Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I'm not a romantic...

But I sure like foods that are in heart form! Micah and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day. Granted, we did exchange gifts the first few years we were together, but after more than a dozen years together, we've pretty much abandoned V-day.

Although we don't do gifts, I do like to cook us a nice little dinner just for kicks -- besides, I really wanted to use my new cast iron heart pan!

For dinner, I made risotto with caramelized onions and chicken. I used the recipe from my Food & Wine cookbook.

I won't re-post the recipe, since you can find it here. I did omit the bacon and added chicken (had some rotisserie chicken leftover in the fridge) and cremini mushrooms.

1. Caramelize the onions (this takes the longest time). When the onions were almost done, I added the diced cremini mushrooms.

2. Starting the risotto part. I added a 1/4 c. of white wine after the first batch of stock was soaked into the rice.

3. Have to get the cheese ready!

4. The risotto is almost there. It takes a good 20 minutes to cook the risotto, bit by bit.

5. Finished product. I made a side of roasted brussels sprouts for some necessary greens. I just trimmed and halved the brussel sprouts. Coated them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt/pepper and roasted them cut side down in a 375°F oven for 15-20 minutes.

For dessert, I knew I wanted to make a cake with beer, so I found this Chocolate Stout Cake from King Arthur Flour. While the recipe on the site makes for a large cake, I decided to use my mini heart pan and turn the rest into cupcakes.

  • 1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. For the cake: Place the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan, and heat until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cocoa powder.

{Micah had this robust porter in the fridge, which was perfect since it had tons of roasted malts and was very rich. I debated between this porter and the Brooklyn Chocolate Stout, but ended up with the porter.}

{Butter and porter}

{addition of cocoa powder}

3. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
4. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

{dry ingredients}

5. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream.

6. Add the stout-cocoa mixture, mixing to combine.

7. Add the flour mixture and mix together at slow speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 1 minute. [I did this by hand instead of getting my mixer dirty]

8. Fill heart cake pan (or muffin tin) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Once done, let cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan.

{Seriously, how adorable is this?!?! Hearts for everyone! I even got the pan on clearance from QVC and they're still available!}

For the frosting:
1.Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan.

2. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the mixture is completely smooth.

You can use it as a smooth ganache glaze or let it cool completely and whip it to make a lighter frosting.

{Finished product. I also made a quick raspberry sauce to complement the chocolate. Tres romantique!}