Are you ready to make a great impression on the one you love the most?
Well; it is time to get started!
Gather the ingredients listed below and set a very pretty table. Flowers would be nice!
Here is an idea: Why not go for “togetherness” on this one and cook your Valentine’s meal for one another together?
Don’t you know that those who cook together stay in love longer?
This meal is not very easy to cook (one reason it is so special) so you can laugh at each other’s mistakes as you go along! Doing the cooking together takes the pressure off for perfection.
VALENTINE’S DAY MENU
MAIN DISH: OSSO BOCO WITH GREMOLATA
SIDE DISH: RISOTTO ALLA MILANEST
DESSERT: SEVEN SINS CHOCOLATE CAKE
OSSO BUCO WITH GREMOLATA
(This is a recipe from “Fine Cooking”. You may wish to view more of their great recipes at www.finecooking.com.)
This is the world’s best make-ahead dish—it tastes amazing on the second day.
· 6 (1-1/4 inch-thick) veal shanks
· Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
· 1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
· 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
· 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
· 3 cups finely diced yellow onion (about 2 medium onions)
· 1 cup finely diced celery (about 2 stalks)
· 3/4 cup finely diced carrots (about 2 small carrots)
· 1 tsp. dried oregano
· 3/4 cup dry white wine
· 2 Tbs. tomato paste
· 1 (28-oz. can) Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped, juices reserved
· 1 cup low-salt chicken broth, more if needed
· 1 large sprig of thyme
· 1 bay leaf
· 1 tablespoon arrowroot mixed with 2 teaspoons of broth or water
For the Gremolata:
· 3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
· 2 large cloves garlic, minced
· 1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
· 2 anchovy fillets, minced
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Tie the veal shanks around the middle with kitchen string (if they’re not tied already) and season them with salt and pepper. Put the flour in a dish. Dredge the shanks very lightly in flour, thoroughly shaking off the excess.
Have ready a roasting pan or baking dish large enough to hold the shanks in a single layer (9×13-inch works well). In a large heavy skillet, heat 3 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat. Put three veal shanks in the pan and sear until nicely browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Move the shanks to the roasting pan. Repeat with the remaining three shanks.
Carefully pour off the fat in the pan and wipe it out with paper towels (it’s fine if the browned bits remain in the pan bottom; just wipe away the used oil). Return the pan to medium heat and add the butter and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. When the butter is melted, add the onion, celery, carrot, oregano, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the wine, and cook, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon, until the wine is reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the tomatoes with their juices, the broth, thyme, bay leaf, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Bring to a boil, and pour the contents of the pan over the shanks. Cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Braise the veal in the oven until fork-tender, 1-1/2 to 2 hours, checking the liquid occasionally. If it has cooked down, add enough broth to keep the level about halfway up the shanks. To check for doneness; pierce a shank with a fork. The meat should pull apart easily. Taste a morsel—it should feel soft and tender.
Do not overcook, or the veal will fall apart.
Gently brush most of the vegetable bits off the shanks. With a wide, flat metal spatula, carefully transfer the veal shanks to a dish. Strain the pan juices through a medium-mesh sieve into a saucepan, pressing hard on the solids with a spatula to extract as much sauce as you can. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Whisk in the arrowroot mixture and cook briefly to thicken. If you’re working ahead, stop here (see Make-ahead Tips for reheating).
Make the gremolata:
Just before finishing the sauce and serving, combine the parsley, garlic, lemon zest, and anchovies. Add two Tbs. of the gremolata to the sauce. Remove the strings from the shanks. Serve the osso buco topped with the sauce and a small sprinkling of the remaining gremolata.
Make Ahead Tips:
To make the Osso Buco ahead, braise the veal and strain and thicken the sauce with arrowroot. Wipe the roasting pan clean, return the shanks to the pan, and pour the sauce over the shanks. Let them cool at room temperature for an hour, cover well, and refrigerate for up to two days. To reheat, cover the pan with foil and set in a 325°F oven until the shanks are hot, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the shanks to a dish, then make the gremolata, adding it to the sauce and sprinkling it over the shanks.
RISOTTO ALLA MILANESE
(This recipe comes from SAVEUR MAGAZINE, September 7, 2012 Edition, which featured several great ways to use saffron rice in cooking)
6 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp. saffron threads
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 small yellow onions, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 oz. raw bone marrow (optional)
½ cup grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat stock and saffron in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat; keep warm. Heat butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add rice; cook until lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Add wine; cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup warm stock; cook, stirring, until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue adding stock, ½ cup at a time, and cooking until absorbed before adding more, until rice is tender and creamy, about 16 minutes total. Stir in marrow, if using, and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper.
SEVEN SINS CHOCOLATE CAKE
Sinful deserts are a MUST for Valentine’s Day tables. (I found this decadent dessert in
The SprinkleBakes Cookbook.) Yield: 15+ servings
I recommend making this cake over the course of two days. The devils’ food cake and pastry creams can be made on the first day, and the frosting, drizzle and assembly can be completed on day two.
This is my favorite devils’ food cake recipe adapted from a Rose Levy Beranbaum recipe.
This double layer cake gets torted and filled with three types of pastry cream.
Tip: Instead of picking up a torted cake piece with your hands, slide it onto a large plate. This will keep the cake from breaking into pieces and makes it easy to slide the piece back onto the filled cake.
Devil’s food cake:
1 oz. fine quality unsweetened baker’s chocolate, chopped evenly
3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup hot coffee (can use hot water or decaf coffee if caffeine sensitive)
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, tightly packed
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
16 tbsp (2 US sticks) unsalted butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with vegetable shortening and line with a circle of parchment paper. Grease paper and flour; tap out excess and set pan aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the chocolate, cocoa and hot coffee (or water) until smooth.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, sour cream, half the chocolate mixture and vanilla until just combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt on low for 30 seconds. Add the softened butter and the remaining chocolate mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer off between additions, add the egg mixture in two parts, starting on medium-low speed and gradually increasing to medium. Beat on medium speed for 45 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. The batter will be fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface evenly with a small offset spatula. Bake for 30-40 minutes (check at 30). Cake is done when a toothpick tester comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed in the middle. Let the baked cakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn cake out onto a wire rack sprayed with cooking oil. Let cool completely.
Trio of pastry creams:
(Adapted from the Sprinkle Bakes book)
Tip: Be sure to temper eggs carefully! If you goof a little and pastry cream turns out lumpy, pass it through a fine sieve before refrigerating.
2.5 oz. dark chocolate
2.5 oz. white chocolate
2.5 oz. milk chocolate
¼ cup cornstarch
2 cups evaporated milk
4 egg yolks
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tbsp. whiskey
3 tbsp. dulce de leche (find this canned in the ethnic food aisle)
1-2 tsp. espresso powder (to taste)
Have ready three small bowls (2 cup size), wiped spotless of any moisture. Chop the chocolate evenly and place each type of chocolate in a separate bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in 1/2 cup of the milk. Beat the whole eggs, then the yolks, one at a time, into the cornstarch mixture. In a saucepan, combine the remaining milk and the sugar; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. While whisking the egg mixture, slowly pour
1/3 of the boiling milk into it, to temper the eggs. Return the remaining milk in the saucepan to medium-low heat. Pour the hot egg mixture into the saucepan in a thin stream, whisking, so as to not scramble the eggs. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to boil. Remove from the heat and pour the hot pastry cream over the chopped chocolate, dividing evenly between the three bowls. Let stand for 2 minutes, and then stir each bowl until mixture is well incorporated. Mix 1 tbsp. butter in each of the bowls. When butter has melted and is thoroughly combined, fold in 2 tbsp. whiskey into the dark chocolate pastry cream; 3 tbsp. dulce de leche into the white chocolate pastry cream; 1-2 tsp. espresso powder into the milk chocolate pastry cream. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surfaces of each type of pastry cream so they do not form a skin. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Milk chocolate marshmallow frosting:
12 tbsp (1-1/2 US sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2-2/3 cups powdered sugar
6 oz. milk chocolate melted and slightly cooled
7 oz. marshmallow cream
With a hand mixer or standing mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat butter for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Add melted chocolate and beat until fluffy. Add marshmallow cream and beat until frosting has lightened in color and all ingredients are well combined. Scrape down bowl and mix again. Transfer 3/4 cup to a piping bag or zip-top bag with the corner snipped for later use.
Fill and frost the cakes:
Cut each cake in half horizontally (this is called “torting”); pipe a line of frosting around the edge of the first cake piece. This makes a reservoir in which to hold the pastry cream (this is extra insurance, sometimes pastry cream is lax if not well refrigerated). Spread the pastry cream inside the icing and top with another cake piece. Pipe an icing line as before and fill white chocolate dulce de leche cream; repeat with the next cake piece and milk chocolate mocha cream. Top with the final cake layer and frost the entire cake. You may choose to crumb coat the cake and refrigerate, then do a final smooth coat of icing (recommended).
Dark chocolate drizzle:
Note: This portion should not be made ahead. The chocolate thickens quickly and needs to be applied to the cake 10-15 minutes after making it.
4 oz. dark chocolate chopped evenly
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla
Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. In a 4-cup measure, heat cream until very hot but not boiling (about 45 seconds for me, but all microwaves vary); you can also do this in a saucepan over medium heat if you don’t have a microwave. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes. Whisk until all chocolate is completely melted and mixture is
consistent. Whisk in corn syrup and vanilla. Let mixture stand until slightly thickened – about 10-15 minutes. Pour over cake; allow the mixture to run down the sides of the cake in fingers.
Your choice of chocolate pieces.
Remaining 3/4 cup frosting in piping bag/zip-top bag
Pipe frosting in mounds around the outer edge on top of the cake. Sprinkle-on chocolate shavings. Use any finishing chocolate for garnish you wish.
Important! Keep this cake refrigerated, but be sure to bring it to room temperature before serving. Pastry creams and frosting flavors are fully developed at room temperature.
Okay – so the dessert is a bit complicated, but isn’t your sweetheart worth all the trouble?
Remember; Don’t stress; just do this together and have fun! No matter what results; you will always remember the experiences that you shared!