I have a chocolate crush. I'm rolling in the deep with it. It's even a touch embarrassing — like the times when I'm the only person at the table who orders dessert. Oh, but St. Valentine's day. That's a day I can indulge in without judgement. A day I can fill with chocolate, a day I can plan an all-chocolate dinner meal. And it's not as sweet as you may think.
Last year my wife and I decided to have our Valentine's meal at home. Less maintenance, more intimate, and complete creative control — and no $70 per plate minimums. But, what would we want to eat for Valentine's Day?
"Chocolate," I immediately answer. The word "taco" is another popular choice my mind likes to throw out when I'm pondering what to eat, so naturally the next thing it thought of was something pretty close. "How about something like Chicken Enchiladas?" Hmmm, now that's reasonable. "With chocolate." Wait a minute, maybe I'm onto something.
Then it struck me: who says chocolate is only for dessert? Why not have a whole meal centered around the the very thing Valentine's Day is often associated with? Why not throw in some spice and savory notes? Why not turn the day into a celebration of our other true love? Why not make it all about chocolate?
That day last year we ended up with chocolate chicken mole enchiladas, mexican rice with cocoa nibs, and a mini chocolate bundt cake topped with ganache on our plates — all enjoyed with a bottle of red wine. It was decadent and delicious, and just the kind of thing I don't mind making an annual habit of.
Here are some ideas to make your own chocolate celebration.
• Spinach Pear Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette - Taste of Home
• Homemade Chicken Mole Enchiladas - Cooking with Hoover
• Cowboy Rubbed Ribeye with Chocolate Stout Pan Sauce - Food52 (pictured above)
• Black Bean Chili with Chocolate and Coconut - Gimme Some Oven
• Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding - Joy the Baker
Recipe: Salted Dark Chocolate Popcorn
(Images: James Ransom for Food52)