Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's Day!

Yesterday for Valentine's Day, I wanted to go all out.

Not out to eat, but to stay home and cook all day for me and the hubs.

Reading that, it sounds crazy.  However, I enjoy cooking.  It's one of the few things that I feel I do really well, and it doesn't feel like work or stressful to me.  I like setting a pretty table, making a custom menu, and the complete satisfaction of having someone eat my food and enjoy it.  It's fun to make a recipe that has tons of steps and have it all come together in the end into one delicious dish.

So for this Valentine's Day, I wanted to do just that for my husband.  Typically, V-day is for the ladies, with flowers and gifts and chocolate, but in all honesty, I could care less about that.  I'm pretty much married to a saint, so I felt like he deserved a day to honor him.  The man makes me breakfast every morning.  Not just puts a pop-tart in the toaster right before I leave for work, but makes me a breakfast sandwich or eggs & biscuits.  He goes to the store for me if I need something for work.  He puts up with my "sunny personality."  He seriously deserves an award just for that last one.

On Friday I began prep work for the big day. I had decided on a French theme for the day; I'm not entirely sure where my newfound obsession with French food came from, but I'm not complaining.  French food is rich and beautiful and all about savoring a meal.  It's food that's meant to be lingered over.

 Here was our menu:

Breakfast: Herbed Baked Eggs, Croissants with Jam, Mimosas & Coffee
Lunch: Spinach Salad with Apples, Pears & Strawberries, with homemade Strawberry Vinaigrette; French Onion Soup
Snack: Macarons & Lattes
Supper: Chicken Au Champagne, Duchess Potatoes, Lemony Asparagus & French Bread
Dessert: Chocolate Pots de Creme

Beginnings of French Onion Soup

The croissants and macarons were from Artisanal Baked Goods in Anniston.  If you haven't gotten bread from there, you need to.  It's the jam.

On Friday morning, I assembled the baked eggs and toasted the croissants.

The good thing about the baked eggs is that you can add any ingredients you like.  Just crack an egg into a greased dish, add a splash of half & half, salt & pepper, and customize how you want.  These bake in a bain marie at 350 until set.

We have a small side table in our dining room, so that became our French cafe, which I set with my English ironstone dishes. French, English....close enough :)

After breakfast, we had a few errands to run, including buying a new range hood, since our microwave hood had a fireworks show the other day and is now unusable. Yay.

When we returned, it was time to start on lunch.  This was pretty easy since I had prepped a good bit the day before.  All we had to do was reheat the soup, melt the Gruyere on the french bread, and chop the salad ingredients.  
Baguette from Artisanal Baked Goods

The weather was nice so we moved our French cafe to the front porch to enjoy some time outside.  Now, if you have never made French onion soup before, you should.  It's souper (see what I did there?) easy, and it tastes AMAZING.  However, I will say that Gruyere is not a pleasant smelling cheese.  I might have gagged a few times grating it, but it tastes delicious!  You could always substitute swiss cheese in its place.  The strawberry vinaigrette was lovely and fresh.  

I snuck a pic of him eating

Mid afternoon, we decided it was time for our snack.  I had never had a macaron before, but it was not at all what I was expecting.  The cookie part was soft and marshmallow-ish feeling, and it had a beautiful pastry cream filling.

Aren't they adorable?!

Artisanal Baked Goods, people.  Go there.  Buy everything.

Finally, it was dinner time!  This meal was a little more complicated.  There were several different components to the main dish, and the sides took a little extra prep work, but in the end it came together nicely.

Asparagus awaiting their turn in the oven

The chicken has a flavorful and buttery champagne sauce with fresh tarragon and sautéed mushrooms.  Those adorable swirly potatoes are called duchess potatoes, which are mashed potatoes that have cream, butter and egg yolks mixed in and are then piped onto a baking sheet and baked until brown and crispy.  Elegant, yet easy and delicious!

At dinner we exchanged cards, which for us means homemade.  Being married to a graphic designer always guarantees a unique and creative card.  This one was fantastic!

If you haven't download the bitmoji app, you need to.  You make an emoji that looks just like you. It's fantastic. This is mine:

This couldn't be any more perfect.

The reason I told you this was because my husband printed & cut out one of his and made a pop up inside my card:

I really hope the kids we adopt fully appreciate our weirdness ;)

We ended our evening with a movie and the dessert I made, Chocolate Pots de Creme, which is basically a really decadent chocolate pudding.

All in all, we had a fantastic Valentine's Day.  The importance of the day was on just spending time together and, of course, eating delicious food.

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