From our Food Goddess, TaMara:
I am not anti-Valentine’s Day, just don’t like all the expectations around it. In my mind, the best thing you can do is spend time in the kitchen together, followed by a movie or favorite show marathon. I’ve been wooed with the whole restaurant (crowded, rushed staff), flowers (overpriced), and chocolates (oh, who am I kidding, chocolate is never bad) and it was never as much fun as staying home and cooking something delicious.
Now don’t get me wrong – take me out for a hot air balloon ride, helicopter over the beach, or an impromptu night away, and I’m not going to complain and say, hey, let’s stay home instead. But most of the time, I’m good with some chocolate covered strawberries and a good grilled steak.
With that in mind, I’ve picked out some favorite sweet treats you can make and share:
JeffreyW and Mrs. J made an awesome batch of Chocolate Éclairs (pictured above), complete with slideshow (here) and video (here).
I love a good Molten Chocolate Cake, recipe here.
Quick, easy and cute, Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies are always a hit, recipe here.
I have a complete Valentine’s Dinner here, if you need ideas.
What’s on your plate for the weekend? How about Valentine’s Day, it’s a week off, but got any plans?
Tonight’s featured recipe is a foolproof and yummy cake that’s quick and easy – the perfect way to end a nice Valentine’s dinner:
This is a pudding cake – which is basically an extra-large lava cake. And to make it even tastier, I substitute coffee for the boiling water. It doesn’t get any simpler than this.
1 cup flour
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup milk
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 cup very hot coffee**
8×8 inch baking dish, lightly oiled
Preheat oven to 350°
This is a pudding style cake, so you don’t want to over bake it. You’ll serve it warm and directly from the pan. When you cut into it, a thick, gooey chocolate center will be revealed.
From the top list: combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder & salt. Combine milk, oil, & vanilla, mix well and add to flour mixture. Stir well. Pour batter into baking dish.
From the bottom list: combine sugar & cocoa and sprinkle over batter. Pour hot coffee over batter – DO NOT stir. Bake for 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched, do not over bake.
** for a stronger coffee flavor, double the ground coffee to water ratio when brewing, or use espresso.
That’s it for this week. I won’t be around next weekend, so no recipe exchange, so have a Happy Valentine’s Day. I’ll try and get a Bixby update over the weekend, he’s a little pill, really coming into his own strong personality. Did I mention, strong? – TaMara
What about some ammonia deserts?
I approve of all pudding cakes, lava cakes and pudding-lava cakes. And the recipe sounds like a kind of pastry and cake baking that even I can do and not totally wreck it up.
And which would be a new kind of pastry and cake baking for me.
Recipe copied to my ‘puter. thanks.
Edit: I can brew the coffee with some booze, right? Will that work?
We always go to brunch on the weekend before or after Valentine’s Day, so it kinda sucks when V-Day falls on a weekend. Though they don’t usually boost brunch prices up to where the dinner prices are even on the day of.
@jl: You brew coffee using alcohol? How does that work? Sounds…strong.
@jl: Brew it with booze? I’d stick with water for the actual brewing and add the booze later. You could go ristretto on the coffee if you’re worried about watering it down.
I might go with just a heart healthy recipe instead. Or I might make a donut.
Suggestion for the peanut butter kiss cookies — use andes mints instead of kisses (I recognize kiss==valentine) the chocolate + mint flavor is awesome in peanut butter cookies. Maybe there are chocolate mint kisses?
The thing is I cook elaborate, wonderful, meals every fucking night and I would actually like to go out just so I could relax and have someone else cook for me on Valentines. Its not that I can’t cook a great four course meal, or one pot meal for the matter of that. Its that I’d like to go out. But often the food is no good, or is all based around some notion of food eroticism which doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t LIKE oysters. I’m really exhausted right now from being sick for a week, plus a pinched nerve in my neck for ten days, plus all the snow and the shoveling which has to be done no matter how lousy I’m feeling. So I would love to be able to find a great restaurant for us to go to next Saturday night but its just not going to happen. I’ll gear up for it in a few days and will probably do something I like like duck breast or lamb chops with various things.
” You brew coffee using alcohol? How does that work? Sounds…strong. ”
I would only try such a thing for the sake of a pudding/lava cake. On second thought, I wouldn’t try it. I’d be afraid of setting the coffee maker on fire or something worse happening. I do have more than a bit of that ‘Cole touch’ around the house.
thanks for the advice.
@aimai: My favorite dinner out on Valentine’s Day was a very last minute booking. It was at a high demand restaurant that had a Valentine’s menu but you could also order off their regular menu. The place was packed but the service was still fantastic and the food and meal was great.
The guy I was dating called either the day before or on Valentine’s Day itself to get the reservation. He didn’t think there was any hope of getting a table but they fit us in. You never know what might be available if you call around, even at the last minute.
” I might go with just a heart healthy recipe instead. ”
That is a wise idea. The eclairs look good too.
The only time Mr WereBear didn’t do the right thing on Valentine’s Day was when he got me this cute rose made of chocolate… and I didn’t eat it. Because it was made from substandard chocolate.
We got over it.
@aimai: I’ve ducked around that by going EARLY. And then a late dessert & wine thing at home.
@jl: Do you want the alcohol just for the flavor? Like amaretto or something? If that’s the case, you could probably replace some of the milk with the alcohol. Not too much or you’ll lose consistency. Maybe a tablespoon.
@aimai: You cook elaborate, wonderful meals every night? Will you marry me?
Sweets for the sweet!
I nominate the esteemed governor of New Jersey, who seems to be a real grump, for a whiskey sour. The governor of my state is a cheerful airhead who does relatively little damage.
@Violet: yes, OF COURSE for the flavor (do they buy that…?)
Thanks, replacing some of the milk with a little liqueur, or strongly flavored spirits sounds like a safe and sane idea. I will try that.
@WereBear: Many happy returns to the Werebears!
It might be worth ordering in. You don’t have to fight the crowds but someone else does the cooking.
@Violet: There’s a good topic: memorable holiday meals.
I reserved a take-home dinner for Thanksgiving a few years ago. Thought it was strange when they didn’t ask for a credit card number–you paid on pickup. Got there and stood in a line for two hours. When I got to the front of THAT line, I found it was the end of line 2, in which the lady ahead of me had been languishing for 3 1/2 hours. ” Screw this shit,” says I, and departed sans turkey etc. This was Wednesday. So, 24 hours later on The Day, we ended up at a local down-home restaurant chain, sort of a poor man’s Cracker Barrel–except the food was great and everyone was having a wonderful time, no strangers there that day. We’ve gone back ever since.
Major Major Major Major
OT: anybody got experience with gabap3ntin, spelled stupidly in case FYWP?
ETA: for anxiety
@Corner Stone: I don’t know, but if she’ll do it for me, I’ll erect a shrine to her and start a new religion: Aimai-ism. The sacred text will be The Joy of Cooking.
@efgoldman: Fill some jugs, and the bathtub, in case they have to shut it off again. Trust me on this.
@Major Major Major Major: Isn’t that a hormone? It sounds vaguely familiar.
@Pogonip: I’ll just note “erect” here.
But why would anyone do elaborate every “fucking” night?
Major Major Major Major
@Pogonip: pogonip is right.
@Corner Stone: Perhaps she will elaborate.
Major Major Major Major
@Pogonip: atypical non-benzo anticonvulsant. Went generic a while back so they invented Lyric-a (spelling again) as a new money maker. You might have heard of that.
@Major Major Major Major: I don’t know anything about that drug. But, I just saw a chlorox ad that said it had helpful hints about creative uses around the house. But no one drank any. Damned liberal media!
Edit: that is snark. Nobody drink any bleach. That was a joke about wingnuts thinking drinking bleach was a good idea for what ails ya.
Popping in to say hi. I’m still working. And to let you know, I have about 5 friend requests on facebook that I haven’t ok’d from people I don’t know. If any of them are from BJ people shoot me an email and let me know. I’m happy to ok them, I’m just very cautious. Have a stalker ex – took me a long to time to even blog under my own name.
(…not to mention a current beau who has a not so nice ex. LOL)
BTW @jl: Try a tablespoon of Frangelico. Yum.
@Major Major Major Major: Oh, God, if I turn on the evening news I hear about it every ten minutes or so. It and the bathtub boner pills.
@Major Major Major Major: Those three words will get you through life!
Major Major Major Major
@Pogonip: are you my husband? When are you getting home tonight, anyway?
I have a feeling I sent you a friend request but not recently; more like quite some time ago. Now I’m not even sure, but if you do come across one from a female with the initials JMC, with probably four or five mutual friends, wearing a red sweater and big round glasses in profile picture, that’s me.
@Major Major Major Major: My dad is taking it to help with nerve pain for shingles. They put him on the lowest possible dose. Farmacy didn’t have it–had to order it in. Doctor said it could make him dizzy and unstable when getting up at night but he hasn’t had that problem. It helps for the nerve pain. I think it’s a nerve blocker or something. It does make him sleepy so he takes it just before bed. He was having great difficulty sleeping with the shingles pain and it helped him fall/stay asleep.
Don’t know if that answers any questions, but if you have more specific questions I might be able to relay my dad’s experience or wht the doctor said.
@Major Major Major Major: We had a dog on gabbypentium to help with an aggressive brain cancer. It helped with the seizures and pain. He was also on morphine and took a massive amount of drugs to keep him comfortable during his last days.
@Major Major Major Major: I hope I don’t offend you, but my experience is second hand. My cat was prescribed gabap3ntin for a seizure disorder. It took quite a few weeks to get the dosage correct but it definitely relieved the nerve pain that was torturing him. I had to order it from a compounding pharmacy to get an appropriate dosage.
What’s a good brand of chocolate to use for dipping cookies? I made hazelnut macaroons and dipped them in Ghiradelli’s bittersweet and have never tasted such horrible chocolate.
@debbie: I tend to buy candy bars rather than use anything from the baking aisle. I have used Green & Black’s 70% for ganache successfully, but my go-to tends to be Endangered Species Chocolate, since it’s often on sale at our corner store and isn’t as delicious for eating at G&B.