Valentine’s Day

 

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The day began toasting a fresh batch of cardamom granola and starting a batch of 5 grain bread.  We walked our companion “Tea” through the neighborhoods of Mission Hills.  Spring flowers were in bloom and sweet scents wafted through the chilled morning air.  Winter in coastal San Diego often provides the advantage of blue skies accompanied by a kiss of morning coolness while the sun warms the skin.  The sensuality of this spawned meditations on the loving culinary tasks which lay ahead, and I am reminded that rites of spring originating from earthly cycles of regeneration have been celebrated since the beginning of time.  After returning home with our 13 year old German Shorthair friend, I took advantage of the clear day to plant some cactus and harvest herbs from the garden before returning to the kitchen to punch down the bread. 

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Later, as the aroma of baking bread filled the house, a plan for dinner started to take shape.  Four of us were to dine this evening and small portions were appropriate to frame the dessert this Valentines Day.  The sweet course would be dark chocolate and maple mousse in tempered chocolate cups garnished with a chocolate heart and a thick raspberry sauce.  The preamble to this decadence was a fresh organic pea soup garnished with a mirapoix relish. 

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The delicate flavors of the soup were followed with a dish of Latin corn blini,  red quinoa “caviar” and fire roasted poblano chile aioli. 

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On the side, was a preparation of marinated baked tofu encrusted with almond, coconut, chile and lime over a papaya-ginger sauce.  The meal was influenced by flavors from around the world to honor love, a universal aspiration.  Needless to say,  the meal was a wonderful preamble to a great evening.

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