Valentines Recap

What can I say about this years Valentines Day?  There was laughter, tears, sighs of pleasure (after eating the treats-don’t get any dirty thoughts) and a surprise or two.  And because I am a week late with this post, it is a two for one deal.

Sweet, dark, decadent!

Sweet, dark, decadent!

To start off with, for the company bake sale I made raspberry truffle tarts, a recipe by Tyler Florence found on the Food Networks website.  I chose it for how decadent it sounded, and the fact that it is pretty simple to make.  A man I am choosing to call Mr. Universe liked his guinea pig sample so much that he went and purchased another one.  My old boss called me to inform me that there was an actual raspberry in his raspberry truffle tart.  As I had made them and thought the name was self-evident, this wasn’t news to me.  I felt it my duty to also inform him that the snozberries also tasted of snozberries, just in case he needed to know.  Surprise number one was a secret Valentine leaving a box of chocolates on my desk.   I think they were meant as part of an ongoing joke with a coworker, but am choosing for the sake of fantasy to believe that my baking has finally lured in a mysterious and insanely attractive heart-throb that is just waiting for the right moment to sweep me off of my feet.

Lamb ChopsSurprise number two came from the human cigarette-from now on known as Marb Man.  He knows my weak spots and delivered to work  3 retail boxes (for a total of 108) Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs.  I laughed until I cried, as it was so totally out of left field.  For this unexpected pleasure, I made him lamb chops with a balsamic reduction.  As I hadn’t eaten lamb since a visit to Australia 10 years ago, and have never cooked it, I was very pleased at how well they turned out.  As a side note, to get the right taste you need to avoid nonstick pans, they don’t produce fond (the brown leftover bits from cooking the meat) as easily.

I hope you like the recipes as much as I did, enjoy!

Raspberry Truffle Tart

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fine chocolate wafer crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces good-quality (I used 60%) bittersweet chocolate chips (or chopped block)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 fresh raspberries, plus more for garnishing if you like

Directions:

  • To make the truffle mixture: In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring the cream just to a simmer over low heat.  Turn the heat off and pour in the chocolate and let stand for 10 minutes to melt the chocolate.  Add the vanilla and stir until smooth.  Set aside to cool for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, mix the melted butter and chocolate wafer crumbs.  Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups.  Use the bottom of a small glass (or your fingers) to press the crumbs over the bottom and sides (up to 1 1/2 inches).
  • Once the truffle mixture has finished cooling, beat the chocolate at medium speed until it gets thick and lightens in color.
  • Place a raspberry in the center of each crust and with a pastry bag, or a small plastic bag with the corner snipped off, fill the tarts with the truffle mixture.
  • Smooth the tops and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

Lamb Chops:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lamb chops (about 3/4 inch thick)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot finely diced shallot
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions:

  • Rub the lamb chops with the herbs, salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes to absorb the flavors.
  • Add the olive oil to the pan and heat to medium high heat.  Add the lamb chops and cook for about 4 minutes a side (these left ours medium).
  • Remove the lamb chops from the pan and place on a warm platter, loosely covered, to rest.
  • Add the diced shallot to the pan and cook till clear
  • Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, making sure to scape up all of the brown yummy bits
  • Add the chicken broth and continue cooking over medium high heat until reduced by half (about 5 minutes)
  • Add the butter and blend into the sauce.
  • Serve and enjoy!