Posts Tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

Uncorked is a cozy converted house on the east side of downtown Austin hosting a globetrotters’ gauntlet of wines. Choose your glass by country or use the icons on the wine menu to find a pallet pleasing wine. I’m not a wine savvy person but I know I prefer sweet, fruity flavors if I’m enjoying a glass in good company. The staff are more than helpful and friendly, just ask if you don’t know what to try!

uncorked moscato midnitechef.com

My first choice was right up my alley.

uncorked moscato midnitechef.com

A sweet moscato with peachy floral notes. This went down very easily. The second glass was a rose and a little dry. From what I do understand about wine, start light and work to darker older vintages. Thanks to Jordan Winery for the class at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop!


If you are looking for a special night with your sweetheart, Uncorked should be on your list.   Not just for Valentine’s Day (which is this FRIDAY), but any time you need to spend some time to converse over wine and nibbles.   The view of the high rises of downtown Austin is a splendid backdrop for your evening.

Uncorked is located at 900 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702

(512) 524-2809




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Big Brother was in kindergarten last year and his teacher commented on how much she liked the home-made cookies and breads I’ve sent for snack time.  I offered to bake heart-shaped cookies for Valentine’s Day and she jumped at the chance.  She explained that they should be plain so the students can add frosting and decorations during the class party.  No problem!

I chose a recipe from one of my recent additions to the kitchen library.  This was a previously untested recipe so I was risking complete failure by doing this and not sticking to my recipe for Christmas cutouts.  I held my breath and went ahead.

The recipe only made about a dozen large hearts and I needed to bake at least 27 cookies for the party. After the first pan was cleared off to the cooling racks Little Sister helped herself to a cookie the size of her head. I heard the faint noise of munching behind me and realized what just happened. I couldn’t get mad. I knew another batch would have to be made to make my quota anyways. Pleading with her, I scooted her out of the kitchen and looked for a distraction in the form of a cute fuzzy animated panda. “Panna!” Little Sister plunked herself on the couch with her cookie. The rest were safe for the next 98 minutes.

Heart Cookies for a Decorating Party

Adapted from Sugar Cookies by Martha Stewart Living Magazine (COOKIES cookbook)

  • original recipe, plus
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (added)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (added)

I chilled the dough for an hour, then rolled it thicker than the recipe calls for.  I put the giant hearts on parchment paper lined cookie sheets and baked until firm but not browned.  This is a great recipe for any shape of cookie to suit the holiday.

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I made a heart-shaped pancake and coffee as a Valentine’s Day breakfast for Hubby. He said it was the best pancake he’s ever had.  I told him it’s the cream cheese and blueberry preserves that made it special!

You can find silly pancake makers that will form a heart for your loved ones’ breakfast, or if you have a big cookie cutter you can do it yourself without the superfluous kitchen gadget.  The cookie cutter must be metal and have your oven mit on stand-by.  Grease the inside surface of the cutter and heat it up with the pan on medium heat.

I made the batter (Aunt Jemima Buttermilk) rather thick, adding only about 3/4 of the water needed.  This would help the batter slowly expand when I poured it into the mold.

Cook as usual and carefully lift your cutter once the edges are done, then flip.  You can flip the whole thing, then remove the mold.  Your call.

I decorated the pancake with soft plain cream cheese and red gel “Luv”.  Warm blueberry preserves were on the side for dipping.

Hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

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Beef Short Ribs

My obsession with ribs probably stems from the sticky short ribs my mother used to make.  My parents would buy or trade hay for beef with my uncle.  Meat and potatoes were a constant in the weekly menu.  Every so often we were lucky to enjoy the rare portion of short ribs included in the quarter of a steer kept in the deep freezer.

After I moved to Texas and was dating my Hubby, he took me to the BBQ restaurant in the area, one of the landmarks for foodies to visit, the Salt Lick *.  I was amazed at the soft smoky meat easily pulling off the bones.  Guess it had been a while since wolfing down mom’s version, these were so good.  Hubby laughed at me because I thought they were beef ribs.  I didn’t know pork could taste like that!  To me, pork was the chop. Tough as a sneaker and dry as the Badlands.  We didn’t… um… BBQ much in Canada when I was young.  The closest we ever came to grilling was a camp fire and Coleman stove at Sylvan Lake *.

When asked what I wanted for Valentine’s Day by my endearing hubby, I replied with “sushi and a show”.  Two things I love and hardly get a chance to really enjoy with him.  What was I going to do for hubby in return?  Cook an awesome dinner of course!  Beef is the most expensive item in our shopping cart these days so I have tended to reserve it for special occasions.  This would be the first short ribs ever, and hopefully well received by mi corazón.

So here goes my attempt at real ribs.  The beef kind.

  • 8 beef short ribs
  • 1 1/2 cup stock (any kind)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or cider
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • few coarse grinds of fresh pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 325ºF.

Season the meaty parts of the ribs and remove hard fat and silver skin.  Brown the short ribs in a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot suited for the oven.

Add the remaining ingredients to a bowl. Mix and pour over the short ribs in the roaster.  There should be enough liquid to come half way up the ribs.  Add more stock or apple juice to make up any shortfall.

Cover and bake for  2 hours. 

Uncover for last 20 mins of roasting.  

Remove the ribs and hold them while reducing the liquid to a thick sauce, spoon off the fat as you go. I like to add a slurry of cornstarch (1 tsp or so) to get a super sticky coating for the ribs, make sure the sauce comes to a full boil.  Finally,  turn off the heat and plunk the ribs into the hot saucy bath. 

Be sure to apply a generous amount of love to these ribs and serve them to your sweetheart on a bed of piping hot rice.

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My late Grandma Rita’s birthday was on Valentine’s Day.  I remember one year, I was probably in high school, we took Grandma out for dinner at one of the few restaurants in our home town.  We shared lasagna, spaghetti with meatballs, and garlic bread.   To make it out to a restaurant was an event to be relished, especially to celebrate a very special person.

One of Grandma’s desserts will be my way to channel her love with my family this Valentine’s Day.  A chewy chocolate brownie, made sans pecans, will be served with a good helping of ice cream.  Grandma Rita would have baked this in a pie tin, I chose to use my small cupcake silicon molds for easy portion control.

Fudge Brownie Pie

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine, very soft
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • (1/2 cup pecans)

In a mixing bowl, beat sugar and margarine well.  Add eggs and mix well.  Add the flour, cocoa and salt.  Stir in the vanilla and nuts, if using.  Pour into a greased 9″ pie plate, or 10 cupcake molds.  Bake at 350ºF for 20-25 minutes in a pie plate, about 18 minutes in cupcake molds.

Serve with whipped cream and strawberries, or strawberry ice cream.

Find my recipe and more like this one here:
Brownie Pie on FoodistaBrownie Pie

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