I don’t ever ask for flowers, or boxed chocolates, or even reservations at a fancy restaraunt. Flowers wilt and die. Boxed chocolates taste like chalk. And even the not-so-fancy restaraunts had a TWO AND A HALF HOUR WAIT last night. No thanks.
All I ask is some down time with the guy I love and a plateful of good food. And that is precisely what we did for V-Day: popped in a chick flick we actually both enjoy (neither of us like chick-flicks much – I find them waaaay too predictable/cheesy/fill in the blank, and the Husband, well…he’s a guy. But we have a couple exceptions.) and takeout from an AWESOME little Italian bistro down the street from us – Baci’s. (This is the place with the two and a half hour wait to actually eat in, yo.) We had to wait only 45 minutes after we called in for his calzone and my fettuccini alfredo – which also comes with a crusty, chewy mini-loaf of bread, salad, and marinara sauce. For about twenty bucks. Oh yeah, I am an awesome cheap date.
While we waited, we got kiddos ready for bed, and then exchanged little gifts “tochother”(a direct quote from my 3 year old linguist – it is a combination of “with each other” and “for each other” – whichever way he needs to use it at the time…). I suggested making this a literary Valentine’s – aka: “an excuse to buy more books!”, so……
for our little Sunshine Girl, we added to her beloved Sandra Boynton collection, and for the Boy, I discovered a DH cookbook for kids: Cool Kids Cook. He has been expressing more interest in helping me in the kitchen, and of COURSE you know I am all over that. (Will keep you posted on our adventures there.) For the Husband, I found a trio of political-type books that for some crazy reason, he finds enjoyment in – you know, watergate scandals, presidential facts, trivia or history, the works.
And for me? How did he do?
weak in the knees.
All he has to do is bring home something like this, and I am all his. Thanks, love. You rock. You would still rock if I ended up with a box of chocolates, or even nothing. But this is awesome, too. 🙂
Of course, I immediately made my way to the chocolate section of my new book and found that I had all the right stuff to make a little sweet for my sweetie THAT VERY MINUTE. We could have settled for the myriad of valentine candies sitting around, or the cookies my boy and I made two days ago – but this, this was going to take the cake, and I knew I had to make it. No really – it’s a cake.
Here is a step by step recipe for simple bliss in a pan, al a donna hay:
Be sad that you have a crappy cake pan and that all the juices are running off…
Rejoice that it turned out anyway and take a lame night-time picture because you are so excited:
Bat your eyelashes at your Husband and maybe give him a kiss or two in thanks. Hey, wait a minute… YOU made the cake…make HIM do all the thanking! Sheesh. What kind of twisted fairy-tale IS THIS, anyway?
NOTE: In my excitement to make this, I began the recipe before realizing that I only had half the amount of brown sugar called for. I completed the measurement with granulated sugar and the result was a more toffee-like syrup. I may just keep making it that way after all!
2 ounces butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
4 small pears, peeled, quartered and cored. (Another note:I used 4 seckel pears, which are really tiny, and I wish there had been more. Next time, I would use at least eight, or stick with a larger pear. The seckel really adds a nice texture, however – they tend to be more grainy and super-sweet, and that contrasts nicely to the simple cake. )
6 ounces butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
round 1/3 cup cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit (180 C).
Place butter, sugars and water in a skillet over medium heat and stir until butter is melted. Add the pears, cut-side down and simmer for 2 minutes.
Line sides and bottom of a 9 inch cake pan with parchment. Place pears cut-side down in cake pan and pour pan juices over top. Set aside.
For the cake:
Place butter and sugars in stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa and mix gently until incorporated.
(Yet another note:This mixture will be THICK. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. When Donna Hay instructs you to spoon a cake mixture, she means get a trowel.)
“Spoon” cake mixture over the pears in the cake pan. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.
Cool in the pan five minutes. Invert onto a serving platter and try not to eat the whole thing yourself. I had a little whipped cream in the fridge, so we enjoyed our slices with some cream and a drizzle of yesterday’s cinnamon cream syrup. Seriously, I have an addiction problem with this syrup. Somebody help meeeee. My precious…