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Complete Valentine’s Menu

February 14, 2011

In case you missed my posts last week, I shared 4 courses for the perfect Valentine’s dinner.  I had the pleasure of cooking the meal I blogged about last week this weekend and wanted to recap today by sharing photos.  Even if you read last week’s posts, be sure to check out the updateted tips!

Kate’s Tips for Cheese Fondue

This recipe is scaled to two generous portions, but can be easily adjusted if you are cooking for a crowd.  As I said, it is fun to experiment with different types of cheese as you become a fondue pro.  Also, you can substitute a dry white wine in the same proportion as the beer if you prefer.  Whether you choose beer or wine, be sure to pick one you would want to drink as it is really infused in the flavor.

Be exact with the amount of alcohol you use in the recipe.  Adding too much liquid will create a fondue that is too runny and doesn’t thicken as it should.  Also, keep the stove warm enough when you add the cheese otherwise it will not melt properly and will have a tendency to ball up.  Continue to stir in a zig zag pattern to help avoid this problem.  If it seems as if the mixture still is not thickening up as it should, it may be necessary to add more cheese AFTER you’ve incorporated the flour.  If you have the opposite problem and end up with a mixture that is too thick, slowly stir in additional alcohol to create the desired consistency.  This can be a tricky process, but it is worth the effort!  I wish I could be in your kitchen to help you the first time!

Kate’s Tips for Filet Mignon with Balsamic Syrup and Goat Cheese
It is incredibly important to be vigilant with regard to the balsamic syrup.  If you reduce it too fast or for too long you will have a burnt mess!  The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of balsamic for 6 servings.  While the serving size I am sharing today is for 2, I have increased the amount of syrup you will make to 4 servings.  We’ve tried to scale down the balsamic portions in the past and it has almost always ended in disaster.  Reducing the balsamic in such small portions is tricky and I’ve found it is much safer to end up with a little extra than none at all.

Remember that you are looking for a syrup consistency, but be careful not to over-reduce!

Kate’s Tips for Molten Lava Cake

When in doubt, error on the side of less cooking time with these cakes.  Depending on your oven, 11-12 minutes may be enough.  We needed the full 15.  You want the sides to be crisp and the center to be gooey.  I would also recommend cooking them the lowest rack in your oven.

You can substitute hazelnut or dark cherry liqueur if you prefer; whatever flavor you prefer to enhance your chocolate.

Top with whip cream, confectioners sugar or ice cream if you like! Above all, enjoy!

Note: The recipe is scaled down from 6 servings and you will only need 2 ounces of semisweet chocolate if you use the original proportions.

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