Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Restaurants for Valentine’s Day on the Upper West Side and Elsewhere in New York

Especially in this down economy, restaurants are hungering for your business on Valentine’s Day. On the Upper West Side, there’s a bumper crop of places to go.

I personally would rather skip the whole hyped-up Valentine’s Day eating out thing and prepare a cozy dinner at home. Why brave the mobs at the restaurants, the often sub-par food, and the indifferent service?

But if eating out will make the  day special for you, here’s a list of some places to have romance and a meal on the Upper West Side and elsewhere.

It’s safe to assume that nearly every restaurant in the city will be having Valentine specials, Valentine desserts, Valentine prix fixes, etc., etc.

Upper West Side

Alouette This oldy but goody French bistro is offering a 4-course prix fixe (Open Table) for $60/person.

A Voce Columbus Circle $95 four-course tasting menu.

Big Daddy’s-UWS. If you can’t find a babysitter and need to drag the kids along (how romantic), this family friendly dinner is a good choice.

Isabella’s. Want Italian? This popular place across from the Museum of Natural History may be the ticket.

Telepan. Truffles and more for $78/person.

Elsewhere

Flex Mussels

The Harrison

Five Points

Porsena

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Recipe: Valentine’s Day Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich and Chocolate Heart Cookies

The Cream of Love: A Valentine to Ice Cream. Photo: Library of Congress.

Valentine’s Ice Cream Sandwiches

If you love ice cream, like I do—after all I wrote an entire book, Ice Cream, to be released in April on the subject—this Valentine’s Day Ice Cream Sandwich from Slashfood might satisfy your honey’s yen for a special Valentine’s treat.

And here’s a recipe for Chocolate Valentine’s Heart Cookies from Chef Renee. Slap some vanilla ice cream between two of these rich cookies, and you have an amazing treat for the day of love.

Chocolate Valentine’s Day Hearts

These light brown cookies are filled with a chocolate or jam filling.

Yield: about 6 large layered cookies

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Equipment: one large and one small heart shaped cookie cutter

Cookie tray for baking

INGREDIENTS

2.5 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup Dutch process cocoa

¾ teaspoon double acting baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 ½ cups sugar

1 1/2 sticks sweet butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon dark rum

2 whole eggs- medium, not large

METHOD

1. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl: flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

2. With a hand held mixer, beat sugar, butter, rum and vanilla together until sugar is well incorporated and the mixture fluffy.

3. Add 1 egg and half of dry ingredients. When well mixed, add the other egg and the rest of the dry ingredients.

4. On a floured surface, shape dough into a ball. Cut in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

6. Flatten each half into a round disk, about 1/8th inch thick. Use a little extra flour if necessary, when rolling out dough. Using the large heart shaped cookie cutter, press 6 heart shaped cookies in the dough. Then use the same cookie cutter and cut out 6 more cookies from second batch of dough. Place the small heart shape cutter on top of one large piece of dough, and press down.

7. Remove the small heart from half the cookie dough so that when they are put together, you have a full heart shaped cookie on the bottom, and another one on top with a space in the middle for the filling.

8. Just before baking, place each cookie (all separate from each other) on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2″ apart. Refrigerate another 15 minutes. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool tray on a rack.

9. Remove from paper, and reserve until the filling is made.

Ingredients for fillings

Chocolate filling and jam- alternating colors will be prettier. Apricot jam, seedless raspberry jam, lemon curd and chocolate filling in any combination will look great on a platter.

Any jam or curd you use should be whisked a bit to remove lumps, and loosen it before applying to the cookies.

Spread jam or curd on the bottom uncut cookie until you reach 1/8 inch from the edge. Place cut out cookie on top and press gently so the cookies stick together. Sprinkle powdered sugar through a strainer over the whole cookie. Then, place ½ teaspoon of jam in the area where the little heart was removed.

For the chocolate filling: In a microwave oven, melt 4 ounces of good quality bittersweet chocolate (chopped finely), mixed with ¼ cup of heavy cream for about 45 seconds. Stir to blend everything together. When it cools it will thicken. Use the same approach for filling the cookies as with the jams.

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Upper West Side: Zabar’s Gives Valentine’s Day a Jewish Twist

Chocolate babka? Blackout cake?  Zabar’s, the Upper West Side fancy food emporium, is offering up a range of Valentine’s goodies—from chocolates to cookies.  But if you want a Jewish theme to your Valentine’s Day celebration, the Jewish-style deli is enhancing the traditional mix of chocolate roses and heart-shaped confections with babka and bagels. Yes, dahlink, even Valentine’s Day can go ethnic.  Click here for more.

Blackout cake. Photo: Zabar's.

Blackout cake. Photo: Zabar's.

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Recipe: White Chocolate Clusters for Valentine’s Day

Your Valentine’s Day honey should appreciate these delicious candies–White Chocolate Clusters.  You won’t be able to eat just one (or two)! Cassie Berkowitz, a talented recent pastry school graduate and Chef Renee Marton’s colleague, has created them.

Photo: By Cassie Berkowitz.

Photo: By Cassie Berkowitz.

White Chocolate Clusters

Yields 4 clusters
INGREDIENTS
1 cup white chocolate
1/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1/3 cup pistachios

Optional:
¼ cup white chocolate, for chocolate drizzling decoration*

METHOD

1.  Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  Set aside.

2.  Melt white chocolate in a double boiler over low heat.  Stir the chocolate occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn.

3.  When white chocolate is fully melted, take it off the heat, and immediately add the dried fruit and nuts.  Stir until dried fruit and nuts are coated in chocolate.

4.  Portion the mixture into 4 equal servings and drop onto the parchment lined cookie sheet.  Allow the white chocolate clusters to set in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.

Optional red drizzle decorations:

1.  Before putting the chocolate clusters in the refrigerator to set up, melt the remaining white chocolate (1/4 cup) in a double boiler over low heat.

2.  Add 1-2 drops of the red food coloring; stir to combine.

3.  With a spoon, drizzle each cluster with about a teaspoon of the colored chocolate.

4.  Allow the white chocolate clusters to set in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.

Oil based food colorings, not easily found at your local supermarket, work best in this recipe.  Here’s where to buy them.

What do you think of this recipe?  Do you have any special Valentine’s Day dishes to share?

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2009 Cooking Classes on Valentines Day

Alas, Fiamma, which offered cooking classes last Valentine’s Day, is no more.

But other chefs have stepped into the breach, according to Gothamist, which has compiled a couple of choices for cooking-loving lovers to learn how to wield a whisk on V-Day.

[Y]ou might consider Chef Alex Ureña’s cooking class on February 7th at Pamplona, where he’ll be teaching guests how to prepare “a romantic Spanish meal for their Valentine.” The class costs $65 and comes with a light lunch and Spanish wines; call (212) 213-2328 to sign up. Chef Franck Deletrain at Cafe Centro is also offering a class on the same day, for $75.

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