The Proposal- Part 3
Everett stepped forward and gave her a kiss. Violet stared. “You made an appointment with me?”
“Yup.” He grinned. “You look great.”
She lifted a hand to her hair and frowned. “You did that? You paid for me at the salon?”
“And the flowers?”
She looked out into the office, still a no-man’s land. “Did you fire everyone too? Where is everyone?”
“I sent them out to lunch. On me.”
She continued staring. “You did?’
Everett scratched at his jaw. “I mean, I sent them to the sandwich place. It wasn’t a five-star meal or anything.” He leaned back against the desk. His expression was patient, expectant.
Stumped, Violet dropped her bag on the floor. “But why? What’s going on?”
“I’m proposing to you.”
Now, she goggled at him. “Here?” She looked around at her little office, unrecognizable in the forest of flowers it had become. “At work? In my office?”
Everett nodded, yet to move from his perch at the edge of her desk. “I know it’s not on the list you gave me.” She flushed but he didn’t look angry, just amused. “I’d always planned to do it here. You spend sixty hours a week here,” he explained. He nudged a picture of them on the desk and then caught her eye. “I’m not complaining,” he said quickly. “You love your job. I love how much you love it. It brings you a lot of pride and that makes me proud of you. But you do spend most of your time here,” he continued. “I wanted it to be here.”
She was frozen in place now, watching him, hearing him. He took a step forward and dropped his hands to her wrists. Her pulse was wild. “I wanted you to one day be sitting at your desk, at the end of a long and really hard day, and remember that this is where I asked you to be my whole life.” When he lifted his hands, hers were changed. A ring was there where there wasn’t one before. She gazed down at it, at home suddenly on her finger, and then up into his eyes. He grinned. “Will you marry me, Vi?”
Happy Valentine’s Day, muffins!
I was talking to a foodie friend of mine about how a person really knows when they’re a good cook. There are, after all, differently skill levels and interests when it comes to cooking and baking, with training and repetition and intuition all involved to a varying degree. Is it the moment you realize you’ve memorized your favorite cookie recipe and can now do it with one hand tied behind your back? Or when you improvise a tried-and-true dish with mind-blowing results? Or maybe it’s just that you followed your passion- you can follow a recipe to the letter, crack an egg properly and your wild-eyed devotion to tracking every one of Ina Garten’s precious movements has all your friends wondering, slightly, about your sanity. (Not that that’s me or anything.)
I haven’t gotten to that place yet- that place of symphony and grace where you can open up your cabinets, roll up your sleeves and whip up something in a matter of minutes that would make Jacques Pepin weep. But this recipe makes me feel like I can do that. It has a short list of ingredients, everything that’s usually within arm’s reach anyway, and the techniques are a touch on the sophisticated side, just enough to make you feel a bit more like the artist you wish you were. Make this and, suddenly, you’re no longer Sandra Lee. You’re Nigella Lawson.
It’s both rich and light, delicately textured at the ends and gooey at the center. The better the chocolate, the sharper the taste. If you had a romantic evening planned and were coming up short on dessert, this chocolate cake is perfect. Restaurant quality. Awe inspiring. Love inducing. Makes you want to add French murmurs to everything you say. Le sighe.
Molten Chocolate Cake
Adapted from The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater | 4 Servings| Time: 30 to 45 minutes | Print Recipe
7 Ounces of dark, fine-quality chocolate
½ Cup of superfine sugar
3 Large eggs
5 TBsps of butter, room temperature
2 Heaped TBsps of Nutella (or any chocolate hazelnut spread)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly butter 4 ramekins or oven-proof cups.
2. Prepare a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Break up chocolate into rough pieces and place in bowl, letting it melt without stirring. Gently push down any big pieces to the bottom of the bowl to let them melt too.
3. Pour the sugar into your food mixer or bowl.
4. Separate the yolks from your eggs. Add yolks to the sugar and beat until thick and creamy.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until airy and almost stiff.
6. Stir the butter into the chocolate and leave to melt, then gently stir in the Nutella.
7. Fold the chocolate mixture into the bowl of eggs and sugar.
8. Carefully, fold the egg whites into the mixture with a metal spoon. Do not overmix. Make sure there are no drifts of egg white.
9. Scoop into four buttered dishes and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, till risen. The tops should be cracked and the insides slightly wobbly. Nigel says that if you open one too early, just pop it back into the oven until properly cooked.
And now, our surprise. Valentine’s Day cards!
Remember when we were in elementary school and we gave each other cards? Everyone got cards. Those little paper cards with Minnie Mouse or Betty Boop on them. (Transformers for the boys.) I choo-choo-choose you.
Nicole and I have decided to bring them back today.
We’re sending them to the food bloggers who inspire us. They diligently type out their recipes, try and test them, photograph the living daylights out of them and then pour their heart and soul into posts, week after week- they keep us reaching for pots and pans and old spatulas and yank us out of our ruts. We wouldn’t be here without them. We heart them. Yes, we do.
So, if you want, play along! Download all three cards and start sending them! (Just right click on the card you want and Save.) Instead of cubbies, use Twitter and Facebook. Drop them here and there, everywhere. Spread a little love today.
And don’t be surprised if we send you one. We heart you too.