That day is getting close! That day where you are quite possibly desperately searching the internet for something cute and easy to make for your significant other (or kid! Kids love cute Valentine’s Day stuff. Even kids who don’t like beets often like red Valentine’s Day Soup with little hearts. As long as nobody lets slip that it’s healthy, that is…) that just says “I love you” without being impossibly complicated and expensive. Well, if you’re like most couples, that is. You might be different and amazing, generous and selfless. A person with time and money to devote to this day. Or you might be an average person who has a ton on your plate and wants to do the best they can. In the spirit of things that are inexpensive and adorable, I give you this simple (and seriously yummy!) beet soup with a quick how-to on little Sour Cream Hearts. If the heart thing isn’t for you, well, this beet soup wound up being a simple and tasty meal that was easy to make in advance and also made great leftovers, while still managing to be seriously healthy. It was even delicious cold! Plus, the really cool thing was, it turns out that if you go with the hearts and then leave the beet soup with the hearts in the fridge for a couple of hours (while you dash out and run some last-minute errands, perhaps), the hearts turn an awesome hot pink! If you are simply unable to spend the day together, this would be a pretty fun thing to open the refrigerator and find. Few things say “I’m thinking about you” better than sour cream hearts.
Few things say I'm thinking about you better than sour cream hearts.
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Of course, if you do have time, this soup makes for a perfect first course. After that, you could do a fun and romantic main course, like these totally romantic (and surprisingly simple) seared scallops! The scallops are served on a beet puree, which is really handy because you can cook the beets for both dishes together, and then separate out what you need for the puree. Having that flavor (and color) in both dishes will actually totally pull the whole meal together. If you want to make the soup a little bit more pink and a little bit less like the puree for the scallops, just add more cream until you get the color you like. So simple!
Not a bad looking meal!
It’s funny; since we both work in restaurants, there are a few holidays that the boyfriend and I absolutely never get to spend together. One of those days is always Valentine’s Day. It always seemed as I was growing up that no matter how many relationships I had, I almost never had someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with, and now that I do have this amazing dude, this happens to be the one day we’re practically guaranteed never to spend together! Restaurants, especially nice, fancy, and highly regarded restaurants like the ones the guy tends to run, get really busy on this particular day and desperately need someone to be in charge; solving problems, putting out fires, and just generally making sure everybody has the wonderful time that they expect to have at a nice restaurant on Valentine’s Day. For most people, if something, anything at all, goes wrong at this one meal on this particular day, it’s basically the end of the world. Of course, it’s always all hands on deck in the kitchen, too. It’s a long and grueling shift, after which we are both too exhausted to celebrate. We might pop a bottle of sparkling wine, put on a little Netflix, and then just pass out.
However, if we had something simple just sitting in the fridge, we might be happy to take advantage of it! This beet soup reheats beautifully and is even tasty when it’s cold, so it’s pretty perfect for a no time and no energy romantic appetizer or meal. As a first course, it’s a great addition to a larger and more elaborate meal, but it’s also a simple lunch or dinner that can stand on its own and say “I love you” simply and elegantly.
If you want to make it cute, these little sour cream hearts are pretty easy! You need a toothpick, and if you want to go crazy, a piping bag or plastic bag, but you can really just use a spoon. You’ll make some dots that are evenly spaced (I put them in a circle for the picture above), and drag your toothpick through them around the circle. That creates the hearts! That’s the magic! Try to go at an even speed; the more evenly spaced the dots are and the more consistent your speed is, the better your hearts will look. (Pro tip: if you want nicer looking hearts, try to avoid taking pictures of the process as you go. You definitely end up with some wonky hearts if you are stopping, starting, and trying to hold a camera!)
If this whole idea scares you, do what they did for this Epicurious recipe! Use the baggy of sour cream to just draw a quick heart! (Okay, they don’t actually tell you that’s what they did, but trust me, that’s what they did! (Unless, of course, it was photoshopped in…) It’s just like putting a heart on a cake. You put the frosting (sour cream) in a piping bag (ziploc) and carefully draw your message. Like I keep saying in posts like the Top 5 Professional Cooking Hacks and even the recipe for petrale sole, cooking is all about finding awesome ways to use the same few techniques! Get comfortable with those, and you’ll be a kitchen rock star!
Romantic Beet Soup with Adorable Sour Cream Hearts
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 2 large or 3-4 small beets, peeled and diced
- Cold water to cover
- 2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp toasted and ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp chili flakes
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tbs sour cream
- 1/4 tsp toasted and ground cumin
- 1 dash tabasco
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- salt, pepper
- (totally optional) good quality salt, fennel fronds, chives, cracked black pepper, olive oil
- Mix all ingredients well, taste and adjust seasoning.
- Cover the beets with cold water, add the salt, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer, add the olive oil, pepper, chili flakes, cumin, and vinegar. Simmer until beets are tender all the way through. (If beet pieces are around 2" - about 30-45 minutes)
- Puree in batches until totally smooth. You can really puree the crap out of these beets, so don't worry about being too tough on them. A longer puree will give you a more velvety soup.
- Return the soup to the heat, and mix in the cream. Taste and season.
- Put the sour cream in a bag and cut a hole in the tip. Carefully and gently dot sour cream evenly spaced about 1/2" apart on the top of the soup. Take your toothpick and stick it in the soup, just outside one of the dots in line with your pattern of dots. Slowly but steadily drag your toothpick through each dot. Do not lift or remove your toothpick until you're done! Just be steady and even!
- Garnish as you want!
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