Traditions: Dinner, Napoleons & Falling Asleep Watching Food Network

Biscuit and I have spent Valentine’s Day together for the past four years. It started by accident, just our group of girls having dinner at the caf, but, by last year, it was an official event exclusive to us two. We switch off dinner and dessert duties; this year Bisc made dessert, chocolate Napoleons, and I made dinner, whole wheat pasta with Bruno’s Pesto, the Best in the World. Whether sundried tomato, pecan, or original, it’s undeniably addictive and perfectly balanced. (http://www.brunoravioli.com/ or available directly through the Puliattes if you call and ask very nicely). V-day 2010:

The scene: Chez Huit-Trente, freshly vacuumed, dusted, and disinfected.

The sound: Pandora, station “Summertime” by Will Smith, which plays a greatest hits of early 90’s rock and hip hop.

The sight: Biscuit and L, in all our disguised sicky-sick glory.

Accessories: Teacups, cellphones, and tissues.

The conversation: Sparkling, obviously.

Biscuit’s Napoleons were an elemental combination of puff pastry and chocolate-cinnamon whipped cream that reminded me of Francois’s chewy chocolate-cinnamon Reine de Saba cake. (He shared the recipe with Oprah: http://www.oprah.com/food/Pecan-Reine-de-Saba) After discovering that light cream cannot be whipped, she made a second attempt with heavy cream, and the results were exceptional, with just a cup of heavy cream, ¾ c. semisweet chips, and a dash of cinnamon. (Recipe: http://www.puffpastry.com/recipedetail.aspx?recipeID=23967&rc=-1) Light, fluffy, substantial, and inclined to make one nostalgic for those days when she used to argue with Francois about whether he really needed to use so much butter—it was the perfect dessert to linger over on a Sunday dinner, as the conversation flitted and glittered like the dancing aroma of the baking puff pastry in the air. Prost, Biscuit, to many more!

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