With Valentine’s Day around the corner, many a love bird may be chirping about, searching for a meaningful gift.
Look no further than A Thyme for Everything. The downtown kitchen supply store received the most votes among Journal readers as the best spot in town for a gift for the upcoming holiday.
“They have the kind of chocolate you want to take a picture of and post to make your friends jealous you’re that close to it,” wrote Suzanne Garrett on the Journal’s Facebook poll.
The allure of the chocolate is undeniable. The top row of the display case is filled with small marvels from Christopher Elbow Chocolates.
If the word elegant could ever be applied to chocolate pieces, it would to these. The colorful, meticulous designs topping the “signature” pieces evoke personal flourishes of artistic expertise.
A heart-shaped box with 20 Christopher Elbow pieces costs $40.99. A slightly larger box costs $42.99.
For those hoping to employ some of their own creative juices for Valentine’s Day, Thyme offers additional options.
“If you make a special dinner ... I think that’s a great gift for Valentine’s Day,” said Beth Quinlan, seated next to her husband before a cooking class was to begin Monday.
A Thyme for Everything, in addition to its bevy of cooking supplies, also offers cooking classes.
On Monday, Jasper Mirabile, the owner of Jasper’s Italian Restaurant on 103rd Street in KC, walked about 10 pupils through the creation of some of his signature soups.
He offered tips (use butter and oil to prevent burning) and humorous anecdotes (an employee, asked to produce browned butter, searched every store in town, unsuccessfully).
But he also instilled some ambition for those looking to cook for or with a loved one for a certain approaching holiday.
“For a lot of newlyweds, learning to cook together is how you build a relationship,” Mirabile said. “Look at it as team building for your relationship.”
To that end, Mirabile has a few fitting recipes for Feb. 14 (see recipes).
“The best celebration is when you’re around the table,” said Joanne Douglass during the class.
Kathy Hughes added her advice for giving the gift of a home-cooked meal: “You can make it very personal. ... You can experiment.”
Lorinda Parker, an employee at A Thyme for Everything, said that though the Valentine’s Day-themed classes are nearly full, other upcoming classes could make for a nice gift to a friend or partner.
“You get to spend an evening with a chef,” Parker said. “And it’s sort of an intimate hideaway back there.”
Recipes courtesy of Jasper Mirabile. Inspiration for chocolate soup from Johnny Iuzzini.
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup cooked lobster meat
1 quart heavy cream
2 ounces cream sherry
1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup chopped pancetta
Whipped cream or foamed milk
In a large sauté pan, melt one tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add minced onions and sauté until translucent and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the lobster meat, cream, sherry and tarragon. Season with salt. Bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, melt the remaining butter. Whisk in the flour to make a roux. When the soup comes to a simmer, stir in the roux. Simmer for 10 minutes until the soup is thick. Sauté the pancetta in a small pan until crispy, about five minutes. Set aside. If making the milk foam, steam the milk using the steam wand of an espresso machine.
Top cappuccino with a bit of foamed milk or whipped cream and the crispy pancetta.
16 ounces dark chocolate
1 cup cherry pie filling
1 cup fresh raspberries
4 cups milk
1 cup Cocoa Puffs
Fresh whipped cream
Place milk in a small sauce pan. Bring to a near boil and add chocolate. Stir until chocolate melts. Add cream, cherry pie filling and raspberries.
Divide soup into small glass bowls. Drop in Cocoa Puffs and top with whipped cream and more berries. Serve with crispy biscotti cookie or angel food cake.