Valentine’s Day Made with Love
Throughout the history of humanity, people have prepared food on special occasions for friends, family and romantic partners as an expression of love. It has been this way for millennium. However, if we consider the foods we use today to express this love, we would discover that most of us are inadvertently harming those we love most by cooking or providing our loved ones with foods that promote disease. Consider a traditional Valentine’s dinner at an elegant restaurant – meager salad with blue cheese dressing, filet mignon, lobster or a combination of both, twice baked potatoes made with cream and butter, and of course, some over-the-top dessert. Delicious? Perhaps, but at what cost? If we forget about the lives of the animals and the environmental ramifications, what harm is this meal causing your loved ones?
By preparing a healthy, plant-based meal for those we love, we make manifest our love in physical form. When we prepare meals full of real, whole foods such as a spinach salad with beets, grapefruit and avocado, or almon- crusted tofu, or maybe fettuccini with raspberry-shallot cream sauce, and finish it off with chocolate pots de crème with coconut whipped cream and champagne, our loved ones experience pleasure in the delicious taste and textures of the food, but more than that, they know how much we care for their total well-being. This adds another dimension to our love. It doesn’t matter if our loved ones share our dietary and lifestyle habits or not – the message is the same – I love you. You are important to me. I want you to experience pleasure and also to be well. Each time we create a healthy, compassionate meal for those we care for, we send this important message.
People often tell me that their children deserve unhealthy foods like Happy Meals, hot dogs or pepperoni pizzas or they don’t want to deprive their kids or spouses of ice cream, Slurpies or candy as if these products were healing elixirs. These “foods” are not made with love. And they are also not healing, nourishing or necessary. I’m all for an occasional treat, but we need to make sure it is not becoming a regular.
When we realize that we have great power to influence those around us, not through force, but merely by example, we begin to see the power of love in each and every bite.
Sorry… got off an you there… but… I love Valentine’s Day! Such a sweet celebration of love, hearts, flowers and expensive dinner reservations in over-crowded restaurants. Trust me I love eating a nice meal out, but the one day that you need to make reservations about 2 months in advance is Valentine’s Day. Why fight the crowds when you can make a delicious menu of your own in a much more comfortable and relaxed setting? Ok, so you may not be up for cleaning the mess in your kitchen… but cooking as a couple is a super fun and romantic way to celebrate the evening whether you’re newly coupled up or have been married for 40 years.
So, how about splurging on a nice bottle of vino and maybe your favorite pasta with green beans almondine and this decadent dessert and staying in for a fire-side stay at home date night after the wee ones are asleep. Then, use that money you’re saving on dinner for some flowers, a couples massage, or a mani-pedi just for you… promise, I won’t tell!
Romantic Dark Chocolate Pots de Creme
- 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked for 2 hours
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk can sub almond milk if you prefer
- 2 tbsp coconut oil can sub butter
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder (optional)
- 1 tbsp Chambord or chocolate liquor (optional)
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 3 oz dark chocolate chips or chopped in small pieces
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch sea salt
Optional: Dark chocolate ganache, Fresh berries (I like raspberries)
- Drain and rinse the cashews.
- Heat milk in microwave or saucepan just to barely hot.
- Combine all remaining ingredients (except for milk) in a high-speed blender and coarsely chop.
- Add heated milk and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Pour into ramekins or small glass jars and place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Serve chilled with fresh berries and whipped coconut cream on top. Optional, make the ganache and pour a layer on top of chilled pots and put in freezer for 10-15 minutes before putting on toppings.
Place chocolate in a shallow bowl.
Heat coconut milk in a sauce pan over medium high heat to a scald. Don’t boil.
Pour the milk over the chocolate chips a little at a time and gently stir together with a rubber spatula until ganache become smooth and uniform in color.
Use immediately to glaze your pots de creme or let cool at room temperature until moldable and spreadable.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.