Thursday, February 15, 2007

Love is untidy, and rich, and so the molten chocolate babycakes from How to Be a Domestic Goddess, baked in heart shaped molds, were really the one thing I knew I wanted on last night's Valentine's menu. The theme of the meal, though, seemed to be lack of preparation, and when I went to fix up the babycakes I realized I was out of parchment, so I sprayed the molds with a lot of Pam and crossed my fingers. And they probably would have unmolded beautifully, except I was trying to hold them with two very thick potholders and potholders+ clumsy cook does not = easy unmolding. So they were sort of heart-shaped. Covered with whipped cream, they were even less recognizable as hearts, but were all the more delicious (they were really, unbearably, rich- one cake would have done it for the two of us, and for the first time in history, I did not finish my dessert.).

The rest of the meal was all about the slapdash last minute inspiration- I had just finished reading Julia Child's "My Life in France" and had been thinking about her description of aigo bouido ever since, and if there is one little-heralded perk to marriage, it is the freedom to consume as much garlic as you want and know you'll still have someone to make out with. And it also seemed super-easy, and I am all about convenience foods these days.

It was super-easy- boil some garlic with herbs and olive oil, and then whisk together some egg yolks and olive oil and then beat in the broth, bit by bit, and then serve with french bread and grated swiss cheese. However, it was also pretty mild. I loved it, but would double the amount of garlic for next time (and also not make it unless I was sure I had cloves on hand- I omitted them, since I was out, and I think that would have added some sharpness to the soup.) Jeff claimed it tasted like "milk with butter" even though it contains neither. Of course, milk with butter also sounds kind of good to me, so I think this was more of a me dish than a Jeff dish. Nonetheless, I caught him using leftover french bread to sop up some of the extra soup.

And for a starter, I was inspired at the last minute by the Homesick Texan blog to make "Love Dip,"* which is really just a very, very, very slightly more laborious version of cream cheese with salsa poured over it. (You mix up the cream cheese and salsa and some other spices in the blender, and it is pink, which is where the Love comes from, I guess.) Not that I am knocking easy dips, and it was certainly perfect for last night- we were able to lounge about and relax, eating dip and crackers while the soup simmered, which, for me, is pretty much the perfect Valentine's Day.

*Apparently the original Love Dip is a proprietary recipe of Texas-based Central Market- which leads me to wonder if Homesick Texan takes requests, and can finally unearth for me the definitive recipe for Randall's Chocolate Chewies?


Teri said...

Spooooooooky! I just read the aigo bouido passage in "My Life in France" last night and thought, "Ooh, I should make that in the very near future."

Do you ever half the garlic cloves and remove the little inner-sprout thingy before you cook with them? In one of the first cooking classes I took when I was starting to get serious abou home cooking, the teacher recommended removing the sprout thing as he said it took away the "bite" of the garlic that you sometimes get the morning after eating something with a bunch of garlic. I do it sometimes - usually when I am making something where the garlic will be eaten raw. I'm just curious to know if anyone else ever did this.

Teri said...

Also - Homesick Texan - this ex-Texan will pay cash money for the Chocolate Chewies recipe.

Ah, Chocolate Chewies. Often imitated, never duplicated. It will break my heart if it turns out that Chocolate Chewies were shipped to Randall's frozen from some factory in, like, Tyler.

Hannah said...

I think I am going to get the more meringue-y cookie recipe I have used in the past, and post it along with the Chocolate Wonder recipe, and let you be the arbiter of which is more Chewie-esque, T.

Also, I know the green shoot in the garlic thing is an ongoing controversy- I have seen people adamant about removing it (I think Alice Waters is in that camp) and people who are more lazy about it. If I am using it raw, I take it out, or if I am even mincing it, because it is easy enough to do, but I only bother to remove it from whole garlic cloves if it is sticking out and you can just pull it- I don't pop them open and check for it.

(Also, the fresher your garlic, the less likely you are to have any sprout action to worry about- which is why I did not buy the very intriguing one clove per head garlic at Trader Joe's yesterday. On the one hand, I want to know what that giant clove is all about, but on the other, it was grown in China, which is pretty far away--)

Luisa said...

I also just finished reading MY LIFE IN FRANCE and liked it so much, though the end sort of fell apart, which made me sad because it seemed like sort of a metaphor for the end of her own life, no? Anyway...your garlic soup looked like it was lovely and so French-bread-soakable.

Homesick Texan said...

Hannah, I'm on the hunt for the Chocolate Chewies recipe...and will let you know what I unearth!