Posted By Vicki McClure Davidson on February 10, 2012
"Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own."
~ Robert Heinlein
FOOD. GLORIOUS VALENTINE’S DAY FOOD.
Time for Frugal Café’s second annual Valentine’s Day food and recipe showcase — this collection is just as creative and fabulous as was last year’s, if I do say so myself. Whether it’s a homemade candelit dinner for your soul-mate guy or gal, or a quick, fun heart-shaped snack for the grandkids, you can whip up all sorts of heart-and-love-inspired breakfasts, lunches, dinners, or desserts. Your family, the neighbors, co-workers, or any other “special someone” in your life can be shown how much you care about him or her with food. And you can often do it without Valentine’s Day taking a whopping expensive bite out of your food budget.
It’s the thought that counts — never forget that.
The following beautiful, innovative, and/or amusing Valentine’s Day food photos in this edition ought to get your creative culinary juices flowing.
When they’re available, recipes and recipe links will accompany select “Fab Food Friday Fotos,” with a guarantee that at least one frual recipe will always be included.
While a recipe for making these crab and salmon cakes for Valentine’s Day dinner wasn’t provided by photographers marcus_and_sue, recipes that appear to most closely match the photo are provided by My2Cents at HubPages and at Cookstr.
I love how four steamed asparagus spears form a heart around the salmon. Simple and effective.
Photographer aethyric provided this description of the Valentine’s Day Miso Ramen supper components, starting at the top and going clockwise: enoki, baby bok choi, baby shiitakes, naruto fish cakes, and salt pork.
Photographer/cook newwavegurley provided these instructions for making the seared yellowfin tuna steak:
I marinated the tuna steak in some guava nectar, miso, soy sauce, and lemon juice for about 2 1/2 hours. I then took it out and let it warm to almost room temperature, and dried off the top and bottom of the steak, but leaving the edges a little damp so that the sesame seeds would stick.
While I was preparing the tuna steak, I brought my grill pan up to medium high heat, and just before putting the steak down on it, I sprayed it with cooking spray. I seared the steak for about 2-3 minutes on each side, which was actually a little too long for my taste. There was just a hint of red left in the center after I let it rest, and I like mine a bit less “done” in the middle. It was delicious just the same.
Drying off the top and the bottom was the key to getting the nice grill marks on the fish—it allows for a harder sear on the piece of meat. (Something I picked up from watching “Top Chef”—thanks Spike!)
Photographer/cook su-lin described her Valentine’s Day Dinner menu:
Valentine’s Day Dinner – Main course was this steak au poivre (with mushrooms), broccoli, and potato gratin.
I based my pepper sauce mainly on my mother’s recipe – she would make steak au poivre for the family for special occasions only. Total comfort food. Of course, I couldn’t put brandy in the sauce because the budget does not extend to brandy! One day!
Photographer davipt wrote this about the cake:
Home made (to be correct, it was fully “wife-made”) Valentine’s cake, complete with heart-shaped strawberries topping.
This recipe for walnut brownies for Valentine’s Day is also posted at the Seelensturm blog:
Walnut Brownies Recipe
* 75g butter
* 170g chocolate (70-80% cocoa)
* 125g brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 pinch of salt
* 50g flour
* 100g walnuts
* 1/2 tsp instant espresso coffee powder (optional)
Line a 20×20cm (8×8″) pan with baking paper and preheat the oven.
Sift flour, espresso powder, and salt into a bowl and mix it.
Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
In a mixing bowl beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. On low speed mix in melted chocolate, vanilla and flour mixture. Fold in walnuts.
Spread batter into the pan and bake about 25-30 minutes at 160°C (325° F) until a cake tester comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then lift baking paper with the brownie out of the pan and place on a chopping board.
With heart-shaped cookie cutters in different sizes, cut out brownie hearts.
Two chocolate mousse dessert photos, above and below… a description of the first one above was provided by photographer/cook Luigi Anzivino:
Grand Marnier Chocolate Mousse with fresh cardamom-scented whipped cream, served with Framboise.
This was my dessert contribution to last night’s Valentine’s Dinner.
Simple but delicious, chicken paprikash is a perfect choice for a thrift-minded Valentine’s Day dinner — photographer/cook Alyss provided the recipe, which is also posted at Real Food, My Way (I also stumbled upon a Homemade Cider Vinegar recipe on the blog that has me intrigued):
Chicken Paprikash and Garden Salad
First off: That garden salad really is FROM MY GARDEN.
Second off: The chicken paprikash ROCKS!
I love When Harry Met Sally. I’ve seen it approximately a million times and had fun imitating Billy Crystal imitating some eastern European fellow talking about paprikash and pecan pies many more times than that. One thing I have never done, however, was actually eat paprikash. Until this week.
Turns out this stuff is good. Really, really good. It’s also easy and very nutrient dense. What more could you want in a dinner? And you get to talk like Billy Crystal all night… “have fun storming the castle!”
* 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced (or equivalent dark meat, or chicken pieces)
* 3 tablespoons of butter, plus some olive oil plus some bacon grease
* 1 medium onion, sliced
* 3 cloves of garlic, minced
* 6 oz of mushrooms, sliced (could be replaced with green bell pepper or omitted)
* 1/2 cup chicken broth
* 3/4 to 1 cup sour cream
* 3-4 tablespoons of paprika*
* Salt and pepper
Sauté the onions and mushrooms in butter, seasoned lightly with salt and pepper, until well cooked, but not too browned. Remove from pan and cook the chicken in more butter along with the garlic. (If I had had skin-on pieces of chicken I would have reversed the order of cooking here) Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika. Cook until the paprika is well blended into the fat and getting fragrant.
Add the vegetables back into the pan of chicken and add the chicken broth. Bring to boil and then drop to a simmer and cook until the chicken is cooked through (this took just a minute or two with sliced boneless breast, it would take considerably longer with bone in pieces. Add more broth or water if you will be simmering for a longer time).
Lower the heat and stir in the sour cream. Let the mixture heat until it is warm, but do not boil or the cream sauce may break. Taste for seasoning, adjust salt and pepper and serve over butter noodles, spaetzle, or rice.
* I only had cheap paprika in the house so I upped the flavor with the addition of some hotter ground pepper. I used approximately 2 teaspoons out of the 3 tablespoons of Ancho, New Mexico and Chipotle chile powders. So that’s about 1 tsp New Mexico chile, 1/2 tsp Ancho, 1/2 tsp Chipotle and 2 tbs plus 1 tsp paprika. If you use good quality paprika you will get more flavor out of it so can reduce or eliminate the hotter chiles. I liked the little bit of a kick.
Photographer/cook emoeby’s recipe for this elegant and easy Valentine’s Day dinner is also posted on Epicurious:
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
* 2/3 cup (or more) whole milk
* 12 sea scallops, side muscles trimmed
* 1/3 cup dry white wine
* 2 tablespoons chopped shallot
* 2 tablespoons whipping cream
* 1-1/2 tablespoons, plus 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon
Place potatoes in large pot. Cover with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to boil over high heat. Boil until potatoes are tender when pierced with skewer, about 8 minutes. Drain. Return to pot. Using potato masher, mash potatoes. Mash in 1/4 cup butter. Stir in 2/3 cup milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Before serving, stir over medium heat until heated through, adding more milk by tablespoonfuls if dry.)
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Add scallops; sauté until just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate; tent with foil. Reserve juices in skillet.
Place wine and shallots in small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until reduced to glaze, about 3 minutes. Stir in cream; simmer 1 minute. Gradually whisk in remaining 1/4 cup butter. Stir in reserved pan juices. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons tarragon. Season tarragon sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Stir remaining 1/4 cup tarragon into warm mashed potatoes. Divide potatoes among 4 shallow bowls. Place scallops atop mashed potatoes. Drizzle with tarragon sauce and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Proof positive that making an adorable Valentine’s day lunch bento box is limited only by your imagination and can be super-frugal to create. Photographer/cook kayepants provided this description:
Top left: Cornbread hearts with a honey glaze, cheddar dog smooches, on top of baked beans
Top right: Cheez-Its (tried but couldn’t make them heart-shaped)
Bottom left: Applesauce with cinnamon hearts
Bottom right: Sharp cheddar and cheese string hearts, Dove dark chocolate hearts
Photographer/cook jcarwash31 wrote this brief description about the Valentine’s Day dinner that had this shrimp cocktail as its appetizer:
For Valentine’s Day, I made shrimp cocktail for an appetizer, London broil and peas with smoked bacon and mint as the main course, and we had Coldstone ice cream cake for dessert.
Short description from cook/photographer moonlightbulb:
Valentine’s Day breakfast
Turned out to be better than the V-Day dinner…:) even though I messed with my tried-and-true crepes recipe and it turned out wacky. Wacky but yummy!
Heart-shaped broiled tofu? Zowie, I never realized you could do something this clever with tofu. A vegan’s delight for the love-is-in-the-air holiday — should be awesome with any number of dipping sauces.
Photographer/cook moxlux wrote:
Sort-of-Broiled Tofu — Valentine’s Day Edition
The broiled tofu recipe from Veganomicon…sort of. About halfway through the broiling process, my baking sheet started smoking. I’m still not sure why. Fortunately, most of the tofu was saved and so it’s more like slightly baked tofu. Still good, though. I really like the sauce in the recipe.
Photographer/cook Roxanne Cooke provided the recipe link and wrote this about her Valentine’s Day chocolate cupcakes:
Today I spent six hours baking several dozen mini strawberry cupcakes and two dozen of these chocolate cupcakes for Valentine’s Day. Roses from Ian made a pretty (and relevant) background!
I used the chocolate cake and chocolate frosting recipe from Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella.
Food photos selected and posted are credited and have Creative Commons-licensed content with some rights reserved for noncommercial purposes, unless otherwise noted.
Past three months of Fab Food Friday Fotos posts:
Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts, Asian Meatballs, Chocolate Cheesecake, Oxtail Suet Pudding, Marmalade Chicken, Pumpkin Risotto, Gluten-Free Leek & Potato Soup, Warm Spinach Mushroom Salad, More Frugal Recipes
Red Onion Soup with Jarlsberg & Port, Sourdough Raisin Bread, Banana Coconut Pudding, Roasted Cauliflower & Olives, Ground Turkey & Pasta Skillet, Chocolate-Orange Cake Balls, Geese Bento, Cilantro Lemon Rice, Brown Butter Pear Tarts, & Thrifty Recipes
Goat Cheese Lentil Burgers, Chicken Dinner Pie, Somlói Galuska, Stuffed Tilapia, Hawaiian Fried Rice, Blini, Soups & Salads, Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, Tofu Alfredo, Cute Bento, Lobster Quiche, & More Recipes
Pork & Tomatillos, New Year’s Foods, Espresso Cheesecake Brownies, Red Bean, Potato, & Arugula Soup, Popovers, Chicken & Couscous, Salads, New Orleans-Style BBQ Prawns, Italian Wedding Soup, Recipes, & More