Welcome readers…Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Take your loved one by the hand, and enjoy this day of “Love.” Here are some interesting facts about this day; Valentine greetings were very popular as far back in history as the Middle Ages. Written Valentine greetings did not appear until after the 1400s. The oldest known Valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London and wrote a poem for his wife. It is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a Valentine note to Catherine of Valois. By the middle of the 18th century, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange a small token of affection or handwritten notes. In the 1900s printed cards replaced hand written notes due to the progress in printing technology.
|Esther A. Howland|
The religious side of Saint Valentine started back on February 14, 269 A.D. History dictates that Saint Valentine was killed for his faith on this day. He had refused to worship pagan gods. Some stories say he was a priest who would marry young couples who loved each other, in secret, but did not have parental permission. In the year 496, his “Saint Day” was established. He is associated with “Love” because he fell in love with the daughter of his jailer, and would pass love notes to her. His final note before he was executed, read “from your Valentine.”
In Italy, Valentine’s Day is greeted by a feeling of energy, spirit, and romance throughout the country. Showering of gifts such as; the sweet scent of flowers, sparkling diamonds, mouth watering chocolates, and expressed words of love are believed to be the best way to communicate your feelings. Italian stores get decorated several days ahead of February 14th and prepare filling their shops with a variety of chocolates and candies. A delicious treat is called Baci, by Perugina, (Baci an Italian word for kisses) which is a small decadent chocolate, enclosed with a hazelnut filling. In its wrappings a loving lyrical quote is expressed in four languages. Another wonderful idea to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to organize a candlelight dinner, with music, and wine overlooking the Italian country side.
If you can’t get to Italy this time, you can fill your home with romance and love. A day where indulgence and passion is in the air. You may receive flowers, chocolates in a heart shaped box, or gifts to express your feeling towards that special someone, like jewelry. Some find romance on this day when couples become engaged. My dad proposed to my mom on Valentines Day in 1949 and they married in 1951. This year it will be “63” years of blissful marriage for them. My parents told me the story on how they got engaged. Picture it…….Chinatown, New York City in a Chinese restaurant, on Valentines Day. My mom and dad had a favorite Chinese restaurant that was located upstairs from a store. They would frequently meet each other after work. This was the day that my dad was going to surprise my mom with “the ring.” He tried to be ingenious and he put the ring in my mom’s tea cup when she went to the powder room. Just before he poured the tea, my mom said, “What is in this cup?” And low and behold she saw the ring and that is how it all began. So the moral of the story is always look in the cup before you have some tea!
|Mom and Dad Wedding 1951|
My recipe this week is a simply light and heavenly pastry. Profiterole or cream puffs are usually filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, or ice cream; custard can also be substituted as a filling. The puffs may be decorated, left plain, or garnished with chocolate sauce, caramel, or even a dusting of powdered sugar. No matter what you call them, they are a decadent and what a way to celebrate your Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart. My “Cream Puff” recipe is a favorite among my family. So enjoy with your favorite person and have a “Happy Valentine’s Day“!!!! Baci e amore!
“Chocolate Drizzled Cream Puffs”
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of butter (no substitutes)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sugar
3 cups of whipped cream (cool whip or homemade)
Place butter in a medium saucepan. Add water and salt. Bring to boiling, stirring till butter melts. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir till mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes. Once cooled, add eggs, one at a time, to flour mixture, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition for about 1 minute, or till smooth.
Scoop up some dough with a tablespoon. Use another spoon to push off the dough in a mound onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Leave 3 inches between the puffs for expansion. Bake in a pre-heated 400 F. degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove puffs from pan, and cool on a rack. Slice off the tops (or cut in half). With a fork, gently scrape out any soft, moist dough. Work carefully so that you don’t puncture the crust. After they are filled, you can drizzle melted chocolate on top as well. Yield: about 15 or more servings, depending how big you make them.
Till Next Time………………..
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