14 February 2010

Valentine's day baking

I don't really celebrate Valentine's day as it is my brother's birthday. Growing up, we would usually do birthday things, like have present opening and cake, not chocolates and flowers, so it is hard to suddenly celebrate a day that has completely different associations for me. Saying that, I do try to give my fiancee something, usually chocolate related, on the day. This year it is a large brownie with a twist.

Coming from the US, the land of the prepackaged and quicker-is-better mentality, brownies meant getting the box and mixing ingredients to me. It never occurred to me to bake brownies from scratch when the box is so easy. This could be a bit why the food issue in the US is so terrible, but I will get up on my soap box on that issue another time. Making brownies turns out to be incredibly easy, though I am not sure why I am so surprised. Like any other cakes and cookies there are an infinite variety of recipes to make them fudgey, cakey, swirly, nutty- the list goes on and on. I chose the best rated recipe I could find for a classic brownie (more on the fudgy side as I like them and actually, quite a lot like the box type!) and topped it with a dark chocolate ganache. As this was for Valentine's day, I used some leftover candy canes from Christmas as decorations because they have red in them and I like mint with chocolate. And it just so happens that the tops of candy canes form to make a beautiful heart:

Not bad, huh? The end result was very chocolatey and it is recommended with a glass of milk or tea.

Too bad I forgot that lent starts on Wednesday and this whole thing needs to be eaten before then. I didn't know that things baked with dairy products counted when you are fasting in the Orthodox church so it looks like my fiancee and I will be on a sugar high over the next few days.

So the lessons are 1) brownies are not that hard to make, even if they don't come from a box, 2) check your calendar when baking near Lent and 3) check the rules of Lent fasting in the orthodox church if you are marrying someone from that faith before planning a week of meals. It's a learning process.


I have yet to decide if I will post recipes here as most of the recipes I get are from various websites and I never write down where they are from. As a studious historian, I would never use someone else's work and not cite it properly, so I am afraid that, for now, I will not be citing recipes. The Honor Code is just too ingrained in me to allow it.


  1. Note to self... only read blog after eating, not before. I AM SOOOO HUNGRY!!!

  2. Cute. and I totally agree with you Jeremy!

    As for recipes and citations, I don't think anyone can say a recipe was their original idea what with all the copying/refining/amalgamating/forgetting and as a chef you have your own unique take on it. So I say you can post recipes without citation (though my Honor Code is perhaps more...flexible)

  3. Are you lenting as well? And you definitely don't really have to cite recipes, I wouldn't worry about it!