A box of chocolates? A slice of chocolate cake? So very been-there-done-that.
This Valentine’s Day, up the ante with your expression of love via chocolate. Rather than end the meal with a sweet hit of cocoa, why not use it as the inspiration for the main course?
Serve flank steak rubbed with ground cocoa nibs, coffee and pumpkin seeds. Accompany that with soft polenta spiked with chopped dates and cocoa butter.
For dessert, switch it up and serve a non-chocolate sweet.
About a decade ago chef Elizabeth Karmel traveled to Italy to take a cooking class. Of the many things she brought home, she said, none is more cherished than her recipe for Italian jam tart.
“I learned it from Judy Witts Francini, an American who teaches cooking classes that capture the simple home cooking of Tuscany, she said. “The first tart we made – technically a crostata – was filled with fig jam, but these simple pastries made from butter, sugar and flour really can be filled with anything.”
This is one of those recipes where the sum is greater than the parts. “For that first tart I made, the secret was a beautiful jar of homemade fig jam scented with lemon zest and almonds,” Karmel said. “The crust is so wonderful, a cross between pie dough and a sugar cookie.”
If you really want some chocolate to round out your Valentine’s dinner, add 1/2 cup cocoa to the crust mixture. Make a strawberry jam tart and drizzle it with some melted chocolate after it’s baked.