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valentines day dessert sparrow soirees

I’m in the camp of Valentine’s Day is made special by creating from the heart. Keep it simple and authentic. You can’t go wrong. I had a friend who spent every Valentine’s Day volunteering in an assisted home. I always thought – and still think – that was incredible gesture of love and compassion. To me, she embodied the meaning of Valentine’s Day: the action of loving others without any expectations. Yes; this is something we should do every day, but Valentine’s Day offers the extra push to remind us it’s important.

Now that you’ve pondered that deep thought, on to the food…

As for us, dinner tonight is a favorite: roasted chicken. If you’re still trying to figure out what to do for dinner, this is super easy and has a total wow factor. After placing the bird in a non-stick baking pan and tucking the wings under, I pour a shot-glass worth of olive oil over the chicken, doing my best to cover it evenly. Next I sprinkle an even amount of salt, pepper and sweet paprika over the top (aka: the breast-side). I then take four slices of butter and place them on the breasts and legs. (Wish I could take credit for the butter, which does a nice job on the skin, but that’s from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home cookbook.) I usually cook my chicken at 400-degrees for 50-60 minutes depending on the size of the bird, internal temp of 160. Check the temp at the meaty part where the thigh and breast meets and the juices run clear. If not, keep checking it every 5 minutes. Let it sit 20-30 minutes before carving so the juices do their magic.

By the way, a simple trick for keeping a chicken moist while it cooks: quarter an apple or cut a lemon in half, and stick it in the cavity. Right before carving the chicken, discard the apple or lemon.

For dessert: molten chocolate cake. Over the weekend I enjoyed much-needed girlie time with friends which included coffee and Parisian treats at Belle Epicurean in the Madison Valley/Park area. It was the first time I wandered into their specialty store, Provisions, which was sampling molten chocolate cake and port (jackpot!). And, of course, I suddenly realized what we’d have for dessert tonight. Super simple – just a couple scoops of the batter in a ramekin and pop it in the oven for five minutes – and so delicious.

Hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day!