Love Begins in the Kitchen This Valentine's Day

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Chef Jacques Haeringer provides romantic recipes and tips for your special Valentine.

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Good food whets the appetite, which in turn stimulates the entire person, promoting a well-being and excitement that leads to love. We are most susceptible to love after a festive meal.

“Valentine’s Day comes at the best time of year,” says Chef Jacques Haeringer, owner and chef at the legendary L’Auberge Chez François, outside of Washington, D.C. “The darker, shorter days, and colder temperatures cause us to seek warmth, comfort, and light, many of the same elements of love.” Chef Jacques feels we should embrace this mid-winter holiday with small treats to show the special people in our lives how much they mean to us.

“Winter is also a great time to be in kitchen.” Say Jacques. “No matter how cold it gets outside it’s always warm by the stove.”

But, you don’t have to labor over a hot stove, or spend a lot of money to create special treats this Valentine’s Day. Chef Jacques has some fun suggestions that are sure to create romantic sparks:

  •     Say “I Love You” with breakfast: If you and your significant other are always rushing out in the morning for work, set the breakfast table before you go to sleep with your best linens, flowers in a vase, and best dishes for a surprise breakfast treat. If your breakfast is only a quick cup of coffee, add a few fresh strawberries and whipped cream for a quick “I love you” treat.
  •     There is power in chocolate: This confection’s melting temperature is just below body temperature of 98.6 degrees, which is why it melts in your mouth. There is that brief moment where chocolate transforms itself from a solid to a luscious liquid. To many people this sensation and taste is irresistible. Choose one or two single pieces from a high quality candy vendor and share them with your special someone. If you want to treat the entire family, purchase a high-quality cocoa mix. Mix up a warm and aromatic batch and add some fresh whipped cream. For an adult twist a dash of your favorite liqueur and it won’t matter how early the sun sets outside.
  •     A Bit of the Bubbly: This year treat yourself and a special someone with the surprise of sparkling wine or champagne to celebrate your love. Drop a single fresh raspberry or strawberry into a stem of sparkling wine to heighten the flavor and appearance. The tiny bubbles that melt in your mouth can also melt a few hearts.
  •     Make a Date: The perfect Valentine’s meal may be one that you enjoy at a future date. Slip an IOU into a Valentine Card for a future meal and spend the night at home.

To add a bit of spice to your Valentine’s Day celebration, Chef Jacques recommends these quick and easy recipes:

Oysters with Horseradish Sauce
Oysters have a reputation for being an aphrodisiac. Casanova, referring to oysters in his memoirs, confessed that to eat “so delicate a morsel must be a sin in itself.” This recipe adds a dash of heat to spice up your night.

10-12 Bluepoint oysters
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon grated horseradish
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Open the oysters and place the oysters on the half shell in a plate to collect any oyster liquor.

Combine the heavy cream and oyster liquor in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high flame and continue to boil for 3-4 minutes to reduce volume by half. Whisk in the grated horseradish and bring up to a boil again. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, and more horseradish, if desired. Keep warm.

Preheat the broiler.

Place each oyster on the half shell on a special oyster baking dish or on a bed of rock salt to hold them level. Place the oysters under the broiler for about 1 minute or until just warm, being careful not to overcook. Coat each oyster with approximately 1 teaspoon of the warm sauce and serve immediately.

Variation: Use any fresh local oysters such as Belon, Moonstone, Winter Point, etc.

Chocolate Mousse
For 6 – 8 servings, double the recipe

The combination of chocolate and love is a double whammy. Chocolate contains caffeine-like substances which excite the system as well as the taste buds. There is nothing like whipped chocolate for dessert!

5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum

Whip the heavy cream in a chilled medium mixing bowl and then refrigerate.

Place the chocolate in a small mixing bowl and set over a pot of boiling water. Heat for 1-2 minutes until the chocolate melts. Whisk thoroughly. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract and rum, blending well.

Fold the chocolate mixture into the heavy whipping cream with the aid of a rubber spatula.

Pipe or spoon the mousse into ½ cup size or larger stemware or dishes. Top the mousse with a pinch of cocoa powder, if desired.

Recipes can be reprinted with the following credit:
Copyright Chef Jacques Haeringer from Two for Tonight,
Bartleby Press; $26.95; ISBN: 0-910155-43-7

About Chef Jacques Haeringer

Chef Jacques is one of America’s most respected and innovative culinary personalities. Continuing in his father’s footsteps, Jacques loves to create and serve contemporary French fare at his restaurant, L’Auberge Chez François, in Great Falls, Virginia. His menus feature reinterpreted Alsatian and French cuisine for American palates. When he isn’t in the kitchen, he can be found teaching his popular gourmet cooking classes. Jacques is often asked to author magazine articles, cook up recipes at culinary events, and to be a guest on television and radio shows across the country.

Jacques is the author of Two for Tonight, a collection of recipes that inspire romance through food and togetherness, and the Chez François Cookbook, the bible of classic Alsatian cuisine featuring some of the restaurant’s most popular recipes. He lives in Northern Virginia and is currently working on a new cookbook and television show.

For more information on L’Auberge Chez François, Chef Jacques, and his books and cooking classes, visit him online at, on Facebook @JacquesHaeringer, and Twitter @ChefJacquesH.

Two for Tonight: Pure Romance from L’Auberge Chez François
By Chef Jacques Haeringer
Bartleby Press
$26.95; ISBN: 0-910155-43-7

For Media Inquires Contact:
Trina Kaye – The Trina Kaye Organization


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