Well, my friends, it’s that time of year again. Valentine’s Day is Friday! While some say it is a holiday created by card companies, Google says otherwise.
Valentine’s Day began in year 496 with origins in the Roman Empire. Saint Valentine’s Day was a feast day in the Catholic faith commemorating martyred saints; named after one of those saints, Valentine. While I don’t have room here to tell the entire story of how it became our current celebration, let me suffice it to say that the holiday is a good time to remember those special people in your life.
Whether you are a non-celebrator, a semi-celebrator or wear red sequins on Valentine’s Day, you can never go wrong with a good meal. And if you want it to go from good to great, finish with chocolate. You can decide how you spend this love holiday but personally, I’m going with red sequins, Champagne and chocolate.
See below for details on the last two.
Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steak and Scallops with Champagne Butter Sauce
2 (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
6 large sea scallops
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1/3 cup champagne or dry white wine
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
Sprinkle steaks on both sides with 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Sprinkle scallops on both sides with remaining salt and pepper. Heat 1 ½ teaspoons oil in a large cast iron or heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add steaks and cook three minutes on each side (for medium rare) or until desired doneness. Transfer to plate; cover and keep warm. Add remaining oil to skillet and add scallops. Cook two minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to plate; cover and keep warm. Add Champagne, lemon juice and onions to pan and bring to a boil. Cook three to four minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, whisking constantly until butter is thoroughly incorporated. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Top steak and scallops with sauce.
Pecan Pie Brownies
Ingredients for the Brownies:
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for the Pecan Pie Filling:
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a deep 9-inch cake pan (or springform pan) with greased foil or parchment paper. In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, melt the butter and chocolate together until melted and smooth, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the granulated sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each, followed by the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon and salt. Add to the chocolate mixture and mix just until no streaks of flour remain.
Spread batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.
While the brownies are baking, prepare the filling. Whisk together the corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Slowly add the melted butter and mix until combined. Add the pecans and stir until coated in the filling.
Remove brownies from the oven, gently pour the filling on top, using a knife to evenly distribute it over the baked brownies. Bake an additional 35-45 minutes or until center moves slightly when gently shaken. Cool completely to room temperature, at least two hours, to completely set the brownies. Brownies can chill in the refrigerator to accelerate the cooling process.