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Valentines Recipes and History, Tasty Bites Cooking Newsletter  Stephen Block
 Feb 13, 2003 13:53 PST 

*-*-*-*Tasty Bites*-*-*-FROM THE KITCHEN PROJECT*-*-*-*-*-
FEB 13, 2002
Vol. 5 #1
Stephen Block, editor, The Kitchen Project

At the Kitchen Project we investigate, discuss and share recipes,
cooking techniques and food history. We find that having background on a
dish makes cooking it a more rewarding experience. I of course thought
it would be of interest to research the history of Valentines day …even
though it is not necessarily a “food day”..we tend to take our sweet one
to dinner or get them something special to show our appreciation …or at
least maintain our good standing.

             I found this to be a very interesting read and a project
that I hope you will write me and send more information on, or even a
neat Valentines dish or food gift that you have come across. My many
thanks to Carolyn Berry who gathered these links for us to read about
this interesting subject.

This holiday that is well entrenched throughout the world began probably
in 4th century BC in Rome. It was a strange tradition on February 15,
that gave young men a teenage female partner, but only for a year, that
was picked from a lottery!!!! They apparently got a new partner the
following year. Emperor Claudius 11 used this in a cruel way to build
his army by banning marriages so that men would be more willing to go to
battle. Well good things can be transformed from this awful practice and
we have the patron Saint Valentine, who was a real person, to thank for
transforming this yearly celebration into something that has been so
much fun . He was even executed for his pursuit.

Read about How Saint Valentines saved the Day, which is rather romantic,
Also lots of information about how the symbols and sayings like “wearing
your heart on your sleeve, and how XXX became kisses.

Here is a link to some Valentines Clipart

This is really interesting….the history of the heart symbol
The History of the Heart Symbol
from symbols.com

Our German Cookbook is a nice gift, with recipes and anecdotes of a
German American Grandmother.

to sample our German Cookbook go here

-*-*-*Tasty Bites *-*-*- Recipes from around the World *-*-*-*
The net is a fun place to share recipes with people from all over the
world. This is something that you don’t always get from reading a food
magazine or watching a TV show.
There are many nice food bulletin boards that are good for getting
recipes and meeting people from other countries, and if you are brave,
try some talking to people from other countries one on one on the net.
If you want more information on how to do this then email me at

Since Valentines is celebrated around the world, it was fun to ask a few
people what they would like for a valentines dinner. Here is some of
what I got.

I asked someone in Belgium what she would like for her husband to treat
her to a Valentines meal …and she said …
Biefsteak, with peppersauce frieten en salade!!! and a big chocolate

which is
Pepper Steak ...with peppersauce,
Belgian Fries, and Salad, with Belgium Chocolate Mousse.
In Israel Mickey Schick Shtamer says that a Roast baked in orange juice
with dates and plums is wonderful and a salad of avocado and grapefruit.
In Australia a Pavlova baked in a heart shape was considered a nice
thing to give a sweetheart.

Here are some recipes that you may enjoy, for valentines or anything

Steak au Poivre ( Beef Peppersteak with peppersauce ),


1 to 1 1/2 Tb cracked black peppercorns
2 tenderloin steaks, or New York Strip steaks.
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon shallots -- minced
2 tablespoons cognac
2 tablespoons red wine
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Crack the peppercorns in a mortar & pestle or with a rolling pin on
board (I would put them in a plastic bag to keep them from flying all
over the kitchen). Press the cracked peppercorns into the steaks.

Heat butter in a heavy skillet. Sear steaks over med-high heat, both
sides, turning with tongs. Reduce heat to med. and cook, turning often,
till desired doneness.

Remove meat from pan and keep warm. Add shallots to pan and saute a
minute or so. Add cognac and wine and balsamic vinegar- boil 2 minutes,
stirring. Add beef broth and tomato paste and boil 2 more minutes,
scraping up bits from the pan.
Stir in cream, heat through but don't boil. Pour sauce over steaks and

Spinach Artichoke Dip


1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 Cup grated or shredded Romano Cheese
1 clove garlic minced
1 teaspoon dried sweet basil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 Cup frozen chopped spinach (squeeze out juice)
1 can artichoke hearts ( drained or chopped,)
For Topping;
1/4 Cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese or Mozzarella

1. Soften cream cheese in Microwave for 30 seconds.
2. Put in a large mixing bowl and add the mayonnaise and blend well.
3. Add all the remaining ingredients except the cheese for the topping
and blend well.
4. Sprinkle the cheese for topping and
5. Place in a casserole dish (a 1 quart size works well) and bake in a
pre-heated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes till bubbly and lightly


½ Cup water
½ Cup Riesling
8 oz. Cream cheese
6 oz. or one small wheel of brie cheese
3 oz. Of Swiss cheese grated.
1 tsp fresh minced garlic
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp nutmeg.
Salt (optional)

In a double boiler or saucepan add the water and heat to a simmer.
Add the wine.
Melt the cream cheese in the microwave in a microwave-able dish for
60-second intervals, till it is soft enough to whip smooth, and then add
to the simmering water and blend.
Cut the rind off the Brie cheese, break into chunks and melt into the
pot of hot cheese mixture.
Whip till melted and smooth.
Add the grated Swiss cheese and whip till smooth.
Add the garlic, nutmeg and cayenne pepper.
Season with salt if needed.
Water can be added if you want to make the sauce a bit thinner.

-*-*-*Tasty Bites *-*-*-SOUL FOOD COOK BOOK *-*-*-*
Remember The Great Smells Of Soul Food Cooking At Your
Grandma's House? Now you can learn to fix some of
these same great dishes. Check out this soul food
cookbook with over 250 incredible recipes. Visit:


This is one I am going to do at Mrs. Beasley’s for Valentines
En papillote means baked in paper. You bake the seafood in Parchment
paper that has been cut out in a heart shape then put in the seafood,
sauce and herbs and folded over. When you cut open the paper the person
gets a wonderful steamy whooosh of the delicate aromas.

4 md Flounder fillets
            -(about 1/4" thick)
            -or other flat fish fillets,
            - such as lemon sole
     1/2 lb Shrimp, shelled & deveined
     1/2 lb Sea scallops
       2 tb Butter
       4 tb Flour
       2 c Fish stock
            - OR clam juice
            - OR chicken broth
     1/4 c Dry white wine
            Freshly ground pepper
       2    Egg yolks; lightly beaten
            Parchment paper
            Vegetable oil
     1/4 lb Mushrooms; rinsed and sliced
       2    Green onions
            - sliced on diagonal,
            - with green part saved
       2 tb Parsley

   PREHEAT OVEN TO 400F. Rinse flounder, shrimp and scallops and set
   aside on a paper towel. Melt butter in a skillet, stir in the flour
   and cook until tan. Stirring constantly, gradually add the fish
   stock. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until reduced
   by half, stirring as needed. Add the wine and season to taste with
   salt and pepper. Add a little of the hot sauce to the egg yolks and
   then stir the yolks back into the sauce. Stir for a moment over low
   heat without overcooking the yolks. Strain if necessary. You can make
   4 individual pouches or one large one. Cut 8 small or 2 large sheets
   of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Brush half with the oil. Place
   the fillets side by side in the middle of the large sheet, or one
   fillet on each small sheet. Place 1/4 of the shrimp, scallops,
   mushroom, green onion and parsley on top of each fillet. Spoon the
   sauce liberally over the seafood and top with the reserved green
   onion. Top with a similar sheet of parchment paper, securing tightly,
   so that no juice can escape. May be made ahead to this point and
   refrigerated. Place the pouches on an oiled baking sheet and bake
   until the paper browns, about 10 minutes. Serve in the pouch slitting
   the pouch at the table, or open the pouch and turn onto a plate or
   the serving platter just before serving. Serve this with boiled rice
   (See RECIPE).


3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup water
4 egg yolks
2 Vanilla beans split lengthwise
2 Cups heavy cream
Pure Vanilla Extract
1 T vanilla extract

Truffle mix
1/2 Cup cream
2 Tablespoons butter
8 oz. Semi Sweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate

Scrape the vanilla seeds into the water and add the husk
Boil sugar and water with the vanilla bean stirring often for 10
Place in a double boiler,
Add the egg yolks and cook them in the syrup till they start to thicken.
Cool this "Vanilla syrup" custard.

Whip cream and add the vanilla extract.

Fold custard into the whipped cream to complete the mousse

For the truffle mix;

Heat cream in a microwave glass container
add real vanilla extract
Melt chocolate in a separate bowl in the microwave on 30 second
intervals till soft and then add to the cream.
Melt the butter the same way you do the chocolate and add to the cream.
chill the mixture until it is stiff. This will be about an hour.


Pipe a heart with the truffle mix on a dessert plate with a pastry bag.
lightly dust the heart with cocoa powder.
When it has chilled ..fill the heart with the vanilla mousse and smooth
it out.
Top with sliced strawberries or cherries and a mint sprig.
Order fresh Madagascar vanilla beans here;

Homemade Vanilla Extract makes a wonderful gift for Christmas. Now is a
good time to get it started. Free recipes with your purchase.

To subscribe send a blank email to

TO unsubscribe send an email to
step-@kitchenproject.com and simply type UN ..anywhere

-*-*-*Tasty Bites *-*-*-SOUL FOOD COOK BOOK *-*-*-*
Remember The Great Smells Of Soul Food Cooking At Your
Grandma's House? Now you can learn to fix some of
these same great dishes. Check out this soul food
cookbook with over 250 incredible recipes. Visit:

*-*-*-*Tasty Bites*-*-*- OUR STAFF *-*-*-*-*-
The Kitchen Project is an interactive Web site that explores FOOD
…Cooking is not only a necessary skill, it is FUN!!!

Feel free to ask our Chefs Questions;

Stephen Block…(Oregon) General information, German , Cajun, BBQ, Food
Stephen Holloway, (Ohio) General Information, Food History
Susan Doyle…specializes in Household wisdom,
Isaac Frerichs general information , chocolate,
Nouel “Wing” Omamalin (Phillipines) Pastries, Cookies, Wedding Cakes,
Phillipino Cuisine…….. nomam-@sni.ph
Mickey Schick Shtamer , (Israel) Greek and Middle Eastern Cooking,
Graphic design
Warren Lower , (Australian) General Information, Australian cooking,
Asian cuisine ,

*-*-*-*Tasty Bites *-*-*-TO SUBSCRIBE TO THIS PUBLICATION:*-*-*-

Send a blank email to step-@kitchenproject.com with SUBSCRIBE written
on it Please forward this to any friends who enjoy cooking, and send me
your comments, (good or bad) contributions, and recipes.
Thank you, and until next time....COOK SOMETHING GOOD, and share it with


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