Cooking is love made visible
The author of this quote is unknown and with Valentine’s Day almost here, it seems appropriate.
Think about a meal you’ve had made with love. Really think about it. Close you eyes and remember the smells, the tastes, the setting, the cook. Were you the cook or was someone else? Was it a special occasion or just an ordinary day? Was it your favorite food or a new flavor adventure?
Valentine’s Day is just one of 365 opportunities to cook with love. And while our chefs always cook with love, we’ve got two classes with a focus on Cupid’s day.
On Feb. 8, the Gourmet Girls – Susan Fulton and Chef Mary Steiger – bring their delicious gluten free Valentine’s menu: Bruschetta with Tomatoes, Toasted Pine Nuts, Basil and Balsamic Reduction; Fettuccini with Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts and Chocolate Lava Cakes with Jack Daniels Salted Caramel Sauce and Whipped Cream. As their gift to you, they’ll provide the gluten free French bread and fettuccini. You don’t have to be gluten free to enjoy.
On Feb. 12, the romantic language of food is what’s cooking when Chef Judith Baigent-King guides you through a perfect and yummy Valentine’s Day menu: Roasted Prosciutto Wrapped Pork (or Turkey) Tenderloin with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce; “Everything” Smashed Potatoes; Spinach, Asparagus and Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Lemon Dressing and Chocolate Panna Cotta with Raspberries (there’s even a fat-free version). Chocolate Panna Cotta with a fat-free version that tastes amazing? That’s a bonus.
Wishing you joy in the kitchen, with love the first ingredient!
Raspberry Valentine Cake
Yield: 20 servings
1 cup sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 ⅓ cups cake flour
¾ cup whole milk
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs at room temperature
½ teaspoon table salt
1 cup raspberry preserves (I use seedless)
3 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur
Red gel food coloring
Buttercream ( recipe follows)
Chocolate hearts (recipe follows)
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 10” springform pan.
2. In a stand mixer or large bowl if using a hand-held mixer, beat sugar and butter on medium speed until fluffy.
3. On low speed, beat in flour, milk, baking powder, vanilla, eggs and salt until well blended. At medium speed, beat 1 minute.
4. Spoon batter into pan. Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick come out clean. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Remove side of pan. Cool completely.
5. Prepare buttercream and chocolate hearts. Place raspberry preserves in a bowl; stir in liqueur.
6. Remove cake from pan bottom. Cut cake into 3 layers. Place 1 layer on a cardboard round; spread with half of raspberry mixture. Top with another layer; spread with remaining raspberry mixture. Top with remaining layer.
7. Spread top and sides with about 2 cups buttercream.
8. Add coloring to remaining buttercream to tint pink. Place about ½ cup pink buttercream in a pastry bag with small writing tip; use to pipe lattice on top of cake. Use remaining buttercream to pipe border around top edge and bottom of cake in design of your choice. Press chocolate hearts into buttercream around the side.
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
4 egg yolks
1. In a stand mixer or large bowl if using a hand-held mixer, beat on high speed until fluffy. On medium, beat in 4 egg yolks.
¼-½ cup semisweet chocolate pieces, melted
1. Spread chocolate into a rectangle on a baking sheet lined with parchment, waxed paper or a Silpat mat. Refrigerate until firm. With heart-shaped cookie cutter (either all the same or varying sizes), cut chocolate into hearts; refrigerate until use.
Illustration: Epic Designs.