Hike, Eat, Love

Happy Valentine’s Day!   What better way to celebrate than with big pink plastic lollipop lips?


Valentine’s weekend was great.  Our good friends from law school made the trip to Amarillo to spend the weekend.  We began Saturday with pastries from The Village Bakery.  After breakfast we headed out to Palo Duro Canyon for a hike.  We made good use of our new Texas State Parks pass by getting all 9 of us in for “Free!” instead of $4 per person.


It was a beautiful day.  I had never hiked in Palo Duro before, only driven through.  We all agreed that being this close to Palo Duro makes living in the Panhandle worth it!  Our dog, Ginger, all 6 pounds and 7 weeks of her, kept up with us all 4 miles of the trip and still had energy left over afterwards.  We were pretty impressed with her stamina.  Our goal was to see Lighthouse rock.  After about 2 miles on the trail the little girls were tired and we thought that we wouldn’t have time to go all the way to the rock.  So, we headed back to the car.  We checked out the trail map when we got to the trailhead and found out that we were almost there when we’d turned around!  So, Ben was right and I was wrong.  Next time we’ll have to hike all the way to Lighthouse.  It seems like an incredible formation.  After the hike, we headed back home to prepare Valentine’s Day dinner.



I must say that this meal was one of the best we’ve put together.  The company was lovely, so maybe it was partly the people we ate with, but the food…it was wonderful.  The baked brie is courtesy of my Aunt Vivie.  She made a similar appetizer at Christmas.  She used almonds, cranberries and honey inside her puff pastry so the one we made was a bit different.  The thyme and cranberry with the brie was buttery and sweet.  I’m glad we served the brie with the water crackers.  Their clean flavor did not distract you from the rich flavors in the brie.  The salad dressing and spiced pecans is a recipe from Rather Sweet Bakery.  The recipe for the entree came from Fine Cooking.  I used flank steak instead of the skirt steak, and we grilled the steak.  The steak and relish were absolutely incredible.  The flavors really complemented each other as did the textures.  The steak was delicious and tender.  The slight crunch of the vegetables in the relish was a perfect match.  The potatoes were simple.  We all agreed that a meal can be overdone if everything is complex, so the simple roasted potato was a great side.  

Valentine’s Day


Baked Brie with Thyme and Cranberries


Salad with Spiced Pecans, Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette


Smashed New Potatoes


Flank Steak with Radish, Red Onion and Carrot Relish



Baked Brie with Cranberries and Thyme

  • 8 oz wheel of brie with top rind removed
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 package plain water crackers
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.
  2. On a sheet of waxed paper or parchment, roll the pastry out to a 12-inch square and cut two 6-inch rounds from it. Put one of the rounds on a small rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Sprinkle with half of the dried cranberries and thyme, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge, and gently press them in.
  4. Set the Brie, rind side down, on top of the pastry, sprinkle with the remaining cranberries and thyme, and cover with the other pastry. 
  5. Crimp the edges together to seal in the cheese. 
  6. Bake until the pastry browns, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes and then serve.

The Lovebirds

Here are the dinner guests!  Jason and Carrie, Christian and Lisa, and me and Ben.