Once upon a time, a reader told me that because I cook frequently, it wasn’t special for me to cook Valentine’s dinner for my then-boyfriend. I countered that it’s not just about cooking, it’s about what you cook and how you approach it. I still believe that, but on the flip side, when DLS suggested he cook dinner for us on Valentine’s Day, I was extra touched – he always says he doesn’t really cook, so the effort of even just offering was super appreciated. (And despite being featured prominently on this blog, he’s a rather private person, so I won’t embarrass him by talking about how nervous he was about cooking for me. Wait, oops!)
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The menu was kept a complete surprise from me until I arrived bearing dessert (my suggestion to relieve some pressure from him) – miso glazed halibut with roasted asparagus! And yes, dear friends, it was great. He did give me the recipe so if you’re interested, I can post it in comments.
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I was chided for being a showoff with dessert… but a friend told me I shouldn’t have to dumb down my skills just so other people won’t feel bad. I don’t think DLS felt bad, anyway! In any case, this isn’t even a difficult dessert – I’ve actually been making this since about 3 years ago, but dressed it up more this time. The original concept was blood orange panna cotta, layered, but I had a lot of trouble finding blood oranges. I eventually had to make do with what was available, but I lucked out because Sarah told me that there were these cute small jars at Duane Reade for 2/$1, so I picked those up – perfect for ease of transporting the desserts, and because they are adorable! The rest was a matter of plating… I’m proud of the end result visually, for sure, though there were some parts of the overall dessert that failed to be what I wanted it to be.
Oops! I’m forgetting to tell you what it actually is. Ulmo honey panna cotta layered with grapefruit gelee (dyed red with cherry juice), topped with a gelee heart; Earl Grey tea cookies and grapefruit/blackberry salad dressed with grapefruit dressing.
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Really simple – blackberries and grapefruit supremes tossed together (I didn’t realize the blackberries would bruise and bleed on everything!), dressed with grapefruit juice/honey/lime juice, topped with lime zest. Super simple and quite light and refreshing.
Unfortunately, the panna cotta was good texturally, but I must have used a touch too little ulmo honey as it wasn’t quite as floral as it could be. I didn’t like the super thick gelee – I made it too thick, but I wanted the color to show up! – and its flavor was only so-so. The heart was just cut out of gelee I chilled on a plate (I have so many mini cutters left from bento days). DLS ate it without complaint, but I know how good it could be, and that it was only alright. I would have been better off making chestnut mousse as TC suggested… doh! DLS and I both agreed that the cookies were the hit part of dessert. Ah well.
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DLS surprised me with roses too. 🙂 As Jennifer Aniston would say: “Every girl likes flowers!” and yes, yes I do… 🙂
Hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s Day 2012… did you do anything special?