Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day Chocolate Fondue

"When we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden, your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither living nor dead, and I knew nothing, looking into the heart of light, the silence." - the Wasteland, T.S. Eliot

It's almost St. Valentine's Day, and love is in the air. Not being Catholic, I don't subscribe to the veneration of saints, but I do think this day requires a little digging into history to understand its roots, and why love is not only restricted to couples. Singles, especially Christians, have no reason to be sad on this day just because they are single. Being unattached is a huge blessing with many avenues of possibility. It should be put to good use, not lamented. So whether you are celebrating with a significant other, or continuing in your season of singleness, what better way to celebrate this day than with chocolate, and lots of it?

You will need:
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (better quality, such as Droste or Ghirardelli)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Large marshmallows
Whisk together cocoa and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Slowly pour in milk to make a paste, and mix together to remove lumps. Transfer to a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from hear and add vanilla. Transfer to a heated fondue pot. Clean and cut the fruit. Serve the fondue with fruit, marshmallows and any other dessert items that can be dipped. Rice Crispy treats cut into small chunks also work well.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cauliflower-Broccoli-Spinach Cream Soup

"Of all the items on the menu, soup is that which exacts the most delicate perfection and the strictest attention." - Auguste Escoffier

Soup seems to be made for cold-weather seasons. This is a tasty, comfortingly bland, cream-based soup which my mother concocted. Nothing tastes quite as good as homemade by mom.

You will need:
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 5-6 cups cauliflower, cut up small
  • 5-6 cups broccoli, cut up small
  • 2 cups chopped spinach (frozen)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery - 4 ribs
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes plus 4-6 cups of water
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • pepper to taste
First cook the vegetables in chicken broth: water with bouillon, butter and garlic. Then puree and add cream. Serve hot, with salt and pepper to taste.