It’s almost the first of March, but I’m still thinking about Valentine’s Day. (Or maybe I’m just still eating Valentine’s candy.)
Either way, when I was browsing February’s #Austin360Cooks photos on Instagram — we got more than 400 submissions this month — I was delighted to see so many people treating themselves, their loved ones and even their kids with special homemade treats all month long.
My kids and I spent Valentine’s eve making dozens of cupcakes for their classmates, but those treats paled in comparison to @hawaiilifeatx’s epic chocolate-dipped strawberry dessert. Marshall Taylor, a Hawaii-loving Le Cordon Bleu graduate, made a chocolate cup in which he served chocolate-dipped strawberries dipped in a variety of ganache and served with whipped cream, toasted pecans and cookie crumbs.
The trio of kiddos behind @thefoodiekids recently launched their own blog, thefoodiekids.com, where they posted the recipe for a flourless chocolate cake they made for the holiday, and the husband-wife team behind @foodbanjo, Aimee and Josh Pruett, shared their recipe and photo for a vanilla creme brûlée on their blog, foodbanjo.com.
Men across Austin, including @allieeatsatx’s boyfriend, pulled out all the stops for a special night in. He made filet mignon with sauteed mushrooms over a bed of grilled asparagus with a caprese salad. Nicolai McCrary (@thenicolai, nicolai.photography) made a dish worthy of a high-end restaurant anywhere in the country: scallops with salmon roe, watercress purée, shiso leaf and pickled carrot.
Peter Tsai (@supertsai) spent Valentine’s evening cooking moules frites to serve with an avocado salad and truffled burrata, but he didn’t bother with frying french fries. In a comment, he confessed that although homemade fries are delicious, they are so messy that they often ruin the cooking fun. He recommends the frozen H-E-B waffle fries, though for this dish he used Trader Joe’s fries tossed in a homemade garlic butter sauce before serving.
Hector Gonzalez Hernandez (@mexicanity) went all-out with hearts in a vegan taco filled with roasted sweet potatoes, radishes and Brussels sprouts greens. On the other end of the carnivore scale, Sharon Chen (@delishplan, delishplan.com) wrapped a beef tenderloin in puff pastry to make beef Wellington.
Don’t forget to add #Austin360Cooks to your posts on social media to share them with hundreds of other Central Texans who love to cook. Here’s a gallery of our February submissions.