I love Valentine's Day, because after a month of post holiday blues, and typically less than ideal weather, it's nice to have something to look forward to. Making valentines with my son, frosting cupcakes and all the pink and red everywhere, I'm a total sucker for that stuff. Our family tradition is to make cheese fondue and drink champagne at home. Sounds fancy but it's really easy. You can make your own fondue with gruyere and white wine, but Trader Joe's and Ralph's make great pre-made ones that all you have do is heat! In an attempt to make it healthier, in addition to bread chunks we spear cherry tomatoes, and my personal favorite, sliced mushrooms.
These studs are simple and sweet and they highlight one of my favorite jewelry trends, mismatched earrings. I almost never wear a matched pair of earrings, preferring to instead select different ones that look good together. Either thematically, color-wise or scale.
I sent this card by ilootpaperie, a local sister duo business based in Pasadena, to a writer friend of mine. When you see how much generic cards cost in the drugstore why not spend the same on supporting a local female run business?
I created this necklace to have a sentimental sort of feeling to it. It can accommodate your or your loved one's birthstone to commemorate special occasions. In this case, I put rose-cut garnets together with rose gold.
I am a big fan of K-Beauty. I regularly use sheet masks, essence, serums and the like. I recently bought myself this sleeping mask and love it. It smells amazing, and I love that it can be used for a 10 minute quickie version on days when I need a little extra oomph, because let's be honest being a working mom doesn't always make you feel or look like a supermodel.
With all the fondue and chocolate, I'm going to want to be comfy. Well, when don't I want to be comfy? Um, never. So, I'll be wearing this cute JCrew Champagne sequin t shirt that not only I bought for myself, but my sister gifted me one as well. I guess I'm pretty predictable, eh?
What do I want to eat on Valentines day? Well, on any day if we're being honest....Chocolate! My husband Raf is Belgian so we spend a lot of time eating / talking about chocolate. My mother-in-law stuffs her carry-on with our favorite Côte d'Or bars - dark chocolate and marzipan for me, praliné for him. I'll never forget when handed a smores smothered with Hershey's chocolate shortly after his arrival in the US, how incredulous he was at how it could be called chocolate. He spat it out on the spot and refused to try anymore. Thankfully, this recipe has the opposite effect, even though Raf doesn't like dessert he always comes back for seconds of this one.
Opened in 1994, Gramercy Tavern, recipient of eight James Beard Awards, is a New York City culinary institution. This recipe will make you feel like a fancy chef using vanilla bean and brioche while still being fairly simple to execute. The most complicated step is tempering the milk and chocolate but that's really more time consuming than difficult. Anyways, this is the best thing ever, I dare you to make it and not eat the whole thing!
Makes one 9-by-13-inch pan
Unsalted butter for the pan
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted in a small bowl
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate pieces (about 1/3 cup)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound Brioche (recipe follows), crusts removed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 ounces milk chocolate pieces (about 1/3 cup)
1 cup heavy cream, lightly whipped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325°F, with a rack in the middle position. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
In a large pot, combine the cream, 1 cup of the milk, and the sugar. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pot, then toss in the bean. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking until the sugar dissolves.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup milk, the eggs, and yolks and whisk until smooth.
When the cream mixture boils, remove it from the heat and steadily whisk about a cup of the liquid into the egg mixture to temper it. Pour the egg mixture back into the pot, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk about a cup of the egg mixture into the bowl of melted chocolate, then pour the chocolate mixture back into the pot, whisking constantly. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Add the brioche to the pot and stir the chocolate mixture well to break up the bread. Let the mixture stand for about 30 minutes so the brioche can absorb the liquid.
Pour the brioche mixture into the buttered pan. Sprinkle the bittersweet and milk chocolate pieces on top. Bake the bread pudding until it’s just set, 45 to 55 minutes; when it is ready, the pudding will puff up. Let the pudding cool for about 15 minutes before serving. Serve with the whipped cream, if you like.