Valentines

breaking-up.jpgI broke up with my boyfriend the night before I took off for Ohio to canvass for Obama.  Well really, I broke up with him three nights later, but I knew in my head that I would do it the night before I left.  What I did that night before was tell him I could not talk to him for three days.  Three days of: landing in Ohio the morning after the red-eye; having breakfast with Carol Ogline (my 84 year old host) at the fanciest restaurant in Alliance; Ohio (where the side salad is $3.00 extra); driving to the Alliance, Ohio campaign office (the first national campaign office to ever exist there); taking off from the office to canvass down the street; getting chased down that same street by a rabid dog, finding out the owner was an Obama supporter and recruiting him to volunteer; returning to the office to make phone calls; going back to Carol Ogline's house and eating peanut butter sandwiches with her at 1am while her 1 month old puppy rolled around on the floor; getting back to the campaign office the next day to canvass some more; promising a man I would show up at 6am the day after election day and chop the wood piled in his yard if he voted; taking a picture at the end of that street; returning to the office to make phone calls; going to Applebee's with my volunteer coordinator; returning to the office the next day to canvass, swaying a voter, swaying another voter, going to another county to meet the 20 new volunteers that had just arrived; jumping on a conference call to hear Obama give us all an amazing half time speech; and going into the backyard after that phone call to sit by the empty pool and have that final phone conversation with my boyfriend.

Read more ...

bloodorangeparfairtRather than a chocolate dessert for Valentine's, I prefer one that's creamy, light, and airy, just like this parfait. Not the layered yogurt concoction in a glass topped with granola and fruit, a parfait is a frozen treat of whipped egg whites and whipped cream flavored with fruit purée. French in origin, the dessert's name, parfait, translates to 'perfect.' Its texture resembles that of mousse, but since it is frozen, it eats much like an ice cream. For this dessert a citrus sponge cake provides the base on which the parfait sits. The blood orange syrup, which is the flavoring and coloring for the parfait, also serves as a drizzle over or alongside the dessert.

A few years ago I tried a parfait for the first time at Pigalle restaurant in New York. In fact it was a blood orange parfait. I was pleasantly surprised that the dessert menu offered this seasonal option as well as a good selection of French classics. I clearly remember it was the dead of winter, so a frozen dessert might not have been most diners' first choice, but for me it was. The parfait was made in a ring mold with a sponge cake bottom and served with syrup. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ever since then, a blood orange parfait has been on my list of recipes to create. Here I make it for Valentine's Day in heart-shaped form using the most beautiful blood oranges.

Read more ...

"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." :)

shavekit

Van Der Hagen's Shave Set
For the metrosexual in your life, this set (complete with soap, badger brush, stand and bowl) is the perfect gift. And at $20 a pop, how can you resist?

heartspoon

Big Love Ice Cream Spoon
We know, not another heart, but these heart shaped spoons are impossible to resist.

50cars

50 Cars To Drive
An all-star panel of car enthusiasts, including Jay Leno, select the 50 most memorable cars in the world. The 50 cars in this book could change your entire perception of the automobile.

chocolates

Vosges Noir Truffle Heart
It may seem cliche to give chocolates, but this is no ordinary heart shaped box. Inside are the best chocolates the internet has to offer. If you live near one of their Purple House Boutiques, it's a must stop for the free samples and zany, stay-a-while decor.

pukkalovetea

Pukka Herbal "Love" Tea
A unique blend of rose, lavender, elderflower, chamomile and marigold petals. Love tea was made by Pukka’s herbalist for his then girlfriend on the day he asked her to marry him. She said yes of course.

givenchy

Givenchy Le Soin Noir Set
For that super special someone worth splurging on. Complete with miracle creams that make you feel like a million bucks (probably because they're made from the rarest deep sea algae and gold flakes).

vdayflowers

Bejewled Beauty
Flowers are an obvious choice to be sure, but we'd still like to receive some anyway.

heartwafflemaker

Five of Hearts Waffle Maker
Say "I Love You" with a little, holiday-themed breakfast in bed.

starwarscufflinks

Star Wars Cuff Links
Suprise the geek in your life with these poignant cuff links that capture their moment of true love. Han & Leia forever!

chocolate_fondue.jpgLee's biggest complaint regarding my cooking is that I "never repeat", meaning I never make the same thing twice. Which isn't true of course, but I know what he means. I'm always looking to improve upon recipes and try something new. So for Valentine's Day I let him choose the menu, something new or a repeat of an old favorite.

For celebratory meals it seems eating in is at least as romantic as eating out, maybe more. And with a few possible exceptions, no matter what ingredients you buy, you'll be hard pressed to spend more than you would dining out. One year I even made platters of seafood--oysters on the half shell, poached shrimp, mussels, smoked salmon, etc. But the biggest hit was the time I made cheese fondue followed by chocolate fondue. So after deciding we'd rather do Valentine's Day dinner at home this year, Lee expressed his desire for "Fondue x 2", which is our menu du jour.

Read more ...

moonlight-romance.jpgAs my husband and I celebrated our 14th anniversary, I realized that my first marriage lasted exactly 14 years.  Heading into our 15th year, I have every expectation that I will beat my personal best.  And things look promising.  So after a total of 28 years in marital experience, you would assume I've learned something about love.

I'm not so sure.

A good example is the question I remember asking my mother around age 12:  "How will I know when I meet someone, if he is the right one?"

And she answered serenely, as mothers have through the ages, "You'll KNOW."

I KNEW at 28, when I married my first husband.  Enough said.

My younger sister Carla asked our mother the same question and got the same answer.  Carla KNEW at 15, when she decided her first boyfriend was the love of her life.

And she was right.  So you tell me---how did she figure it out? 

Read more ...