One Seasonal Meal: February (Valentine's Edition)

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Love.  Has a stupider idea ever been invented?  And now, on the Eve of Valentine’s Day, it’s out there spreading like a deranged virus, the origins of which can all be traced back to a skittish and myopic army of Cupids and their poison arrows gone askew.  Surely we can train some anti-aircraft missiles on them.  Can’t they be stopped, these winged punks?

No?  Okay, fine, might as well make the most of it with a meal that celebrates winter’s bounty.  Let’s see.  What do we have left?  Some squash, potatoes, a few parsnips.  Let’s try to patch something together from our roster of beloved food bloggers, shall we?

We’ll start it off Italian-style with a first course of butternut squash lasagna from Ari at Baking and Books:


This recipe makes an absolute ton, so it’s a good thing to make if you have upwards of 25 Valentines.  Or you can carve out a corner piece for your one special someone, setting aside packages of future lasagna love in your freezer.  (P.S. Husband has stated that there better not be any squash on his plate for Valentine’s Day, but I still really like this version so I’m sharing it with you.)

For the main course, may I recommend cider-braised chicken with parsnips from Cook Local.  This is made with hard cider, but you could also use non-fermented cider or apple cider vinegar.  Parsnips are underutilized in the kitchen and, here, their sweetness really shines.  Roasting some potato wedges also seems like a good idea.  Or breaking a nice crusty loaf of bread.  You could also braise some greens if you wanted, but that’s an awful lot of food for two.  Do you really want to stuff yourself immobile on the one day of the year you’re almost guaranteed to get some action?

Finally, we have the obligatory decadent chocolate cake from David Lebovitz:


This isn’t any ordinary cake, though.  David Lebovitz copied it off of the men’s room wall in a Paris restaurant (click over to read the story), and now I pass it on to you.  Nothing is too good for my Internet friends.  What kind of magical place offers chocolate cake graffiti in the jon, anyway?  I want to live there.  Since the recipe was in French, I’ve done my best to translate just in case you’re as curious about it as I was.  Enjoy!

Gâteau Zoë
From David Lebovitz

6 eggs
10 oz. dark chocolate
½ cup salted butter
2/3 cup strong coffee
Rounded 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus extra for dusting

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease and flour a 10-inch high-sided cake pan, like a Springform.

Melt butter, chocolate, and coffee in a small pan over low heat.  Separate eggs, yolks in a small bowl, whites in a large (be careful not to get any broken yolk in with the whites or they won’t whip properly).  Whisk yolks with sugar until no lumps remain.  Beat whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  Fold yolk mixture into egg whites.  Add chocolate mixture and gently fold until well combined but still airy.  Pour into cake pan and bake 15 minutes.  Center won’t be set, but that’s okay.  Let cool.  Serve with chocolate shavings or a dusting of powdered sugar.


Tammy Donroe can also be found documenting the messy collision between food and life on her blog, Food on the Food.


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