So, it’s long past Valentine’s Day, but I’ve been looking through my pictures and remembered wanting to post about it. As relatively thrifty people (or cheap people, depending on how you want to look at it), my husband and I have a hard time going out for a meal that costs twice as much mostly because it’s decorated with pink balloons and flowers. (Although, if that’s your thing, by all means go for it.) So we have a Valentine’s Day tradition, mostly born out of practicality, of cooking a meal together instead of going out to eat.
Don’t get me wrong, we actually cook together a fair amount, but it’s usually pretty pragmatic. So we generally try and go for something a little more … well, romantic on Valentine’s Day. For the past few years he’s been getting the supplies from Whole Foods so we have some good quality stuff (and he usually picks up a bouquet of flowers as well). We usually do a few courses, just to amp up the faux-restaurant feel, but we threw things together kind of last-minute this year. We went with a surf and turf theme: he cooked duck breast, and I cooked scallops with bacon, with spinach cooked in duck fat as a side.
The dessert is generally left to me. One of my favorite restaurant desserts is molten chocolate lava cake (or, you know, whatever combination of similar words the pastry chef decides to call it). I had read a couple of recipes for lava cake before, and was skeptical since as far as I could tell, they basically made a chocolate cake-type batter and then only half-cooked it. But it was Valentine’s morning, and I couldn’t really handle dinner without a dessert, so I looked up a simple recipe at allrecipes.com and decided to go for it.
The recipe calls for a muffin tin, and extra-large paper muffin cups so that the cakes can be taken out of the tin easily. Humorously, I only had a mini-muffin tin, and my husband could only find regular-size muffin cups, so I figured the proportions were about the same. I was a little skeptical when I poured the batter. And even more skeptical when I took the cakes out of the oven, before flipping them over. I mean, the things looked pretty ridiculous.
But, when I put them on the plate and broke them open with a spoon — and tried the resulting gooey chocolate — I had to admit, the results were pretty good.
It was easy, too! Definitely a great ending to a home-cooked Valentine’s meal. And once I’d made the batter, all I had to do was throw them in the oven, so we had them again the next night, too. And now that I am thinking about them, and looking at the pictures, maybe we will have them again some night soon in the future, as well …