Valentine’s Day has become synonymous with flowers, chocolates, and going out to a fancy dinner (like the one at R Gang Eatery in San Diego.
For those of you who are a bit budget minded—or have been following along with the Healthy-in-2012 recipes I’ve been blogging about over the last few weeks—here’s a sweet way to spend quality time with your sweetie. You can make these menus together, or light some candles, set the table, and whip something up before he comes over. This is a great way to spend quality time together, make a romantic meal, share sweet fondue, and then find a reason to leave the dishes until morning. Besides, who doesn’t like an excuse to bust out the old “Kiss the Cook” apron!
As you can see, all of these recipes can be filed and saved for a later date—just like your guy.
Mixed Greens with Pear & Bleu Cheese Salad
3 cups Spring Mix (or your choice of lettuce mix/mixed greens)
Cherry / Grape / Teardrop Tomatoes
4 Tbsp Crumbled Bleu Cheese
1/2 Anjou or Bartlett Pear, julienned
Toasted Pecans, optional
Pear & Raspberry Vinaigrette
1/2 Anjou or Bartlett Pear, chopped
2 Tbsp. Seedless Raspberry Preserves
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 Tsp. Herbs de Provence
About 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Water or Apple Juice
To Prepare the Vinaigrette:
In a blender, combine pear, preserves, lemon juice, and HdP. Process until smooth. (You may need to add water or apple juice 1 tsp. at a time, if the mixture is too thick.)
With blender still running, stream in the oil until emulsified and thickened.
Season to taste with Salt & Pepper and reserve.
Toss Spring Mix, tomatoes, and julienned pears with enough dressing to coat, but not to make soggy or overly wet. Cut larger tomatoes in half and arrange on salads, along with some of the toasted pecans. Crumble the Bleu cheese over the salads and serve with additional vinaigrette on the side.
Lovers’ Shrimp Skewers with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Serves 2, with left over pesto
1/2 Tsp. Lemon Zest
1 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Tsp. Chili Powder
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. cup Lemon Juice
8 Jumbo Shrimp
Wooden Skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
1 Red Bell Pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Shallot, chopped
2-3 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
About 1/2 cup Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Basil, chiffonade (little thin ribbons)
Whisk together first 5 ingredients and pour into a re-sealable bag. Add shrimp, seal, and shake well for 1 minute.
Let marinate for 30 minutes to an hour. Remove shrimp from marinade and skewer 2 shrimp in the same direction, then 2 in the other (loosely forming a heart shape). Reserve until ready to prepare
In a food processor, combine the roasted pepper, garlic, shallot, and Parmesan cheese and process until smooth, being sure to scrape down the sides so that everything is blended.
With the food processor still running, stream in the olive oil until the mixture thickens (but you don’t want it too thick).
Season to taste with Salt & Pepper, and keep at room temperature until ready to serve.
To prepare: Heat a grill pan (or BBQ/Grill) over medium high heat. Brush the pan lightly with oil to prevent sticking, and then cook the shrimp about 2-3 minutes per side, cooking shrimp through, but being careful not to overcook (they should be opaque and firm). Spoon some of the pesto onto the plates and spread around into a heart shape. Then place a skewer of the cooked shrimp (which have hopefully now formed a heart shape) on top of the sauce. Garnish with some of the chiffonade of basil.
Roasted Lamb Chops with Rosemary Demi Glace
This one is great with some grilled asparagus and homemade mashed potatoes, or even just a simply dressed baked potato
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tsp. fresh Thyme leaves, crushed with your hands
2 Tbsp fresh Rosemary Leaves, crushed with your hands
2 Tsp. Kosher Salt
1 Tsp. Black Pepper, ground
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
4 Lamb Chops, about 1 1/4” thick
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, and 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil in a mixing bowl and mix well.
Add the lamb chops and turn in the mixture, coating well.
Keep at room temperature to marinate 30 minutes – 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a heavy, ovenproof skillet, heat remaining oil over high heat.
Add lamb, and cook until browned on both sides (about 3 minutes per side).
Transfer skillet to the oven and cook to desired doneness (about 10 minutes for medium-rare, 13-14 for medium).
Transfer the lamb to a serving plate and loosely cover with foil. Let rest 5 minutes before serving
Rosemary Demi Glace
Makes about 4 servings
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Red Onion, diced
1 cup Red Wine, Cabernet
2 cups Beef Stock, or prepared demi-glace
1 Tsp. Tomato Paste
1 sprig Rosemary
2 Tbsp. Flat Leaf Parsley
2 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onions until translucent. Add tomato paste and cook 1-2 minutes more, until paste begins to brown slightly.
Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping the bottom well. Then add the stock, rosemary, and parsley. Cook until reduced by about half (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat.
Strain sauce through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, then return to the pan and stir in the butter to thicken (no heat needed, the sauce will melt the butter).
Season to taste and keep warm until ready to serve.
Chocolate Fondue with assorted “Dippers”
1/2 cup Cream
7 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, broken into pieces
1 Tbsp. Liqueur of your choice (amaretto, fangelico, chambord, etc.) – optional
Pound Cake, cut into cubes
anything else you feel like dipping!
Heat the cream in a small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat until it’s just about to boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate pieces. Let stand 3-4 minutes.
Whisk the chocolate and cream together until smooth, and whisk in liqueur, if using.
Transfer to a fondue pot, mini crock pot, or small bowl over a tea candle and serve with an assortment of dippers on the side. Enjoy!
Save a Bear, eat my food instead.