Hasselback Potatoes by Lauren Minogue
Valentine’s Day is a holiday for romance and going above and beyond for the one you love. Instead of going out and trying to snag a table at a crowded restaurant, my husband and I have made a tradition of staying home and cooking a romantic meal for two. Add some lit candles and a chick-flick (come on guys, it’s once a year!), and it’s a recipe for a great evening of enjoying each other’s company.
Last year we went all out and made one of the best meals I’ve ever had. We tried out a new recipe for Zinfandel Port Steak Sauce which we served on top of some prime porterhouse steaks, Hasselback Potatoes (recipe below), and asparagus with a lemon caper sauce. The thing I love about trying out new recipes is that even if something doesn’t turn out quite as it is supposed to, you’re still left with some good laughs and memories that will last forever. Case in point, my husband and I once made a chocolate soufflé, which calls for some delicate folding of eggs whites. Let’s just say my husband needs a little more practice with that technique, but it did result in a hilariously flat soufflé that was still delicious!
So grab some of your favorite Ponte wine, along with a bottle of Port (I promise you won’t be disappointed with that steak sauce recipe) and your sweetie, and enjoy a romantic evening in.
- 2 small baking potatoes
- 4 Tablespoons melted butter, divided
- 1 32 oz. carton chicken stock
- ½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 Tablespoon fine, dry breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Peel potatoes. Cut each potato not quite all the way through in a series of crosswise slices, about ¼-inch apart or closer so they are still joined together at the bottom of the potato. Brush the potatoes with 1 tablespoon each melted butter and place in a small baking pan. Pour the chicken stock around the potatoes until it is about 1/2 inch up the potatoes (you may not use the entire carton) and sprinkle with the thyme leaves, salt and pepper, and roast until the potatoes are half cooked, 25-30 minutes, basting every 5 minutes with the butter-chicken stock mixture in the pan.
In a small bowl combine the grated cheese and bread crumbs and the remaining melted butter and divide the mixture evenly between the tops of the 2 potatoes. Continue roasting without further basting until the potatoes are crispy on the outside and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Cake Pops by Elyse Barton
It’s time to smother your love with kisses, flowers and sweet treats. This Valentine’s Day, I’m getting trendy and making my sweetheart cake pops – small, decadent pieces of cake and frosting rolled up and conveniently stuck onto lollipop sticks. These little guys are so versatile and can be made for any holiday or occasion. I used red velvet cake because the color is so festive, but they can be done with any flavor. And while I would normally make my cake from scratch, a box mix saves time and lets you focus on the homemade frosting and decorations to fit your theme. Oh, and they pair very well with two of our sparkling wines – 2010 Moscato and 2010 Rose Spumante.
Adapted from Cake Pop inventor, Bakerella
Makes 24 cake pops
- 1 box Red Velvet Cake mix
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 20 6″ lollipop sticks*
- Sprinkles of choice
- 6 bags of Wilton Candy Melts,* various colors
- Foam block*
Bake the cake according to box directions. Let cool completely. Remove cake from pan and crumble cake into a fine consistency (with hands or food processer). To make the frosting, combine the butter and cream cheese in a bowl. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix cream cheese frosting with the crumbled cake. Form cake into lollipop-sized balls and set on cookie sheet. Melt candy melts in a double boiler. Take a lollipop stick, dip one end of it into the melted chocolate and insert into a cake ball. Dip the cake pop into the melted chocolate until it is fully submerged. Remove it from the chocolate and gently tap any extra chocolate off. Stick cake pop into form block to harden. If you are decorating with sprinkles, do it at this time before the cake pop dries. Continue until all the cake pops are covered with chocolate. Decorate as desired with sprinkles, chocolate drizzles, etc. Present them to your Valentine with a bottle of sparkling Rose Spumante or Moscato or both! Sweeter than a kiss!
*Found at craft stores, such as Michael’s
What’s the sweetest gift you’ve received on Valentine’s Day?
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