I have to admit, we are not much of a Valentine family. We don't typically do more than possibly cards, it just isn't one of the high points of the year for us. So this year I decided to at least make a special meal for the family. One of our favorites is shrimp, and since Route 30 Seafood had a special, it sounded like a great deal to me! I did forgo on the scampi this time, as I seemed to be the only one eating them and we ran out of steamed. I included the cheddar biscuits as a side, heart-shaped, of course, and rounded it out with a salad. One word of caution, though, is to make sure you add the baking soda to the biscuits! I thought they seemed a little dense (although they looked fine) and it wasn't until driving to work the next day that I realized what I had forgotten! It definitely makes a difference!
I really wanted to have a special dessert, and having just picked up the The Sneaky Chef: Hot to Cheat on Your Man in the Kitchen, I knew I had to find something in there! (It was only $6- on sale at Giant!) I love the Sneaky Chef book that is focused on kids along with Deceptively Delicious. They are both based on the premise that if those you love are not choosing nutritional foods on their own, then you have to help them along a little, by way of sneaking nutrient-dense foods into their "normal" recipes. I have been doing this for over a year now although I have to say in the last 6 months not as much as a was before, mostly because I am making almost everything from scratch and feel that it has a good deal of nutrition in it already. But, there's always room for more ;) The idea is to make and freeze a selection of purees that are then carefully hidden in various meals, desserts, and drinks. My favorite is adding cauliflower puree to mac and cheese, as well as spinach or beets to various desserts. This for me was a great first step to whole eating. I continued making most of my normal meals but added purees to make them healthier. Then I transitioned to more real home cooking.
So, after a quick perusal of the pictures (yes, I LOVE pictures in cookbooks, and that is my only issue with the Sneaky Chef series- too many without pictures) I decided on the Vulcan Molten Chocolate Cake (p. 334). Of course, I did make a few modifications (were you expecting anything less?). The girls loved it, the boys, not so much. There was a hint of the blueberry flavor and I think next time I will go with 1/4 c spinch puree and 1/4 c purple puree (a combo of spinach and blueberry) to take away any berry flavor. I didn't mind it, but if I am eating a dessert this chocolate-y, I want to taste the chocolate! If you are one who likes chocolate and berry flavors mixed, it would also probably work with cherry or raspberry instead of blueberry. My other caution is the cooking time. I checked the cakes at 12 minutes and my gut told me to take them out...but I waited dutifully to the 14 minutes recommended. Unfortunately the cakes continued to bake in their glass dishes after removing from the oven so they weren't as gooey as I was hoping, but still delicious. We finished off the one leftover cake tonight and it was almost better now! So if you have to make ahead, it will work, and no icing needed :)
5 ounces organic dark chocolate chips or bar
3 T Earth Balance organic vegan butter
3 egg whites
2 tsp organic vanilla extract
1/3 c Sun Crystals
1/2 c purple puree (spinach and blueberries)
1/4 c plus 2 T King Arthur organic all-purpose flour
1 tsp (heaping) Cafix (or instant coffee, but if you have never tried Cafix as a coffee substitute, you need to!)
1/4 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 6 small cups (I used the glass prep bowls from Pyrex but you can use ramekins, custard cups or muffin tins) with nonstick spray. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in the microwave (be careful not to overheat in the microwave). In a large bowl whisk egg, whites, vanilla, sugar and puree. Mix in chocolate mixture. In another bowl whisk together flour, Cafix and salt and add to chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly. Divide batter evenly among bowls, place on cookie sheet and bake about 12 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle should NOT come out clean. Can serve as is or turn upside down on plate for full volcano-like effect. Although, please warn your family that they won't really erupt, or you may have some disappointed family members!
This dessert reminded me a lot of the dessert from my favorite meal ever this summer!