Braly: Confessions of the chocoholic

Braly: Confessions of the chocoholic

February 9th, 2011 by Anne Braly in Life Entertainment

Fudge Pie

1/2 cup butter

3 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate

11/4 cups sugar

1/4 cup flour

Pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

3 large eggs

1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

Melt the butter and chocolate in double boiler; beat in sugar. Fold in flour and salt. Add vanilla. Beat eggs; fold into chocolate mixture with pecans. Turn into a greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 F for 20 to 30 minutes. The center of the chocolate pie should still be moist when done. Serve with ice cream, and drizzle it with warmed chocolate sauce for added sweetness.

My name is Anne Braly, and I am a chocoholic. I suppose there's no better time to admit this than right before Valentine's Day, when chocoholics come out of their sweet closets.

According to the National Confectioners Association, more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day. And a survey conducted by the Chocolate Manufacturers Association revealed that 50 percent of women will likely buy chocolate for their men this holiday. I'd rather know how many men are buying chocolates for the women in their lives.

Years ago, I made a chocolate fudge pie every week, hiding it in the refrigerator, carefully concealed behind old jars of jelly and containers of leftovers that no one would touch. My family never caught on.

I've gotten over that delicious habit, thanks to Weight Watchers and other diet plans, but anyone who loves chocolate like I do knows that wasn't an easy habit to break.

Here's my recipe. It's so simple, you might want to make two-one for the two of you, the other to keep for yourself when those chocolate cravings come around.

Will you be taking your better half out to dinner to celebrate Valentine's? Several restaurants are making things all the more romantic by adding a few specials to their menus. Here are some suggestions:

* Broad Street Grille, 1201 Broad St., will serve Valentine's dinners Friday, Saturday and Monday. The delectable meal begins with an incredible antipasto table display that includes house-smoked salmon and trout, farmhouse cheese and roasted red pepper hummus. A refreshing cranberry-orange sorbet follows. Then choose your entree: grilled beef filet with jumbo Gulf shrimp, grilled free-range chicken breast with a Low Country crayfish fondue or house-made crab and boursin ravioli with pan-seared halibut filet, with suitable side dishes and a variety of desserts. Cost is $75 per couple. Reservations are required: 424-3700.

* The Big Table, 118 Cross St., at the corner of Mountain Creek Road, is normally closed on Monday nights but will be open 4:30-9 p.m. for this special day. Specials such as Lobster risotto, stuffed tenderloin, prime rib, crab cakes and skewered surf-and-turf (strip beef loin with bacon-wrapped sea scallops) will be among the offerings. Each woman will receive a yellow rose. Reservations are not necessary, but you can call to check on seating at 634-0772.

* The Back Inn Cafe in the Bluff View Art District, 411 Second St., will be serving a spectacular six-course wine pairing dinner for $75 per person from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Monday. Dinner begins with lamb lollipops, followed by tuna carpaccio, tomato bisque with Gulf oysters and a salad of mixed butter lettuce with creamy boursin ranch dressing. You get your choice of entrees: grilled beef tenderloin, semolina-crusted salmon or boudin sausage-stuffed chicken breast. Layered chocolate mousse served with rose macaroons will be presented for dessert. For reservations, call 265-5033, ext. 222.

* Sticky Fingers, 420 Broad St. and at Hamilton Place, has a "Ribs for Two" Valentine's special that runs Thursday through Monday. It includes two half slabs of Sticky Fingers' award-winning ribs, four sides and a dessert to share for $25. Guests can substitute pulled pork or smoked half chicken in lieu of ribs. Dessert options include a choice of banana pudding, bread pudding or peach cobbler. But you must have a copy of the offer with you; go to to print it out.

* It's also worth noting that all area locations of Ichiban will be open for lunch on Valentine's Day. Normally, the eateries are open only for dinner on Mondays., so this gives extra opportunities to enjoy a hibachi meal at these popular Japanese steakhouses. All three restaurants-5425 Hixson Pike, 5621 Brainerd Road and 5425 Highway 153-will begin serving at 11:30 a.m.

Wherever you go, I hope you have memorable, romantic meal. But don't forget the chocolate!

It's time to start experimenting with your best cornbread dishes to enter in the annual National Cornbread Cook-Off, to be held the last weekend of April in South Pittsburg. The deadline for entering is March 1, so start cooking.

Martha White spokeswoman and baking expert Linda Carman said chicken has been the most popular ingredient used in past winning entrees, with sausage second. However, as a past judge, I'll have to say shrimp was in the best dish I ever judged in the contest. It was a winner, too.

"The quality and creativity of cornbread recipes submitted to the contest continue to impress me year after year," Carman said in a news release. "We encourage entrants to experiment with different flavors, techniques and ingredients."

All dishes must use at least one package of Martha White cornbread mix and be cooked in a Lodge Cast Iron pan. Entries must also be accompanied by the contestant's name, address, daytime phone number, date of birth and name of grocery retailer. For complete rules, go online to or Ten finalists will be chosen to attend the cook-off.