Valentine Menu Recipes

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Black Forest Cake Recipe

Black Forest Cake

02.10.10 by Jackie

Black forest cake is a very moist chocolate cake made with crème fraîche and cocoa powder and layers of kirsch (cherry liqueur), cherry jam, mascarpone, maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings. I baked the cakes in mini heart-shaped springform pans, perfect to surprise my husband Lulu for Valentine's Day! Of course, now that I've written it here, he won't be surprised. I'll have to come up with something else. What can I say; his loss is your gain.

I had my first black forest cake (Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte) in 8th grade during German class. We were learning the German words for different ingredients and I remember that it made us all very hungry. In the German textbook, there was a recipe for black forest cake. One of the girls in the class decided to make the cake and brought it in the next day. It was so delicious that I've kept the recipe ever since, though with a few changes. Guten Appetit!


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Chicken Skewers Glazed with Kiwi Chutney Recipe

Kiwi chutney helps bring chicken to life by infusing the meat with sweet, tangy and spicy flavors. It's an exotic and flavorful twist on what could otherwise be a boring chicken dinner. I served the skewers with raita (yogurt sauce) and some more of the sauce made from the kiwi chutney. For the vegetarians in the house, I deep-fried tofu cubes, placed them on skewers and brushed them with kiwi chutney. Everyone got to share almost the "same" meal, which is very rare in my home.

I got the jar of kiwi chutney pictured below from our friend Laura. It's just one product in a long line of lovely creations that she has shared with us. Laura makes an amazing French marmalade, flavored with French vanilla beans. I don't have the recipe for the marmalade, but last year, she was kind enough to share her recipe for making vinegar on Pham Fatale.

If you don't have a friend like Laura, or can't find kiwi chutney at your local market, you can always try using other sweet chutneys such as mango or tamarind. No matter what, you'll have a tasty new chicken dish to share with your family and friends.

Chicken Skewers with Kiwi Chutney Recipe with Picture


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Olive Tapenade Chicken Rolls Recipe

Olive Tapenade Chicken Rolls

02.01.10 by Jackie

Olive tapenade is extremely versatile and can be used as a spread or filling in many different dishes. You can also use it in place of more traditional party dips such as hummus, guacamole, salsa or roasted bell pepper spread. In this recipe, I added goat cheese to the tapenade and used the mixture as a filling for chicken rolls. I served the dish with a mildly sweet carrot purée that makes an excellent foil to the savory flavor of the tapenade.

If it's not part of your culinary repertoire yet, you should definitely learn to prepare tapenade. It will open up a whole new world of easy to prepare, delectable dishes.


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Veal Scallopini with Garlic Cream Sauce (Escalope de Veau Marsala) Recipe

If you're looking for Valentine's Day dinner menu ideas, Escalope de Veau, sauce au vin Marsala should definitely be on your list. Veal steaks are slightly pounded, dredged in flour and pan-seared until golden. The real key to this dish is the rich and creamy garlic sauce made with Marsala wine. I know, garlic on Valentine's Day seems odd. But food that tastes great will set the mood, and what doesn't taste better with garlic?

I paired the veal with ratatouille, but if you'd prefer a starch, mashed sweet potatoes would make a great choice. The most important thing when preparing a romantic meal is to keep it simple. You don't want to spend the entire evening in the kitchen! Veal scallopini is a safe bet, brings the "wow" factor, and is delicious to boot.

** Note: I've gotten some questions about the thickness of the meat. In France, escalope de veau is usually at least 1-inch thick. I think that Americans are more familiar with the Italian version of the dish where the veal is pounded very thin.


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Strawberry Mint Milano Cookies (Chocolate Sandwich Cookies) Recipe

February 14th is nearly on its way, and the color of these delicious strawberry-mint thin, crisp butter cookies is reminiscent of Valentine's Day. I'm planning a super romantic dinner for Lulu. I was home alone today, so I took the opportunity to start testing out some of the dishes to make a perfect Valentine's Day dinner.

Pink was the theme color I was looking for. I couldn't find strawberry-flavored white chocolate at the store, so I substituted pink-colored mint chocolate apeels and bought some strawberry extract. The sandwich cookies freeze well, so I stacked and stored them for Valentine's Day.

Unfortunately, after taste-testing the cookies I realized I forgot to make them heart-shaped! I was a little bummed out. If you're planning on making these cookies for your sweetie, draw hearts on the other side of the parchment paper with a pencil, and pipe the cookie batter along the line of the heart. Oh well, I'm sure Lulu won't mind!

** Note: The strawberry mint Milanos are pictured with tuile cookies.


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