February 15, 2011

Valentine Vignettes

rose 1

I know that it’s a day late, but I could not pass up the chance to wish you all a Happy Belated Valentine’s Day. I hope it was a day full of love and all of your favorite people. Myself, I spent the 48 hour period surrounding Valentine’s Day cooking up this month’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge, eating my weight in anything made of chocolate, and catching up on my Korean dramas on Hulu. I also ate a chili cheese hot dog with extra onions, because that’s one of the reasons why it actually is cool to be single on Valentine’s Day.

After doubtlessly reeling you in with that fabby intro, let’s back things up a bit to Valentine’s Day Eve, when I made this month’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge, Hiyashi Soba and Tempura.

Cue the Daring Cooks required blog checking lines…

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged
Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including japanesefood.about.com, pinkbites.com, and itsybitsyfoodies.com.

If you want to find the particulars, there’s the ever-lovely, ever-informative recipe packet concerning all things Hiyashi Soba over at the Daring Kitchen.

Simply put, Hiyashi Soba is a cold noodle salad made with buckwheat noodles—soba. After cooking and cooling them, they are served with a variety of toppings and a yummy sauce or two. For my version, I just stuck with the basic noodles topped with our other project, tempura.

soba noodles

I found those noodles so stinking cute. The fact that they came packaged in those little bundles completely slayed me. I cannot testify as to what that says about how easily entertained I am, but I was pleased as punch nonetheless.

Because it was going to be Valentine’s Day, I wanted to do something special with the tempura veggies. My first thought was to go with little heart shaped tempura nibbles, which would have been super adorable. However, I did not have a cookie cutter small enough, so I went with some whimsical stars instead. They still make things a little cute, which is nice. They also trick me into thinking that I’m eating less tempura than I actually am.

sweet potato tempura cutout

zucchini cutouts

That would be sweet potato and zucchini, by the by.

In the end, I loved the tempura. Their crispy outsides and tasty insides made this stuff completely irresistible. It was all I could do to set some aside for photos, such were my ravenous tempura munchies.

The noodles…well…They were noodly? I can’t say that I was particularly impressed with the noodles, mainly because they seemed pretty bland. However, this stems from the fact that I did not add half the toppings and accompaniments that should go with this dish, so, done properly, I’m sure it’s delicious.

noodles 1

After the important, make-it-look-pretty frying was done, I kinda went to town with the other veggie bits. It was so fun/terrifyingly dangerous to dunk them in the batter and fry them up until they got that poofy crunch that makes tempura-fied foods so amazing. If you’re wondering what that brown thing on the right is…

…it’s a Kit Kat bar. It melted in the oil, turning it brown and chocolate-y. This effectively brought the tempura frying to an end, since nobody enjoys chocolate-covered zucchini.

open kitkat

Following the adventures of Valentine’s Eve came the treats of Valentine’s Day, provided by my luverly family. It included some chocolates of the yummy Godiva variety…


and a geeky photography book I had been wanting.

Then I made some chocolate mousse from this beautiful recipe as well, because I happened to have an abundance both of chocolate chips and heavy cream in my house that day, which we all know is a boon that cannot be ignored. And ohmygoodness is it delicious. Words cannot describe how yummy this mousse is. It inspires me to poetry.

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

I’ll stop.

To round out the Valentine-y goodness, I slurped up a Red Velvet Cheesecake Milkshake from Sonic. Something that amazing needs to be capitalized. And said five times fast.

Hope you all had a wonderful day!


  1. Lovely photography I have to admit, and the tempura batter looks so thin and crispy wondrous result and that chocolate bar tempura sounds intriguing a few other tried it also. Great presents for valentine's day lucky you. Great work on this challenge.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. Love how you shaped your tempura veggies! Very cute!

  3. Those are the cutest tempura I've ever seen! Loved reading your blogpost (glad to know I wasn't the only one without a valentine) Great job on this challenge!

  4. I LOVE the little stars for your challenge! I am going to keep that in mind--maybe my kids will eat more if they are in fun shapes! Great job!

  5. Hmm... are you sure no one would like chocolate covered zucchini?? LOL. Awesome job - I love the tempura stars - so cute and a great idea for adding some flair to the challenge! And, may I also say that that chocolate mousse looks wonderful?? Sounds like a wonderful Valentines Day! :)

  6. You did fantastic with the daring cooks challenge. Love the tempura veggies and so would my kids :o)
    Sounds like you had a great Valentine's Day!

  7. those are some super cute packaging for the noodles :) - the tempura is awesome, how adorable is that little star cutout you have, it's so tiny, i love it!!!!!! you did a fantastic job on this challenge!! but the clencher for me is the mousse.....oh dear....i must make this!

  8. What a wonderful Valentine's Day! I love how you made star shapes..soo cute!
    I love tempura. That kit kat looks delish. I have heard friend candy bars are pretty darn delicious!

  9. Esas estrellas son maravillosas, muy buen reto!
    Saludos desde España

  10. Your star tempura is the cutest thing - I love it! It's so teeny and perfect. I also love that you made a tempura KitKat.

    Ahhh, such beautiful pictures. The chocolate mousse looks like it's coming out of my computer screen. I WISH IT WAS.

    I'm glad you had such a great Valentines Day! The red velvet cheesecake milkshake sounds AMAZING. *grabby hands* I had wine, which was good too. :)

  11. Tempura KitKat... I would never have thought of that, but my hubby might just love it! I love, love, love the stars. So cute and fun, really making for a special meal. You really put your heart (no pun intended, actaully!) into making Valentine's Day special, and you deserve extra hugs for it!

  12. I know I won't be original but... I just adore your little starts - what a great idea!!! No cost involved, not much more work at all and such an amazing result! Great job!
    Pozdrawiam! Anula.


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