Valentines

Our Favorite Valentine's Day Gifts & Treats

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by The Editors

While we don't agree on the validity of this holiday, we still wouldn't refuse any of these items it they showed up on our doorstep. Love should be celebrated and we don't mind being spoiled.:)

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14k Yellow Gold
Black Diamond Stud Earrings

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Petrossian Caviar & Pate Duet

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The iPad 2

 
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Chocolate Dipped Oreo Cookies

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Chocolate Fondue

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Chocolate Covered Strawberries

 
 
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Rich & Delicious Heart-shaped Brownie Cakes

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Heart Shaped Truffle Assortment

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Love Note Conversation Heart Dipped Oreo® Cookies

I'm Serving Love

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by Brenda Athanus

hearttable.jpgI could tell you that my Valentine's dinner for my sweetheart will be sensual, fragrant, relatively quick and most of all it should reflect my love with no ambiguous interpretation. But, I'm going in a different direction this year.

This dinner is about giving the gift of love on a plate. My love and the love of the women that have passed through his life. The strong woman that have made Larry the sweet, kind and loving person that are I am honored to be with. This menu will be a tribute to departed generations. On Valentine's evening they will join us with their recipes and love that they left behind.

I suppose we could have dinner at the same restaurant that we met for the first time years ago, sit at the same table but somehow that doesn't feel as intimate as this special dinner that I have planned. With many candles illuminating the dining room, the house smelling so wonderful, romance will be in the air.

Chocolate Mousse

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by Joseph Erdos

ImageChocolate is the dessert of choice on Valentine's Day, be it candy, truffles, cakes, or cookies, we crave chocolate. There is good reason: Somewhere along the line in history, dating back to Aztec times, chocolate became known for its stimulating effect, and was believed to be an aphrodisiac. Chocolate eventually becoming equated with the holiday of love because its exclusivity made it the perfect gift to show one's appreciation. It's no surprise why so many people love chocolate, it has been a part of our Valentine's celebrations for hundreds of years. Valentine's Day wouldn't be what it is without it.

The best way to enjoy chocolate, in my opinion, is in its purest form. Give me a bar of good-quality chocolate and I will be extremely happy. Many people love such desserts as chocolate cake and brownies, but those sweets don't always give chocolate due justice. A simple dessert that showcases chocolate in its top form combines just a few ingredients: melted chocolate, eggs, and cream, to create a spoonable chocolate cloud called mousse, the French word for foam. This is a dessert your Valentine will swoon over.

My Best Date

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by Anna Harari

heart.jpgI have a distinct memory of being eight years old at my mother’s friend’s pool party. They were pretty great parties, all actors, writers and cops. My sister and I had our feet dangling in the Jacuzzi and someone came up to us and said, “You girls look so jaded.”

“What does jaded mean?” I asked him.

“You’ve been there and done that,” he said.

“We are not jaded,” I replied attitudinally. “We’re only 8!”

I guess he was trying to be funny, but the description felt like a death sentence. Although somewhere along the line of being a teenager, I did feel a little jaded. I remember wandering around blank eyed through high school completely bored by the guys I was dating. I wouldn’t even call it dating, it was always ‘hanging out.’

It wasn’t until I got to New York that a sense of romanticism flowed through me. I think I went a little overboard with it and Jeff caught me at exactly the right time to sweep me off my feet, which, in the end, also ended up feeling like a death sentence. But that’s another story…

Chocolate-Hazelnut Sandwich Cookie Hearts

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by Joseph Erdos

chochearts.jpgThe classic combination of chocolate and hazelnut paste, called gianduja in Italian, is my absolute favorite way to enjoy chocolate. It was Invented in Turin, Italy in the middle of the 19th century. Ferrero, one of the most famous brands that manufactures it, sells it as Nutella. In Europe it's as popular as peanut butter is here in the States. I'm addicted to it and spread it on apple slices, crêpes, and sandwiches, where one slice of bread is spread with peanut butter and the other with Nutella.

That was my snack of choice while studying abroad in Europe, where Nutella is sold in little cups. Once emptied, the jars can be used as drinking glasses—I actually ended up building an entire collection in my cupboard. So to come up with a sweet treat recipe for Valentine's Day, I immediately thought of cookies sandwiched together with Nutella.

What better cookie could there be to pair with Nutella than chocolate cookies? These rolled cookies get cut out with fluted heart-shaped cookie cutters in various sizes. The dough is not that difficult to put together and, when rolled out between plastic, is very easy to handle. It also makes for a very tender cookie when no flour is used in rolling.

A Salad for Love

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by Cathy Pollak

lovesalad.jpg Reasons why you must absolutely make this salad for your honey on Valentine's Day (what you didn't learn in sex ed) and why you must not let your young teenagers have even a bite of this fruit and veggie mix, which is more of a love potion than an actual salad.  Whew, got all that?

So let's not beat around the bush here, Vitamin C-packed pineapple is said to help counter impotence, fennel contains natural plant estrogen, and spicy radishes are reputed to have been the Egyptian pharaohs' stimulator of choice.  Wow. 

Moving on, the dressing makes the mixture even more alluring: ginger's warming qualities rev circulation.  And sesame seeds are rich in arginine, an amino acid needed to produce nitric oxide which expands blood vessels to enhance blood flow to the sex organs.

Are you running to the store yet?

Seductive Strawberry Zabaglione

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by Susan Russo

ImageWhether you surprise her with reservations at her favorite restaurant or make a romantic dinner for two at home, you've got to make her Seductive Strawberry Zabaglione for dessert. Red, ripe strawberries, velvety custard, and sweet Italian wine are so sexy.

I developed this recipe with men in mind because it's easy to make, allows you to flex some muscle, which will impress her, and makes an elegant presentation.

Think of it as your minimal-effort dessert with maximum sex appeal. Though I wouldn't carry that thinking into the bedroom. I'm just saying.

Chocolate Lovers Cake

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by Cathy Pollak

ImageThe day after Christmas I went to the supermarket and the Valentine's candy was already out. I have already had a handful of wine orders asking what to pair the wine with for a special Valentine's Day dinner. I have to say I am impressed by the early excitement this holiday is already showing. Let's face it, we all love to celebrate, so why not embrace it.

There’s no denying it, a heartfelt dessert, is one of life’s sweetest ways to say I love you. Offering confectionery to your beloved on Valentine’s Day has been a tradition celebrated and expressed by lovers since the Middle Ages.

Sparkling hearts, winged Cupids and dreamy white doves have always reigned supreme as traditional symbols of Valentine’s Day commemorations, however, for me, chocolate is synonymous with the celebration of this love-filled holiday.

Of course the best Valentine’s Day treats aren’t the ones you buy; they’re the ones you make yourself. This Chocolate Lover’s Cake with Raspberry-Chambord Sauce will remind your sweetheart just how much they mean to you. The cake’s fudge-like center and rich chocolate taste are the perfect ending to a day basking in the glow of love.

Say I Love You With Nutella and Jelly

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by Sue Doeden

ImageMy collection of heart-shaped cookie cutters is spread throughout my kitchen. From very tiny one-bite size to large ruffled nibble-with-a-cup-of-coffee sized cutter, they’re at the ready to cut whatever suits my fancy into a shape that says "Love You."

Brownies, chewy peanut butter oatmeal bars, lemon bars, pancakes — all can be stamped with a cookie cutter.

My phone visit with Sarah Piepenburg last week was the inspiration for the Nutella and Jelly "Love You" Sandwich. Sarah and her husband, Richard, own Vinaigrette, a Minneapolis store specializing in imported olive oil and vinegar. She told me she has drizzled the 18 year aged balsamic they carry in the store over grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. If it’s a good dessert made with peanut butter, why not Nutella?

It’s amazing how decadent a simple grilled sandwich becomes when it’s made with an ample slather of Nutella and your favorite premium jam or preserves. A dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of aged balsamic, as thick as syrup with a bright, fruity flavor, puts this delightful bread and spread concoction way over the top.

 

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