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Valentine's Day Recipes Disk 149

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3 Tablespoons tapioca flour or arrowroot
1/2 cup liquid Fruitsource
1/3 cup Wonderslim cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix together tapioca flour and cocoa in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat Fruitsource in microwave 40 seconds or until hot (or in saucepan for a minute or so over low heat). Pour hot Fruitsource into cocoa mixture, whisking as you go. Whisk until a smooth syrup is formed and add extract Cool slightly and drizzle over cooled cake. Refrigerate glazed cake until ready to serve.





1 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons salad oil
1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons water

Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus, then cut spears into 1/4 inch slanting slices. Place wok or heavy skillet over high heat; when hot, add oil. When oil begins to heat, add garlic and ginger and stir once; then add asparagus and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add water; cover and cook until asparagus is tender-crisp to bite (2 to 3 minutes). Makes 4 servings.





Let your children make their own valentine's with the help of M & M's Red & Yellow:

This is a great way for kids to create unique Valentine's Day cards for their classroom exchange. They
can make the card and top it with a candy smooch.

What you'll need:
*1 bag of "M&M's"(R) Brand MINIs Milk Chocolate Candies Boxes
*Double stick tape
*Printout of card

What to do:
1.Print out card.
2.Mount printed image to cardboard.
3.Fold card along fold line.
4.Cut out card pattern.
5.Adhere 1 "M&M's"(R) Brand MINIs Milk Chocolate Candies Box with double-stick tape to the card.
6.Fill out card and give it to your Valentine.





Did you know that if you slice your strawberries from the stem to the bottom of the berry, you get heart shaped slices? This is perfect for Valentine's Day or any other special occasion. Want to use just fanned slices? Take hole, cleaned strawberries; slice them on a slight angle from just below the stem and leaves to the bottom. Once cut, ever so slightly, between forefinger and thumb, spread the slices out.





1 can Hearts of Palm, drained and cut up (can=7-1/2 ounces ~235ml)
1 can Artichoke Hearts, drained and cut up (can=7-1/2 ounces ~235ml)
1 large Tomato, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large Avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into 1 inch pieces
3/4 pound (675g) Cooked Medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 Cooked Crab Claws
4 to 6 leaves Red leaf lettuce leaves

1-1/2 Cups (375ml) Sour Cream
1 1/2 Cups (375ml) Mayonnaise
1/2 Cup (125ml) Fresh Lime Juice
5 Green Onions, chopped
3 Jalapenos, seeded, minced
1-1/4 teaspoon Chili Powder
3/4 teaspoon Dry Mustard
to taste Salt

For the dressing, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, fresh lime juice, green onions, jalapenos, chili powder and dry mustard in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt.

For salad, combine the hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and avocados in medium bowl. Mix vegetables with just enough dressing to coat lightly. Line large platter with lettuce leaves.

Mound vegetables in center. Surround with shrimp and crab claws. Serve remaining dressing in small dishes on the side.





1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

BUTTERCREAM ICING:     > Back to Top <
1-1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and beat well, then mix in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, one third at a time, until thoroughly combined.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and flatten each into a disk. Cover each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, or until the dough is firm enough to work with. If it becomes too firm, soften at room temperature for about 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350o F. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Then, use a butter knife to cut out the cookies into X's and O's. Remind your child that giant letters need to be wider than smaller ones to keep them from breaking easily.

Using a metal spatula, carefully transfer the cookies to a baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between them. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (longer for really big cookies) or until lightly browned around the edges.

Remove the cookie sheets from the oven, place on wire racks and cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to the rack and cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen cookies, depending on their size.

While the cookies are cooling, make the buttercream icing: Beat together the sugar, butter and vanilla extract. Add the milk a few drops at a time until the mixture is spreadable. Makes 1-1/2 cups.

Frost the cookies with the icing and sprinkle on tinted red or pink sugar, if desired.




LACY VALENTINE SALAD     > Back to Top <

1 package gelatin -- lemon flavored
2 cups water -- fruit juice
10 marshmallows -- cut in pieces
1/2 cup apricots -- cut and drained
1/2 cup dates -- cut
1/2 cup maraschino cherries -- sliced
1/2 cup celery -- finely cut
1 cup grapefruit -- canned, drained

Dissolve gelatin in 1 cup hot water or fruit juice and add the remaining cup of cold liquid. Chill until partly set, then add remaining ingredients. Pour into individual heart-shaped molds and chill. Unmold for serving on chicory or curly endive which will give a lacy effect. Garnish each salad with an arrow of mayonnaise forced through a pastry tube.




LOVE FOODS     > Back to Top <
(said to have aphrodisiac qualities)

Apricot Brandy
Caraway Seeds
Crab Apples
Passion fruit
Quince Jelly





1 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 egg whites

2 tablespoons cocoa

Additional garnish:
raspberry puree
crème anglaise

Crème anglaise:
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar

unsalted butter for greasing pan.

Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Butter pan bottom and sides. Preheat oven to 325o F.

In a double boiler over low heat, melt chocolate and butter. Set aside to cool.

In a mixer, on high speed, whisk egg whites with salt, then dust in 1/4 cup of the sugar. Whisk until fluffy and stiff. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a second bowl, whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar until very pale. Stir in melted chocolate and butter. Fold in some egg whites to lighten and whisk thoroughly. Fold in remaining egg whites in batches, showing more restraint as you go on. Mix to make a light batter and spoon into pan.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes (until barely set - wobbly). If you test the cake, a toothpick will emerge with bits of batter on it - that's fine. Cool in pan for 15 minutes then invert onto a serving plate. Dust generously with cocoa, or serve each piece with some raspberry puree (process raspberries with a touch of sugar) or crème anglaise.

To make crème anglaise:
In a heavy medium saucepan, bring cream to a boil, whisking all the while. In an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale in color. Pour about one quarter of the hot cream into the yolk mixture while whisking continually. Pour the yolk mixture (which is now tempered) into the saucepan and cook over medium low heat to thicken. Cool a bit, then strain. Stir in vanilla. Stir until completely cooled. Cover and store until needed.

Cake serves 6 to 8 (one binger - or you and your support group)

Valentine's Day can be trying if you're in this stage. Chocolate to the rescue. If you want to dress up this sophisticated torte up a bit more, coat the sides of the pan with toasted finely chopped almonds before putting in the batter. This cake is the closest thing to eating a truffle with a fork. Do not overbake. If you are pining, use a timer.




LOVE POTION     > Back to Top <

1/2 cup frozen strawberries, slightly thawed
1/2 cup frozen raspberries, slightly thawed
1 cup white grape juice (or apple juice)
Maraschino cherries, for garnish

Place the first 3 ingredients in a blender and mix on High until you have a uniform color. To make the potion thicker, add more fruit; to make it thinner, add more juice. Garnish extravagantly with cherries and sip, sigh, swoon. Serves 2.




LOVER'S SPATS     > Back to Top <

These brownies will patch up any lovers quarrel!
Add chopped Snickers, walnuts or pecans to your favorite brownie recipe. Then, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to give your brownies a Valentine's Day touch.




LOVE SUPERSTITIONS:     > Back to Top <

Recipes for romance have been around nearly as long as romance. One old tradition suggests that swallowing a four-leaf clover while thinking of your beloved will make him reciprocate your love, while another says that swallowing the heart of a white dove as you rest your hand on your lover's shoulder will ensure his eternal fidelity.




MINI SWEETHEARTS     > Back to Top <

1 pound cake mix
2 recipes of 7-minute frosting

Bake a pound cake in two 9 x 13-inch pans. This will make two very thin cakes and cooking time should be reduced. Cool. Use cookie cutters to cut heart shapes from the cakes.

Set several mini-hearts on a wire rack which has been set over a cookie sheet. Pour the warm frosting over the cakes. Allow to set-up. Scrap any excess frosting from the bottom of cakes. Set on wax paper to cure. Continue until all the cakes have been frosted. Re-heat the frosting which has collected in the pan and use it to coat the cakes.

To decorate: Coat some of the cakes with white frosting and some with frosting which has been tinted pink with red food coloring.

Sprinkle red sugar over the tops of some of the cakes before the frosting has hardened.

Use a pastry bag and small decorating tips to pipe hearts, wavy lines, or plaids on the cakes.




NAPOLEON     > Back to Top <

Puff Pastry*
Chocolate or Vanilla Pastry Cream
1 Cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 400o F. Prepare puff pastry as directed. On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll dough into 1/8-inch thick, 13 x 17-inch triangle. Transfer to cookie sheet and prick with fork. Cover with another cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove top cookie sheet and continue to bake for 5 more minutes or until brown. Cool on wire rack. Cut pasty into thirds lengthwise.

Turn 1 pastry strip over on cooling rack. Mix powdered sugar and water, stir until smooth. Pour over strip and smooth with spatula. Quickly pour stripes of chocolate over glaze. Drag knife crosswise through chocolate to make decorative top. Let top stand for 30 minutes or until dry.

With wire whisk, beat pastry cream until smooth. Place 1 unglazed pastry strip on serving platter. Spread half of cream on top. Top with last pastry strip. Spread with rest of cream. Place glazed pastry strip on top. Chill until cream is firm, at least 1 hour but not more than 3. To serve, slice with serrated knife.

*A 17 ounce package of frozen pastry may be substituted. The dough will roll out to about 12 x 14 inches. Baking time should be decreased to 20 minutes. The additional 5 minutes is still needed for browning.




BASIC PUFF PASTRY     > Back to Top <

2 cups of butter
ice water
3-1/4 cups 3-times sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon chilled lemon juice
3/4 cup ice water

Place 1-1/4 cups butter in large mixing bowl filled with ice water. Knead with hands until butter has consistency of soft dough and is free from lumps. (You will have to remove your hands from the icy water several times during kneading process.) Place butter in double thickness of muslin or tea towel; squeeze to remove excess water.

Rub ice cubes over working surface (a piece of marble, if possible) to chill thoroughly. Place butter on cold surface; shape evenly into rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Place on dry piece of muslin or towel. Wrap; refrigerate.

Thoroughly chill working surface again with ice. Sift flour with salt onto cold surface. With fingers work flour out from center to form ring. Cut remaining 1/4 cup butter into small pieces in center of ring.

Chill working hand in ice water until cold; dry. Mix flour, small amount at a time, with butter inside ring by rubbing flour with butter between thumb and first 2 fingers.

This breaks down butter to form small granules. Chill and dry hand frequently during process.

Reshape ring; pour chilled lemon juice and 1/4 cup ice water in center. Work flour mixture from inner ring into liquid, using 2 knives; add small amounts of water and work in flour mixture until all ingredients are moistened.

Shape into smooth ball; sprinkle ball with additional sifted flour. Wrap in cloth; chill 30 minutes.

Again ice cleaned working surface. Place dough on chilled, floured surface; roll into long, narrow 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Remove butter from muslin; place in center of rectangle.

Bring edge of rectangle nearest you up and over to center of butter. Brush off excess flour; press down gently. Fold left, then right sides to center. Brush again; press down gently. Brush top flap over; press down gently. Lift dough and re-flour surface, if necessary.

Now begins the all-important part of making puff pastry--blending the butter into the dough. In all rolling and handling of dough care must be taken not to let butter break through dough, or air trapped between layers will escape. If this should happen, patch hole with small amount of flour. Air trapped between layers will expand when baked and cause pastry to puff. Roll gently, keeping rectangular shape; do not roll over ends.

Fold edge nearest you to center; fold top edge to center. Fold top over to bottom edge. Make 1/2 turn to right; stick finger in top edge of dough to indicate starting position for next rolling step. Wrap securely in waxed paper; refrigerate 30 minutes.

Remove dough from refrigerator; place on ices, floured surface with finger mark at top of working surface. Repeat 3 rolling, folding , and turning procedures as before; chill 30 minutes after second, third, and fourth rolling. After fifth roll, wrap; chill at least 3 hours. Roll out sixth and final roll as recipe directs; bake immediately. (After fifth roll, dough can be chilled overnight. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before rolling.)




PUFF PASTRY     > Back to Top <

1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Butter or Margarine
1 Cup Flour
4 Eggs

Heat oven to 400o F. Bring water to boil, stir in flour over low heat until it forms a ball. Remove from heat and add eggs. Beat until smooth. Drop by slightly rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake about 25 minutes until tops are slightly brown. Cut tops off and fill with desired spreads. (Makes about 60)





2-1/4 Cups milk
4 egg yolks
2/3 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In 3-quart saucepan, heat 2 cups milk to boiling. In large bowl, beat eggs yolks, remaining milk and sugar with wire whisk until smooth. Add cornstarch and flour until combined. Gradually whisk hot milk into egg mixture.

Return mixture to saucepan; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Reduce heat to low, whisk for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour cream into shallow dish. Press plastic wrap onto surface. (This will prevent a skim from forming.) Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Makes approximately 2-3/4 cups.


Add 3 ounces semisweet chocolate and 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted, with vanilla. Makes approx. 3 cups.




HOW TO MELT CHOCOLATE     > Back to Top <

Here are 3 methods to melt chocolate.

Microwave: Place unwrapped chocolate in microwavable dish. Heat until melted about 1 to 2 minutes for 1 chocolate square. Add 10 seconds per extra square.

Double Boiler: Place unwrapped chocolate in top pan. Melt over hot water. Stir for 10 to 12 minutes until melted.

Saucepan: Place unwrapped chocolate in pan. Melt over very low heat. Stir constantly.

Moisture can cause chocolate to become stiff and lumpy. Add 1 teaspoon of shortening for each ounce of chocolate. Stir chocolate until smooth again.





1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (21-ounce) can cherry filling and topping
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup of the sugar and melted butter in a large mixing bowl; mix well. Press crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of a 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Let crust chill while preparing the rest of the ingredients. Put cream cheese, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, lemon peel and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until well mixed. Fold in whipped topping. Pour into prepared crust. Combine cherry filling and almond extract. Pour over cheese filling. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. Makes 9 servings.




Notting Hill Brownies are high and dense. Chewy but not like chocolate mud. They feature nice crackly tops and do not require icing.

2 cups white sugar
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups unsalted butter - melted and cooled
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
6 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups flour
1-1/3 cup cocoa
3/8 teaspoon baking soda (a little less than 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
non-stick cooking spray
walnuts or pecans (2 cups), optional

Preheat oven to 350o F. Spray a 9 by 13 inch pan lightly with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper.

In a mixer, blend melted butter with white and brown sugars, then add vanilla and eggs. Blend well on slow speed. In a separate bowl, stir together cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt. Fold into batter and blend well, scraping bottom of mixing bowl to ensure ingredients are evenly combined.

Pour or spoon into prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet (this protects bottom from overbaking while top bakes). Bake until done - 35 to 40 minutes. Brownies will be set and slightly firm but not dry.

Cool then freeze cake (in pan) one hour before cutting. To cut, unmold from baking pan. Peel off parchment paper. Cut into large blocks (about 2-1/2 by 3 inches). Wrap each in wax paper and keep frozen or refrigerated.

To serve for a garden party, pile brownies on a platter and dust with confectioner's sugar. Great served with a scoop of ice cream on top and chocolate syrup.





1/2 cup FLEISCHMANN'S Margarine, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup PLANTERS Pecan Chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips

In large bowl, with electric mixer at medium speed, beat margarine and sugar until creamy. Blend in egg. In small bowl, combine flour, oats and baking powder. Alternately stir flour mixture and milk into egg mixture. Stir in pecans and chips. Drop batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350o F for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container. YIELD: 1-1/2 dozen





1-3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine or butter (1-1/2 sticks), softened
3 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1-1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
White-Chocolate Butter-Cream Frosting (Below)

Preheat oven to 350o F. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottom of cake pans with waxed paper; grease and flour paper.

In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat sugar and margarine or butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add cake flour, milk, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; beat until combined. Increase speed to medium; beat 1 minute, occasionally scraping bowl.

Pour batter into pans. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until toothpick inserted in centers of cake layers comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.

Prepare White-Chocolate Butter-Cream Frosting.

Place 1 cake layer on cake plate; spread with 3/4 cup butter cream. Repeat layering, ending with a cake layer. Frost side and top of cake with remaining butter cream. Refrigerate cake if not serving right away.


1 cup butter (2 sticks), slightly softened
2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
6 ounces white chocolate, melted but still slightly warm*
1/4 cup milk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, white chocolate, milk, and vanilla extract just until mixed. Increase speed to high; beat 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Serves: 16

Each serving: About 500 calories, 5 g protein, 65 g carbohydrate, 26 g total fat (12 g saturated), 76 mg cholesterol, 455 mg sodium.

*Or, use two 3-ounce Swiss confectionery bars or one 6-ounce package white baking bar.





2 pork chops, 1-inch thick or more
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup minced apple
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
dash black pepper
dash cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
dash ground cumin
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 small bay leaf

Trim pork chops of excess fat; make a pocket in each by cutting horizontally through to the bone.

Combine bread crumbs, onion, apple, pecans, garlic, parsley, cayenne, pepper, mustard, cumin and oil; mix well. Divide the mixture and fill each pocket with as much stuffing as possible.

Place chops in a greased baking dish. Pour the broth and wine over them and add the bay leaf. Add leftover stuffing if there is any. Cover and bake about 1 hour or until tender, basting occasionally with pan juices. Serve with juices, over rice or with potatoes.
Serves 2.





2 large, firm bosc pears
3 tablespoons white wine
3 tablespoons apple juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon dash each: allspice, nutmeg
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Core the pears and cut each into eight sections lengthwise. Combine the wine, juice, vanilla, and spices in a saucepan. Put in the pears and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat until the pears are just done-fork-tender but still firm.

Combine the cornstarch with just enough water to dissolve it. Stir into the liquid in the saucepan and simmer, uncovered, until thickened. Remove from the heat. Let cool until just warm.

Just before serving, combine the chocolate chips and about 1 tablespoon of water in the top of a double boiler or a small, heavy saucepan. Heat until smoothly melted.

Arrange the pear slices in two dessert bowls. Divide the cooking liquid between them. Dip a teaspoon into the melted chocolate and drizzle over the pears in a zigzag pattern, repeating until the chocolate is used up. Serve at once. Serves: 2.





3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup (about 6 ounces) pitted prunes, chopped
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
Egg wash: 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon milk

In large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using pastry blender or two knives, cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse meal. In small bowl beat egg with buttermilk; add to flour mixture with prunes and orange peel. Mix well. Turn dough onto floured surface; lightly knead 5 or 6 times, adding more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Divide dough into 18 equal balls. Flatten into discs 1/2 inch thick. Place apart on ungreased baking sheet; brush lightly with egg wash. Bake in 375-degree oven 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Securely wrapped, scones can be frozen up to one month. Makes 18 scones.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: 172 calories; 6 g fat; 1.2 g fiber; 214 mg sodium; 24 mg cholesterol.





2 medium, ripe Bosc pears
1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons sugar
1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) raspberries (reserve 10 raspberries for garnish)
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon black currant-flavor or orange-flavor liqueur
mint sprigs for garnish

With apple corer or small knife, remove cores from blossom end (bottom) of pears. Peel pears almost to top but do not remove stems. Rub pears with lemon half, sprinkle with sugar.

In glass pie plate, arrange pears lying down with stems toward center, add 2 tablespoons water. Cook, uncovered, in microwave oven on High 5 to 6 minutes, until tender, turning pears over halfway through cooking. Transfer pears, stem ends up, to 2 dessert plates, set aside until ready to serve.

In blender at high speed, puree raspberries. Sift confectioners' sugar through coarse sieve into small bowl. Press raspberry puree through same sieve into same bowl to remove seeds. Discard seeds. Stir liqueur into raspberry mixture.

To serve, spoon raspberry sauce over poached pears. Garnish with mint sprigs and reserved raspberries. Serves: 2

Each serving: About 245 calories, 1 gram protein, 59 grams carbohydrate, 1 grams total fat (0 grams saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 2 mg sodium.




RASPBERRY TARTS     > Back to Top <

3 cups all-purpose flour
5 egg yolks
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/3 cup ground walnuts
1-1/2 cups seedless raspberry jam

In a large bowl, mix the flour, egg yolks, butter, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla extract, then knead until it forms a soft dough. Chill for 30 minutes. On a floured surface, roll the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Cut a heart for the bottom of the cookie sandwich, and a heart with a smaller heart cut in it for the top. Brush the tops with the egg whites. Mix the walnuts with the 2 tablespoons of sugar and sprinkle on the cookie tops. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 350o F oven for 10 minutes. Cool. Spread the bottom hearts with a layer of jam and put the tops on. Makes about 26.





1 red bell pepper
1 yellow or green bell pepper
1 bunch spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, sliced into thin strips
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup salad vinegar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
dash salt

Remove the stems from the spinach; rinse well; pat leaves dry with paper towels. Cut the leaves into strips and set aside. Cut the peppers into 1/4-inch thick slices, and then cut out heart shapes with an aspic cutter. (A small cookie-type cutter used for making appetizers.) Heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the pepper hearts for 2-3 minutes. Remove from skillet. Add the garlic and onion and 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet and sauté until the onion starts becoming clear. Remove from heat and add remaining olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Gently stir together to create dressing. Toss the dressing with the spinach leaves and the bell pepper hearts. Serves 2.

*Serve with Brie Smothered Crostini. (See recipe below.)



1/4 French baguette
3 ounces brie, softened
1 sprig parsley, snipped
1 teaspoon paprika

Slice the bread into 1/4-inch thin rounds and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350o F for 4-5 minutes, turning once, until crostini's are hardened, but not browned. Remove from oven and let cool briefly. Mix parsley with brie; spoon a bit onto each crostini. Lightly sprinkle paprika over top of crostini's. Bake at 350o F for 3-5 more minute, or until cheese starts to bubble and brown.




SHRIMP CREOLE     > Back to Top <

2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 pounds shrimp, deveined
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup diced celery
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
dash chili powder

Heat oil in large skillet. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp turns pink. Stir frequently. Remove shrimp from skillet. Add onion to same skillet and cook until browned. Stir in tomato sauce, pepper, celery, salt, garlic powder and chili powder. Simmer over low heat uncovered about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and combine with shrimp and cool. Place into 1-1/2-quart casserole that is lined with heavy foil, with enough overlap for a double fold seal. Seal and freeze. When frozen, remove foil pack from casserole and return to freezer. When ready to cook, remove foil from frozen Creole and slip Creole into the casserole in which it was frozen. Cover with foil and bake 1 hour in a preheated 400o F oven. Serve over cooked rice or noodles. Serves 3 to 4.




SNAP BEAN SALAD     > Back to Top <

2 pounds snap beans, fresh, broken into 3" lengths, ends removed
boiling water, lightly salted
2 small onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely minced
3/4 teaspoon sugar

Cook the snap beans in lightly salted boiling water just until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain thoroughly in a colander and let cool for about 10 minutes. In a large stainless steel or porcelain bowl combine the snap beans and the dressing ingredients. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. (Don't beat or you will mash the beans.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Mix thoroughly again just before serving. Serves 6 to 8.





1 pound Finely chopped shallots
1 ounce Butter (1/4 stick)
1 Tablespoon Cracked Peppercorns
7.5 ounces Demi-Glace*
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley Salt and Pepper to taste
4 medium sized Steaks about 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick
5 or 6 medium sized potatoes
1 fresh bunch of broccoli

* I used a product called Demi-Glace Gold in this recipe that you can purchase in many gourmet markets or on the Internet at Gateway Gourmet or Pearl's Pantry.

"Remember, never cook with any wine you wouldn't drink"

Broil the Steaks:
Preheat the grill or broiler until it's really hot. Season the steaks with a little salt and pepper. The meat should be placed about 3 to 4 inches from the heat source and cooked approximately 3-4 minutes per side depending how you like your steaks.

Mash your Potatoes: 
Wash and peel the potatoes. If they're thin skinned, try leaving the skin on for taste, texture, and nutrition. Cut them up into pieces, put them into a large pot, and cover them with cold water. Boil until tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain the cooked potatoes and return them to the pot. Mash them with a little butter and milk using a potato ricer if you have one. Otherwise use a hand masher or an electric mixer.

Steam your Broccoli:
Steamed broccoli: Wash and cut the broccoli stems from the florets. Add an inch of water to the pot with your steaming platform and bring it to a boil. Add the stems first and then the florets. Cover and steam for approximately 5 minutes. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

Prepare Sauce au Poivre:
Demi-Glace Gold comes with great instructions to prepare this sauce, but here's how I made it.

Melt 1/4 stick of butter in a sauce pan and sauté 1/4 cup of shallots (cooking quickly over high heat) until transparent. Approximately 2-3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of cracked peppercorns. This is the hardest part to making this sauce. I opted for putting the peppercorns in zip lock bag and cracking them on my cutting board with a hammer. Noisy, but it worked. If you come up with any other techniques, be sure to let me know. Add 1/2 cup of red wine, preferably something you may be sipping while you are preparing this meal. Don't use plain old cooking wine, big mistake. Never cook with any wine you wouldn't drink. Reduce this mixture to an essence. Add 1-1/2 ounce of Demi-Glace Gold(tm) and stir (with a whisk if you have one) until dissolved. Add 4-1/2 oz of hot water and simmer until the sauce has thickened, approximately 5-6 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley, stir, and serve over the steaks.

Don't forget to garnish with some parsley for that finishing touch ! Serves 4

NOTE: These be a little smoky if you don't have good ventilation.

NOTE: Prepare what you need before you start. It's how the pros do it and it simplifies the process when you are scrambling to put it all together. Make sure the grill is hot, really hot. This will sear the outside of the meat and keep the juices in. And don't use a fork to turn the steaks, use thongs or a spatula to prevent juices from leaking out. If you are using a broiler, you want to preheat it to get it hot for the same reason as above.

NOTE: Buy yourself a potato ricer for mashed potatoes. It a great gadget to have in your kitchen, it looks like a giant garlic press, costs about six bucks, but there's nothing better for smooth airy mashed potatoes.

NOTE: A folding steamer platform that sits in almost any pot works great for your steamed veggies. Important, be careful not to overcook the broccoli, you want it to be crisp but tender.





2 tablespoons strawberries -- mashed
1/4 cup cool whip lite
4 slices angel food cake loaf
1/2 cup strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon chocolate flavored syrup

Fold mashed strawberries into whipped topping. Cut angel food cake slices into 4 hearts. Spread one side of each of two hearts with about 1 tablespoon whipped topping mixture. Place topping-side up on serving plates. Top with sliced strawberries. Spread remaining topping on both sides of remaining hearts; place on top of strawberries. Drizzle with chocolate syrup.





1 (15.8 ounce) package Brownie Mix
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons oil
1 egg

1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 to 2 tablespoons Amaretto
2 pints (4 cups) fresh strawberries, sliced

Heat oven to 350o F. Line 2 (9-inch) round pans with foil; lightly spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Mix brownie mix according to box. Divide batter evenly into sprayed foil-lined pans; spread evenly. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes. Remove brownies from pans by lifting foil. Cool completely (about 1 hour) and remove foil. In small bowl, combine whipped topping and Amaretto; fold gently to mix.

To assemble dessert, place one complete brownie layer, top side down, on serving plate. Spread with half of filling mixture. Arrange half of sliced strawberries in thin layer over filling. Top with second brownie, top side up. Spread with remaining mixture. Arrange remaining strawberry slices over top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. YIELD: 8 Servings




STRAWBERRY PIE     > Back to Top <

1 pie crust (9 inch), baked
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 quart fresh strawberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped

Spread softened cream cheese over the bottom of the cooled pie crust. Hull, wash, and drain berries, reserving 8 whole berries for topping; halve the remaining berries. Place half of the berries over the cream cheese. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and water; add remaining halved berries. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer and cook until thickened; cool thoroughly and pour over strawberries in the pie crust. Top with whipped cream and garnish with the remaining 8 whole strawberries. Chill before serving.




STRAWBERRY TART     > Back to Top <

Master Pie Pastry for a single 10-inch pie tart or quiche pan.

5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups milk
6 tablespoons flour

1 pint strawberries - washed, dried
1 cup red currant jelly or sieved apricot preserves - warmed
mint leaves for garnish

Preheat oven to 400o F. Line a quiche, pie, or tart pan with pastry dough, patting carefully into crevices. Trim borders. Place a circle of parchment paper on inner surface of pie pastry. Place another empty pie dish on top to hold pastry down. Place pie shell on a baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, removing top pie pan and parchment paper for the last 10 to 12 minutes to dry out inner crust. Cool well before filling and assembling.

To make pastry cream, beat egg yolks and half of the sugar until pale in color. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts and 1/2 cup of the milk. Sift in the flour and blend well.

In a medium saucepan, over low heat, heat the remaining 1-1/2 cups of milk and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and gradually pour hot milk mixture into yolk mixture, whisking well all the while. Return entire mixture to saucepan and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes until mixture thickens, whisking briskly all the while. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool.

Brush the top of the pastry cream with melted butter (this prevents a skin from forming) and cover with a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper directly onto surface of pastry cream. Refrigerate until thoroughly cool (up to three days).

To assemble tart, whisk pastry cream to loosen and lighten. Spread pastry cream into pie or tart shell. Top with strawberries, arranged in concentric circles. Brush with warmed red currant jelly. Garnish center with mint leaf.

NOTE: Can be made early in the day and refrigerated until ready to serve. Add 1 1/2 cups of whipped cream to the pastry cream for a variation that makes for a slightly lighter filling.





36 2-inch graham crackers
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (don't use evaporated milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (6-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350o F (325o F for glassware). While you generously grease an 8-inch square baking pan, put your kids to work crushing the graham crackers into fine crumbs. It's especially easy and fun if you seal the crackers in a plastic bag and then use a rolling pin.

Next, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the chocolate morsels, pecans and graham cracker crumbs and mix with a wooden spoon until well blended.

Spoon the batter (it will be very stiff) into the greased pan. Use the back of a wooden spoon (or clean hands) to pat the batter into an even layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan.

Finally, use a cookie cutter or a butter knife to cut out small--these brownies are rich!--heart shapes. Serve plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or raspberry sherbet. Makes about 8 to 12, depending on size.




SWEETHEART WAFFLES     > Back to Top <

The perfect surprise treat for your special Valentine! Add ice cream and chocolate sauce to your waffles and top them with pink and white "M&M's"(R) Milk Chocolate, Peanut, or Crispy Chocolate Candies for the Holidays. You'll melt hearts.





1/3 cup warm water
5 teaspoons yeast
3/4 cup warm milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup unsalted butter - softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour
3 to 4 cups bread flour

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cocoa

1/2 cup unsalted butter - melted
2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon instant coffee - finely pulverized
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup ground semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup minced chocolate (or miniature chips)
1 cup pecans - chopped (optional)
1/2 cup currants (optional)

Mix water and yeast and let stand, a few minutes, then stir in sugar, milk, butter, salt, vanilla, sour cream and salt. Fold in most of flour. Knead until smooth. Cover and allow to rest for 1 hour. (See Yeast Methods for other preparation suggestions).

To assemble, gently deflate dough. Divide in two. Roll out one section at a time in a rectangle (about 12 x 14 inches). Cover evenly with half of filling mixture. Roll up tightly and chill for 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. Cut logs into one inch slices.

You can bake these on a cookie sheet (smear some of the glaze on a parchment-lined baking sheet and line up cut portions of dough on it). Or, use miniature muffin tins (24 or 48). This is the easiest method - non-stick tins are available in most kitchen and department stores. Deposit some of the glaze in the well of each muffin cup. Top with a schnecken. Cover lightly and let rise 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350o F.

Bake buns until golden or medium brown (25 to 30 minutes). Invert at once, and let syrup fall over schecken. Recover excess glaze and drizzle over pastries.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: A bread machine will save your buns here. Schnecken is usually filled with cinnamon and sugar. These include grated Swiss or very fine semi-sweet chocolate. You may use miniature chocolate chips in a pinch. Divine but modest.





1 tablespoon olive oil
2 (6-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks
1/4 cup brandy
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon multicolored peppercorns, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup whipping cream
1-1/2 tablespoons sour cream
hot cooked rice
fresh oregano sprigs, for garnish

Heat olive oil in a medium skillet until hot. Sprinkle tenderloin steaks with salt and pepper. Sear tenderloin steaks on both sides in skillet. Remove from skillet, and place on a rack in a broiler pan. Broil 5-1/2 inches from heat (with electric oven door partially opened) 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until meat thermometer registers 140o F (rare), 150o F (medium rare), or 160o F (medium).

Add brandy to drippings in skillet; bring to a boil, and deglaze pan by scraping particles that cling to bottom. Add minced garlic, peppercorns, oregano, and salt; cook 1 minute. Add whipping cream; bring to a boil, and cook 6 to 7 minutes or until sauce is reduced by half. Remove from heat; Whisk in sour cream, and spoon sauce over steaks. Serve with rice. Garnish, if desired. Yield: 2 servings.





2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 large leeks, white parts only, cut into l/4-inch rings and well rinsed
2 eggs plus 1 egg white, beaten
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried dill
4 ounces crumbled feta or dry goat cheese
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 ripe plum tomato, thinly sliced crosswise
Fine dry bread crumbs

Heat the wine plus 2 tablespoons of water in a large skillet. Add the yellow and red onions and "sweat" over moderate heat, covered, for 5 minutes.

Stir in the wine, then add the leeks. Sauté for another 15 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the onions are golden and the leeks are limp. Remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 350o F.

In a mixing bowl, combine the beaten eggs with two tablespoons of the parsley, the dill, tarragon, feta cheese, and pepper. Stir in the onion mixture.

Spray a 10-inch tart pan with cooking oil spray and line the bottom generously with bread crumbs. Pour in the onion mixture. Ring the outside edge of the pie with tomato slices, then sprinkle the remaining parsley in the center. Sprinkle a light layer of bread crumbs over the entire top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the mixture is set and the top is golden. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve. Makes 1 (10-inch) pie, 6 to 8 servings

NOTE: This is a quiche-sized pie, so there will be leftovers after serving two. You won't mind, though, as it reheats nicely. Onions are one of the foods most frequently written of an aphrodisiac.





Ingredients: Tiramisu
14 ounces of ladyfingers, or as many as fit in your dish
14 ounces mascarpone (or ricotta) cheese
4 eggs, separated
4 ounces sugar
1 pound mascarpone cheese
2 cups espresso or strong coffee
2 teaspoons cocoa
2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Ingredients: Chocolate Sauce
4 to 5 teaspoons butter
7 to 9 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
2 to 3 teaspoons corn syrup
1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat egg whites until stiff white peaks appear. In separate bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until creamy and lemon-colored. Add mascarpone cheese to egg yolk mixture and beat until smooth. Fold in the egg whites. Quickly dip the ladyfingers in the coffee one at a time, and make a layer with half of them. Cover the ladyfingers with half the cheese. Repeat layer of ladyfingers and layer of cheese. Mix the cocoa and powdered sugar together, and sift over the top. Cover and refrigerate.

For the chocolate sauce: In the top of a double boiler, over boiling water, melt butter and mix with cocoa powder. Once melted and smooth, mix in sugar, keep stirring until smooth. Add milk, and keep stirring until at creamy consistency (for a while it looks like bits of chocolate floating in milk, but it will eventually combine.
Add corn syrup, testing taste, continuing to add until desired sweetness if reached.
Let cool, then stir in the vanilla. Serve the chocolate syrup on the side.




TRUFFLE TRIO     > Back to Top <

Moist chocolate cake:
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
8 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

White chocolate truffle layer:
1 pound white chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons Poire Willliams liqueur

Milk chocolate truffle layer:
1 pound milk chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur

Bittersweet chocolate truffle layer:
l pound bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Cocoa powder
Whipped cream

Make the moist chocolate cake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350o F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 17-1/2 -by 11-1/2-inch jelly-roll pan. Line the bottom of the pan with baking parchment or waxed paper. Dust the sides of the pan with flour and tap out the excess.

Melt the chocolate with the butter according to the directions in the Chocolate Melting Tips; set aside.

In a 4-1/2-quart bowl of a heavy-duty electric trio mixer, using the wire whip attachment, beat the yolks with 3 tablespoons of the sugar on high speed until pale, 3 to 4 minutes. At low speed, beat in the melted chocolate mixture; increase the speed to medium and continue to beat for 2 minutes, until the mixture is silky and shiny. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and sprinkle the flour over the chocolate batter (do not mix it in).

In a grease-free 4-1/2-quart bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer, using the wire whip attachment, beat the egg whites at low speed until frothy. Gradually increase the speed to medium-high and continue beating the whites until they start to form soft peaks. One teaspoon at a time, gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and continue to beat the whites until they are stiff and glossy. Using a balloon whisk or rubber spatula, fold the beaten whites (along with the flour) into the chocolate mixture one-third at a time. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer with an offset metal cake spatula.

Bake the cake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Run a small knife around the sides of the pan and invert the cake onto a wire rack. Peel the paper off the cake and allow it to cool completely.

Make the white chocolate truffle layer:
Place the white chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a gentle boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let the mixture stand for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate. Gently stir until smooth; stir in the Poire Williams liqueur.

Begin to assemble the cake:
Using the bottom of an 8-1/2-inch springform pan as a guide, cut out two 8-1/2-inch rounds from the moist chocolate cake layer. Place one of the rounds in the bottom of the spring-form pan. Scrape the white chocolate truffle mixture onto the cake round and spread it into an even layer. Freeze the cake for 1 hour, until set.

Make the milk chocolate truffle layer:
Place the milk chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over median heat, bring the cream to a gentle boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let the mixture stand for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate. Gently whisk until smooth; stir in the Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur.

Remove the cake from the freezer and scrape the milk chocolate truffle mixture over the white chocolate layer. Spread the mixture into an even layer. Return the cake to the freezer for another hour.

Make the bittersweet chocolate truffle layer:
Place the bittersweet chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream and maple syrup to a gentle boil. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and let the mixture stand for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate. Gently whisk until smooth.

Remove the cake from the freezer and scrape the bittersweet chocolate truffle mixture over the milk chocolate layer. Spread the mixture into an even layer. Return the cake to the freezer for 30 minutes.

Place the second cake round on top of the bittersweet truffle layer and gently press down on the cake to seal it. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for 6 hours.

Unmold and garnish the cake:
Using a portable blow dryer or damp, very hot towel, carefully heat the outside of the springform pan. Run a small, thin bladed knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Carefully remove the side of the springform pan.

Dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder. Cut the cake into slices using a long sharp knife and garnish each slice with whipped cream. Yield: 10 servings




Potatoes were sometimes referred to as "love apples" during the Renaissance.

large baking potatoes
2 teaspoons reduced-fat margarine, melted
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon fresh minced chives or 1 teaspoon dried chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Paprika for garnish

Bake or microwave the potatoes until tender but still firm. Let cool (at room temperature, they have less chance of falling apart when you scoop them out), then scoop out the centers, leaving a firm, 1/4-inch thick shell.

Mash the potatoes in a small bowl, then stir in the melted margarine, buttermilk, and chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then fill the shells. Dust the tops with paprika. Bake at 350o F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until well heated through. Serve hot. Serves: 2.




TWICE-BAKED POTATOES     > Back to Top <

4 large baking potatoes, such as russets
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese
1 teaspoon minced chives
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
paprika, optional
additional grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Scrub potatoes well; grease lightly with shortening and pierce with a fork two or three times. Bake in 400o F oven for 1 hour or until fork tender. When cool enough to handle, split potatoes lengthwise and scoop out into electric mixer bowl. Add remaining ingredients, except egg, and beat well. Add egg and beat until smooth. Fill potato shells; sprinkle with additional cheese and paprika, if desired. Bake at 375o F until puffed and lightly browned. Serves 4.





8 squares (1 ounces each) semi-sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon shortening
2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup baking cocoa
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 whipping cream, whipped, divided
1-1/2 cups fresh strawberries, halved

Line a 9-inch heart-shaped or square baking pan with foil; set aside. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth. Pour into prepared pan, swirling to coat the bottom and 1-1/2 inches up the side. Refrigerate for 1 minute, then swirl the chocolate to reinforce sides of heart of box. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. Using foil, lift from pan; remove foil and place chocolate heart on a serving plate.

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Combine powdered sugar and cocoa; add to creamed mixture with milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Gently fold two-thirds of the whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Spoon into heart. Insert star tip #32 into a pastry or plastic bag; fill with the remaining whipped cream. Pipe around the edge of heart. Garnish with strawberries. Yields 8 to 10 servings.




VALENTINE'S DAY CAKE     > Back to Top <

2-1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter; softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 can (16 ounces) plus 1 cup prepared vanilla frosting
red food coloring
candy sugar hearts

Special Aids:
2 (9-inch) heart-shaped cake pans
pastry bag
small writing tip
medium round tip

Preheat oven to 375o F. Grease and flour two 9-inch heart-shaped cake pans. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, ending with flour mixture, to butter mixture. Add vanilla; mix until blended.

In another bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter until just combined.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack; cool for 10 minutes. Turn cakes onto wire rack; cool completely.

Tint can of vanilla frosting with red food coloring until it is light pink. Trim tops of each cake to make level. Place one cake on a serving plate; spread top with 1/2 cup pink frosting. Top with remaining cake; frost tip and sides with remaining pink frosting.

Spoon 1 cup white frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a small writing tip. Pipe a squiggle design on cake sides.

Fit pastry bag with medium round tip and pipe a pearl design around top edge of cake. Pipe dots of frosting 1/2-inch apart around the bottom (side) of cake. Pipe dots of frosting 1/2-inch apart around the top of cake; 1/2-inch in from the outside edge. Place pink candy hearts between each piped dot on top. Place another row of hearts (in the shape of a heart) in the center of cake. Makes 10 servings.

Note: For a chocolate lover, substitute a devil's food cake mix for the vanilla cake recipe.

Note: Use a pastry brush to remove any loose crumbs from cakes before frosting.

Note: When tinting frosting with food coloring, add coloring a few drops at a time until the desired color is reached.

Note: Instead of heart-shaped candy, pipe a special message to your loved one.




VALENTINE'S PUNCH     > Back to Top <

2 quarts strawberry-flavored fruit drink, chilled
2 liters ginger ale, chilled

Use additional strawberry flavored fruit drink to make ice in a heart-shaped pan or ice tray.

Just before serving, mix together the fruit drink and ginger ale in a punch bowl. Float the heart-shaped ice in the center of the punch. Makes just over 1 gallon of punch.





1 sheet puff pastry
2 large Idaho potatoes
1 TABLESPOONS butter or margarine
1/4 cup milk
1 TABLESPOON cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup peas
1/3 cup fresh grated carrots
3 teaspoons herbs de provence
1/2 teaspoon ground basil leaves
1 to 1-1/2 cups prepared Alfredo sauce
1 egg whisked with 1/4 cup water (for egg wash)

Note: Let the puff pastry sheet thaw for about 20 minutes before using.

Preheat oven to 375o F.

Peel and cube the potatoes; boil on stovetop over medium-high heat until tender. When potatoes are done, remove from heat; drain well, and return to saucepan. Mash the potatoes with a masher or fork. Add the butter, milk, salt, pepper, and cream cheese and whip with a mixer until creamy. Fold in 2 teaspoons herbs de provence, and the basil, peas and carrots.

Lightly flour a clean countertop or cutting board; lay the pastry sheet on it. Roll out the pastry sheet to make it thinner and wider. Very lightly, draw lines down the length of the pastry sheet to divide it into three sections. (Do NOT cut through the pastry.) Cut strips in the two outer sections, about 1-inch apart, cutting up to the line for the middle section. Spoon potato mixture down the center of the pastry. Using a fork or spoon, create a "moat" in the center of the potato mixture.

Spoon about 1/2 cup alfredo sauce into the moat. Sprinkle the remaining herbs de provence on top of the sauce. Starting at one end, fold the strips of pastry over each other on top of the filling, alternating sides to create a braid. (Make sure the braid is nice and tight. You can accomplish this by slightly tugging on each strip as you pull it.) Place pastry on baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray; brush with egg wash. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden. Slice individual pieces to serve. Drizzle alfredo sauce on top of each slice before serving. Serves 4.





8 to 12 sheets of filo dough
1/3 cup unsalted butter - melted
1-1/2 pounds cream cheese
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon (each) orange, lemon oil (or extracts)
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/3 cup finely minced or shredded white chocolate
confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350o F. Lightly paint an 8 or 9-inch (heart-shaped) springform pan or cheesecake pan with removable bottom, with a bit of the melted butter. Paint about 6 sheets of filo with butter (on both sides). Drape them in the pan (a few on the bottom, patch the sides as best you can). You should have several layers on the bottom and sides. Allow overlap to hang.

In a food processor, cream the cream cheese, then sugar, eggs, oils / extracts until smooth. Add whipping cream and sour cream. Remove processor bowl. Gently stir in white chocolate by hand. Turn batter out into prepared pan. Drape overlap of filo over batter. Cut out four filo hearts to fit pan. Paint each with melted butter and drape on top of cake to fit. Gently crimp side or edges by hand.

Place cake on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes and then increase heat to 375 F. to assist in browning the filo (for an additional 5 to 10 minutes). Remove cake from oven. Cool to room temperature. Chill for at least four hours. Serves 8-12.

NOTE: Lemon curd or brandied cherry sauce would make a nice side, or dust with confectioners' sugar.




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