by Sara Levine in Holidays, Restaurants, February 13th, 2015
by Marisa McClellan in Holidays, Recipes, February 13th, 2015
On most special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, my husband and I look forward to splurging on dinners out at new or favorite restaurants. But not on Valentine’s Day. One too many overpriced set menus with boring choices (“free” glass of sparkling wine included!) ruined that for us. We usually plan an elaborate menu to cook at home, but enough people have wised up to staying in on Valentine’s Day that the scene in Whole Foods can be just as bad as a “romantic restaurant.” So this year, let’s try a new game plan. Maybe a romantic dinner doesn’t have to mean an expensive fixed-price menu or hours spent toiling in the kitchen. Maybe it’s just splurging (calorically) on a favorite comfort food together, something fun that satisfies at a low price, without a reservation made weeks or months in advance — and nobody has to wash dishes. Here are five ideas for nontraditional Valentine’s Day date nights. Read more
by Lindsay Damast in Holidays, Recipes, February 12th, 2015
Valentine’s Day means something different for nearly everyone. Some people send cards. Others plan lavish meals for their sweethearts. Still others give or receive gifts of chocolate or shiny baubles. And there are always a few who boycott the holiday (and often wear black in protest).
I like to acknowledge Valentine’s Day, but I have always preferred a more homemade approach. When I was in school, I always insisted that I make individual cards for my classmates instead of buying the preprinted ones from the drugstore (heart-shaped doilies were almost always involved in my craft projects).
Later on, I’d gather up friends for a home-cooked dinner designed to celebrate our collective community. The promised cheese fondue would always draw a big crowd, regardless of whether my friends were in relationships.
by Allison Milam in Holidays, Recipes, February 12th, 2015
Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year — which means if you haven’t made a dinner reservation by now, you’re pretty much screwed. But fret not: A homemade candlelit meal is always more intimate than the prix-fixe menus and forced romance served at neighborhood restaurants. And since it’s a weekend day, you’ll have plenty of time to prep, whether it be for breakfast in bed, a lingering brunch or a multicourse dinner extravaganza.
Chocolate shares equal billing on Valentine’s Day with red roses, but most often rolled into truffles or tucked into assorted boxes of candy. But why wait till dessert (or, err, whatever time of day you happen to open your gifted sweets) to indulge in the heavenly ingredient? Incorporate chocolate into your celebratory meal — breakfast, lunch or dinner — to infuse your dishes with either sweetness or bitterness, complexity and subtle spice.
Kick-start your day with endorphin-boosting Chocolate Waffles (shown above). Mixing chocolate syrup into the waffle batter ensures consistent cocoa flavor without compromising the texture of the breakfast treats. Top them with additional chocolate syrup and red berries to give them that Valentine’s vibe. Read more
by Jackie Alpers in Holidays, How-to, February 11th, 2015
Whether you’ve got yourself a sweetie or you’re going for a more “all my single ladies” approach, these chocolatey sweets are just what St. Valentine called for. Instead of swinging by the drugstore for a sorry box of chocolates, give your valentine handmade chocolate treats that are a sure-fire way to melt hearts.
It may be the go-to move, but there is something to be said for biting into plump, juicy Chocolate-Covered Strawberries (pictured above). Not only are these fruity treats romantic through and through, they’re also completely effortless to make. Plus, rolling each melted chocolate-dipped strawberry in crushed pretzel sticks or almonds makes for a crunchy complement that proves that opposites attract.
by Foodlets in Family, Holidays, February 10th, 2015
In the early 1930s, the Ferrara Candy Company created the famous Red Hots cinnamon candies using the cold panned candy method. The inventors probably never imagined that the candies, which have become a Valentine’s Day staple, could be used in so many ways. All of these ideas utilize one 6-ounce theater box of the candies. Browse the full gallery for all 11 spiced-up homemade Valentine’s Day treats.
Red Hot Strawberries
Red Hots melt perfectly into a smooth syrup that can be incorporated into a variety of recipes, including these candy-coated strawberries (pictured above). Boil 1 box of Red Hots with 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar to 300 degrees F (hard crack stage). Use a candy thermometer to monitor. Carefully dip skewered strawberries into the candy. Let cool completely.
by Maria Russo in Holidays, Recipes, February 9th, 2015
From super sweet to pretty darn healthy, I’ve got your kids’ Valentine’s Day treats covered. Every one of them is doable for busy parents, and many are so easy the kids can help. So whether you and the little ones are celebrating at home or school, these adorable ideas say nothing but love from the oven.
1. Heart of the Batter Cupcakes: As if a moist cupcake loaded with chocolate frosting wasn’t enough, what kid wouldn’t be delighted to bite into a cupcake to find a heart-shaped strawberry inside? I’m practically clapping myself about these too-cute treats from Food Network Magazine.
2. Chocolate-Covered Mini Pretzel Sticks: For small kids, a pretzel stick — loaded with chocolate and sprinkles — makes the perfect serving size. Bonus: Your little ones can help make a batch with you.
by Maria Russo in Holidays, Recipes, February 7th, 2015
There are chocolate lovers — and then there are chocoholics, a term reserved for only the most-diehard chocolate fanatics, those who dream about sleeping on a bed of fluffy chocolate frosting and swimming in a vat of chocolate fondue. If you consider yourself a member of this super-sweet club, you’re in luck: FN Dish is here with five of the most-over-the-top chocolatey recipes that you’re sure to swoon over this Valentine’s Day.
Hot-from-the-oven chocolate cake on the outside with a pool of rich, creamy melted chocolate in the center: That’s the scene taking place when you make Giada De Laurentiis’ Warm Chocolate Cakes with Berries (pictured above). The beauty of Giada’s fuss-free cakes is that you can prepare them in the morning, then come back to bake them right before you’re ready to eat them, so you’re guaranteed a deliciously warm dessert. Follow Giada’s lead and add just a pinch of espresso powder to the batter; it will enhance the flavor of the chocolate without adding a coffee taste.
by Maria Russo in Holidays, Recipes, February 5th, 2015
Valentine’s Day may be all about hearts, roses and chocolate, but when it comes to indulging in a fancy dinner on Feb. 14, look to a juicy, meaty steak to treat your sweetie. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, Katie Lee prepared the ultimate in beefy decadence: filet mignon. She opted for a filet cut of beef to guarantee soft, buttery meat, then she doctored up the dish with sides of golden-brown potatoes and simple asparagus studded with pine nuts. Read on below to find three other ways to serve a simple yet stunning steak supper for your valentine.
For a lighter alternative to the classic steak dinner, try Food Network Magazine’s Steak Pizzaiola (pictured above), ready to eat in only 35 minutes. This healthy recipe boasts seared sirloin steak simmered in a bold tomato sauce with bell peppers and onions, plus a pinch of red pepper flakes to offer welcome spice.
by Mallory Viscardi in Books, Holidays, February 4th, 2015
From greeting cards and red roses to candy hearts and chocolate boxes, much is made of Valentine’s Day every year. But if, for whatever reason, you’re not embracing the day devoted to love this Saturday, there’s still a way to celebrate: Swoon over a bold — and, ahem, pungent — meal without fear of recoil from your partner.
Set up an appetizer to remember by crafting an elegant cheese plate with a deliciously funky blue cheese at the center, then dig into Alton Brown’s 40 Cloves and a Chicken (pictured above) for dinner. This 5-star supper is made with only four ingredients, but together they pack a flavorful punch. While dozens of garlic cloves may surely seem over the top, don’t shy away from adding all of them; they turn soft and surprisingly sweet as they roast, and together with the thyme, the garlic complements the chicken.
It’s February, which means it’s chocolate’s turn to take center stage. ‘Tis the season to try your hand at being an amateur chocolatier, whether you’re satisfying your craving with melt-in-your-mouth truffles or layering chocolate inside of chocolate with more chocolate with Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes. Add a luxuriously sweet finale to your Valentine’s Day dinner menu with the help of the new cookbook Chocopologie, written by master chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt. Check out his expert chocolate-handling tips and get his recipe for droolworthy Double Chocolate Cupcakes below.
1. Ganache is made by pouring hot cream over chopped chocolate. Knipschildt sometimes adds a little honey for a pop of sweetness and to contribute to a smooth, satiny mouthfeel. Butter is also frequently stirred into the warm ganache to boost its lushness.
2. Modern technology has made melting chocolate a lot easier and foolproof. When you use the microwave, there’s less chance of the chocolate scorching or stiffening (also called “seizing”).