Ah, Valentine's Day. Have you seen some of the figures about how much people spend? Eek! I prefer a simpler event. This year is a special case. I am walking in the Boston-area Komen 3-Day for the Cure this July. To participate, every walker must raise at least $2300. As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time fundraising. So, tonight at Olga's Kitchen (a yummy, Michigan-based company) in West Bloomfield, my family and I will be dining to raise money for my fundraiser account. Suffice it to say, our Valentine's Day is going to be a casual family affair.
Now, just because we're not doing something elaborate or expensive doesn't mean we don't deserve a special treat. Chocolate-dipped fruit is a wonderful indulgence, but this time of year the strawberries in the stores are not enjoyable. They are flavorless and have the texture of softballs to keep them intact as they travel thousands of miles to my produce section. Instead, I made chocolate-dipped mandarin oranges. I love the orange-chocolate combination and the touch of sea salt (thanks for that idea, Food Network!) brings it all together in a really sophisticated way.
This recipe is so simple, it's embarrassing. Peel and section 5-6 mandarin oranges (the number of sections that get dipped will depend on how thick you make your chocolate layer). Melt about 4 ounces of good dark chocolate in a bowl over simmering water or a double boiler. Dip each orange section about halfway into the chocolate. Move the section to a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet. Sprinkle each section with a few grains of coarse sea or kosher salt and let harden. You can put them into the fridge if you need them to harden faster. These take such a short time that you could start these after you get home from work and they'll be ready for dessert.
These are absolutely delicious and only have about 50 calories per three sections, so you can indulge even if you're watching your calorie intake. Enjoy!