Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dark Days Challenge Week 9: Valentine's Weekend!!!

The hubs and I aren't much on restaurant reservations, flowers and jewelry when it comes to Valentine's Day.  A few years ago, we ran across a recipe that we've made every year since for Valentine's Day. Now it's a tradition.

Aptly named Rachel Ray's You Won't Be Single for Long Vodka Cream Pasta, it seems super-elegant, but it's actually pretty easy. And delicious. Unfortunately, we gobbled it up before I had a chance to snap pics.

Here's the low down...
Fettucini pasta: all-purpose stone ground white flour from Reed's Mill Flours in Second Creek, WV; egg from Breezy Knoll Farm in Monroe County, water and salt.
Vodka cream sauce: extra virgin olive oil, Land O'Lakes butter, minced garlic, shallots, Ketel One Vodka (all not SOLE), chicken stock made from wing tips leftover from Almost Heaven Farm in Monroe County, tomatoes I canned last summer, heavy cream from Homestead Creamery in Wirtz, VA.

For dessert, as goes our tradition, I made cream brulee.

And, just like the pasta, I didn't even get a pic before we ate them. I suppose it would've ruined the mood if I'd stopped our romantic Valentine's dinner to snap some pics. Cream brulee is so easy. Four ingredients: cream from Homestead Creamery, eggs fro Breezy Knoll Farm, organic raw sugar and REAL vanilla extract. Not the $1.29 chemical crap...

I'll bet you didn't know you'd get a two-fer Dark Days in one post? Yes, the Valentine celebration continued in my kitchen Sunday morning. Waffles with blueberry mint sauce and whipped cream. All. From. Scratch. I swear, I think it made them taste better. I did get a pic of these.

The waffles are the recipe that came with my Kitchenaid mixer. The blueberry mint syrup is some I canned last summer. And did you know that you can make whipped cream from ... well, cream? I've made it before from whipping cream, but I didn't have any . So, I asked "Bing." Sure enough.

The flour is Reed' Mill all purpose stone ground white flour, the eggs are Breezy Knoll Farm eggs, and the milk is from Homestead Creamery. The sugar is organic raw sugar. The butter is not SOLE.

The blueberry syrup is made from mint from my backyard,  blueberries from my Mom's home, and sugar. I added cornstarch to thicken it this morning. (You can't can it with the cornstarch.)

Here's how I made the whipped cream:

1 cup heavy cream
1 Tb organic raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Add the sugar and vanilla to the cream in a bowl. With a mixer, beat the cream on low, gradually building up the speed as the mixture thickens, until your mixer is wide-open. Now, this part is tricky--knowing when to stop. Beat it too long and it will seperate, and you're on your way to making butter. Don't beat it enough, and it won't hold it's shape. The directions I found online today said to beat it until the surface is no longer shiny. And err on the side of not beating it long enough.

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