Contributing Writer
Vicki McGraw

Ahh, February, the month of love! So, do you have big plans for
Valentine’s Day with your sweetie? A fancy dinner out or perhaps a quiet dinner for two at home? No matter what your plans are, chances are quite good that food will be involved!

Creating the perfect romantic evening doesn’t need to be fancy (unless you want it to be!). For those of us that lead very hectic lives, just staying home eating pizza by candle light can be a wonderful treat. Food can be the star of the evening or a supporting character, but it shouldn’t be a cause of stress! The adage of less is more can really come in to play here!

For those of you that enjoy doing a little cooking, why not try creating a “heart of tenderloin.” Grill a 2” thick tenderloin steak (or 2” thick boneless pork loin chop) to your desired doneness (remember, pork needs to be cooked to 145* to be safely eaten), let it rest for a few minutes and then cut it almost all the way through the middle sideways (so it opens like a book). Place the opened steak on the plate, gently shaping it to look like a heart. Add a baked potato, salad and veggies and you have a simple, yet delicious meal to serve your sweetie.

When we think Valentine’s Day, usually one of our first thoughts is chocolate, but today that flavor isn’t just for candy. A look around the super market aisles will lead you to everything from coffee and cereal to beer and wine. There are several wonderful chocolate infused wines available from local wineries, and one of our local breweries makes a chocolate stout beer…not my favorite, but what an interesting combination!

I love all holidays, but Valentine’s day is such a sweet event…sweet tasting, that is! The sales of candy, from tiny conversation hearts to large heart shaped boxes of chocolate soar this week. As a chocolate lover, I have always looked forward to Valentine’s Day (and Easter, and Halloween…you get the picture!) because I can feel a little less guilty about consuming my “guilty pleasure”. While it is a holiday tradition,
chocolate has always been an anytime treat, and lately the healthy aspects of dark chocolate have really hit the headlines to made us feel less guilty about the occasional sweet treat!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • ½ C water
  • ¼ t salt
  • ¾ c sugar
  • 18 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 C butter
  • 6 eggs

Preheat oven to 300*. Grease a 10” round spring form pan, wrap bottom, up sides with foil and set aside.

In a small sauce pan over medium heat combine water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.

Put chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and then microwave until melted. Cut butter into pieces and using an electric mixer, beat in one piece at a time. Next, beat in the hot sugar water, then slowly beat in eggs, one at a time.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Place the filled pan in a larger pan and fill the larger pan with boiling water to halfway up the side of the cake pan.

Bake the cake in the water bath at 300* for 45 minutes. The center will still look wet when done. Chill cake overnight in the fridge. Carefully run a thin knife around edges before removing the spring form sides.

To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.