I often wonder what would happen if I could pursue all of the ideas and dreams that churned within my brain. I might be a Nobel prize winner, best-selling author, philanthropist, olympic athlete, or a beauty queen by now. I would definitely be a better girlfriend, daughter, sister, and friend. I would listen harder, talk less, and love more. I would do all of these things, if only...
If only I had more time or motivation... but instead I sleep too much, miss important deadlines, and suck at most forms of modern communication. If I had a dollar for every birthday card I meant to send, missed call I forgot to return, or mile I hoped to run, I'd be very, very rich.
It's not that I don't mean well, because I do. I really do. It's just that sometimes — most of the time — it's easier said than done. Easier to avoid the problem. Easier to break the commitment. Easier to quit the race.
But not today. Not on Valentine's Day. It may be the most overrated holiday of the year, but it can also be a chance to do what you want and say what you feel. So why not think of it is an opportunity to keep the promise, or go the extra distance? Today is the perfect day to write that long-overdue thank you note or call a long lost friend. Because if not on Valentine's Day, then when?
As for me? I will be setting my alarm clock early, emailing my mom, dad, sisters, and friends, and finally giving my fiancé the card I bought for last year's anniversary (and forgot to give). As for that peace prize... I guess we'll have to see.
Bananas Foster CrêpesServes 2 (two crepes per person, with extra crepes leftover)
I couldn't wait to make this recipe as a Valentine's Day surprise for my Valentine. Crêpes are my fiancé's favorite weekend treat, and he loves to make bananas foster whenever we have extra bananas hanging around. (Which is often.) You can't imagine the look on his face when I served him this combination for breakfast!
For the crêpes:
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 cup whole or 2% milk
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Unsalted butter for the pan
For the filling:
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup dark rum, such as Meyer's
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)
To make the crêpes, combine the flour, eggs, milk, water, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a blender and process until the batter is smooth and slightly foamy, about 10-15 seconds. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into another bowl and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, or preferably overnight. Gently whisk the batter to recombine before using.
Lightly coat a medium (8- to 10-inch) nonstick skillet or crêpe pan with unsalted butter and set over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, pour 1/4 cup of batter into the skillet. Swirl the pan to evenly coat the bottom and sides, continuing to rotate until the batter is no longer running. Set the pan back on the stovetop and cook until the bottom of the crepe is light golden brown, about one minute. Using a silicone spatula, flip the crepe and continue to cook until done, about 15-30 seconds more. Continue with the remaining batter, brushing the pan with additional butter if necessary. Hold the crêpes in a warm oven while making the filling.
To make the filling, in a medium (8- to 10-inch) sauté pan, melt the brown sugar and butter over medium heat until completely combined. Add the bananas and cinnamon. Cook until then bananas have softened, flipping occasionally, about 1-2 minutes. Pour in the rum and vanilla. Carefully ignite the filling with a long match or lighter and leave undisturbed until the flame dies out. Gently stir the sauce and remove from the heat.
Heap a spoonful of banana filling in the middle of a crêpe. Fold the crêpe in half, then fold in half again. Continue with three more crêpes. Drizzle crêpes with remaining sauce. If serving as dessert, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)