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Posts Tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

by Sarah Steimer

Pasta with brown butter beets and orange-sage ricotta

Don’t skimp on the seasoned ricotta! The orange zest and sage really add a fresh bite to the earthy pasta. The walnuts are a must as well, for the crunch factor. This dish is a playful pink for Valentine’s Day — but it also offers some very deep, wonderful flavors and velvety texture. Romance on a plate!

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by Caitlin Saniga | photos by Joel Hawksley

Ginger-soy pork chops

I don’t cook a whole lot of meat, but when I do, I gravitate toward pork. Joel and I made these pork chops for a pre-Valentine’s Day dinner, and we loved the way they paired with a side of tangy roasted broccoli (Recipe coming Friday!). Bonus: No garlic breath!

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by Caitlin Saniga

Balsamic chicken and mushrooms

For a romantic meal for two, serve the chicken over rice (There should be plenty of sauce!), add a salad of mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette, and sip some white wine.

  • 2 skinless, boneless, thin-sliced chicken breast filets
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
  • 1/4 cup dark balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon butter, chopped into pieces
  • thyme sprigs, for garnish

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a bowl and season with more salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and saute until nicely browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn the chicken breasts. Scatter the garlic and mushrooms over top. Continue frying, shaking the skillet and stirring the mushrooms. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the vinegar, broth, bay leaf and thyme. Cover tightly and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

Transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter, and cover with foil. Set aside. Continue simmering the sauce, uncovered, over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Swirl in the butter and discard the bay leaf. Pour the mushrooms and sauce over the chicken, garnish with thyme sprigs, and serve.

Makes 2 servings.

Recipe adapted from: a recipe that appeared in The Roanoke Times from Elizabeth Merian

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by Sarah Steimer

Using beets instead of food coloring will yield a more deep red-brown color, versus a bold red color from food dye. Even though the color isn't as pronounced, I still prefer the natural route.

Using beets instead of food coloring will yield a more deep red-brown color, versus a bolder red color from food dye. Even though the color isn’t as pronounced, I still prefer the natural route. I topped my waffles with just a dusting of powdered sugar for the photo, but these would be great with syrup, a berry compote and/or some dark chocolate shavings.

  • 2 medium-sized beets
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour OR wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 eggs, yolks and white separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    I made these waffles yesterday and am freezing them until Valentine's Day. I certainly don't have the time to make waffles for breakfast during the weekday, so I'll just pop these in the toaster come Thursday.

    I made these waffles yesterday and am freezing them until Valentine’s Day. I certainly don’t have the time to make waffles for breakfast during the weekday, so I’ll just pop these in the toaster when I have a moment Thursday morning.

Rinse the beets and cut off their tops and bottoms where the stems and root tails begin. Boil in a small pot over medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until the beets can be easily pierced with a knife. Let the beets cool until you can touch them easily. Using gloves (beets can be messy), peel the skins off the beets, which should come off very easily. Cut the beets into about1/2-inch cubes (does not need to be exact) and add to a blender with a few teaspoons of water. Puree until smooth, adding more water if necessary. Measure out 1/2 cup of the puree and store whatever is left.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, combine the milk and vinegar. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Whisk in the beet puree, butter, egg yolks and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined — so pink!

Pink is far from my favorite color, but this natural rosy color was really cool. Too bad the waffles don't stay this tone once the batter is cooked.

Pink is far from my favorite color, but this natural deep rose tone was really beautiful. Too bad the waffles don’t remain this shade once the batter is cooked.

In a small bowl (last bowl, I promise), beat the egg whites until stiff peaks appear. Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.

Bake according to your wafflemaker’s directions. If your machine has a temperature option, set to medium-high.

Makes about 12 Belgium waffles.

Recipe adapted from: Daily Nibbles

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by Caitlin Saniga and Sarah Steimer

Wine and chocolate? Can’t complain. Normally wine is paired with a full meal, or various aspects of the meal. We decided to take that information and pair red wines with different types of chocolate. These pairings are a great idea for a small party — or just for you and that hunk of burning love that is lucky enough to call you his or her own. Or it can be just for you (how do you suppose we tested out this guide?).

And please note: We’re not experts.

Red zinfandel and ginger-orange spiced dark chocolate

Red zinf and spicy dark chocolate

The wine: Red zinfandels have a medium to heavy body with spicy, sometimes fruity notes.

The pairing: Red zinfs pair well with desserts that have spice — think gingerbreads and carrot cake. With that in mind, I went with a ginger-orange dark chocolate.

— S

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Pinot noir with caramel milk chocolate

Merlot with caramel milk chocolate


The wine: Pinot noir is a light red wine with notes of vanilla, strawberry and raspberry and pairs well with milk chocolates. It can range in color from cherry to purple.

The pairing: This wine is a natural dessert partner with creme brulee, a custard topped with caramelized sugar. The vanilla aromas pair nicely with the caramel chocolate.

— C

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Cabernet sauvignon with espresso chocolate

Cabernet Sauvignon with espresso chocolate.

The wine: Cabernets can be a nice, mellow wine. They often have notes of currants, along with oak and a bit of vanilla.

The pairing: When served with desserts, Cabernet sauvignon matches up well with treats that have a coffee flavoring — which is why I chose a chocolate that has an espresso flavoring. (Could you imagine this with tiramisu? Sounds perfect.)

— S

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Shiraz with raspberry dark chocolate

The wine: Shiraz has aromas of blackberry, plum, and pepper. It can be

Shiraz with raspberry dark chocolate

prepared in a fruity style, which many sweet wine drinkers like.

The pairing: With its dark berry and plum flavors, this wine pairs nicely with the fruitiness and tinge of bitterness of raspberry dark chocolate. Don’t like raspberries? I was tempted to try blackberry and blueberry dark chocolates I spotted at the store.

— C

Sources: WineIntro.com and Savory.tv

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