Happy Valentine’s Day!

Remember that beef stew I talked about making two weeks ago in my new cast iron dutch oven? Yeah, we ate it all before I could photograph. It was darn good. Needless to say, I’ll be making it again soon, tweaking the recipe a bit and, of course, sharing it with all of you lovely people.

As for this amorous evening, I’m (well, “we are”) staying in. Why spend the money on dining out when you can whip up a heartfelt, gourmet meal at home? On the menu: Mexican-style braised beef short ribs over cheddar polenta and some sort of tasty green bean dish for a side (fresh ones, of course). As for dessert, I cheated and bought it from a secret supplier with the initials C.F. 😉

Here are some more fun and delicious-looking recipes and articles that have caught my eye this past week; both from the site I run and from some pretty sweet-looking foodie blogs.

Liquid love: Valentine’s Day cocktails to enhance your amorous efforts – Since tequila happens to be my aqua vitae of choice, here are some fabulous cocktail recipes with tequila as the star ingredient to enhance your amorous efforts — or drown your singleton sorrows in.

My Blue Valentine: The god of love’s role in the discovery of blue cheese – Did you know that the mischievous Ancient Roman deity, Cupid, is legend to be the reason we have blue cheese? Blame it on him and a couple of horny shepherds.

Score some points on Valentine’s Day with this strawberry “tiramisu” trifle – This Hallmark holiday is a great excuse to indulge your sweet tooth, and with this easy and elegant recipe you’ll be able to impress your special guest(s) with a swanky-looking final course that you spent practically no time preparing.

Top Chef Podcast – All-Stars Ep. 9: Funny business – Whether you watch the show or not, our review of it is top notch snark and an all-around good time. Listen to us (attempt to) recap this episode and the hilarity that ensues.
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Here are some more fun and delicious-looking recipes I’ve found in the foodie blogosphere that caught my eye recently. Plus, they’re on some pretty sweet-looking foodie blogs that are worth visiting.

Stuff I’d like to make:

Apple-Infused Vodka (Boulder Locavore) – I’ve made fruit infused vodka — which is easy-peasy — and this apple vodka recipe looks fab. I’m going to use Galas because they’re the most perfect pommes.

Brie & Brisket Quesadillas with Mango Barbecue Sauce (Confections of a Foodie Bride) – I love every single element of this dish. Plus, I can put my slow cooker to work for this one (my new fave kitchen appliance).

Caramelized Onion Cornbread (Sweet Potato Soul) – Ooh, I never thought about putting caramelized onions in my cornbread! This would also go great with the above recipe.

Chocolate French Toast (La Mia Vita Dolce) – If you don’t like French toast and chocolate, there’s something wrong with you. (Unless you’re allergic to chocolate or wheat, then you have my pity.)

Maple-Bacon Kettle Corn (Brown Eyed Baker) – Um, hello? Bacon. And maple syrup. Together for one night only. ‘Nuff said.

The Nikki Heat Cocktail (The Pegu Blog) – I love a bit of heat in my cocktails (well, in pretty much everything) and this one looks pretty good.

Pork and Tomatillo Stew (Smells Like Home) – Because I love me some Mexican and Tex-Mex fare, this is right up my alley. I think this might be the first recipe I make in my new cast iron dutch oven!

The Retox Cocktail (Saveur) – Bourbon, maple syrup, bitters, lemon juice and cayenne. “An alcoholic version of the Master Cleanse diet.” Awesome.

Roasted Winter Squash with Cranberries, Pepitas and Honey-Lime Vinaigrette (The Perfect Pantry) – Colorful, simple and just plain delicious-looking.

Veggie and Parmesan Cake (WordFlux) – I have another confession to make: I love vegetables. And this colorful, savory cake has lots of them. It’d also be a good way to get some veggies in your kids (or your veggie-hating pals).