Valentine’s Day has slowly snuck up on us like a rogue night elf with a potion of invisibility. The idea of celebrating the month of love got me really excited, especially as I get to dote on the loves of my life. Yes, now that the kids are a little bigger, they now insist that Mr. Flintstone and I include them in our V-Day date night!
2016 being a leap year, I thought I’d give the month a little extra and cough up with more recipes than usual. My inner kitchen goddess was totally on fire these past few days and I kept banging out one dish after the other, much to my kids’ delight (and much to Mr. Flintstone’s mixed dismay & guilt).
One morning, as I was brainstorming about what recipes to make, the kids demanded that I let them help out in planning and making our V-day breakfast. My kids are nuts about chocolate bread, so I came up with the idea for Black Forest French Toast. Of course, it was a big hit with the two. Right after eating, they were already conniving when to cook this again. All they did was dip, lightly fry, and stack all the ingredients together!
After that, we whipped up a Berry Parfait for their everyone. Their dad’s Berry Parfait was a bit customized though—no sugar, no cream, no caramel. They wouldn’t want their dad to fall off his diet too much! Mr. Flintstone liked it so much, he couldn’t resist having a glass again. For an even more fuss-free Valentine, we plan to make this the night before. The secret is making sure the individual ingredients are ready and on stand by. All you have to do really is put various ingredients in a glass, layer by layer.
With the little ones growing up so fast (the eldest just had a growth spurt these past few weeks. Or months – quite frankly, I didn’t notice until now), I thought it would also be great for them to add more “grow foods” in the household diet. Nothing like some Baked Eggs can’t fix—especially one that’s loaded with cream, cheese, and bacon! Me and the gang mixed up this baby in a hollowed up bun - that really got the kids engaged and interested, as they had fun dipping their heart-shaped pieces of bread into the runny yolk. The best part was after eating, the kids volunteered to put away the dishes!
It being Valentine’s month, of course I had to dote on Mr. Flintstone, who’d been aching for some Scallops & Beef Short Ribs for some time now. The Scallops are quickly seared, then finished with an orange juice-wine glaze, baby radishes and mango. It’s summer in a bite! The Beef Short Ribs were slow roasted in wine, then finished with a punch of gremolata. This meaty, filling, stick-to-your-ribs dish is guaranteed to make your own caveman happy—whether he’s into the Paleo lifestyle or not.
As for me, I’ve been craving for small bites that pack a punch, so I decided to make Spiced Grape & Ricotta Crostini and Eggplant Parmigiana Stacks. Mr. Flintstone lets me have my little joys by pretending not to double over in laughter when I said these dishes provide me with my daily required allowance of fruits and vegetables!
The kids requested for Carbonara and Strawberry Shortcake. I upped the ante with the Carbonara by adding prosciutto, fresh mushrooms, and truffle oil. The Carbonara was so good that even Mr. Flinstsone had a bite (or two)! As for the Strawberry Shortcake, the eldest got curious about it from one of their cooking game apps (apparently Strawberry Shortcake from the The World of Strawberry Shortcake franchise made a comeback some years back, and that game is a hit with my kids!). Anyway the kids have been slightly hinting at me making strawberry shortcake for them (usually by saying “I wonder how EASY it is to make Strawberry Shortcake?” within earshot), so I figured I’d make some for them the old-fashioned way—which is the basic mix of shortbread, cream, and strawberries. Mr. Flintstone, the ever earnest caveman, had some strawberries with leftover coconut cream.
It’s definitely been a tad overwhelming in the kitchen these past few days, but I’m a happy camper. And with a family that showers me with so much love and appreciation, you can bet your tush I’d do it again year after year!
Whole grain bread or Gardenia Black Forest Loaf
1 large egg
1 tbps sugar
½ cup milk
2 tbps butter
¼ cup whipping cream
2 tbps powdered sugar
½ cup shaved dark chocolate
Sweetened red cherry, fresh strawberries, or any fruit you may desire
1. Whip cream with icing sugar and refrigerate till needed.
2. Whisk milk and egg until combined. Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Dip each slice of bread until soaked, then fry till golden brown, around 2-3mins each side.
3. Spread Nutella on half of the fried bread and cherry jam on the other half. Place 2-3 pcs of red cherry inside and 1tbps of sweetened cream on top of nutella and place the other bread on top, cherry jam on the inside.
4. Dust with powdered sugar, sprinkle with dark chocolate shaving, and a dollop of cream and cherry on top just before serving.
Inspired by Atlantic Superstore (http://www.atlanticsuperstore.ca/en_CA/recipes/recipeslisting/black-forest-stuffed-french-toast--.html)
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