Cooking with chocolate for Valentine’s Day

Well, here I am, a single girl on Valentine’s Day. Am I bothered by this fact? Not a bit. Being single is awesome when you’re in a relationship with your kitchen; your heart only becomes broken when you run out of your favorite extra virgin olive oil from Ravece Rotondela, Italy.

To be truthful, I haven’t always loved Valentine’s Day. In my tweens, I snidely referred to it as Single Awareness Day. Black — not any permutation of pink or red — was my color choice when dressing for the day. Thankfully, I’ve matured. These days, even though I’m still single, I embrace Feb. 14 with a vengeance. I give valentines to my friends, play passionate music, watch cheesy chick flicks and make a really good (some might call it romantic) dinner, like lamb-stuffed bell peppers with bacon-baked orzo and a nice glass of wine.

Valentine’s Day is finally upon us and, whether you’ve been dreading today or have some swanky plans for tonight, all must face the fact that love is in the air. That love doesn’t have to be turned toward a significant other; it can be used on anything that you care about, and for the sake of this column and in my case, that’s food.

To me, Valentine’s Day means so much more than being in a relationship; Valentine’s Day is specifically tailored to show your love.

Nothing says romance like chocolate on Valentine’s Day and it is usually the main course to any Valentine’s get-together. If you’re not going out this Valentine’s Day and want to spend some time at home with that special someone, here are some easy, delicious and chocolatey dinner ideas that you can cook together.

Appetizer Lover’s Salad with Chocolate Vinaigrette, by Sandra Lee, Semi-Homemade

Your romantic evening at home should be light and flavorful. Salads, bread rolls and bite-sized dishes always are a great option and, because it is Valentine’s Day, infusing some chocolate into the mix is a fun and creative way to sweeten up the evening. This Lover’s Salad with chocolate vinaigrette is easy to make and affordable on a college budget. Enjoy with slices of a fresh French baguette with olive oil and vinegar.

Main CourseMole Poblano Tacos, by Pati’s Mexican Table

Mole is a Mexican chocolate-based sauce that is eaten with chicken and is served on a warm tortilla as a taco or as a single plate with sides such as fried plantains, rice and beans. Mole is a savory dish that certainly should not be missed. And if you don’t have time to make the sauce from scratch, cans of the sauce are found in local grocery stores. Pati of Pati’s Mexican Table has a recipe for Mole Poblano, made with a poblano chile ground in a molcajete (Mexican stone grinder) and blended carefully into the dark chocolate.

DessertChocolate Bacon Cupcakes with Maple Bacon Frosting, by The Novice Chef Blog

Ending dinner with a chocolatey dessert that also has bacon is a must. One simply cannot go wrong with that deadly combination – this dessert is definitely the cherry on top to your evening of sweet and savory chocolate bliss. The Novice Chef not only acknowledges the importance of bacon, but complements it with maple syrup, making for a mouthwatering chocolate-bacon experience. I do warn that you eat these with caution because they have a lot of potential to be very addicting and these are in no way good for your health, but hey, you need a day to splurge, right?

If you’re single, you better have something fabulous planned for yourself – ladies, a chick flick, some sweet champagne and strawberries are a nice way to spend your evening, even if it is a girls’ night in. If you’re in a relationship, I hope you planned accordingly, because Valentine’s Day has to be one of the busiest nights for restaurants in any major city.


Alegra Hueso is a sophomore majoring in creative writing.  Her column “In Love With the Edible” runs on Wednesdays in print and Fridays online.