Valentine's Day Recipe

After a brief departure chef Scott Howard is back cooking in Marin. As in his tenure at the former Fork restaurant in San Anselmo, the chef is drawing rave reviews and happy diners at his new Corte Madera spot Brick & Bottle. As usual, you can find Howard in the kitchen this Valentine’s Day, but he makes certain to prepare a special meal for his wife on his next night off. “The best memories are just being with my family and having a great time making delicious food together,” he says. This month we couldn’t resist featuring one of our favorite takes on the classic butterscotch pudding recipe, which Howard has featured on both Fork’s and now Brick & Bottle’s dessert menu.

Any favorite memories cooking for Valentine’s Day? Food is the way to my heart, so seeing happy couples enjoy the dishes I’m cooking is always a great feeling. The downside is that I never get to spend the day with my wife, so as a rule, I always cook a special meal on my next night off. With help from my daughters Zoey and Sophia, I’ll prepare a special dinner for her.

If you weren’t working where would you want to spend Valentine’s Day? I would go to a day spa in Carmel with my wife and we’d spend some quality time relaxing together.

Any tips that could help novice chefs with this butterscotch pudding recipe? The secret to successfully creating this dessert is to buy Tahitian vanilla beans as it will really help create a delicious flavor for the dessert. With this recipe, you have to be sure not to overcook the egg yolks as they will curdle.

Tell us about Brick & Bottle. With Brick & Bottle, we wanted to embrace local produce and build on neighborhood appeal. The idea was to create a local hangout and go-to-spot for high-quality food at affordable prices—a family-friendly setting that is accessible for everyone and for every occasion. Our menu features delicious, simple California cooking using ingredients straight from the
farmers’ market.

Any suggestions on other local restaurants with a great dessert list? Vin Antico in Marin has a wonderful dessert menu and the lemon mousse at Poggio is incredible!

Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? Always dark chocolate.

Butterscotch Pudding

Makes 2-6 servings
6 egg yolks
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
5 ounces butterscotch chips
Split and scrape vanilla beans into a sauce pot with the cream and bring to a simmer. In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk until blended. Yolks should be lightly pale.

Slowly ladle 1/4 cup of the hot cream into the yolks to temper them, then pour the yolk mixture into the remaining cream in the sauce pot. Using a rubber spatula, stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Place butterscotch chips in a large mixing bowl and pour the hot liquid over the chips and whisk until the chips are completely melted. Pass mixture through a chinois and portion into ramekins. Refrigerate until fully chilled and set, approximately 3-4 hours.