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For The Love Of Chocolate, Brussel Sprouts And Oysters

Four recipes for a stay-home Valentine's Day. Chocolateer David Fletcher talks about his handmade treats. A local seed company encourages you to get gardening.

heart on a nail

Photo: PV KS (Flickr)

This Valentine's Day, stay in and cook a meal of Brussels sprouts, oysters and chocolaty treats.

The Way To My Heart Is Through My Stomach

Every garden starts with seeds. For gardeners interested in local living, it only makes sense they would seek out seeds that were grown locally as well. Art Sherwood of Nature’s Crossroad Seed Company is here to help, because believe it or not, now’s the time to start planning for your spring garden.

Last week Chef Daniel Orr prepared a Celery Root Remoulade using a mandolin. That handy kitchen instrument is making an appearance this week as well for our Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad recipe.

If you’re thinking about staying in on Valentine’s Day, this oyster stew could be a great main course. Traditionally, oysters were considered to be an aphrodisiac, because it’s said that amino acids trigger increased levels of sex hormones and the oysters’ high zinc content aids the production of testosterone. It was also once assumed that oysters were only safe to eat in months with the letter ‘r’ in their English and French names. The thinking was that oysters are more likely to spoil from May to August in the northern hemisphere. These days, that’s less of a concern, but the little molluscs are nevertheless associated with wintertime holiday celebrations.

The three days leading up to Valentine’s Day are the busiest of the year for owner and Executive Pastry Chef of BLU Boy Chocolate Cafe & Cakery David Fletcher. Unlike commercial chocolates, his contain more cocoa butter, less sugar and more local character. He is one of the local chefs who brings his sweet treats to the annual Bloomington, Indiana event The Art Of Chocolate. The busiest table at the 2011 event was the one manned by mixologist Janell Lenfert who was making decadent chocolate martinis. As she says, “Why eat dessert when you can drink it?”

A little orange zest, minced fresh ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper or your favorite booze can make our chocolate fondue really special. Serve with strawberries, star fruit, graham crackers, marshmallows, walnut halves and orange segments and have fun feeding the chocolate-covered goodies to your sweetie.

One final recipe to enjoy this Valentine’s Day. Temperatures in Indiana have been unusually warm lately, but that doesn’t stop me from craving a warm cup of hot chocolate at the end of the day. This Caribbean Inspired Hot Chocolate has a lot going for it: orange zest, rum and some stiff bittersweet chocolate.

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Nature’s Crossroads Wants To Be Your Local Seed Source

Purple Calabash Tomato

This Indiana company offers locally produced seeds to folks who want to make every aspect of their garden organic, earth-friendly, and local.

Fresh Brussels Sprout Salad

Chef Daniel Orr with Brussel Sprouts Salad

If you hate overcooked Brussels sprouts, this raw salad might change your mind.

Months With An “R”: Winter Oyster Stew

a bowl of oyster stew

Here in the Midwest we don't have many oysters around so we wait until the winter months when the oysters are at their best for shipping to the Midwest.

The Art Of Chocolate Provides Beautiful Tastes And Sights

chocolates with white sauce drizzled on top and a red fruit

Eight local chefs provided tastes of some of their sweetest treats at the 2011 Art of Chocolate event. Check out the recipe for the Perfect Chocolate Martini.

Chocolate Fondue For Your Stay-At-Home Valentine’s Day

Chocolate Fondue

There's no need to leave your house to satisfy your fondue craving this Valentine's Day. Serve this rich chocolate ganache with your favorite fruit.

Caribbean Inspired Hot Chocolate: Hot Drinks for Cold Nights

two mugs of hot chocolate

Once, hot drinks were a necessity; but these days, they're mostly celebratory. Give this Caribbean hot chocolate recipe a try on the next cold winter night.

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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