Okay Guys…For Your Eyes Only…Cherry Valance

Sorry to disappoint.  This is not like one of those emails I usually get from Chris.  This is about this coming Monday.

This is a big day for us.  Like it or not, it is possible that this one day of the year can make or break it for us for the rest of the calendar.

Valentine’s Day.

That special day created by Card companies, Jewelers, Florists, Candy Shoppes and the mob on the south side of Chicago.

So, consider this a reminder and somewhat of a “gift” to help us all out.  Because, as we all know, if one of us “falters”, we are all going to pay for this in the end.

A quick checklist of sorts…Flowers (check)…Candy (check)…Card (check)…okay, if you have two out of three here, I think you will be okay.  If you choose to do a little more, music, movie, dinner…then well done.  You have graduated and are somewhat prepared to face the world as we know it on Valentines Day.

So because of this day, I am going to contribute a little something, sumpin’ that you might be able to use on this day…or any other day that you’d like.  Yes, one of my contributions is a cocktail, and the other is a desert…you will need to fill in the blanks with a little imagination of your own.  First the cocktail…

This is one from Temple Bar in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Bar manager, Hugh Reynolds serves this one up in honor of one of his favorite movies…The Outsiders.  (I am making a little bit of an assumption here, I haven’t actually spoken with Hugh)  The cocktail is aptly named after one of the characters from the movie.  One with a beautiful mane of ginger hair…Cherry Valance.  (the name itself invokes thoughts of Valentines Day).  This drink, Cherry Valance, takes a dark rum with notes of vanilla and fruit (Pyrat XO Reserve) and blends it with a  Danish liqueur that my grandfather used to drink, Cherry Heering.  (although the bottle I used was not my grandfather’s…I threw that out last May…seriously)  To this is added two types of bitters…Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate and Bittermens Xocolatl Mole.  The bitters add a nice touch of spice and an almost mocha flavor.  The only change I might make is a little less of the Cherry Heering…it can make it a little sweet.  Also, I think the Fee Brothers might be easier to find, and if that is the only bitters you find (of the two mentioned) it will still work well.

CHERRY VALANCE

  1. 2 ounces Pyrat XO Reserve Rum
  2. 1 ounce Cherry Heering Liqueur
  3. 2-3 strong dashes of Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate bitters
  4. 2-3 drops of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters
  5. Mix the above in a cocktail shaker with an Orange zest
  6. pour into a cocktail glass with ice…I suppose a chilled martini glass would also work well.
  7. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and orange zest

Now I might be mistaken, but this just may help you get off to a nice start.  But, as we all know, sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you start…it is how you finish.  So here is something that should help you finish, uh, well, let’s just say, this should help you finish strong.

Okay, I have not made this…yet.  Most of you know I like to cook, but I do not dally in the baking area of culinary activity.  I usually leave that to Diana, because she is so good at it.  So for Valentine’s Day this year, I am going to dive into the deep end of the kitchen and bake.  And this is typically not an easy thing, but I believe this recipe simplifies it…plus I hope what they say about “It is the thought that matters”, is true, just in case I hit my head when I dive in…

This is a Chocolate Souffle’ recipe I found in a local St Louis magazine, Feast.  It is by Chef Cassandra Vires…and I hope I don’t botch it up, or we may have to have some more cocktails!!!

Chocolate Souffle’

  1. 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  2. 4 Tbsp sugar, divided
  3. 4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  4. 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 2 eggs separated ( that does not mean to keep them apart from one another…important to keep the yolk away from the white)
  6. 1 pinch fine sea salt
  7. 1 pinch cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease two 4 oz ramekins with 1 Tbsp butter. (Hey guys, a ramekin is a small bowl usually used for deserts…and often not real big.  A quick trip to Pier One or World Market can probably help you locate them, if not William Sonoma)  Coat the ramekins with 2 Tbsp sugar and place in freezer.  (it is important to do this because heat with this is a bad thing.  Freezing will keep the sugar on the outside and help the egg whites.)

Using a double boiler, I know I am stretching it here, melt the chocolate and remaining 2 Tbsp butter.  Whisk together until smooth.  Remove this from the heat, and whisk in the vanilla and the egg yolks.  In a large bowl, combine the egg whites, salt, tartar and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar.  using a mixer, whip on medium-high until the “peaks” are stiff.  (okay just a minute…I know this is more than most of us guys do, but I think it is worth it.  If I need to explain “stiff peaks” to you, just pour another drink!)

Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until no white can be seen. (If making this ahead, cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge)  Spoon evenly into the ramekins.  Bake for 25 minutes or until the souffle’ has risen and is a little crusty (like your Uncle that always makes family functions worth attending). If you are going to bake directly from taking out of the fridge, add 5-7 minutes to cooking time.

Serve immediately with another Cherry Valance, or a nice desert wine.

Okay guys, I did my best to help…the rest is up to you.  The souffle’ may seem a little intimidating, but I think it is worth the work the work…especially on Valentines Day.

Here you have the “Start” (cocktail) and the “Finish” (desert).  For the rest you are on your own.

So go ahead and give it a try…like I said, you can always punt and rely on Cherry Valance, the drink that is.   Good luck, I hope this helps make the rest of the year a good one for you, at least give you a head start.  Enjoy this.

Enjoy your life.

And enjoy your Valentine…all year long.  I enjoy mine.


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Published in: on February 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

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