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Provisioning

Table for Two Under the Stars  –  Love is in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches on February 14. This month’s Yacht Guide provisioning column is mainly for the gentleman, especially if your significant other tends to do most of the cooking in your household or on your boat.

Many men feel pressure to pull out all the stops to create a memorable evening on Valentine’s Day, and dining out at a special restaurant is usually the plan. You can attempt to reserve a prime table at an expensive restaurant crowded with other couples, or you can surprise your sweetie by giving the gift of your time (and perhaps even your cooking talent) and treating her to a stellar homemade dinner. If you’re lucky enough to be on a yacht in a secluded BVI anchorage with someone special, you will surely have one of the world’s most romantic and intimate settings for staying “in” on Valentine’s Day.

 

The thought of organizing a Valentine’s dinner may be overwhelming if the kitchen is largely uncharted territory for you. The secret is to have a dinner that looks impressive but is easy to execute based on your cooking ability and time constraints. Focus on top-quality ingredients, and forget the fancy preparations. Always err on the side of simplicity as assembling a meal usually takes longer than anticipated. Lastly, focus your showmanship on one element of the meal—in this case, a chocolate dessert.

Uncork a festive bottle of champagne and start your meal with assorted olives, gourmet cheeses, crackers and pâté. Prepare a light salad with the freshest lettuce, fruity olive oil and high quality balsamic vinegar. Follow with grilled tenderloin or fish and roasted potatoes with herb butter. Save room for decadent chocolate cake.

Few foods elicit as many emotions as chocolate: celebration, romance and indulgence. Women, in particular, tend to have a love affair with chocolate. Though science doesn’t support the widespread perception of chocolate as an aphrodisiac, there’s no denying the pleasure derived from eating chocolate, so what better way to end your Valentine’s Day dinner?

Cap your meal off with the pièce de résistance: individual homemade molten chocolate cakes with Caribbean crème liqueur. This dessert is popular in restaurants, but it’s surprisingly easy to make at home, even if your home is a boat. After dinner, turn out the lights to enjoy some stargazing together, and thank your lucky stars for a wonderful evening with the one you love.

Molten Chocolate Cakes with Caribbean Crème Liqueur

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•  Butter and cocoa powder for preparing baking dishes
•  1/4 C butter
•  2 oz best quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
•  1 egg
•  3 Tbsp crème liqueur (such as Cruzan Rum Cream or Ponche Kuba)
•  2 Tbsp sugar
•  Pinch of salt
•  3 Tbsp flour
•  Powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Generously butter two small (approximately 6 oz) custard cups or ovenproof bowls. Sprinkle with cocoa powder then shake out excess cocoa.

Combine butter and chocolate in a small saucepan and heat slowly over low heat or microwave on low until melted. Cool slightly. To the chocolate mixture, add the egg, liqueur, sugar and salt, mixing well. Add flour and stir just until combined. Divide batter between prepared custard cups. [At this point, cakes can be refrigerated for up to one day. Bring to room temperature before baking.] Bake for about 10 minutes or until cakes are just set and a crust begins to form on the top. Let stand for 2 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen. Carefully invert cakes onto plates. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Serves two.

Note: The molten center of the cakes will be slightly undercooked. If undercooked egg is a concern, a pasteurized egg product such as EggBeaters can be substituted for the egg.  
Chocolate desserts sweeten Valentine's Day.

 

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