Better Late Than Never

So herewith the tardy Valentine’s dinner: I tried to combine decadent pleasure with some of the things already in the fridge to make good use of some of the nicer leftovers. The first course was kind of a riff on peanut butter and jelly; seared foie gras trimmed into heart shapes on raisin toast with homemade grape jelly and some of the peanut soup underneath, garnished with Indonesian long pepper. We had a glass of 1989 Moulin Touchais Coteaux du Layon, which was more or less a perfect match; it’s not dessert-sweet, but sweet and bracingly acid (20% of the grapes are picked underripe, the rest, almost over) so it’s ideal for this kind of sweet/savory combination. It will also keep just fine in the fridge until tomorrow.

Next up were roasted pheasants on the sunchoke purée, with pheasant sausage and a cinnamon-blood orange gravy. I made the gravy in the pan that the foie and sausage both cooked in, and used a broth made from the pheasant giblets. For this we opened a 1990 Barolo by Marchesi di Barolo, which is still tannnic and not showing much fruit. 1990s are killing right now, so it’s either in a dumb phase (unlikely) or just not that good (more likely.) It’s a shame, because their 1990 Cannubi is sublime.

Then, another sumptuous salad, and last, Christine’s (and now Milo’s) favorite dessert: the warm chocolate torte with the molten center. Easy to make, and pretty unbeatably wonderful, even by itself- since I forgot to make the kumquat marmalade to go with it. So just imagine it with nice tangy orange curls on the side, and maybe a heart of powdered sugar on top. Even without them, it didn’t suck.

5 comments to Better Late Than Never

  • Zoomie

    Big Wow! That whole dinner sounds amazing! I’m sure your valentine was thrilled!

  • peter

    She was happy. So was the boy; the dessert was a world-rocker for him.

  • Zoomie

    Don’t you love it when children are opened up to a new, wonderful experience? Their reactions are so terrific!

  • peter

    Especially when there’s chocolate involved.

  • Zoomie

    Yes! I have a little niece who, when having her first-ever Easter egg hunt, opened two holding a jelly bean each,which she ate, then found one with a chocolate kiss in it. After that, she went around opening all the eggs she found, dropping the jelly bean ones and moving on to find more of the chocolate ones! Age 2 or 3!

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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