Category Archives: Valentine’s Day

Composite image of Noah Cappe, Eden Grinshpan and Steve Hodge over a close-up image of Valentine's Day conversation hearts

Local Restaurants That Food Network Canada Stars Are Loving This Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, Food Network Canada stars are sending love notes to their favourite local restaurants across the country. From baked goods to a romantic takeout meal at home, these are the local spots across Canada that our stars are crushing on (and with one bite, you will be too!). To participate in the #MyLocalValentine campaign, head to Food Network Canada’s Instagram on February 14th, and share your love notes to your favourite local restaurants using the Valentine’s Day templates in stories.

Related: Easy Pink Beet Pancakes Are the Perfect Valentine’s Day Breakfast

Tiffany Pratt: Tori’s Bakeshop (Toronto, Ontario)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Tori’s Bakeshop (@torisbakeshop)

Toronto’s first vegan café and bakeshop in 2012 that has gained a loyal following with Food Network Canada staff and chefs alike. “I love Tori’s Bakeshop in the Beaches so much! I have been eating those breakfast cookies for as long as they have been open! Also their Easter cream egg is the most addictive thing I have ever put in my mouth. I even designed one of their locations! The food is made with love and everything tastes amazing and is good for you too. Gluten-free and vegan alike – this food is for everyone! I LOVE YOU TORI!”

Love the design of Tori’s Bakeshop? Did you know that it was designed by Tiffany herself? See more of Tiffany Pratt and her local restaurant designs in Project Bakeover.

Mijune Pak: AnnaLena (Vancouver, BC)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by AnnaLena (@annalenayvr)

In Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood, AnnaLena offers contemporary Canadian fare. “Love the creativity, quality of ingredients and commitment to flavours at AnnaLena, and they’re offering a Valentine’s Day tasting menu available for dine-in as well as a take-out.”

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, we tried Mijune Pak’s new chocolate creations (a perfect gift?) and here’s what we thought.

Renee Lavallee: Doraku Sushi (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by 道楽 Doraku (@dorakudartmouth)

This Japanese restaurant has been open for nearly thirty years, and is considered a local staple. “My favourite local love goes to Doraku Sushi in Dartmouth. Hands down THE BEST sushi in Nova Scotia. Perfect for a Valentine’s date night at home.”

And if you’re wondering where else to eat in Nova Scotia, here are Renee Lavallee’s top picks.

Eden Grinshpan: Joso’s (Toronto, Ontario)

Another longstanding favourite, this restaurant is a Yorkville staple. In business since 1967, it aims to transport guests to the warmth and beauty of the stunning Dalmatian coast. “My family and I have been going to Joso’s for years and are dear friends with the owners, Leo and Shirley. We LOVE their fresh seafood, squid ink risotto and the overall ambience. We always have the best time there.”

Looking to make a sweet dessert for your Valentine at home? Have you tried Eden Grinshpan’s Pistachio-Dusted Rose-Glazed Yeast Donuts?

Noah Cappe: Mallard Cottage (St. John’s, Newfoundland)

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mallard Cottage (@mallardcottage)

Located in an 18th Century Irish-Newfoundland vernacular-style cottage, you can expect to find traditional fish and chips, moose croquettes, fishwiches, and Nutella crepes on the menu.

Restaurant picks aside, here are 10 more things you ought to know about Noah Cappe.

Suzanne Barr: TORA

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by TORA (@aburitora)


If you’re a fan of aburi sushi (or if you’re looking to try the novel flavours of this flame-seared take on the original), TORA ought to be on your list, as it’s on Suzanne Barr’s: “Since we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day at home this year with our son, we’ve opted to go for a family-friendly menu from TORA – one of our fave spots for high-quality sushi and lots of it. And of course, a nice bottle of sake for after the little one goes to bed ;)”

Here’s how chef Suzanne Barr will make you think about your dinner plate differently

Steve Hodge: Two River Meats (Vancouver, BC)

Two Rivers Specialty Meats has something for those who enjoy the process as much as the results; offering house-made sausage, steak burgers, and more, the meats are thoughtfully sourced from farmers who care about their animals.  “For anyone looking to cook at home, they are the best and can be shipped!”

Aside from being in Project Bakeover, here are 10 more things you need to know about Steve Hodge.

pink beet pancakes with fruit on top

These Easy Pink Beet Pancakes Are the Perfect Valentine’s Day Breakfast

With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year and everyone cozied up at home, waking up to a fresh stack of pancakes is a must. These pretty in pink pancakes use a roasted beet puree to give them a naturally vibrant hue, meaning no artificial colouring whatsoever. The beets add a touch of sweetness as well, so the kids will love them too. OK — maybe just don’t tell them breakfast has vegetables!

pink beet pancakes with fruit on top

Pink Beet Pancakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

⅓ cup pureed roasted beets (2 beets)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 pinch fine salt
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 large egg, whisked
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup whole milk (can substitute oat or soy milk)
Butter or oil, for cooking
Fresh berries, for serving
Maple syrup, for serving

pink beet pancake ingredients

Directions:

1. To prepare the beets for the pancakes, simply wrap 2 beets tightly in foil and roast them at 400°F for 50 to 60 minutes. Once cooled, peel and puree until smooth! Add a touch of water to the blender or food processor if necessary. This step can be done in advance.

pink beet pancake puree in food processor

2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Create a well in the centre.

3. Add the egg, pureed beets, vanilla, melted butter and milk. Whisk until the batter just comes together, a few lumps are okay.

pink beet pancake batter

4. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add a touch of butter. Swirl it around the pan to evenly coat the whole surface. Pour in a scoop (about ⅓ cup) of batter. Cook until the top begins to bubble, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional minute, until both sides are golden brown.

Related: Valentine’s Day Cookies That’ll Make Your Heart Skip a Beat

5. Repeat until no batter remains, coating the pan with a touch of butter each time. Stack cooked pancakes onto a serving plate. Garnish with fresh berries and a drizzle of maple syrup!

Like Marcella’s pink beet pancakes? Try her cinnamon streusel muffins or s’mores butter tarts.

The Sweetest Homemade Candy Heart Kombucha Gummies

This Valentine’s Day, make some sweets for your sweet! Creating your own gummies at home may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple, and only requires a few ingredients. First, you’ll need to find a silicone heart mould, which you can buy at a kitchen store or online, and then you’re ready to go. Infusing kombucha into gummies is a super creative way to support your gut health, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to devour healthy candy? Since these mini heart-shaped sweets are Valentine’s Day themed, we gave them a pinkish-red hue, so berry or rose flavoured kombucha is key. Once you whip up a batch, you’ll soon realize the world is your gummy oyster, where you can flavour and colour these little gems with a myriad of juices and fruits to your heart’s desire.

Homemade Candy Heart Kombucha Gummies

Prep Time: 40 minutes*
Fridge Time: 1-2 hours
Servings: 165 gummies

*The prep time may take longer depending how many moulds you have, since you may need to work in batches

Ingredients:

2 cups berry-flavoured kombucha
8 Tbsp grass-fed beef gelatin
1 ½ cup chopped strawberries (frozen or fresh)
½ cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup water

Directions:

1. Pour kombucha into a bowl and whisk in the gelatin until combined. Let it stand for 5 minutes.

2. In a blender, blitz the berries, maple syrup, lemon juice and water and pour into a pot.

3. Place the pot on the stove over low heat, then add the kombucha and gelatin mixture until it fully dissolves. Don’t heat too high or you will damage the live bacteria in the kombucha.

4. Use a gummy dropper, syringe or small spoon to pour the liquid into the moulds. Don’t attempt to pour it in with a measuring cup, we did this and it was too messy!

5. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until gummies have hardened. To store, place them in an airtight container for 5 days.

For more desserts that’ll give you major heart-eyes, make a batch of no-bake strawberry “cheesecake” bites, an easy stovetop s’mores dip or one of these sinful chocolate dessert recipes.

Irresistible No-Bake Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

I’m over chocolate on Valentine’s Day, which is why we created this sultry two-bite dessert you can whip up for yourself, your sweetheart, or all your single gal pals! They’re vegan, raw and gluten-free, giving you just the energy boost you need for some alone time — or, staying up all night gawking at Tinder.

strawberry-cheesecake-bites

No-Bake Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

Ingredients:

Crust (makes 24 mini cheesecakes)
1 cup pecans
6 medjool dates
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 tsp sea salt

Filling
1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 3 hours)
1/2 cup frozen strawberry slices
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Swirl/Topping
1/2 cup frozen strawberries, melted

strawberry-cheesecake-bites3Read More: Lauren Toyota’s Fail-Safe Tips for Eating Plant-Based (And Loving It)

Directions:

Crust
1. Remove the pits from the medjool dates and soak them in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain the water from the dates and place in a food processor along with the remaining ingredients. Process until the nuts are crumbled and the crust is sticking together on its own.
2. Press about 1 1/2 tsp of the mixture into the bottom of each mini muffin cup.

Tip: To remove the cheesecakes easily from the tray, cut 4-inch strips of parchment paper and place those in the bottom of each cup. Press the crust mixture on top of these. Then when the cheesecakes are done setting in the freezer, you can pull on the parchment tabs to lift the cheesecakes out.

strawberry-cheesecake-bites2

Filling
1. Drain cashews from the soaking water and rinse under fresh water. Then add them to a high speed blender or Vitamix along with frozen strawberries, agave nectar, melted coconut oil, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth.
2. Pour this mixture into a bowl and set aside. Clean out the blender to make the strawberry puree for the swirl.

Swirl/Topping
1. Allow these strawberries to melt at room temperature or heat over low heat in sauce pan for a few minutes until soft. Then blend this in a blender into a smooth purée.
2. Take a scant Tbsp of the cashew filling and pour on top of the pressed crust. Then take 1/2 tsp of strawberry purée and dollop on top of the cashew filling. Take the end of a toothpick and swirl the two mixtures around to make a fun artsy pattern!
3. Freeze the cheesecakes for 1-2 hours until solid. Remove them from the mini muffin trays and allow to thaw for 10-15 minutes before biting into them.

Craving more plant-based Lauren Toyota recipes? See here for her Buckwheat Pancakes with Brandied Strawberries and Coconut Whip (pictured) and her Easy 2-Ingredient Vegan Peanut Butter Cups.

Easy Stovetop S’mores Dip

Get all the tasty flavours of s’mores in a quick, 4-ingredient chocolate fondue. Heart-shaped strawberries and adorable teddy graham crackers make this feel extra special, but you can use any fruit and cookie of your choosing.

Smores-Dip-8

For all the vegans out there, you can make this dairy-free by using dark chocolate and canned coconut milk.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Smores-Dip-4

Ingredients:
1/2 cup 18% cream or full-fat canned coconut milk
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 jar marshmallow fluff, divided
2 cups teddy graham crackers or regular graham crackers, divided, for dipping
1 pint strawberries, for dipping

Directions:
1.In a medium saucepan, heat cream until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat; whisk in 1/2 cup chocolate chips, vanilla and salt until uniform. Gently whisk in 1/2 jar marshmallow fluff.

Smores-Dip-1

2. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl. Reserve.

Smores-Dip-2

3.Place oven rack in centre of oven. Preheat broiler to high. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Dollop remaining marshmallow fluff on baking sheet; broil until puffed and brown on top, about 3 minutes. Cool.

Smores-Dip-3

4. To serve, place toasted marshmallow fluff on top of chocolate dip, crumble over a few graham crackers and remaining 1 Tbsp chocolate chips. Serve with strawberries and graham crackers for dipping.

Smores-Dip-5

Looking for more ways to enjoy this campfire treat? Check out our collection of scrumptious s’mores recipes.

creamy lobster linguini

Giada de Laurentiis’ Romantic Valentine’s Day Menu

Forgo the fancy restaurants and prix-fixe menus this Valentine’s Day and make your sweetheart swoon with a little taste of Italy right at home. Start the evening off with a restaurant-worthy Italian cocktail, followed by a rich risotto appetizer and a luscious pasta dish that’s so good, it may just lead to a romantic, Lady and the Tramp moment.

So set the table, light some candles and let Giada De Laurentiis’ simple and delicious Italian menu complete your intimate evening.

The Gentle Italian
Treat your loved one to a pink, effervescent Italian aperitif that goes down smooth. This light, lemon-scented sipper gets a hint of orange and rhubarb from a splash of Aperol, and a fizzy finish from Italian Prosecco.

Artichoke Arancini

Artichoke Arancini
Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a warm, gooey and crispy bite of arancini. These golden risotto balls are lovingly made from scratch with toasted arborio rice, white wine and fresh basil. For an extra-special surprise, add a touch of fresh mozzarella or spicy sausage to the centre of each arancini ball.

Creamy Lobster Linguine

Creamy Lobster Linguine
Rich, buttery lobster gets even more indulgent in this gorgeous dish complete with bacon, shallots and a creamy garlic sauce. Basil, tarragon and a heaping handful of freshly grated Parmesan is enough to woo your lucky dinner guest.

Chai Chocolate Truffles

Chai Chocolate Truffles
Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without chocolate, and these rich, indulgent handmade truffles are just the answer. There’s only five ingredients in Giada’s scrumptious chai-flavoured truffle recipe, and your special someone won’t know that it took you less than 20 minutes to make them. For a truly romantic touch, present them in a heart-shaped box with a cappuccino to sip as you enjoy these delicate treats.

Looking for more romantic recipes? Try one of these 12 Romantic Recipes to Make at Home.

Watch Giada Entertains Sundays 12 pm E/T.

Chefs Share Their Most Memorable Valentine’s Day

Most chefs spend Valentine’s Day feeding other peoples’ flirtations, but our lovable stars have had their share of romance, too.

888_chefs-valentines-memories

From a morning with Parisian pastries to an evening that literally went up in flames, here are their favourite Valentine’s Days memories.

Anna-Olson-Chef-Head-01

Anna Olson’s Sweet Morning
“My most memorable Valentine’s Day was on a layover in Paris,” says the Bake with Anna Olson host. “My sweetie, Michael, and I had a romantic bistro dinner on Valentine’s Eve, but what I remember most was getting up incredibly early on February 14th to catch the patisseries just as they were opening. I loaded up on pastries of all sorts, to bring as carry-on. Happy and delicious memories all the way home!”

Devin Connell

Devin Connell’s Hot Night
“My most memorable Valentine’s Day moment was when my husband tried to make me steak frites and started a grease fire in our kitchen,” says the Chef in Your Ear star. “Thank goodness for fire extinguishers!”

Craig Harding

Craig Harding’s Engaging Dinner
“Since I’m always working on Valentine’s Day, I usually look for something exciting to happen at work,” says Chef in Your Ear’s Craig Harding. “The most memorable night was when we had three proposals all in the same seating. By the end of the night we were all drinking champagne, and to my knowledge the couples were all strangers before that night, and still maintain friendships to this day.”

Josh-Chef-Heads

Josh Elkin’s Burning Love
“I especially love creating holiday-specific recipes,” says the Sugar Showdown host. “A few years ago on Valentine’s Day, I created some bacon strip roses and assembled them in a nice ‘floral arrangement’ for a special someone. Upon presenting her with this delicious bouquet, I realized that there was still grease coming off the bacon petals, and I ended up burning her leg. The burn wasn’t too bad, but it certainly left a lasting (yet delicious) impression on her.”

141x141-Susur-Lee

Susur Lee’s Labour of Love
“Sadly, most of my Valentine’s memories are actually other people’s,” says Chopped Canada judge and Top Chef Masters star Susur Lee. “As you can imagine, Valentine’s Day is huge in the restaurant industry, and I have never had a Valentine’s Day off. I’ve seen proposals, rejections, people stood up… I’ve seen it all! But mainly I’ve seen a lot of people making an effort to do something special and make their own memories.”

Cory Vitiello

Cory Vitiello’s Casual Date Night
“I’ve spent every Valentine’s Day (and Mother’s Day and New Years Eve) of the last 15 years in the restaurant,” says Chef in Your Ear star Cory Vitiello. “A couple years ago at Harbord Room, we just blocked off a whole room and invited our closest friends for Valentine’s Day, and cooked them a menu at cost. We had a nice party among friends and it didn’t have to be this contrived date night.”

141x141-Michael-Smith

Michael Smith’s Double Date
“My most memorable Valentine’s Day memory was making heart-shaped pancakes for my two girls before school,” says the Chopped Canada  judge. “They were pretty impressed with Dad’s breakfast chops!”

The Notebook

‘The Notebook’ Inspired Romantic Movie Menu

Bourbon iced tea cocktails, popcorn rock shrimp and a restaurant-worthy crab dish are at the heart of this seafood-heavy Valentine’s Day menu inspired by the seaside town where Noah and Allie’s epic love story unfolds.

Set in the 1940’s this tear-jerker tells the life-long love story of lovers from two different worlds who meet one hot, sun-soaked summer.

The chemistry between Noah and Allie (played by Canadians Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) is what fuels this epic romance that has become one of the most heart-squeezing, tissue-drenching love stories of a generation.

Back Nine Cocktails

Bourbon Iced Tea
A few sips of these sweet tea and bourbon cocktails and you’ll be transported to hazy summer evenings spent watching the sun go down on a wrap-around porch.

Popcorn Rock Shrimp

Popcorn Rock Shrimp with Spicy Honey
Inspired by their first date at the movies, this playful popcorn shrimp appetizer combines the sweetness of honey with a dash of spicy chili flakes and smoked paprika to heat things up.

Beer Steamed Mussels
When Allie shows up after seven years at the big white plantation house that Noah built for her, they catch up over beers and steamed seafood. This sharable beer and mussel dish is infused with lime, chorizo, red pepper and garlic.

Crab Pasta

Fogo Island Crab & Kina Pappardelle with Preserved Lemon

Impress your date with this restaurant-worthy pappardelle pasta and crab dish that’s a nod to the fictional seaside town of Seabrook, South Carolina that serves as the backdrop to their story.

Crepe Cake

 

Maple Pecan Crêpe Cake

Upon meeting Allie for the first time, Noah’s father whips up a big batch of pancakes. Cap off your romantic meal with breakfast for dessert in the form of this elegant crepe cake drenched with pure maple syrup.

No-Cook Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake Hearts

These sweet, raw vegan cheesecakes are perfect for Valentine’s Day, and are a snap to make. A blender is the only required equipment for this recipe. Just blend, freeze and enjoy. Your family and friends won’t even realize that these rich, decadent delights are dairy-free and raw vegan! These desserts melt quickly, so store them in the freezer at all times and eat immediately.

raw-vegan-no-cook-dairy-free-chocolate-cheesecake-hearts.jpg

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups cashews (unsalted, unroasted)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup water

raw-vegan-no-cook-dairy-free-chocolate-cheesecake-hearts-laura-jane

Directions:

    1. Place all ingredients into your blender.
    2. Blend. Start slow and gently increase the speed. You may need to stop and start your blender a bit if your blender is getting hung up. If your blades won’t move, turn blender off, create an air pocket down the side with a knife, and then blend again starting on low. Keep blending until it’s very smooth, like a creamy chocolate fudge with no cashew chunks.
    3. Pour smooth mixture into a wide pan (or into silicone molds) and place in freezer.*
    4. Freeze until it reaches a firm, slice-able consistency (8 hours or so).
    5. Store in freezer at all times. To eat, just open the freezer, slice into desired shape and eat immediately.

*Heart-Shape Tips: If you don’t have heart-shaped silicone molds, this simple solution works well. Pour the mixture into a wide pan or glass dish. Smooth the mixture out using the back of a spoon — not too thick and about an inch or less deep. Freeze then slice into heart shapes. This recipe (when frozen for at least 8 hours) is super easy to cut into shapes.

Note: If your blender isn’t very powerful, consider soaking cashews in warm water for 1-2 hours before blending to soften them. After soaking, rinse clean and blend immediately.

100x100_laura-jane-rawtarian Laura-Jane The Rawtarian is a leading creator of simple, satisfying raw vegan recipes.

How to Make a Skillet Brookie

Many will declare that being single on Valentine’s Day is a terrible thing. For me, it’s the opposite: finding myself single on Valentine’s Day is something to be cherished. Think about it: Valentine’s Day comes with all kinds of pressure and expectations. People always ask “what are you doing for Valentine’s Day?” as though one absolutely must do something. Restaurants are packed and noisy, serving special menus to the masses.

I’d rather go without the clichés and all that forced romance. I welcome a night in to pamper myself. I bake myself something sweet and chocolaty to enjoy in front of the TV for a quiet, carefree evening.

This skillet “brookie” is the perfect dessert for one and combines two classic treats: a brownie and a cookie. Both the brownie and the cookie recipes make small amounts of dough so you can easily prepare them by hand. No special equipment needed. And if you don’t have a small skillet, you can always use a small cake pan or baking dish. This recipe calls for one egg total, split between the brownie and the cookie. Here’s how to measure out half an egg: crack it into a small bowl and whisk thoroughly so that you can divvy it up between the two recipes (half an egg corresponds to about 1 1/2 tablespoons).

Skillet Brookie For One

Brookie for V-day

Serving size: 1
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Brownie Ingredients:
1 oz (28 grams) good quality semi-sweet dark chocolate (I like to use the “Mi-Amère” chocolate from Cacao Barry)
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 large egg
1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (15 grams) light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (18 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (12 grams) cocoa powder
pinch of salt

Cookie Ingredients:
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (28 grams) light brown sugar
1/2 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons (45 grams) all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips

How to make a V-Day brookie

Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 17 cm (~6.5-inch) cast iron skillet or cake pan.
    2. Prepare the brownie batter by melting the dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl at 50 percent power (about 2 minutes), stirring ever minute or so. Add the butter, and microwave again for an additional minute at 50 percent power or until the butter is melted. Stir well, then let cool before adding the egg, sugars, and vanilla. Add the flour to the bowl and sift in the cocoa powder to remove any lumps. Stir everything together with the salt. Set aside.
    3. Prepare the cookie dough by stirring together the butter and the sugars until they are well mixed. Add in the egg and the vanilla, and mix well again. Dump in the flour, baking soda, and salt, and stir until the dough comes together. Mix in the chocolate chips.
    4. Place a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter in the centre of the prepared skillet and spoon the cookie batter inside the heart. Carefully lift up the cookie cutter to remove it, leaving behind the heart-shaped cookie. Spoon the brownie batter into the pan, smoothing it around the cookie heart.
      Bake the brookie 10 minutes then remove the pan from the oven and fix the cookie heart using the back of a knife to smudge it back into a heart shape. Put the pan back in the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until set.

Optional: Serve with really good vanilla ice cream.

Janice Lawandi Janice Lawandi is a PhD-chemist-turned-baker with a serious sweet tooth, working as a recipe developer and food stylist in Montreal, Quebec. To learn more about Janice, visit her blog Kitchen Heals Soul.

Vegan Scallops with Spaghetti, Crispy Kale and Pomegranates

It’s definitely a romantic move to cook your lover dinner on Valentine’s Day. But ain’t nobody got time for meat and dairy on this occasion, especially if you still want to have enough room for dessert! So open up your minds and hearts this holiday and cook a vegan meal together. You’ll be left feeling satisfied but not stuffed with this light and flavourful pasta dish.

veganscallops_hotforfoodblog_7

Vegan Scallops with Spaghetti, Crispy Kale and Pomegranates 

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 2, generously

Ingredients:

6 oyster mushrooms
3 cups hot water
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 package brown rice spaghetti (approximately 340 grams – we recommend tinkyada organic brown rice spaghetti)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/8 cup finely chopped shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup finely chopped leek
1 cup white wine
1 cup pasta water (reserved from cooked noodles)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried chilli peppers
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups roughly chopped lacinato kale (stems removed)
1/8 cup pomegranate jewels

veganscallops_hotforfoodblog_filtered3

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and start boiling your pasta water with 1 teaspoon sea salt.
  2. Trim the tops and woody bottoms of the oyster mushrooms, leaving the solid part of the stems. Cut the stems into medallions about 1-inch thick. You can cook the tops of the oyster mushrooms too (they just don’t look like scallops) or use them in another recipe. You should have about 14 medallions.
  3. In a bowl combine 3 cups of hot water with 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar and submerge the mushroom scallops in the mixture for 30 minutes at room temperature. Place a small bowl or plate bowl that fits within the main bowl on top of the mushrooms to ensure the mushrooms are submerged and not floating.
  4. While the mushrooms are marinating toss roughly chopped lacinato kale with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice. Bake for 12-14 minutes until crispy, but still green. Once baked turn the oven off and set the kale aside until you’re ready to assemble the whole dish.
  5. Cook your pasta until al dente and reserve 1 cup of the water for creating the sauce.  Drain the pasta (do not rinse it) and leave it to sit in a colander until the scallops and sauce are done.
  6. Heat a large pan to medium with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Place the mushroom medallions in the pan and brown on one side for 3-4 minutes. Flip the medallions and season with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Brown on the other side for 3-4 minutes.  Remove the scallops from the pan and place on an oven safe plate/dish and place them in the oven to stay warm while you complete the sauce.
  7. Turn the heat under this pan down to medium-low if it’s become quite hot from cooking the scallops. Immediately add another 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/8 cup finely chopped shallot, 1 minced garlic clove, and 1 cup of finely chopped leek. Sauté this for 2-3 minutes until fragrant, stirring frequently being sure not to burn the garlic and shallot.
  8. Then mix in oregano, basil, and chilli peppers, cooking for another 1-2 minutes.
  9. Add in white wine and pasta water. Bring the heat back up to medium (if you need to) to simmer, stirring frequently for 10-12 minutes as the sauce reduces. Add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper near the end.
  10. Reduce the heat to low and toss the cooked spaghetti noodles in the sauce for 1-2 minutes until evenly coated and most of the sauce is absorbed.
  11. Transfer the pasta to serving dishes and top with crispy kale, scallops, and pomegranates. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if desired.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.