Sunday, February 13, 2011

RK0009-A Valentines Day Meal Menu

  Valentines Day is a holiday that is both overly commercialized and a needed holiday.  Like other 'holidays', Valentines Day has been taken over by card companies, jewelry stores and chocolate makers.  And it is easy to understand how this holiday is monetized because marketing for this holiday is easy. It all has to do with FEELINGS.  A basic rule of advertising is to target peoples FEELINGS.  Selling things has nothing to do with selling a functional, beneficial or useful object or service, it has to do with how buying the object or service makes you feel.  It is a dog trick.  And Valentines Day is all about FEELING and specifically erotic love.  And erotic love is powerful and basic to our bodies, just as powerful as fear. 

  But this holiday is needed and we should celebrate it.  But celebrate it on your own terms. 

  Celebrate it by making love. 
  Be transgressive and take back and enjoy your erotic desires. 
  Be joyful with your body and relish how good it feels to be with another or yourself.
  If you are gay, make sure you flaunt your love in public just as much as heterosexuals do, which is often and wet.

  So with this  in mind.  I have a Valentines Day menu for you to serve to your sweetheart, friend, or yourself.  It is a transgressive menu which I hope will help you break the chain to our corporate overlords.  I perused my favorite retro cook books and came up with the following rocking menu.  

Cheddar cheese and crisp crackers
Salmon in Cucumber Aspic
wine: Chardonay
Braised Heart
wine: Pinot Noir
Carrot and Turnips in Tomato
Mashed Potatoes
Lemon Sorbet
Grandma's Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Mocha Frosting
Coffee or Tea
wine: Port

Here are the recipes:

From  Modern Priscilla Cook Book, 1924.
2 large cucumbers, peeled and seeded and chopped
1/4 chopped onion or 1 T dry onion flakes
salt and pepper
1 t lemon juice
1 1/2 c water
1 T gelatin
1/4 c cold water
3/4 c flaked salmon

1.  Sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/4 c of cold water.
2.  Boil the cucumber and onion in the water for 5 minutes.
3.  Remove from heat and purée the cucumber and onion mixture, add the lemon juice and season.  There should be about 2 cups of liquid.
4.  Add the gelatin and stir until gelatin dissolves. Chill until it is at the soft set stage. 
5.  Stir in the salmon and fill greased individual molds and chill until firm.
6.  Un-mold the aspics on lettuce leaves and serve with radish roses and lemon wedges.

From  Modern Priscilla Cook Book, 1924.

2  small calves' hearts or 1 Lb. Beef Heart
2  slices of salt pork
1  c beef stock
2  stalks of celery cut into 1/2 in pieces
1  large yellow onion, sliced
3  medium carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
1  medium turnip, cut into 1 inch pieces
1  bay leaf
3  cloves
1  t dry parsley or a T of fresh.
1 c crushed tomato

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.
2.  Render the salt pork in a frying pan.
3.  Flour, salt and pepper the hearts and brown them in the salt pork fat.  Do not clean pan.
4.  Place browned hearts in a roasting pan and add the beef stock, celery, onion, parsley, bay leaf and cloves. Bake for 1 1/2 hours covered.
5.  A half hour before the heart is finished cooking, add the carrots, turnip and tomato to the pan use for browning the heart.  Cook on medium-low heat covered until vegetables are as tender as you like.
6.  Remove the hearts to a platter and cover with tin foil. 
7.  Strain the pan juices and thicken it with flour and butter.
8.  Slice the hearts and place cooked carrots and turnip around the hearts and serve gravy in a separate dish.


3 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and roughly cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 butter

1.  Boil the potatoes until tender then drain and let sit with the cover off to dry a bit. 
2.  Add the butter, seasonings and mash.
3.  Add milk a little at a time until creamy yet firm enough to eat with a fork.

Adapted from the Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Vol 3, 1966

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 Lb. light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 c. sweet milk
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 package of fast rising yeast
4 oz. bakers chocolate
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 200°F, leave for 10 minutes and turn off oven and keep the oven door closed.
2.  Prepare a 10-in angel food pan [with removable bottom]. Grease the bottom of the pan lightly with vegetable shortening, lay down wax or parchment paper and greasing that lightly.  Do not grease the sides of the pan.
3.  In a sauce pan put the milk, chocolate and 1/3 of the sugar.  Heat this until the chocolate has melted.  Place on a wire rack until it has cooled to about 105°F.
4. Combine thoroughly the flour, yeast and baking soda.
5.  Cream butter and remaining sugar.
6.  Add eggs one at a time and beat at least one minute before adding the next egg. 
7.  Add the vanilla to the egg mixture and add 1/3 of the flour and 1/2 of the chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Repeat and finally add the last of the flour.  Beat until flour is incorporated into the batter. Do not over beat and make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

6. Pour batter into the angel food pan and place in the oven and close the door. Let it sit for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

7.  Take pan out of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.  Bake cake for 50 minutes. Test with a toothpick to check for doneness.  [For newbies, you stick the topic into the center of the cake between the hole and sides.  Pull it out.  If the toothpick is 'clean' the cake is done, if batter is on the toothpick, bake for another 5 minutes and test again.]

8.  When cake is done, place on a wire rack and let cool. When cool enough, place plastic wrap over the cake and let cool completely.

  Removing the cake is simple.  Run a knife along the edge of the sides and center of the cake.  Pull the cake out.  Invert so the cake drops out and remove wax paper.  Place on a plate and frost with Chocolate Mocha Frosting.

1 Lb Confectioners sugar
2 t powdered egg whites [also called meringue powder.]
1/2 c cocoa
1 T Sanka [dry instant coffee]
1/3 c Spry or your favorite brand of vegetable shortening.
warm water

Cream the shortening with the egg whites, coffee and cocoa.  Add 1/3 of the sugar and 1 teaspoon of water, repeat until all of the sugar is used. 

The frosting may need more water. Add a teaspoon at a time until it is of spreading consistency.  Be patient and beat for at least 5 minutes and scrape the sides of the bowl.  Also I recommend that you use an electric hand mixer.

I hope you like the menu and recreate it. If you do, please post a comment. 

Happy Valentines Day!