Thursday, February 15, 2018

OG's #Valentine by Alison Henderson

So, Valentine's Day was yesterday. Did you celebrate big? Little? In between?

In the nearly thirty-five years OG and I have been married, I don't think we've ever been out to dinner on Valentine's Day. We generally avoid restaurants on any big "dine out" occasion. I believe the worst meal I've ever paid for was a Mother's Day Brunch several years ago at a hot new restaurant. The kitchen was overwhelmed by the volume, and the food tasted like it had been prepared at least the day before, if not earlier, and it probably had. Nor do I recall exchanging Valentine gifts, although that might have happened at some time in our early years. 

My point is, we're not big celebrators. A card, a decent (or maybe better, if I'm inspired) meal at home, and that's about it.

This year was no exception. I got OG this card.

The inscription reads: You are the stars in my sky, you are my everything. Nice, right? I usually buy him funny cards, but for Valentine's Day I go all-out romantic. 

Because I have a bumper crop of ripe lemons at the moment, I made him Lemon Chicken Piccata--one of his favorite dishes--with asparagus. The big treat was desert--#Salted Caramel Ice Cream. Mmmm.

If you haven't made homemade ice cream, there's nothing like it. Here's the recipe I used from

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart 
30 min 
4 hr


    • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
    • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
    • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt such as Maldon
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 3 large eggs
    • Equipment: an ice cream maker


    1. Heat 1 cup sugar in a dry 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling skillet occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amber.
    2. Add 1 1/4 cups cream (mixture will spatter) and cook, stirring, until all of caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sea salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
    3. Meanwhile, bring milk, remaining cup cream, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar just to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally.
    4. Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl, then add half of hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard coats back of spoon and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer (do not let boil). Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, then stir in cooled caramel.
    5. Chill custard, stirring occasionally, until very cold, 3 to 6 hours. Freeze custard in ice cream maker (it will still be quite soft), then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to firm up.
  1. Try it. You'll be amazed!


Leah St. James said...

My husband (a/k/a The Plot Master or TPM) and I aren't big celebrators either, for pretty much the same reasons you mentioned. Funny, my worst meal out was a Mother's Day brunch when my kids were younger (maybe 8 and 12, something like that). We waited what felt like FOREVER, the kids were cranky, TPM was cranky...I was trying to keep everyone happy. UGH. Never. Again. You and OG did one better than us yesterday though...we didn't even get each other cards this year! :-) Your celebration dinner sounds just perfect.

Diane Burton said...

Hubs and I aren't real big celebrators, either. He always gets me a card and flowers from the grocery story (longest lasting flowers ever). I bought his card yesterday after we went out for a late breakfasts. Even though he's diabetic and I don't need the extra calories, I bought chocolate for both of us. Imagine a restaurant kitchen on Valentine's Day from the view of my son (the chef). They were prepared for the crush, but sheesh. I wouldn't want to be in his shoes. BTW, we didn't go out for dinner (breakfast was enough). Hubs made spaghetti. At least I didn't have to cook. That ice cream sounds yummy.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Mostly, I remember V-Day; mostly hubs forgets. Then he feels like a heel. So I don't make much out of the day. We did go out to dinner (close by and early), but only because I didn't feel like cooking. Alison, thanks for the ice cream recipe...sounds delicious...and what a nice treat to celebrate the day! I've got to get an ice cream machine one of these days!

Jannine Gallant said...

We went out for pizza. Friends own the restaurant, so we hung out with them afterward for a drink, talked, and watched the Olympics on the big screen TV. Not terribly crowded since pizza isn't a romantic dinner, but we had a great time. I have an ice cream maker and generally break it out about once every summer. I should use it more often. My freezer bowl part of the maker has to go in the freezer overnight or it isn't cold enough to work properly. Of course when I think about making ice cream, that insert is in the cupboard. I should just leave it in the freezer all the time because making ice cream really isn't that hard and is so yummy! Your recipe sounds terrific!

Andrea Downing said...

Alison, this has come at just the right moment! I was literally just thinking last night that I need to get out my old ice cream 'cook' book and buy a new ice cream maker--haven't made any since my UK days so no longer have maker--and start making Ice cream again. Unfortunately, I'm also on a strict diet . . ..

Brenda Whiteside said...

We don't do V Day either. Way back there were a few years FDW did something for me. I think I forgot. That has been standard in our marriage. It took me somewhere around 28 years to get our anniversary date memorized. I finally did that when the numbers matched part of our landline phone number. Anyway, I did pick up a card for him this year and rather than be lovey and thankful, he just said "we don't do this. I didn't get you one." Recipe sounds yummy although I think I'd love to have the chicken dish recipe.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Leftovers last night for dinner for us. We did exchange cards, only because we were at the store to pick up Valentine cards for the grandkids. (Put $5 in each. They get enough candy) V-Day is a big deal for the little ones. The older grandsons, not so much, but you gotta keep it even. ;-) Jannine can make the ice cream and send me some. Sounds fabulous!

Vonnie Davis said...

We don't exchange cards. But I do get roses. And lunch out. I may have to take another look at that recipe. You are such a good cook.

Alison Henderson said...

Leah, we forgo candy and flowers, but we've never missed a card! I posted mine from him on my personal FB page this morning. You'll have to check it out.

Alison Henderson said...

Diane, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near a restaurant kitchen on Valentine's Day! They need the day after off, just to recuperate.

Alison Henderson said...

Rolynn, I requested (and received) and ice cream maker for Christmas a couple of years ago. It's fun and easy--so much better than the old crank versions I remember from my youth! I also make OG a peanut butter ice cream with chopped peanut butter cups and pretzels, and a Nutella gelato for my daughter. I don't even want to guess how many calories are in these recipes, so I reserve them for very special treats.

Alison Henderson said...

Jannine, your evening sounds lovely! I have the same issue with my freezer bowl--I have to think ahead. LOL

Alison Henderson said...

Andi, I'm afraid homemade ice cream and strict diets are mortal enemies, but if you can sneak in a treat at some point, there's hardly anything better.

Alison Henderson said...

Brenda, Frank's comment gave me a chuckle. The Chicken Piccata recipe is one of my favorites. I make it all the time when I have ripe lemons--very quick and easy.

Alison Henderson said...

Margo, I don't have grandchildren, but I did send my daughter a fancy card. I don't think I'd care much for Valentine's Day if I were thirty-one and single.

Alison Henderson said...

Vonnie, I can't remember the last time OG gave me roses. Give Calvin a great big smooch from me!

Alicia Dean said...

Ha, you had me at Lemon Chicken Piccata. Sounds fabulous!! So does the ice cream, but alas, I have no ice cream maker. Can you send some my way? :) I've never been big on Valentine's Day. I haven't had a sweetheart in ages, and when i did, there wasn't much romance, Valentine's Day or any other day, LOL. You guys have the right idea, though. I'm sure you had a wonderful evening.