Valentine’s Day Love

13 Feb

Valentine’s Day bonus post!

Abe and I will both be out of town (on different coasts) this week, so we made some impromptu Valentine’s Day plans on Saturday night at Keefers with Adam and Jen.  (If you are looking for a proper steak and some great sides (frites, au gratin potatoes, grilled asparagus), Keefers is among the best I’ve had in Chicago.  Nice ambiance in there, too.  Fireplace, big bar.  Perfect for Valentine’s Day.)

Then on Sunday, which was decidedly lazy, we thought we’d spend the evening preparing a low key Valentine’s dinner.  The main meal is such a side note in this case, because, while it was good, it had nothing on dessert.  So, here we go: butternut squash ravioli with tomato sauce (traditionally you will see butternut squash ravioli with a butter sage sauce, but I like how the sweetness of the butternut squash works with the tart tomato sauce – with a healthy addition of fresh chopped basil and parmesan cheese, this is a cleaner, more complex way  to enjoy this dish (and red sauce is nice for Valentine’s Day, anyway)) and Brussels sprouts with (turkey) bacon.  In all, a satisfying meal.

The highlight, by far, was the dessert.  Earlier in the day I recalled a goat cheese and chocolate dessert I had seen Bobby Flay make on FoodNetwork years ago.  Instead of searching for that dessert, specifically, I searched goat cheese and chocolate and found the most amazing thing you could ever imagine.  Goat cheese and chocolate chunk blondies!  Beyond delicious.  We ate a significant amount of batter – super tangy with the goat cheese – yum – and seriously contemplated whether we should bake the blondies at all.

The recipe can be found here and below.  Please make these on Valentine’s day for maximum love!

Ingredients:

8 T unsalted butter, cold plus a bit more for the baking dish

8 oz fresh, young goat cheese (we assumed this just meant fresh goat cheese – not aged – and it seemed to work fine)

1 c granulated sugar

1 c light brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1 T vanilla

2 c all-purpose flour

1 t baking powder

0.5 t kosher salt

1.5 c bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips (we used chunks!)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream the chilled goat cheese, chilled butter and both sugars on medium-high speed for 6 minutes. Starting with cold ingredients builds structure and allows you to beat in a lot of air. So run the machine the full 6 minutes.

In the meantime mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.

Once the butter and cheese are fully creamed they will be light in color with a slightly broken appearance. This is good, the air I mentioned has transformed the sugars. At this point lower the speed and beat in eggs, egg yolk and vanilla until just combined. Turn the machine off and scrape the sides of the bowl.

Fold in the flour mixture in three divisions.  Followed by the chocolate chunks. 

Spread the thick batter into an even layer across the prepared dish.

Bake about 30 to 35 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on rack, then cut into 18 squares. May be store covered up to 4 days.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  What are your plans this week?!

(Last year around this time we were enjoying a super underground vegan supper club and a chocolate Nutella cake from msupermom on a perfect day in San Diego!)

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9 Responses to “Valentine’s Day Love”

  1. cookcraftcindy February 13, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    Yum! This all looks so delish. My plan is to eat Lou Malnatti’s heart shaped pepperoni pizza that I took all the way home with me last night :).

    • Diz February 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

      Oh my g! Heart shaped pepperoni pizza from Lou Malnatti’s? What an amazing creation! I didn’t know that existed. But I do love Lou Malnatti’s! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  2. torcat February 14, 2012 at 12:50 am #

    Happy Valentine’s! What a delicious way to celebrate. I’ve been really into brussels sprouts lately. They sound good with the turkey bacon!

    • Diz February 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      So good with turkey bacon! Let me know what you think if you try it!

  3. arianne1220 February 14, 2012 at 2:17 am #

    I’m not a big fan of goat cheese, but those blondies look pretty amazing! Also, the tangy tomato sauce combined with butternut squash ravioli is a brilliant idea.
    For Valentine’s day I’m going to see “This Means War” starring Reese Witherspoon, with a couple of friends. I’ll let you know how it is!
    Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂

    • Diz February 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

      Oh you would like these, even if you don’t like goat cheese. It’s subtle, but makes the batter special.

  4. Mike Gosling February 14, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    These are in the oven right now. And yes, I think that batter was the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted!

    • Diz February 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

      Yes! Perfect Valentine’s Day treat. I can’t wait to hear what you think of them!

      • Mike Gosling February 15, 2012 at 11:05 am #

        They are (probably by the end of today, were) delicious!

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