Valentine’s Day food is just too easy to categorize. You have your aphrodisiacs like chocolate, honey, oysters, and ginger, your suggestive fruits like figs, and your liquid enticers like champagne. But, if you’re someone who just likes to play with your food and associates Valentine’s Day with all things red, break the mold, head to the markets, and have some fun.
We’ve been talking dinner, but this year Valentine’s Day falls on Sunday. How about brunch? French toast with homemade challah is a perfect and perfectly easy dish (try the wonderful challah recipe from Peter Reinhart’s masterful cookbook The Bread Baker’s Apprentice). And, sure you can top it with maple or blueberry syrup, but let’s stick to our red theme and go with a gorgeous raspberry puree. Make this a day in advance and then bring it to room temperature. All you need to do is combine a pint of fresh raspberries, ¼ cup of sugar, a tablespoon of blood orange juice, and a tablespoon of cointreau (or just double up on the orange juice) and a small saucepan. Stir in a cup of cold water thoroughly mixed with two tablespoons of cornstarch and bring the whole thing to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes. Let it cool and then either use an immersion blender to puree the mixture or put it in a blender or food processor. You can then strain it through a sieve if you want a pure liquid sauce or enjoy the texture as it is. When you’re ready to serve the French toast, simply pour it over and garnish with some extra raspberries.