Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, a day for lovers, candy, gifts and sentiment. But wait, this year it’s double-time for lovers — Leap Year.
That means 2020 has an extra day. History credits Julius Caesar for that“gift.” Apparently when Caesar made the leap from the Roman to the Julian calendar, the ancients realized a solar year was 365.25 days long. The shift in calendars was made to align festival, feast days and religious ceremonies/celebrations in tune with the seasons.
It was decided that adding one day every four years would keep it straight. That worked OK, for a while, then in 1582 Pope Gregory XII advanced the calendar by 11 days and came up with a new one. That year Romans went to bed on March 11 and woke up to a sun that rose on March 22. This compensated for a miscalculation made by Caesar’s astronomers.
However, the Pope’s astronomers came up with another Roman goof. They found that the Julian calendar was just over 10 minutes too long, so it was changed again. They devised a formula that goes this way: A century year could only be a leap year if it was divisible by 400, and set the starting point to coincide with that system. Therefore 1900 was not a leap year, but 2000 was.
This new calendar, the Gregorian named for Pope Gregory, is the one we use today.
Today marks a major milestone. My granddaughter Tabitha Pearigen will join students throughout the Valley and leave the past nine years in a m…
And, wouldn’t you know it, it was the Irish who gave women the right to propose on Leap Day. According to legend, women were allowed do the asking on Feb. 29. However, if the object of their affection turned them down, he had to give her 12 pairs of gloves. That, the legend goes, was to provide the disappointed lassie a pair for each month to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. Sounds to me the laddie got off too easy.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m giving myself a present and sharing an old favorite that is sure to be a hit with your Valentine.
This is truly a winner. I’ve been baking, gifting, sharing and extolling the virtues of this week’s doubly-delicious chocolate pie sing the 1970s. That’s when Kathy Mullins gave me the recipe.
It’s not your typical chocolate cream pie, it’s better. You can make it in minutes, about 15 to be exact. And, it has a quality that puts it head and shoulders above all the rest — the filling doesn’t weep, the crust stays crispy, so it never gets soggy. That to me is golden and it’s due to the main ingredient, chocolate chips.
Here’s another plus — use a brand or type you like. I prefer the semi-sweet, however you could use milk chocolate or even mint chocolate chips. Why not?
I’m a purest. Give me plain chocolate and keep it on the dark side.
Give this one a try, add it to your dessert repertoire and reputation. You’ll get raves.
KATHY’S CHOCOLATE PIE
1 baked nine-inch pie shell
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons milk
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
* * *
Melt chocolate with sugar, milk and salt in top of a double boiler*. Remove from heat, cool slightly then, while chocolate mixture is still hot, whisk in egg yolks, one at a time. Stir vanilla into chocolate/egg mixture. Beat egg whites to stiff stage and fold into chocolate mixture. When completely blended, pour into pie shell. Chill in refrigerator until set — takes at least three to four hours — and top with lightly sweetened and flavored whipped cream.
*I always use my microwave for this, just be very careful not to burn chocolate. Heat in short increments, about 45 seconds at a time, and check for softness after each zapping.
One of my generous neighbors, Lyn Hesford, shared the bounty from her blackberry bushes and gave me a recipe to try as an added extra.
Elaine Revelle, the Wooden Spoon, gets you caught up on all of the joy that making homemade tortillas can bring. She also shares some helpful recipes and tips on how to use them more often in your kitchen.
Long-time Valley resident Elaine Revelle can be reached at email@example.com
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