People always say that Valentine's day is a hallmark holiday developed by chocolate/card/flower companies. What is the Grinch equivalent for Valentine's day? I say so what, who cares who invented it! I like cards and chocolate and flowers! Some people need a day set aside to let their loved ones know that they ARE loved. Patrick and I tell each other and our son how much they are loved every day. It is still nice to set aside one day as a special day of love. And it doesn't need to be fancy or break the bank.
To show my love for husband, I cooked dinner and dessert from scratch. This is something I am trying to do more of these days. I can wear Orion on my back in the Beco and manage to cook and clean. He will usually fall asleep when I wear him which is a funny sight when he is on my back.
As his 9 1/2 month old neck is still mostly jello he does not wake up with a sore neck. I do wish I could attached the hood once he is on my back and asleep but I am not double jointed. It took awhile before I felt comfortable and safe cooking with him on my back but that is a blog post for another day, so stay tuned.
I made pot roast and chocolate mousse. I love making pot roast as it is easy, delicious, and a one pot meal. I found time to cut up the mirepoix the day before. I like to cut the carrots, onions, and celery on the chunky side. The addition of extra carrots makes it feel like we are actually eating some vegetables. I should have made a salad but shoulda coulda woulda and we were full enough after dessert. I seasoned the chuck roast with salt, pepper, Hungarian paprika, and some other spices. Then brown the meat all over, remove from heat, add mirepoix, garlic, stock, wine, better than bouillon, and add the meat back to the dutch oven. Bring to a simmer and put in the oven at 350° and bake for about 4 hours. 3 1/2 hours in to cooking, I add a cup of rice to soak up all the delicious juices. The air smelled so good and comforting. It really pissed off Fizgig as he could smell that the air had a flavor but not a taste he could sink his teeth in to.
Doesn't the strawberry look like a heart? Or a tongue, either way I'm cool. The Chocolate mousse was more of a challenge. I attempted to make it a day ahead but failed. The recipe I was using was David Lebovitz's "Julia Child's Perfect Chocolate mousse" http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/05/perfect-chocola/. A bit schizophrenic especially when you take into consideration the Alton Brown Good Eats episode I had been watching which lead me down the path to destruction. My first attempt melting the chocolate left me with a bowl full of diarrhea.
When I fail at cooking or baking, it really bums me out. I wasted 6 ozs of chocolate, 6 ozs of butter, and 1/4 cup of coffee. I hate wasting food and money not to mention my time which is precious like truffles these days. It also reminds me of when I was 10 or 11 and attempted to make cookies but left out some vital ingredient. They came out a total mess which my mom was left to clean up. I can still see her scraping the cookies into our backyard on a dark spring evening. She never let me forget that cooking disaster.
The Valentine's Day attempt at making mousse was a delicious success. Rich with deep chocolate flavor and a firm but creamy texture. I made some balsamic strawberries to top the mousse. This is ridiculously easy and very tasty. Cut berries, add 1 TBS sugar, and 2 TBS balsamic and macerate for at least an hour. It was perfect to balance the rich chocolate. And we had a nice sparking Rosé to wash it all down.
Orion did not get much out of this national day of love. I love him and spoil him everyday so I figured I would focus on my husband. Patrick has a better chance of remembering this Valentine's day where Orion never will. I do look forward to Orion being in school and giving out Valentines day cards. I have been trolling the internet for free printable downloads, get 'em here:
I like to think I am a good gift giver. About 2 weeks ago, I went on Shutterfly and made a 20 oz travel mug for Patrick as a Valentine's gift. He is a big coffee drinker and may have to visit 4 different offices in a day. Now he can caffeinate and show off his cute baby boy. It was really easy to put this gift together. I think it took me all of 20 minutes. This gift was personal, has both form and function, and I kinda made it. Patrick gave me some books on learning to sew to enhance my craftniess.
I like any excuse to get dressed up (which I didn't as we were not going out but at least I was not in my pajamas), enjoy a special meal, give gifts, and show appreciation. You don't have to turn it into a big commercial Hallmark holiday. You can make it your own, make your own Valentine's card or gift or chocolate or plant flowers that will bloom every spring. Make love anyway you want!