And on the 45th day of marriage, there was my funny Valentine, you make me smile with my heart...
Since it was our first, and hopefully we won't quit trying to make the celebration of love day special, we wanted to have a great evening, even if it was a "school night."
Luckily for us, Knoxville Jazz Orchestra held a concert two blocks away at the bijou theater with Miss Melba Joyce singing along.
What are you doing the rest of your life?
North and south and east and west of your life
I have only one request of your life
That you spend it all with me
All the seasons and the times of your days
All the nickels and the dimes of your days
Let the reasons and rhymes of your days
All begin and end with me.
COULD IT BE SAID ANY MORE ELOQUENTLY?
And in a total non sequitur, can you believe Babs is 70 years old this year? She looks great. I wanna get the phone number of her plastic surgeon!
So since I had to work Tuesday and I knew I wouldn't be able to fix an elaborate meal, I settled for a delicious meal that wasn't horribly labor intensive. I have to tell you. These recipes are EASY, EASY, EASY and you won't get anything better in a restaurant (although those of you who went to a restaurant, good for you.) Check out my friend Nancy's blog for a great story about her Valentine's Day with not just one but THREE sweethearts. http://nancywahler.blogspot.com/
I started out with baby back ribs.
They were really sumptuous.
To accompany them, I made a green salad with avocado and goat cheese and potatoes au gratin. This was also really simple. This will serve four people as a side dish: Take a large baking potato and peel it. Then slice it as thinly as you can. In a bowl, mix 3/4 cup of heavy cream, a tablespoon (or twice that if you like) of thyme leaves, a dash of nutmeg or a drizzle of truffle oil (I used the truffle oil, but that is predictable), and one thin sliced garlic clove. Take a baking dish (9X9 works great) and layer the potatoes and a generous handful of cheese. I used shaved Parmesan, but nearly any type of cheese will be fine. Repeat this until all the potatoes are used up. I ended up with two layers. Pour the milk mixture on top. Let it sit there for 10-15 minutes and settle and use a spatula if necessary to get the potatoes pushed down so that they are covered by the milk mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes--until you see the milk/cheese mixture bubbling.
For dessert, chocolate pots du creme.
I have a story about chocolate pots du creme. I had never actually heard of this dish until I went to a very tiny town in Ireland called Kilmore Quay.
I have to say my concoction failed to match Kehoe's Pub but it was still good. In comparison, it was just slightly fudgier than the gold standard. But if you never ate at Kehoe, you'd probably think it was amazing.
Here is the recipe:
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/2 cup chopped semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 (4-ounce) espresso cups or other small cups
Whipped cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a small pot, over low heat, bring the milk, half and half, almond extract, vanilla seeds and vanilla pod to a gentle simmer. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. In a large bowl, add the eggs, cocoa, and sugar and whisk to combine. Pour the heated milk mixture into the melted chocolate and whisk to combine. Temper the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, adding it slowly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Do not overmix. You want the ingredients to be blended but not frothy or bubbly.
Pour the mixture into the small cups, filling almost to the top. Put the cups in a baking pan and fill the pan with 2 inches of water. Cover the top of the pan with aluminum foil. This will prevent the custard from forming a tough skin as it cooks. Put the pan in the center of the oven and bake until the custards are set but still a little loose, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.
Carefully remove the cups from the water bath and allow them to cool for 30 minutes Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or refrigerate overnight, before serving with the whipped cream
What did my funny Valentine say about this meal?
The ribs: Very tender. Almost melted in my mouth.
The potatoes: Silky texture and delicious.
The pot du creme: Chocolatey!
So my first Valentine's Day with my first husband? I poured my heart into it. A big kiss to my husband for helping to make it great!