Monday, February 13, 2012

The Perfect Meal for Valentines' Day

Good morning, and welcome to Tasty Tuesday...on Monday! I really wanted to share these recipes today, just in case you hadn't made plans for Valentine's Day and were still looking for the perfect meal.
Now I'm not the one who says this is a perfect meal. My hubby does. And that, my friends, means a lot. My dear husband knows what he likes and doesn't like. He is a foodie. And he heartily approves of this meal.
Not convinced? It originated with dear Pioneer Woman. And if that's not enough to convince you, I don't know what is!
First up.....

Comfort Meatballs
FOR MEATBALLS
1-1/2 pound Ground Beef
3/4 cups Oats
1 cup Milk
3 Tablespoons Very Finely Minced Onion
1-1/2 teaspoon Salt
Plenty Of Ground Black Pepper, to taste
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FOR COOKING MEATBALLS
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
Canola/Vegetable Oil
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FOR SAUCE
1 cup Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Tablespoons Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
4 Tablespoons (to 6 Tablespoons) Onion
1 dash Tabasco

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into medium-small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place sheet in freezer for five minutes. After 5 minutes, remove meatballs from freezer and immediately dredge in unseasoned flour. Brown meatballs in oil until just brown. Place into a baking dish. Combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Since these are more like meatloaf meatballs than Italian meatballs, I serve them with mashed potatoes {boil your potatoes, then use a potato masher (not a mixer!) to mash them with salt, pepper, WHOLE milk and plenty of butter}, and his favorite vegetable of the moment. Just happens to be these.



With Valentine's Dinner, you must have a dessert. If you've got the time and the ingredients, this one is incredible. Don't be put off by the strange ingredient....it makes the most incredible, moist cake you've ever had. Plus, no artificial food coloring necessary. I like that! With much thanks to Joy.

Chocolate Beet Cake with Beet Cream Cheese Frosting

For the Cake:
2 medium beets, unpeeled but trimmed of their greens
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pans
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

For the Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces (1 brick) cream cheese, softened
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons finely grated beets, mashed with a fork
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or scrapings of one vanilla bean pod
1-2 teaspoons milk, depending on desired consistency
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt

Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Thoroughly wash beets under running water, and trim their leaves, leaving about 1/2 inch of stem. Place clean beets in a piece of foil. Drizzle with just a bit of vegetable oil. Seal up foil. Place on a baking sheet in the oven. Roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.
Remove the beets from the oven. Open the foil and allow beets to cool completely. Beets will be easy to peel (just using a paring knife) once completely cooled.
Using a box grater, grate the peeled beets on the finest grating plane. Measure 3/4 cup of grated beets for the cake and 2 tablespoons for the frosting. Set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Use butter to grease two 8 or 9-inch round baking pans. Trace a piece of parchment paper so it is the same size as the bottom of the cake pan. Cut it out and place inside the cake pan. Butter the parchment paper. Add a dusting of flour to coat the pan. Set pans aside while you prepare the cake.

Cream together butter and sugars. Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, for one minute after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Once eggs are incorporated, beat in beets and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture. Beating on low speed , slowly add the buttermilk. Once just incorporated, add the other half of the dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed until milk and dry ingredients are just incorporated. Try not to overmix the batter. Mixture can be folded with a spatula to finish incorporating ingredients. Cake batter will be on the thick side… not pourable.

Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes (for a 9-inch pan) or 30-32 minutes (for an 8-inch pan). Cake is done when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cakes from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting and assembling the cake.

To make the Frosting:
Beat cream cheese for 30 seconds, until pliable and smooth. Add the butter and beat for another 30 seconds, until well combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl as necessary. Beat in the beets. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, milk, lemon juice, and salt. Beat on medium speed until smooth and silky. Refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes before frosting the cooled cakes.

To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a cake stand or cake plate. Top with a generous amount of pink frosting. Spread evenly. Place the other cake on top of the frosting. Top with frosting. Work frosting onto the sides of the cake. You will have extra frosting left over. Refrigerate for an hour before serving (it will make the cake easier to slice). Cake will last, well wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days
You can, of course, make this into cupcakes or mini-cupcakes if you so wish. Just make sure to reduce your baking time!


They say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. So cook well, my friends! Make your hubby happy this Valentine's Day!

2 comments:

Jen said...

I love the pioneer woman! I've tried this recipe before. Yum! But as for beets in a cake, that's a new one! Here in Australia they put beets on their burgers.

Joni said...

Hi!
Your cake sounds hard to beet! (Beat!) LOL!
Thanks!