HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Happy Valentines DayValentine’s Day is a truly subjective menu.  Not everyone wants or dreams of the same foods.  So, awhile back when we were just sitting around I quizzed hubby in a round about way and was able to come up with his favorite romantic menu to create a romantic meal.  What are you doing for Valentine’s Day this year?
STRAWBERRY MARGARITAS
2 cups crushed ice
1/2 cup fresh strawberry puree
1 cup tequila
2 limes, juiced
Splash Triple Sec
Splash simple syrup (equal amounts sugar and water heated until sugar dissolves completely and then cooled)
  • Combine in a blender, ice, strawberry water, tequila, lime juice, Triple Sec and simple syrup.
  • Puree until smooth.
  • Pour into rocks glasses, garnish and serve.
CAJUN SHRIMP COCKTAIL
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup chili sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
Juice of 1 lemon (save your rind to make the cute serving dish)
2 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Frank’s red pepper hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
plenty of fresh medium-large shrimp, cleaned and chilled
  • I use my mini food processor to mix it all in until well blended.
  • Chill for a day or so before needed to allow flavors to meld together.
CAESAR SALAD DRESSING
6 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Champagne Vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/3 cup canola oil
Sea Salt
White Pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Minced anchovy fillets (optional – I usually leave them out)
  • Combine garlic, mustard, vinegar and two pinches of salt in a blender and mix thoroughly.
  • Add mayonnaise and blend together to form a thick base.
  • In a slow stream add oil.
  • Scrape dressing with spatula into a bowl and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  • Optional – Add anchovies to dressing to create a deeper, saltier taste.
PARMESAN CHEESE CROUTONS
6 slices thick sourdough bread
butter, melted, enough to coat bread
½ cup Fontina Cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place bread slices on oven rack and bake until dry and golden.
  • Melt butter in flat bowl.
  • Combine cheeses in flat bowl.
  • Dip first in butter and the cheese mixture.
  • Bake on cookie sheet 8-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly and melted.
  • Cut to desired size*
*If I’m in a hurry I will sometimes cut these ahead of time and toss with the butter and cheese which coats all the sides better.
GARLIC STEAK
Steak of choice (hubby choose T-bones)
2 cloves of garlic per steak, minced fine
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar per steak
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
sea salt
white pepper
  • Pierce each steak with a marinater.
  • Whisk together the garlic, oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place steak side by side of a large plate.
  • Pour marinade over top.
  • Turn steak and make sure each is well coated.
  • Cover and marinate overnight.
  • Take steak out of refrigerator an hour before grilling, turn several times making sure still well coated in marinade.
  • Firmly press garlic pieces into the steak.
  • Grilled to desired doneness – mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, medium rare….
TWICE BAKED POTATOES
4 large baking potatoes
8 slices bacon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
8 green onions (tops and all), sliced and divided
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour or until done through.
  • Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
  • When potatoes are done allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; saving skins.
  • To the potato pieces add the sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 the green onions. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese, green onions and bacon.
  • Bake for another 15 minutes.
SOUR CREAM DUTCH APPLE PIE
PIE
3+ cups apples, cored, peeled and chopped
lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1 small egg, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream (not light)
9 inch pastry shell, pre-baked and cooled
TOPPING
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, sliced extremely thin
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Chop the apples and combine with just enough lemon juice to coat and prevent browning in large bowl.
  • In a small bowl sift together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  • Fold in the sour cream, egg, vanilla and maple extract until well blended.
  • Fold the sour cream mixture into the apples until well coated.
  • Carefully pour into the pie shell, mounding towards the center.
  • Toss together the topping ingredients until well blended.
  • Sprinkle topping evenly over the apple mound.
  • Lay the pieces of butter all over the top.
  • Bake 30 minutes or until apples are tender.
  • Best served with ice cream or fresh whipped cream. If you want to be really decadent try it with Caramel Sauce.
HOMEMADE VANILLA ICE CREAM
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 jumbo eggs
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • Warm the milk in a small pan.
  • Whisk the eggs with the sugar in a separate bowl.
  • Slowly add the warm milk to the egg mixture while continuously whisking the mixture.
  • Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and heat slowly, stirring continuously until mixture thickens to loose pudding texture. DO NOT BOIL! Let it cool to room temperature.
  • Whisk in the cream and vanilla.
  • Follow your ice cream maker directions for freezing.
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Dark Chocolate Valentine’s Day Truffles

What could be more perfect for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day than a luscious chocolate truffle?  Chocolate stirs deep emotions and has inspired many stories.  In the movie “Chocolat” the mystical heroine, Juliette Binoche, uses chocolate alchemy in her truffles to stir the long dormant desires of neglectful husbands and gently coaxes shy and reticent lovers together.  I can’t promise these truffles will do the same but I can promise they’ll melt in your mouth.  These were surprisingly easy to make and the whole process was quite therapeutic – I recommend it.

Chocolate Truffles.
3 cups chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
1, 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 very generous teaspoon vanilla extract
For the coating.
Dark cocoa powder
A pinch of cinnamon
A tiny pinch of cayenne (optional)
Or
Confectioner’s sugar
In a double boiler heat the chocolate, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until melted. 
Place in the fridge for 2 hours to set up.
Place the cocoa powder and spices if using, on one plate and the confectioner’s sugar on another.
Take approximately 1 generous teaspoonful of the truffle mixture and roll into a small ball.
Then roll the truffle in either the cocoa mixture or the confectioner’s sugar and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. 
Leave to set, approx 10 minutes.
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VALENTINE’S DAY ~ WEEKEND OF ROMANCE FOODS

Today we’re rolling out the Valentine’s Day of Romance Menu for 2011 over at OUR KrAzY kitchen, but you get a sneak peek because I needed to write about something fun and upbeat.  So what are you doing for Valentine’s Day this year?
Valentine’s Day is a truly subjective menu.  Not everyone wants or dreams of the same foods.  So  awhile back when we were just sitting around I quizzed hubby in a round about way and was able to come up with his favorite romantic menu to create a romantic meal. At that time I obviously planned on doing the cooking, but unfortunately since I’m still not allowed to cook, he’ll be the one preparing the recipes, but all is good and we’ll make it work.  I did borrow a few photos from google images since hubby has yet to make the meal, the rest are from my archives, but the recipes are all ours.
STRAWBERRY MARGARITAS  
2 cups crushed ice 
1/2 cup fresh strawberry puree
1 cup tequila 
2 limes, juiced 
Splash Triple Sec 
Splash simple syrup (equal amounts sugar and water heated until sugar dissolves completely and then cooled)
  • Combine in a blender, ice, strawberry water, tequila, lime juice, Triple Sec and simple syrup. 
  • Puree until smooth. 
  • Pour into rocks glasses, garnish and serve.
CAJUN SHRIMP COCKTAIL
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup chili sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
Juice of 1 lemon (save your rind to make the cute serving dish)
2 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Frank’s red pepper hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
plenty of fresh medium-large shrimp, cleaned and chilled
  • I use my mini food processor to mix it all in until well blended.
  • Chill for a day or so before needed to allow flavors to meld together.

CAESAR SALAD DRESSING
6 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Champagne Vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/3 cup canola oil
Sea Salt
White Pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Minced anchovy fillets (optional – I usually leave them out)
  • Combine garlic, mustard, vinegar and two pinches of salt in a blender and mix thoroughly. 
  • Add mayonnaise and blend together to form a thick base. 
  • In a slow stream add oil. 
  • Scrape dressing with spatula into a bowl and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. 
  • Optional – Add anchovies to dressing to create a deeper, saltier taste. 
PARMESAN CHEESE CROUTONS
6 slices thick sourdough bread
butter, melted, enough to coat bread
½ cup Fontina Cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Place bread slices on oven rack and bake until dry and golden. 
  • Melt butter in flat bowl. 
  • Combine cheeses in flat bowl. 
  • Dip first in butter and the cheese mixture. 
  • Bake on cookie sheet 8-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly and melted. 
  • Cut to desired size*
*If I’m in a hurry I will sometimes cut these ahead of time and toss with the butter and cheese which coats all the sides better.

GARLIC STEAK
Steak of choice (hubby choose T-bones)
2 cloves of garlic per steak, minced fine
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar per steak
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
sea salt
white pepper
  • Pierce each steak with a marinater.
  • Whisk together the garlic, oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place steak side by side of a large plate.
  • Pour marinade over top.
  • Turn steak and make sure each is well coated.
  • Cover and marinate overnight.
  • Take steak out of refrigerator an hour before grilling, turn several times making sure still well coated in marinade.
  • Firmly press garlic pieces into the steak.
  • Grilled to desired doneness – mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, medium rare….
TWICE BAKED POTATOES 
4 large baking potatoes
8 slices bacon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
8 green onions (tops and all), sliced and divided 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour or until done through. 
  • Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. 
  • When potatoes are done allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; saving skins. 
  • To the potato pieces add the sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 the green onions. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese, green onions and bacon. 
  • Bake for another 15 minutes. 
SOUR CREAM DUTCH APPLE PIE
PIE
3+ cups apples, cored, peeled and chopped
lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1 small egg, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream (not light)
9 inch pastry shell, pre-baked and cooled
TOPPING
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, sliced extremely thin
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Chop the apples and combine with just enough lemon juice to coat and prevent browning in large bowl.
  • In a small bowl sift together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  • Fold in the sour cream, egg, vanilla and maple extract until well blended.
  • Fold the sour cream mixture into the apples until well coated.
  • Carefully pour into the pie shell, mounding towards the center.
  • Toss together the topping ingredients until well blended.
  • Sprinkle topping evenly over the apple mound.
  • Lay the pieces of butter all over the top.
  • Bake 30 minutes or until apples are tender.
  • Best served with ice cream or fresh whipped cream. If you want to be really decadent try it with Caramel Sauce.
HOMEMADE VANILLA ICE CREAM
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 jumbo eggs
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • Warm the milk in a small pan. 
  • Whisk the eggs with the sugar in a separate bowl. 
  • Slowly add the warm milk to the egg mixture while continuously whisking the mixture. 
  • Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and heat slowly, stirring continuously until mixture thickens to loose pudding texture. DO NOT BOIL! Let it cool to room temperature. 
  • Whisk in the cream and vanilla. 
  • Follow your ice cream maker directions for freezing.
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Valentine’s Day Dinner

Today hasn’t gone as planned. That’s okay, know why? Because that’s kind of like romance and relationships. Things don’t always go as planned.

As you may recall, tonight’s dinner was supposed to be my friend and I cooking dinner for our ladies to celebrate Valentines, his recent engagement, and my 15th Anniversary. He and I had already picked the menu. We went to Fresh Market on Friday to get the groceries. It was all in place.

Unfortunately, Robert got hit with a malevolent stomach virus about 24 hours ago, so the whole “guys cooking for the gals” deal wasn’t going to happen. That’s okay, know why? Because I just shifted to family mode and cooked the dinner for Alexis and the two boys. I just kept the original menu which was all new recipes for me.

It was still very romantic, because I blew her socks off with this meal. As soon as I am done here, I’m going to work on the rest of her clothing! (What? That was funny!)


Mixed Spring Greens with Roasted Raspberry Chipolte Vinaigrette
This was easy, just a spring mix salad, red onion and the dressing. I made the dressing by mixing a bit more than 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar with a bit less than 1/2 cup of Fischer and Wieser’s Rasberry Chipolte sauce. Then I whisked in a cup of olive oil. It was “easy, peasy, goodness – Weezy!” It was the last of the bottle, so I rinsed it out and used it to hold the vinaigrette. Alexis LOVED it.

Crab Cakes with Sweet Red Bell Pepper Sauce

This one is from Wolfgang Puck’s Live, Love, Eat! and the sauce is different than the one he has posted by the same name on his website. I’d post it all but the crab cake alone has 18 ingredients and was the most complicated thing I cooked all day. It was the best crab cake I’ve ever made. I’ll post the sauce which is excellent and would work with many other dishes. I added cayenne pepper just for a little extra kick. It’s sweet and spicy, just like a relationship should be.

Sweet Red Bell Pepper Sauce
5 Tablespoons butter
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
leaves from 2 springs of thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
juice of 1/2 medium lemon
salt
pepper

Melt 3 TB of the butter over medium low heat and saute the pepper, onion, garlic, and thyme until softened (about 8-10 minutes). Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the cream and return to a simmer then remove from heat.

Puree the mixture in a blender until smooth. The recipe calls for straining, but I didn’t find it necessary, the texture was perfect. Refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to serve, place back over medium heat. When warm, add the other 2 TB of butter and lemon juice.

Asparagus in a Fig Infused Balsamic Vinaigrette

This is a cold asparagus dish courtesy of Fresh Market’s 25th Anniversary cookbook. Here’s a link to the recipe but I do recommend this cook book, it’s full of good recipes. I liked the mix of green and white asparagus, it is symbolic for the “ying & yang, give and take, opposites attract” of relationships. This pic was before I added the blue cheese (I skipped the walnuts).

Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage in a Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce

Another good one from Fresh Market (recipe here).

Creme Brulee
This is Alexis’ hands down favorite dessert ever and I never made it before tonight. What the hell is wrong with me? Plus, I got to play with my MAPP gas torch to caramelize the sugar.


Did she approve? Her exact words were, “Oh my god, it’s so good I could just take a bath in this!”

It was a long day with some unexpected turns but seeing how much Alexis absolutely enjoyed every bit of it made it well worth it.

The most memorable moment came about 6:00pm, just before dinner. We took a quick break to bathe, change clothes, and just get cute. It occurred to me as we were “primping”, that we were still trying to impress each other even after 15 years of marriage.

Sigh….I’m a lucky dude.

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Don’t miss a guy’s point of view on romance…

I want to make sure you know that this weekend Chris from Nibble Me This is hosting a Valentine’s Romance weekend over at OUR KrAzY kitchen and Dave from My Year on the Grill who hosts I CAN COOK THAT! at OUR KrAzY kitchen has been running a Romance series on his regular day where he tells us what men really want for Valentine’s Day. Now my hubby would tell you that Dave is so right as far as the dilemma between moink balls and flowers and chocolates.

aprons 3
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Valentine’s Day Brunch

When I sat down to prepare these two posts for Valentine’s Weekend I was initially unsure of what kind of menu to put together.

Food.
Romance.
Romantic foods? Hmmmmm

Sure, there is that unforgettable kitchen scene from the movie Nine and A Half Weeks. But that was all lust rather than romance. Plus it wasn’t very sanitary 😉

I think most people see “romance” as a means to an end, how to woo the one that has stolen your heart. But my idea of romance these days (we’ve been married 15 years as of this week) is that it is the outward evidence of true love. You can’t “see” true love but you can see the gestures and expressions that true love creates, right?

For example, Alexis was off of work yesterday and I knew I was going to be off today. So before I left the office, I wrote 2-3 “love you” type messages and hid them on her desk where I knew she’d come across them during her day today. Simple gestures, huge sentiment.

So it’s only natural that food is linked to romance. It’s one of my ways of showing my love day in and day out. When it came to creating this brunch menu, I kept it simple and just thought of things that I’ve made for Alexis that she loved.

Eggs Benedict
These are one of Alexis’ all time favorites when we’d eat at Village Inn in Jacksonville Beach or Perkins here in Knoxville, so I finally learned how to make it for her this year. I hadn’t before mainly because I didn’t know how to poach an egg. I found out that I actually LIKE poached eggs…..who knew?

I won’t bother with a recipe since there are a million out there already, but here are some tips for poaching an egg & making Eggs Benedict.

  • Proper temperature is the key. Use an instant read thermometer to get the water to exactly 200f.
  • Fresh, cold eggs retain their shape better when poached. Tip courtesy of Rouxbe Online Cooking School: Place raw egg in bowl of cold water. If it lays flat, it’s fresh. If one end floats up, it is older (good for boiling). If the entire egg floats, it should be discarded.
  • Add 2 Tablespoons of white wine vinegar and 2 teaspoons salt to your simmering water to help speed the coagulation of the egg white (keeping it’s shape better)
  • Poach 3-4 minutes for soft, 5-6 for medium, and 7-8 minutes for hard poached eggs.
  • I used a packet mix to make my Hollandaise sauce the first two times I made Eggs Benedict, just so I could focus on getting the eggs poached correctly.
  • If you don’t want to do the traditional free floating method of poaching eggs, they now have cool silicon “boats” that you can use to poach eggs.

Artichoke Bisque
Alexis LOVES rich flavor. I surprised her with this one for Mothers’ Day 2003 and she adored it.

4 teaspoons flour
8 ounces butter
3 cups beef stock
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 1/2 ea onion, diced
1/2 bunch green onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 cloves of roasted garlic
1 can artichoke hearts with juices (about 2 cups)
1 cup spinach, fresh, rinsed and chopped
salt to taste
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream

Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Whisk in flour over low heat and whisk constantly for 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in beef stock after that. Then add celery, onions, green onions, bay leaf, thyme and garlic. Simmer for 45 minutes.

Finely chop artichoke hearts, chop the spinach and add to the mixture, continue simmering another 30 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and then puree it in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender.

Add cream, wine, Tabasco, and salt & pepper to taste. Bring back just to a simmer, garnish with whatever you like (croutons, fried leeks, sour cream, etc), and serve. Today used fried leeks and thyme.

Mini Monte Cristo Sandwiches
This is another dish that Alexis enjoys unabashedly. It’s a finger food variation of the Croque-monsieur. It is basically a ham n swiss sandwich given the french toast treatment. Sounds odd but try it. It’s amazing.

Ingredients

2 teaspoons butter or margarine
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
8 Slices white bread
4 ounces swiss OR fontina
4 ounces cooked ham
3 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 Env. Golden Onion Soup Mix
1/4 cup butter or margarine

Instructions
Equally top 4 bread slices with cheese and ham; top with remaining bread, buttered side down. Cut each sandwich into 4 triangles. Beat eggs, milk, and golden onion recipe soup mix until well blended. Dip sandwiches in egg mixture, coating well. In large skillet, melt 1/4 C butter and cook sandwiches over medium heat, turning once, until golden. Makes about 16 mini sandwiches

The KEY part that they left out is the dipping sauce. Warm raspberry preserves over low heat and serve in a sauce cup, it makes the dish.

Grapefruit
Alexis is a certifiable grapefruit freak and just Thursday I received a shipment of California oranges and grapefruit from a family member, so I just had to include those. I was going to make this citrus salad but Alexis didn’t like the sound of the recipe so I went with a basic sectioned grapefruit. Nothing sexy but she loves them.

Mimosas
Come on, it’s brunch. mimosas are obligatory.


Part II – The Valentine’s Dinner
This is coming tomorrow, but to give a little preview, here is the premise: My martial arts instructor has been learning to really cook for the past year. He recently got engaged. My 15th anniversary is this week. So he and I are cooking Valentine’s Day Dinner for his fiance and my wife!

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ROMANCE Part 2 – CHOCOLATE – Ala Year on the Grill

OK ladies, I gave you my advice on how to really make a meal your man would love for romantic occasions (like Valentines day) a couple weeks ago. I was dead serious that what men really want would be MOINK BALLS. Beef Meatballs, wrapped in bacon says lovin‘ to that man of yours. Click HERE to get to that post. But, you all being women, I really don’t expect you to do the logical thing and give your men what they want. Instead, you are going to try to foo foo the day up and make us men folk pretend to enjoy things like this…

Chocolate Covered Strawberries dressed in Tuxedos… Accented with Chocolate Hearts!

Sigh, ok, I’ll bow to the conventional wisdom (but as an experiment, put 6 Moink balls in front of your man, and 6 Chocolate covered strawberries next to the moink balls and see which plate ends up empty… But i digress)… As I was saying, I bow to conventional wisdom and will give you all a lesson in the easiest thing you will ever see me make.

It looked SO EASY, I was sure that even though I have never made anything with melted chocolate before, I CAN COOK THAT!

Credit where credit is due, I saw these on Regis and Kelly this week. It was just as easy as they made it sound. the only ingredients and supplies you need is some…

Dark Chocolate bark
White Chocolate bark
Strawberries
Parchment paper
double boiler and water
Pastry bag for decorating (or just a ziplock bag with a corner cut out)
and a spoon…

First, set up a double boiler. This was my first time melting chocolate in a double boiler, but it worked just like it was supposed to.

Get some water boiling, put a bowl in the water. I put a couple spoons around the edge so the bowl never touches the bottom of the pan, nor the sides.

Watch it carefully, stir occasionally and in about 10 minutes, you have melted chocolate. Do the white first…

Just like it looks, you are making the shirt front only, so you only need to dip the front in the chocolate. Allow it to cool.

Meanwhile, it is time to make a few chocolate hearts… With that rustic homemade look that you will pay big bucks for in a candy shop…

This is easier if you use your wife’s pastry bags. Or, if you don’t have a wife with pastry bags, put the still warm melted chocolate in a plastic bag and cut just a tiny hole in one of the corners.

Make two dots, about the size of quarters, use about 2/3rds of the amount of a Hershey’s kiss in each dot. Space them about 1/2 inch apart. use the flat side of a spoon to spread the dots out so they touch and then swirl down to form the heart. Allow to cool and viola.

I made several, til I was out of white chocolate. So, now it’s time to do the same melty thing with the dark.

I am sorry I did not take more photos of the process of the dark chocolate to get the tux look on the strawberries. But, just dip from the side, being careful to leave the white “V” shape of the front of the shirt showing.

Then use another pastry bag (or a very tiny hole in a plastic bag) and draw a little bow tie and a couple dots for buttons. Guys would still rather have Moink Balls, but women folk go weak in the knees over this kind of stuff.

Here’s the plate I gave my wife for an early Valentine’s Day gift. Her knees were so weak, she could hardly climb the stairs to thank me in the only way better than Moink balls… But I digress…

Here’s something really important…

A lot of this post should be dedicated to a wonderful blogger, katherine from SMOKEY MOUNTAIN CAFE. Just this week, Katherine had an opportunity to go to New York City, meet regis and Kelly, take cake decorating classes from a celebrity baker and have her cake entered in a charity contest to raise money for Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Do me a favor (and yourself), and visit Katherine’s site for details on her trip. Also, take just a second and follow the link she gives to “vote” for her cake. With each vote, the good folks at Electrolux will donate a dollar to the fund. A great cause and a fun read. Click HERE to get to Smokey mountain Cafe and the post on her day of cake decorating!

Ok ladies. You are now armed with the recipe for romantic loving, Moink Balls, and for these silly little trifles. Let your conscience be your guide as to what you think your man would REALLY like for Valentine’s Day.

See you all next Thursday!

Dave here from MY YEAR ON THE GRILL.

And BTW, I do wish there was an “I was trying to be funny, please don’t be insulted” Font.

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FUN, FUN, FUN…

Earlier this month Kristen issued us a monthly challenge of oatmeal in her What Did you bake today? post. She’ll be announcing the winner on January 29th and will be featuring them the following week both here at OUR KraZy kitchen and on her personal blog, Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. Everyone seems to be enjoying this so much that we thought we would expand this theme to include a different Mystery Ingredient or challenge each month.
You’ll notice a new section on the side bar that will tell you what the current month’s challenge is as well as past challenges. There are seven of us and 12 months so we thought we would also include in these challenges the parties for Valentines, Easter/Passover, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas/Chanuka.

The Valentine Party will be hosted by Chris of Nibble Me This. Now that we have a “MAN” on the staff of OUR KrAzY kitchen, we thought getting another to host the most romantic holiday of the year would be fun. Be sure to come back and link up with Chris on Saturday, February 13 and on Sunday, February 14th!
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Very Vintage Valentine Swap

I participated in Heidi’s Very Vintage Valentine Swap. I had fun putting together my partner’s box and here is what I sent: an altered candy box full of Valentine’s ribbons, cupcake stakes, recipes, vintage Valentine postcards and a cute little note board. I also made some crepe paper garland and sequin confetti hearts. She has asked for no sweets so I sent these awesome JELL-O flavors: Margarita, Pina Colada and strawberry Daiquiri. I also included a cute set of heart note cards, a vintage table centerpiece, pink variegated yarn, heart cookie cutters and and a Chinese heart carton full of metal conversation heart magnets. I’m still waiting for my box to see what’s in it.

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