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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day

chocolate-covered strawberries for breakfast

Tuesday morning I woke early, while David slept in after a night of celebrating his 29th birthday, and walked up Broadway to pick up some Valentine's Day treats. My first stop was at PJ Wine where I selected a bottle of Nicholas Feuillate rosé champagne before heading further north to Carrot Top Pastries to see what they'd have in store. As I entered the bakery for the first time, I scanned the cases for a suitable treat. I'd noticed they had chocolate-covered strawberries and recalling that David had not had them in a while, I decided a half-dozen would be the perfect treat!

they didn't even last 'til noon!

Arriving home, I surprised David with the red and pink gifts with which he promptly decided would be perfect for breakfast in bed! With a cup of coffee, some crackers and some slices of hard salami, I decided to join him. However, I had to work at the restaurant that evening so I was only able to spend a few hours with David before heading off to work. Later, I received directions to meet back at home for "surprise treats."

a surprise indeed!

Entering the kitchen, I was instantly wowed with a smorgasbord of all my favorite treats! On the menu: the rosé champagne; demi-baguette from Silver Moon Bakery; green frittata with homemade aioli; salmon caviar; five kinds of cheeses from Westside Market; blackberries, grapes and home-stewed cranberries; and a late harvest torrontés to pair with dessert. David and I began with the salmon caviar.

perfect presentation
salmon caviar, yogurt dressing & green onions

The caviar canapés were a lovely start to our meal and worked well with the champagne, which brought to mind Truman Capote's description of Cristal in La Côte Basque as one damp sweet ash. Next, it was on to the five varieties of cheeses.

Clockwise from top: Roquefort Société, manchego, bûcheron de chèvre, Saint-André; and white stilton with blueberries (all sourced from Westside Market)

I instantly recognized two of my favorite cheeses from Westside Market: the fatty Roquefort Société and the sweet white stilton with blueberries (I'd previously tried their version with pear and apple). As always, we were thoroughly pleased with our selections from Westside Market which were all rather impressive, especially the bucherondin de chèvre which had a beautiful ripeness to it. Enjoying the cheeses, I nearly forgot to partake in the selection of lush fruits, both fresh and preserved

roquefort topped with David's home-stewed cranberries

In addition to the perfectly ripened green grapes and plump blackberries, David prepared a serving of home-stewed cranberries of which he boiled dried cranberries and steeped them in white vermouth. They worked wonderfully atop the cheeses. 

a dessert wine that 
doesn't overpower
Moving counter-clockwise, I finally enjoyed David's "green frittata" with onions and a homemade aioli before moving onto our dessert course which included a bottle of late harvest torrontés, "tardío," by Santa Julia. Knowing that I'm a recent fan of botrytis wines, David tried to find a bottle, but could only come up with this late harvest bottle (I admit, they're not so easily found). Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the tardío which was sweet, but not cloying and held a faint bouquet of fruit.

David's famous oatmeal muffins with ice cream centers
and chocolates from Mondel!

My final surprise of the evening (for which I had to wait in the other room while it baked) was David's famous homemade oatmeal muffins with "molten" ice cream centers and my favorite chocolates from Mondel!

dark chocolate-covered green Marzipan with coconut flakes;
cocoa almonds; and milk and dark chocolate hearts

As always, David's muffins were perfect, which he likes to cook until almost completely done, then inserts a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream into the center to melt slightly. And as is our tradition, David picked out my favorite dark chocolate-covered green Marizpan, sprinkled with green coconut flakes and cocoa almonds, one of my other favorites... I must say, that it was, quite possibly, my best Valentine's dinner yet!

champagne, please...
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