Valentine's Day 2011 is now just a memory: chocolates, flowers, romantic dinners and Cupid's arrows have come and gone. I'm left with a couple of extra pounds and some really good food memories. Valentine's Day and my birthday are so close together, I get a double dose and love every bite. The next time you're trying to think of a good gift, consider one of these 'food' ideas.
Candy is not just for Valentine's Day, especially not these unique chocolates. Norman Love Confections (www.normanloveconfections.com) are not only unbelievably delicious, but each piece is like a work of art. A favorite is their intense dark chocolate infused with jalapeno pepper. Burdick Chocolates (www.burdickchocolate.com) are miniature bite sized pieces (no sharing!). The wooden box is filled with miniature chocolates, each little bite revealing a big surprise, like the white chocolate ganache infused with lemongrass and a hint of vodka, garnished with pink peppercorns.
I also received a cheese tasting from the wonderful Murray's Cheese on Bleeker Street in New York City along with their famous cheese straws. The cheeses were specifically chosen for me by one of their cheese experts (www.murrayscheese.com). All you have to do is call, and ask. They will help you select the perfect cheese.
The next one is really unique: a container, overnighted by Fedex, of Rice Pudding (The Edge of Rum Raisin was our flavor) from Rice to Riches. There are over thirty flavor choices, shipped chilled in a special bowl with spoons designed for proper eating, and directions to ensure that you enjoy every morsel. I'm not kidding, it is so delicious I'm not even going to try to recreate. I'll let the masters orchestrate their magic (www.ricetoriches.com).
Box number five held a collection of artisanal mustards from the Lusty Monk (www.lustymonk.com), beginning with Altar Boy, a honey mustard with plenty of spunk, and progressing to Original Sin, guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes if not eaten with respect. There was a mustard to suit everyone's taste.
Finally, my daughter baked one of her famous cream cheese pound cakes for the big number birthday. She used a new cake pan shaped like a giant cupcake. The result was a cake sized cupcake with chocolate ganache and gold sprinkles. It was delicious and beautiful. Maybe the best cream cheese pound cake she's ever made. Her explanation for why this particular cake was better than usual was most interesting. She said she baked that cake with intention, with thoughtful love intention.
Does intention really make a difference when we cook? I've always thought so and hoped so, but now I have proof. Cooking with love does make a difference, whether it's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich tucked into a lunch box or an elaborate meal served on your best china. Or even an elaborate meal at your dining room table on your best china with a jar of peanut butter on the side, just incase the rich food doesn't suit everyone. It's the intention that matters. And it's always who's around that table rather than what's on it that really makes the difference. After all, LOVE DOES MAKE THE WORLD GO 'ROUND.
Thank you for all the love!!