A whimsical and romantic celebration of love, for the one you love.
I love picnics. I love planning for them, packing for them, and eating them. A picnic basket is a gift to be shared. So what better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than with a picnic full of hearty and heart-shaped fare? I live in a place where February weather is not very conducive to picnics, however, and perhaps you do too. It doesn't matter though, because whether you have rain, sleet, or snow coming down outside, an indoor picnic is always warm and bright. With a menu tailored to the reason and the season, nothing could be sweeter than this tea party for two.
Kumamoto Oysters with Blood Orange Granita and Chili Threads
Scotch Eggs with Mustard Duo
Beet Stacks with Goat Cheese and Arugula Pesto
Radish Hearts on Baguette with Lapsang Souchong Butter
Earl Grey Crème Brûlée
Mango Coconut Petit Fours
The cocktails were a mix of homemade rosehip syrup, fresh cara cara orange juice, and bubbly. If you are not familiar with cara cara oranges, I recommend going out and grabbing a few right away! People love celebrating Valentine's Day with strawberries or raspberries, but for the majority of the world, they just aren't in season on February 14th. But that doesn't mean you have to go without red and pink fruit for your sweet desserts! Citrus season is still upon us, and lucky for us there are plenty of beautiful alternatives: blood oranges, cara caras, and pink or ruby grapefruit.
The granita that topped the oysters was made with blood orange juice for that perfect shade of blushing pink, offset by the brilliant vermilion of the red chili threads. The subtle flavor of the chili paired with the sweet and tangy blood orange played exquisitely with the salty brine of the oysters. If you're new to the oyster game, Kumamotos are a great beginner oyster. They are usually quite small, are appealingly creamy in appearance, and not overpoweringly fishy in flavor.
The other savories for the meal included Scotch eggs, which are a traditional and crazy delicious picnic food, hand-cut beet stacks with goat cheese and arugula pesto, and cut radishes with a lapsang souchong butter. The lapsang souchong butter was made by taking loose leaf lapsang tea and grinding it, then mixing it into softened butter with a smattering of a flaky sea salt. I let it sit for two days to really infuse the flavor. Smoke is one of my favorite tastes, so I had to sneak it in somewhere! The smoky richness of the butter really complemented the sharp crunch of the radishes. And who could turn down a vegetable that comes in such beautiful colors?
I steeped the cream for the crème brûlée with a little loose leaf earl grey. The final result was a rich and sweet dessert that was nonetheless delicate, just like a perfect cup of tea.
The final bite was a homemade petit four of sponge cake, mango coconut jam, and lemon icing. I bought the jam from my local specialty market, and definitely couldn't resist a few spoonfuls while I worked! It has a texture similar to a caramel but a flavor nearly like a curd. It was the perfect ending to a beautiful meal.
No matter who you will be sharing this gift with: wife, husband, best friend, or sibling, an indoor picnic can be a wonderful way to say "I Love You" this Valentine's Day.