Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Dinner For Two

 For Valentine's Day, I'm giving you Valentine's Dinner for Two.

 The Hawthornes are starting out with champagne, of course,
and chocolate dipped strawberries.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
2 oz. sweet chocolate
2 oz. bittersweet
1 tsp shortening
Nuke all together.
Stir until well-combined and smooth.
Dip cleaned strawberries in the chocolate
and set on wax paper to harden.

Next, the Hawthornes are having oysters on the half shell. 

Oysters Hawthorne
12 oysters, shucked, on the half shell
1 TB unsalted butter
½ cup chopped onions
1 TB unsalted butter
4 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
¼ cup water
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup ricotta
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated
Panko breadcrumbs
½ stick unsalted butter, melted
Fresh nutmeg, microplaned
In a medium skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter.  Add in chopped onions and cook over medium heat about a minute.  Add in the second tablespoon of butter, melt, then add in the spinach.  Cook stirring, about a minute, then pour in the water and cook until spinach is wilted and water is evaporated.   Stir in cream and ricotta and heat through.  Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Spoon spinach mixture on each oyster, then grate Parmesan cheese, sprinkle Panko breadcrumbs, and grate a hint of nutmeg over top.  Spoon melted butter over the oysters and place under a 450° broiler for 3 minutes, until bubbly and nicely browned.

Rosie’s Fiesta Oysters
12 oysters, shucked, on the half shell
Mr. Hawthorne’s homemade Salsa Ranchera or your favorite homemade or jarred salsa
Queso cheese with jalapeno, crumbled
Crumbled tortilla chips
½  stick unsalted butter, melted
A few drops of Texas Pete

Place about a teaspoon of salsa on each oyster, then sprinkle on some queso, and top with crushed chips.  Spoon about 2 teaspoons of melted butter over each oyster, dribble some Texas Pete on top, and place under a 450° broiler for 3 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the liquid is bubbling.


Flourless Chocolate Cake
4 eggs
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
4 oz. sweet chocolate
1 stick butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 TB strong brewed coffee
Powdered sugar, if desired

Heat oven to 325°.  Butter a 7-inch springform pan, line with parchment paper, and butter sides.  Wrap outside of pan with heavy foil.  Set in a roasting pan and put on a kettle of water to boil.

Using a stand mixer with whisk, whip eggs on medium speed until doubled in volume, 5 or so minutes.

Melt chocolate and butter with coffee in a double boiler, stirring a few times until smooth.  Using large spatula, fold ⅓ of egg foam into chocolate mixture until only a few streaks of egg are visible.  Fold in remaining egg in two additions until mixture is uniform.

Pour batter into prepared springform pan, set roasting pan on oven rack, and pour boiling water halfway up the sides of the pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes, until edges are beginning to set and a slight crust has formed.  Remove pan from water bath and cool completely on wire rack.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate over night.

Run a thin knife between cake and sides of pan and remove sides.  Invert cake and remove parchment, then turn cake right side up on serving platter.  Sift powdered sugar over top.

Next, I’m making a raspberry purée, an ideal accompaniment to this chocolate dessert.  

Raspberry Purée
2 cups raspberries
3 TB sugar
2 TB water
Pinch salt
2 tsp lemon juice
Combine raspberries, sugar, and water in small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, 3-4 minutes.  Process in blender until smooth.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing to extract as much purée as possible.
Stir in lemon juice and salt and taste-test.  Depending on the ripeness of your berries you might want to add more sugar.
Spoon purée onto plate and place a slice of the chocolate cake in the pool of purée.  Spoon raspberries over top.  If desired decorate with silver dragées and sprinkles.
Bon Appétit and Happy Valentine’s Day.

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