When Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you’re probably thinking of something romantic that you and your partner can do, if you haven’t already planned it. A nice dinner for two is a great way to spend some time with one another and enjoy a lovely meal. But restaurants tend to jack their prices around the occasion and if you don’t really cook with one another, this would be a great time do so. It’ll allow you to be adventurous and still spend time together while you’re preparing the meal.
A romantic dinner for two begins with Champagne to toast and exotic oysters, which are considered an aphrodisiac. Oysters offer a unique flavour that can stand on its own so there’s not much you need to do to enjoy this delicacy but shuck (open) and prepare, or eat raw on the half-shell. Fisheries and Oceans Canada provides helpful tips for properly choosing, storing, shucking and preparing oysters.
For the main, set-up a fondue pot with oil for dipping in meat, seafood and vegetables, accompanied by sauces for added flavour. Sharing fondue is about as romantic as it can get!
Then finish the meal with the colour of love – red velvet. In Canada, the cake was known as a dessert in the restaurants and bakeries of the Eaton’s department store chain during the 1940s and 1950s. It was promoted as an exclusive Eaton’s recipe and even employees were sworn to secrecy if they knew the recipe. As a result, many people believed that the cake was the invention of the department store matriarch, Lady Eaton.
While this may not be the original Eaton’s recipe, Martha Stewart offers a popular recipe for red velvet cupcakes that will be the perfect, individually sized cap on your perfect Valentine’s dinner. Then, you can treat your coworkers and take the leftovers to work the next day.
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food colour
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- Cream Cheese Frosting
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.
3. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
5. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.
For more recipe ideas, visit www.scratchanddent.ca or stop by the store at 407 Gage Avenue, Unit #4 in Kitchener to check out the appliances that make cooking easier. A friendly staff member would be happy to help you or take your questions at 519-743-3623.