And, finally, the radishes are coming!

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I read in one of my magazines that radishes are very easy to grow. I found a packet of seeds in the deck box and dug up some dirt. They mature very quickly, although this seems to be taking longer than the 30 days stated in the magazine. That’s OK. I hope neighbors K, R and T like radishes if they really take off. Next time I’d like to try those cute French Breakfast radishes, which are red on top and white on the bottom (root end.)

Now, the mint has come back strong, since we’ve had rain and I’ve watered a few times. One of the main reasons I grow it is so I can make Nigella Lawson’s Corsican Omelette. I thawed out the Goat Cheese from a recent Trader Joe’s trip and beat some eggs. What the recipe says is to fold it in thirds. This time, I finally got it folded!

Then I took it OUT of the pan:

20140211-223827.jpg

Better luck next time. Hey–it’s EDIBLE, OK? Note: this wouldn’t be a bad thing to split with your honey when you have breakfast in bed, or just breakfast together.

So, onto the news. . . .

This week is Valentine’s Day, and so I thought I would send a few things your way to make your V-D special. No, I can’t help you find the love of your life, or make him/her love you, or bring romance into your life, I can only help with the chocolate part.

Me? No, there isn’t a “someone special.” There isn’t anyone even close to that description. HPD told me to stop dating ’cause they can’t keep coming over to take them away. Restraining orders get expensive, too. My friends have specific instructions if I ever say those words, “I’m getting married.” Let’s see who’s brave enough to carry out a rescue mission.

Yes, I’m exaggerating. A little. But enough about me. . . .

I got an email a little while ago that Starbucks is offering a buy-one-get-one on latte drinks this Friday (February 14th) from 2-5 pm at participating stores. If you don’t know what that means, check out their online primer for lattes. Me, I’d go for the Skinny Flavored Latte with sugar-free hazelnut syrup in it. YUM. A lot less calories than the Hazelnut Macchiato.

Or I could just make myself a cappuccino/latte at home and toss in the hazelnut stuff. My choice, right?

So last year I wrote a post with several chocolate recipes for Valentine’s Day, and it’s still there if you want some. But the one thing that people equate with the day is chocolate covered strawberries. These babies are not in season this time of year, but thanks to expanded agriculture, they are available year round. Sure, they’re expensive, and in many cases very decorated (labor!) That’s all well and good, but if you want to do them yourself, it’s not too difficult. But let me tell you, there’s a trick to it.

Years ago I was talking to my Mom. They’d gone to Ponchatoula, LA to get some strawberries during the season (the best, BTW) and she was attempting to chocolate-cover them. Mom was melting the chocolate and pouring in cold heavy whipping cream. Guess what? The chocolate seized up! I explained that next time, try heating the cream and pouring it into the chocolate, melting it that way. I guess it worked, she never mentioned it again.

If you want to try your hand at it, here are some suggestions from Food Network’s website. Having done this a time or two, you must work fast, since the chocolate will firm up quickly. Don’t burn the chocolate, use parchment or wax paper, and don’t make a mess, please.

Now, last year I told you about the ex-boyfriend who, when we lived together, got sick with me for Valentine’s Day. A couple of weeks ago I was on the phone with him, and just for fun, I said, “Hey, what are we doing for Valentine’s Day?” I was joking of course, but he sort of took it differently. Next thing I know, I’m cooking dinner for him again! Well, he can’t make it this week, and I wouldn’t have done what I did for Christmas, but I would certainly make him something tasty, complete with dessert.

Tonight on Facebook, Joey Jones posted a short “survival guide” for us singles on Valentine’s Day. Pretty good, and if you’re sad about being single. . .don’t be.

Now, about 5 years ago, I think, I went to a “single girl Valentines dinner party,” and I brought dessert. Not just any dessert–a Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova that went over VERY well. As I’ve mentioned before, chocolate and raspberry are my favorite combination, and I’d knock over Shaquille O’Neill to get to it. But in this case, I was good, and they wouldn’t let me take home what was left. I baked it in a heart shape, which is easy to do since it’s meringue. While I don’t have a picture of it anymore, it came out perfect, and looked like this (but heart shaped.)

Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova from Forever Summer. Delish!

Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova from Forever Summer. VERY good choice for many occasions

That will amaze friends and family alike. And–guess what? Bonus–it’s gluten free! No kidding–no flour or anything like it, although there is sugar, so you’d have to take that into consideration if your honey is diabetic. (There’s always Somersweet.)

If the chocolate-raspberry route isn’t for you, there’s also Nigella’s Cappuccino Pavlova, but that has corn flour in it, which I think is what we call corn starch, so it’s got a bit of a flour-like substance in it.

You know, I didn’t mean to turn this into the Nigella column, but I guess I did.

Whether you hang with friends or camp in with a significant other, or like me, hang out with the cat, just enjoy what there is to enjoy, and it’ll be great.

Happy Chocolate, I mean, Valentine’s Day!

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Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Desserts, Fruit, Holidays, Ingredients, Special Occasions

 

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