Rosie’s recipes: A Valentine’s Day dinner for two

By on February 12, 2015

valI’m putting together a nice dinner for two for Valentine’s Day.

For this celebratory occasion, I’m starting off with the bubbly — a nice bottle of champagne to kick off the festivities. Up next is a platter of oysters on the half shell prepared two ways .

I have the perfect dessert to complete my Valentine dinner trifecta — a deliciously decadent flourless chocolate cake, which, ironically, is named after the only ingredient not in it and technically isn’t really a cake.

For me, nothing pairs better with oysters than champagne. It’s a guilty pleasure, but I love the brininess of the oyster and the “tasting of stars.” Once again, one has experienced what I call culinary synergy, where the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Hmmm . . . Champagne. Chocolate-covered strawberries. Oysters on the halfshell. Dark chocolate confection. Am I sensing a theme here?

I love oysters on the half shell – any which way and loose.

val3Rosie’s Fiesta Oysters
12 oysters, shucked, on the half shell
Mr. Hawthorne’s homemade Salsa Ranchera or your favorite homemade or jarred salsa
Queso cheese with jalapeno, crumbled
Crumbled tortilla chips
½ stick unsalted butter, melted
A few drops of Texas Pete

Place about a teaspoon of salsa on each oyster, then sprinkle on some queso, and top with crushed chips. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of melted butter over each oyster, dribble some Texas Pete on top, and place under a 450° broiler for 3 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the liquid is bubbling.

Oysters Hawthorne
12 oysters, shucked, on the half shell
1 TB unsalted butter
½ cup chopped onions
1 TB unsalted butter
4 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
¼ cup water
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup ricotta
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated
Panko breadcrumbs
½ stick unsalted butter, melted
Fresh nutmeg, microplaned

val4In a medium skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter. Add in chopped onions and cook over medium heat about a minute. Add in the second tablespoon of butter, melt, then add in the spinach. Cook stirring, about a minute, then pour in the water and cook until spinach is wilted and water is evaporated. Stir in cream and ricotta and heat through. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Spoon spinach mixture on each oyster, then grate Parmesan cheese, sprinkle Panko breadcrumbs, and grate a hint of nutmeg over top. Spoon melted butter over the oysters and place under a 450° broiler for 3 minutes, until bubbly and nicely browned.

After champagne and oysters, something intensely chocolate would crown this meal quite nicely. I can’t think of another dessert that is named after a missing ingredient — the flour. And calling this a “cake” is a misnomer, since cake is defined as a “sweet food made from a mixture of flour, shortening, eggs, sugar, and other ingredients . . .”

This dessert has no dry ingredients, and the result is dense, smooth, and fudgy. The texture is nothing like a cake, so I think I’ll change the name of the dessert to “Flourless Chocolate Non-Cake.”

A raspberry purée elegantly accompanies this chocolate confection.

val5Flourless Chocolate Non-Cake
4 eggs
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
4 oz. sweet chocolate
1 stick butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 TB strong brewed coffee
Powdered sugar, if desired

Heat oven to 325°. Butter a 7-inch springform pan, line with parchment paper, and butter sides. Wrap outside of pan with heavy foil. Set in a roasting pan and put on a kettle of water to boil.

Using a stand mixer with whisk, whip eggs on medium speed until doubled in volume, 5 or so minutes.

Melt chocolate and butter with coffee in a double boiler, stirring a few times until smooth. Using large spatula, fold ⅓ of egg foam into chocolate mixture until only a few streaks of egg are visible. Fold in remaining egg in two additions until mixture is uniform.

Pour batter into prepared springform pan, set roasting pan on oven rack, and pour boiling water halfway up the sides of the pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes, until edges are beginning to set and a slight crust has formed. Remove pan from water bath and cool completely on wire rack. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate over night.

Run a thin knife between cake and sides of pan and remove sides. Invert cake and remove parchment, then turn cake right side up on serving platter. Sift powdered sugar over top.

Next, I’m making a raspberry purée, an ideal accompaniment to this chocolate dessert.

Raspberry Purée
2 cups raspberries
3 TB sugar
2 TB water
Pinch salt
2 tsp lemon juice
Combine raspberries, sugar, and water in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, 3-4 minutes. Process in blender until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing to extract as much purée as possible.
Stir in lemon juice and salt and taste-test. Depending on the ripeness of your berries you might want to add more sugar.
Spoon purée onto plate and place a slice of the chocolate cake in the pool of purée. Spoon raspberries over top. If desired decorate with silver dragées and sprinkles.

Bon Appétit and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Please visit with Rosie at for recipes, Hawthorne meals, travelogues, and fun. If you’re ever looking for a recipe, try the search feature on KaMB. I’ve probably already made it.


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


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