It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

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falvegas
Posts: 7845
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:14 am

It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by falvegas » Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:45 pm

It’s time to start thinking ahead guys, because Valentines is right around the corner. You can take her to dinner or you can Impress her. Show her you know how to cook, more important that you’ll cook with her, that she’s not your mother. I know, I’m pressing your style…but here’re a few ideas.

Valentines Day 2009

Raspberry Smash Cocktails

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1/2 cup raspberries (3 oz)
3 tablespoons Chambord (black raspberry liqueur)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 half bottle Champagne or other semidry sparkling wine, chilled
Gently stir together raspberries, Chambord, and sugar in a small bowl, then macerate, covered and chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 2.
Spoon 2 tablespoons raspberries with some juice into each of 2 Champagne flutes or other glasses and slowly top off with Champagne.

Lobster, Avocado & Grapefruit Salad

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1 (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-lb) live Lobster (or 2/3 Lb cooked lobster from your seafood shop).
2 teaspoons finely chopped Shallot
1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 teaspoon table Salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin Olive Oil
1 pink or ruby-red Grapefruit
1 firm-ripe California Avocado
1 oz baby Arugula (2 cups)
Coarse Sea Salt to taste
** If using Live Lobster: Plunge lobster headfirst into an 8-quart pot of boiling salted water. Cook, covered, over high heat 6 minutes (for 1 1/4-lb lobster) or 7 minutes (for 1 1/2-lb lobster) from time it enters water. Transfer with tongs to sink to drain. When lobster is cool enough to handle, remove meat from tail and claws, keeping meat intact. Discard tomalley, any roe, and shells. Chill lobster, covered, until cold, 1 hour.
** While lobster chills, stir together shallot, lemon juice, and table salt in a small bowl and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Add oil in a stream, whisking.
** Cut peel, including all white pith, from grapefruit with a sharp knife. Cut segments free from membranes and transfer segments to paper towels to drain.
** Halve avocado lengthwise, discarding pit. (Save 1 half, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for another use.) Halve remaining avocado half lengthwise and peel, then cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices.
** Cut lobster tail meat crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Divide avocado and all of lobster meat between 2 salad plates and arrange grapefruit around them. Top with arugula and drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt (if using) and serve immediately.
NOTE: Lobster can be cooked day ahead and chilled, covered. Slice tail meat just before assembling salad. Dressing can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Whisk well just before drizzling. Grapefruit segments can be cut 2 hours ahead and chilled in 1 layer on a paper-towel-lined plate, covered with plastic wrap. Avocado can be cut 1 hour ahead and chilled, its surface covered with plastic wrap, on a plate.

Duck Breast with Crème Fraîche and Roasted Grapes
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Ingredients
6 6- to 8-ounce duck breasts (thawed if frozen)
1 tablespoon dried juniper berries, crushed in resealable plastic bag using flat side of mallet
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 pound purple seedless grapes, cut into small clusters
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse kosher salt
3 cups arugula
1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream, stirred to loosen
Preparation
**Using sharp knife, score skin of duck breast diagonally to create 3/4-inch-wide diamond pattern. Sprinkle crushed juniper berries and thyme over both sides of breast; press to adhere. Place on rimmed baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 4 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
Preheat oven to 500°F.
** Arrange grape clusters in single layer on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Roast until skins are slightly crisp but grapes are still soft and juicy inside, about 14 minutes. Cool. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
** Sprinkle both sides of duck breasts with salt and pepper. Heat heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add duck, skin side down; cook until almost all fat is rendered, about 7 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until skin is brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. Turn duck over and cook about 3 minutes longer for medium-rare. Let duck rest 5 minutes.
** Divide arugula among 6 plates. Thinly slice duck breasts crosswise and fan out slightly; place 1 breast atop arugula on each plate. Drizzle crème fraîche over each breast. Divide grapes among plates.

Bay Scallops w/Polenta, Wild Mushroom, Sherry & Parsley Bread Crumbs
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1 cup fresh breadcrumbs from French bread with crust
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
12 ounces fresh chanterelle mushrooms or other mushrooms (oyster, stemmed shiitake, or crimini, quartered if large)
2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup Sherry
1/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
4 cups (or more) water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta
1 pound bay scallops
Preheat oven to 350°F.
** Toss breadcrumbs with olive oil and parsley in medium bowl to blend. Spread onto rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden and crunchy, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. (Can be made day ahead, cool, in airtight container)
** Melt 4 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and thyme. Sauté until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add green onions; sauté 1 minute. Add Sherry; boil until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add broth. Boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add cream; simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. (Can be made 3 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
** Bring 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook polenta until tender, adding more water as needed if too thick, and whisking frequently, about 20 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
** Reheat mushroom mixture. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in another large skillet over high heat. Add scallops and sauté until just translucent in center, about 1 minute. Stir scallops and juices into mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide polenta among 6 plates. Spoon scallop mixture over polenta, sprinkle breadcrumbs over, and serve.


Venison Tenderloin & Madeira Green Peppercorn Sauce
Beef Tenderloin is a good alternative here. Beef isn’t as dense as venison so the portions are larger (cook time and temperatures are a bit different)

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1 (1/2-lb) piece venison tenderloin (1 1/2 inches in diameter), trimmed, at room temperature for 30 minutes (or Tenderloin, see Note below)
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1/4 cup Madeira wine
1/3 cup beef or veal demi-glace
1 teaspoon drained green peppercorns in brine, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
An instant-read thermometer
Parsnip Crisps for garnish ( Heat 1 inch oil in a heavy saucepan, moderate heat. Peel parsnip, then shave ribbons from parsnip with vegetable peeler. Fry ribbons in 3 batches, stirring frequently, until edges are golden but middles are still pale, about 40 seconds to 1 minute per batch. Transfer parsnips to paper towels to drain, then season lightly with salt. Parsnips will crisp as they cool)
Directions
Preheat oven to 425°F., put oven rack in middle
** Pat the Venison dry and sprinkle with black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
** Heat the oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until just smoking, then brown venison on all sides (except ends), about 3 minutes total.
Transfer skillet with venison to oven and roast until thermometer inserted diagonally 2 inches into center registers 115°F, 4 to 5 minutes.
** Transfer venison with tongs to a plate and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 5 minutes (temperature will rise to 125°F for medium-rare).
** While meat stands, add shallot to skillet (handle will be hot) and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Add Madeira and deglaze skillet by boiling, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until liquid is reduced by half, about 1 minute.
** Add demi-glace and boil, stirring, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in peppercorns, butter, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and any meat juices that have accumulated on plate, then remove from heat.
Cut venison into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve with sauce.
NOTES: Beef tenderloin can be substituted. Use 1 (3/4-lb) filet mignon (3 inches in diameter). Brown on all sides (including ends), about 5 minutes total, then roast until thermometer inserted into center registers 120°F, 18 to 20 minutes. Let stand, loosely covered with foil, 10 minutes (temperature will rise to 130°F for medium-rare). Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet before making sauce.


ACCOMPANIMENTS

Potato Gratin with Bacon and Thyme
Ingredients
1 large head of garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium onions, halved lengthwise, each half cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, divided
1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
Preparation
Preheat oven to 400°F.
** Cut off top 1/2 inch from head of garlic. Wrap garlic in foil and roast until soft, about 45 minutes. Cool. Squeeze garlic cloves into small bowl; mash with fork. Cover and reserve.
** Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of onions and 1 tablespoon thyme and cook until slightly softened, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes. Add remaining onions and sauté until very soft, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until deep golden brown, stirring frequently, about 40 minutes longer. Set aside.
** Sauté bacon in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until bacon is beginning to crisp around edges, about 4 minutes. Pour off drippings from pan. Add cream, 1 tablespoon roasted garlic, and 2 teaspoons thyme; simmer until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Cool.
** Peel and thinly slice potatoes with Mandoline or knife. Spoon 1/2 cup cream mixture over bottom of 8x8x2-inch metal or ceramic baking dish. Arrange 1/3 of potato slices over cream, overlapping as necessary. Sprinkle with pepper and 1/3 teaspoon coarse salt. Spread half of caramelized onions over potatoes. Spoon half of remaining cream mixture over onions. Cover with half of remaining potatoes. Sprinkle with pepper and 1/3 teaspoon salt. Spread remaining onions over potatoes. Spoon all but 2 tablespoons cream mixture over onions. Cover with remaining potato slices. Sprinkle with black pepper and remaining 1/3 teaspoon salt. Drizzle with remaining cream mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon thyme. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, then foil.
** Bake until potatoes are tender when pierced with knife (pierce knife through foil), about 45 minutes. Carefully remove foil and plastic wrap (steam will be released). (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Increase oven temperature to 500°F. Bake until top is golden brown, about 10 minutes longer (or about 15 minutes if at room temperature). Let stand 10 minutes. Serve


Warm Crepes with Hazelnut Brown Butter
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Crepes
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Additional melted butter
Hazelnut cream
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked
1/2 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon Frangelico
Sauce
2 tablespoons Frangelico
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, chopped
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Preparation
For crepes:
** Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Make well in center of flour mixture. Whisk milk and next 5 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Add to flour mixture; whisk to blend. Cover; let stand at room temperature 2 hours.
** Heat nonstick skillet with 7-inch-diameter bottom over medium-high heat. Brush bottom with melted butter. Pour generous 2 tablespoons batter into skillet; swirl to coat bottom. Cook until edges are light brown, about 30 seconds. Loosen edges gently with spatula and turn crepe over. Cook until bottom begins to brown in spots, about 30 seconds. Transfer to plate. Cover with paper towel. Repeat to make 12 crepes total, brushing skillet with melted butter as needed and stacking crepes between paper towels. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Hazelnut cream:
** Using on/off turns, finely chop nuts with sugar in processor. Add remaining ingredients; process until blended.
Butter rimmed baking sheet. Place 1 crepe on work surface. Place 1 tablespoon hazelnut cream in lower right quarter of crepe. Fold crepe in half over cream, then into quarters, folding to show layers. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Place 1 teaspoon hazelnut cream atop crepe. Repeat with remaining 11 crepes and hazelnut cream. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake until crepes are hot and crisp around edges, about 6 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare sauce:
Stir Frangelico and sugar in small bowl until sugar dissolves. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat; cook until butter browns, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in Frangelico mixture, nuts, and salt.
Divide crepes among 6 plates. Spoon sauce over and around crepes.


DESERTS

Port-Glazed Grape Tarts with Pecan Crust
Shavings of Stilton cheese on these tarts
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Ingredients
Tart shells
1/2 cup pecans (2 oz), lightly toasted
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
Grape filling
2 cups Ruby Port
1 1/2 cups Concord grape jelly
3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
5 lb small red seedless grapes, stems discarded (12 1/2 cups)
Special equipment: 2 (11 1/4- by 8- by 1-inch) rectangular tart pans with removable bottoms, or 2 (10-inch) round fluted tart pans with removable bottoms
Preparation
Tart shells:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
** Pulse pecans with brown sugar in a food processor until finely ground (do not allow to become a paste). Add flour, butter, cinnamon, ginger, and salt and pulse until mixture begins to form large lumps. Divide mixture between tart pans and press evenly over bottom and up sides with floured fingers. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
** Bake tart shells in lower third of oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer shells in pans to racks to cool completely. Carefully remove sides of pans, keeping shells on pan base.
Make filling as shells cool:
** Simmer Port and jelly, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 30 minutes, then stir in lemon juice. Immediately toss grapes with 1 cup glaze in a large bowl until well coated, then mound in tart shells.
Just before serving, drizzle tarts with more glaze and serve remainder on the side.
Notes: Tart shells can be made 2 days ahead. Remove sides of tart pans before filling. Port glaze can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat before proceeding. Tarts can be assembled 4 hours ahead.

Tropical Fruit Crepes with Vanilla Bean and Rum Butter Sauce
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INGREDIENTS
Crepes
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
RUM BUTTER SAUCE
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3 tablespoons dark rum
TROPICAL FRUIT
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup 3/4-inch cubes peeled fresh pineapple
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 cup 3/4-inch cubes peeled seeded papaya (from about 1 large)
1 cup 3/4-inch cubes peeled pitted mango (from about 1 large)
Preparation
Crepes:
** Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. DO AHEAD Crepe batter can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reblend before using.
** Line plate with paper towel or parchment paper. Heat 9-inch-diameter nonstick skillet with 7-inch-diameter bottom over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons crepe batter to skillet; tilt and swirl skillet to spread batter evenly over bottom. Cook until center of crepe is cooked through and edges are lightly browned, about 1 minute. Run spatula around crepe and invert onto prepared paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining batter, placing paper towels or parchment paper between crepes. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Rum Butter Sauce
** Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and salt in medium bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add rum and beat until well blended. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Tropical Fruit
** Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pineapple to skillet and scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Add sugar and salt; stir until sugar dissolves and pineapple and pan juices are lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in lime juice. Remove from heat. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 300°F.
** Place crepe stack (with paper towels between crepes) on rimmed baking sheet. Cover baking sheet with foil; warm crepes in oven until heated through, about 15 minutes. Place rum butter sauce mixture in small saucepan; heat over medium heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Rewarm tropical fruit mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Stir in papaya and mango.
** Place 1 crepe on plate, browned side down. Spoon 2 teaspoons rum butter sauce over crepe, then fold crepe into quarters. Repeat with 2 more crepes on same plate. Spoon tropical fruit over. Repeat with remaining crepes, rum butter sauce, and tropical fruit, placing 3 crepes on each of 6 plates. Spoon any remaining rum butter sauce over crepes and serve.

Cherry-Almond Clafouti
Clafouti is a simple French dessert, a cross between a pancake and a custard. You can use other fruits
Ingredients
1/2 cup whole almonds (about 2 ounces)
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces dark sweet cherries, pitted, halved (about 2 cups)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Powdered sugar
Directions
** Blend almonds in processor until ground but not pasty. Transfer to small saucepan; add milk and bring to simmer. Remove from heat; let steep 30 minutes. Pour through fine strainer, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids in strainer.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
** Butter 10-inch-diameter glass pie dish; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Scatter cherries evenly over bottom of dish.
** Using electric mixer, beat eggs, almond extract, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in medium bowl until well blended. Add strained almond milk and beat to blend. Sift flour into egg mixture and beat until smooth. Pour mixture over cherries.
** Bake until set and knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool completely. Can be made 6 hours ahead. Lightly dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Chocolate Macaroons with Chocolate or Caramel Filling Prepare it a day ahead.
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Ingredients
Chocolate filling
3/4 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Caramel Filling
2 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 cups (packed) powdered sugar
6 tablespoons water
Macaroons
1 1-pound box powdered sugar
2 cups whole blanched almonds
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup egg whites (about 6 large)
Preparation
Chocolate filling
** Bring milk and butter to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Cool. Cover and refrigerate until thick and cold, at least 1 day and up to 3 days.
Caramel Filling
** Place yolks in medium bowl. Bring 4 tablespoons butter and cream to simmer in heavy small saucepan. Gradually whisk hot cream mixture into yolks. Anchor bowl with yolk mixture by placing bowl on wet kitchen towel; set aside.
** Stir sugar and 6 tablespoons water in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan so caramel will color evenly, about 10 minutes.
** Slowly whisk hot caramel into yolk mixture, then whisk until smooth. Transfer caramel mixture to small bowl; let stand until no longer warm to touch (caramel will become too thick if it cools too long), about 1 hour. Whisk in remaining butter. ** Cover and chill until thick and cold, at least 1 day and up to 3 days.
Macaroons
** Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Blend powdered sugar and almonds in processor until nuts are ground to powder, scraping sides of bowl often, about 8 minutes. Add cocoa and blend 1 minute more. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold nut mixture into whites in 4 additions, making thick batter.
** Spoon half of batter into pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch plain round tip. Pipe batter onto each prepared sheet in 12 walnut-size mounds, spacing mounds apart (cookies will spread slightly).
** Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until firm to touch in center and dry and cracked on top, about 11 minutes. Slide parchment with cookies onto work surface; cool cookies. Repeat with remaining batter, cooling sheets completely and lining with clean parchment for each batch.
Assembly
** Arrange 1 macaroon, flat side up, on work surface. Drop 1 scant tablespoon filling onto cookie. Top with second macaroon, flat side down. Press lightly to adhere, making sandwich. Repeat with remaining macaroons and filling. Arrange macaroons on platter. Cover; chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Serve cold.

Floating Islands
Meringue floating on a vanilla custard sauce is really a homey French farmhouse dessert
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Ingredients
Sauce
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
Meringues
2 cups whole milk
4 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
Caramel
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Preparation
Sauce
** Scrape seeds from vanilla bean halves into heavy small saucepan; add beans. Add milk and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, cover, and steep 10 minutes.
** Whisk yolks and sugar in heavy medium saucepan until thick, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in warm milk mixture (including vanilla beans). Stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 9 minutes (do not boil). Strain custard into small bowl. Cover and chill until cold, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
Meringues
** Lay smooth kitchen towel on work surface. Pour milk into medium (10-inch) skillet. Bring milk to simmer over medium heat.
** Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl until foamy. Add salt and beat until whites hold soft peaks. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until whites are stiff and glossy. Scoop some meringue (about twice the size of an egg) onto large oval spoon. Using another large spoon and gently transferring meringue from spoon to spoon, shape meringue into smooth oval. Drop oval into milk. Quickly shape 2 or 3 more meringues, dropping each into milk. Simmer meringues 1 minute.
** Using heatproof rubber spatula, turn meringues over in milk. Simmer 1 minute longer (meringues will puff up while poaching).
** Using slotted spoon, transfer meringues to towel (meringues will deflate slightly as they cool). Repeat process, shaping and then poaching enough meringues to make total of 12. Transfer meringues to waxed-paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
Caramel
** Stir sugar and 1/4 cup water in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to boil, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush to dissolve any sugar crystals. Boil until syrup is pale golden color, occasionally swirling pan, about 6 minutes.
** Remove pan from heat. Let syrup cool until thick enough to fall from tines of fork in ribbons, about 8 minutes. (If caramel becomes too thick, rewarm slightly over low heat, stirring constantly.)
** Spoon some sauce into center of each plate. Arrange 2 meringues on each. Dip fork into caramel and wave back and forth over meringues so that caramel comes off in strands that harden like threads, and serve.

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Pixie
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:56 pm

Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:57 pm

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm at a loss for words!!!!!!!!!!!!! And that's rare!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is incredible!!!!!!!!!!!

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falvegas
Posts: 7845
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:14 am

Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by falvegas » Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:51 pm

Pixie wrote:WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm at a loss for words!!!!!!!!!!!!! And that's rare!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is incredible!!!!!!!!!!!
My brother asked me for some Ideas, so I'm putting together a suite of alternatives for him. He's a pretty good cook, and they get together on Valentines (with my brothers-in-law) and plan a great dinner for all the gals. As the girls are still looking for that F-clarity 4 Carrot that wasn't in their stocking. Hey...I may just cook some of these myself. Aren't they just mouth watering, and .....heart warming looking? This is tough because I don't want to think of 'serious food' for a few more weeks.

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falvegas
Posts: 7845
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:14 am

Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by falvegas » Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:55 pm

Flamed Strawberries and Chocolate
Ingredients
4 Oz bar Dark Chocolate ~ 70% cocoa solids
1 Pkg. Strawberries
4 TBS Brandy or Kirsch
1/4 cup 2 oz Sugar (superfine granulated)
2 TBS (1 oz) Butter
2 TBS double cream (Heavy Cream)
Directions
** Place the chocolate in a bowl and place over a pan of hot water to melt.
** Hull the strawberries and cut in half. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the strawberries and the Brandy or Kirsch. Cook for 30 seconds only, then remove from the heat. Light with a match and stand back. Once the flames have gone, remove the strawberries to a serving plate keeping the juices in the pan.
** Put the frying pan back over the heat, add the sugar and butter, and stir together until the mixture begins to caramelize. Lastly add the cream and stir through.
** Pour the sauce over the strawberries, drizzle over the melted chocolate, and serve immediately.

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Pixie
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:56 pm

Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:06 am

Oh, the duck breast and the venison tenderloin really caught my fancy! I love the port glazed grapes and the potato gratin!!!!!!!!!

Very nice!!!!!!!!!!! Who in the world would want to go out!!!!!!!!!! :lolh: Not me! I'd say much of the fun could be had shopping together for all the ingredients and then cooking the meal together as you mentioned!

That would be a great way to celebrate Valentine's Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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falvegas
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Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:14 am

Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by falvegas » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:36 am

Crab and Fennel Salad
A romantic salad with a crunch & hint of licorice from fennel, and fennel seeds make the Crab taste more intensely like itself.

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Ingredients
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons mild extra-virgin olive oil
1 small fennel bulb (sometimes labeled “anise”; 6 to 8 oz), stalks cut off and discarded
1/4 lb jumbo lump crabmeat (about 1/2 cup), picked over
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
1 cup baby lettuces (preferably red, such as amaranth, lolla rossa, and red basil) or mâche (lamb's lettuce)
Special equipment:
An electric coffee/spice grinder; an adjustable-blade slicer; 2 (3-inch) metal entremet (pastry) rings at least 2 inches high or 2 clean empty cans with top and bottom removed
Directions
** Finely grind fennel seeds in grinder
** Whisk ground seeds together with salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined.
** Shave fennel bulb with slicer crosswise into paper-thin slices until you have enough to measure 1 packed cup. (Halve bulb lengthwise if too large for slicer.) Toss with 2 teaspoons vinaigrette in another small bowl.
** Toss crabmeat with chives and 1 tablespoon vinaigrette in a third small bowl.
** Put each metal ring in center of a salad plate. Divide crab mixture between them, pressing down on it lightly with your fingertips.
** Toss lettuces with fennel mixture and divide between rings, pressing slightly without flattening tops.
** Drizzle remaining vinaigrette and remaining tablespoon oil around plates. Remove rings before serving.
Note: Fennel can be tossed with vinaigrette 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Pour off any excess liquid just before tossing with lettuces. Crab mixture can be made 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered.

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falvegas
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Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:14 am

Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by falvegas » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:46 am

Steak Diane
This is easy, no labor-intensive veal stock and a tableside flambé. Using a puréed black-bean soup (canned) creates a velvety, convincing sauce.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 (3/4-inch-thick) flatiron steaks (about 6 oz each)
1 (16- to 19-oz) can black-bean soup
4 scallions, chopped (1 cup)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Madeira
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat butter and oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until foam subsides. Meanwhile, pat steaks dry and sprinkle both sides with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (total). Cook steaks, turning once, until browned and medium-rare, 6 to 8 minutes total.
While steaks cook, stir soup in can, then transfer 2/3 cup to a blender (reserve remainder for another use) and blend until very smooth, about 2 minutes.
Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let stand, loosely covered, 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet and cook scallions over medium heat, stirring, until softened. Stir in blended soup along with remaining ingredients and any juices from meat and bring to a boil. Spoon some of sauce over steaks and serve remainder on the side.

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by falvegas » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:55 am

Chocolate Truffle Tart
The tart has a pudding-like center, with bittersweet chocolate so the ganache filling isn’t too sweet.
CRUST
28 chocolate wafers such as Nabisco Famous, finely ground in a food processor (1 1/2 cups)
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled completely
FILLING
1/2 lb fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), coarsely chopped
3/4 stick stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
EQUIPMENT:
8-inch (20-cm) round springform pan
GARNISH:
Unsweetened cocoa powder for sprinkling
MAKE CRUST:
** Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Wrap a sheet of foil over bottom of springform pan (in case of leaks). Lightly butter side of pan.
** Stir together ground wafers and butter in a bowl until combined, then pat mixture evenly onto bottom of pan and 1 1/2 inches up side. Bake until crust is slightly puffed, about 10 minutes, then cool completely in pan on a rack, about 15 minutes. Leave oven on.
MAKE FILLING:
** Melt chocolate and butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth, then remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.
** Whisk together eggs, cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a bowl. Whisk chocolate mixture into egg mixture until combined well.
ASSEMBLE AND BAKE:
** Pour filling into cooled crust and rap pan once on counter to eliminate any air bubbles. Bake until filling 1 inch from edge is set and slightly puffed but center trembles slightly when pan is gently shaken, 20 to 25 minutes. (Center will continue to set as it cools.)
** Cool tart completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours. Chill, uncovered, until center is firm, about 4 hours. Remove side of pan and sprinkle with cocoa to serve.

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by falvegas » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:12 pm

Creme Brulee(Falvegas)

I INGREDIENTS [Makes about 6 to 7 ramekins]

* 6-Egg Yolks (reserve egg whites for baking, omelets etc.)
* 3-Cups Heavy Cream
* 6 to 7-Heaping Tbs. Sugar (granulated white)
* 1-Vanilla Bean (or 2-1/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract)
* 2-Pinches Salt
* 1/3-Cup Light Brown Sugar (sifted) [see note ** at end of Recipe]
* 5 to 6-Cups Ice Cubes

II EQUIPMENT
* Double Boiler
* Saucepan and Mixing Bowl (if not using double boiler). Use steel bowl, sized to sit on the pan rim, and bottom of bowl to be above boiling water level in pan.
* Whisk or electric mixer with whisk attachment
* 1-Mixing Bowl (2 bowls if not using a double boiler)
* 5-6 Ramekins (about 6-ounce size, must be oven-proof)
* Oven-proof dish or pan (at least 12 13 inch wide by 9-10 inch deep by 2-3 inch deep)

III COOKING CREME
A. Heat oven to 275 DEG F. Make room for Ramekins in refrigerator (FRIG).
B. Place Cream in Double Boiler or Mixing Bowl, and heat, stirring frequently (do not let the cream boil). Bottom of Mix Bowl shouldn’t touch boiling water.
C. If Vanilla Extract is used, go to step (D). Slit the Vanilla Bean lengthwise, spread open. Add to hot cream. Heat in the cream for 20 to 30 minutes or until the full vanilla flavor releases into the cream. Lightly scrape bean-pulp into cream, and discard the shell. Mix well.
D. Add Sugar to Cream and stir until well dissolved (2-3 minutes)
E. Whisk Egg Yolks until they’re light and smooth. Add Vanilla Extract, if not using Vanilla Bean in step C, and add Salt. Mix well.
F. Pour Hot Cream into Egg Mixture very, very slowly so as not to cook the egg yolks. Stir mixture briskly, constantly while pouring.
G. Pour finished Creme mixture into Ramekins. The Ramekins should be filled to about 1/4 inch from the top, making room for the topping of brown sugar added in a later step, after cooking and cooling.
H. Place Ramekins, evenly spaced, into Ovenproof Baking Dish or Pan. Pour in one (1) inch boiling water. Place on lower rack in oven.

I. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until set (Insert a toothpick or Tie Wrap into the Creme...should come out clean). Be attentive so the Creme doesn’t overcook.
NOTE: If Oven burners are too close to Ramekins, dome Aluminum Foil over Baking Dish, without touching the Ramekins.
J. Once the Crème is cooked set Ramekins in cold water until they can be handled. Or, pour cold water into the pan they were baked in.
K. Cover the Ramekins with plastic, and chill in FRIG at least a few hours.

IV FINISHING THE CRÈME BRULEE
A. Take Ramekins from FRIG. Sprinkle tops of Crème uniformly with 1/8-inch Brown Sugar. Pat sugar with fingers so it’s moderately firm and uniformly covers the top of the Crème to the sides of the Ramekins.
B. Place ramekins in Ovenproof Pan, and surround with Ice Cubes. Add one (1) inch cold water. Ice keeps Crème from cooking again while the sugar is being caramelized in the broiler. Or can use K Torch (See note at end of recipe)
C. Place under broiler with top of ramekins 2 to 3 inches from upper broil element. Cook 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar melts and is bubbly.
D. Remove pan from broiler, and place Ramekins in cold water for a few minutes, making sure not to get the contents wet.
E. Cover Ramekins with wrap, and return to the refrigerator until chilled, ready to serve.

SERVING THE CRÈME:
Serve the Crème chilled. Crack the sugar caramel by
tapping lightly with a spoon.

NOTES:
* If a kitchen torch is available eliminate the broiler, and the ice bath in Step IV.
** Can make a few of the Crème’s without the caramelized Brown Sugar (Leave
Plain) After about 24 hours, the caramelized sugar will start to liquefy. To Plain
Crème’s you can add fresh fruit, Strawberries or Raspberries (with or without a bit of
fruit syrup). You can also add Shaved Chocolate.

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:16 pm

Oh, wow! Creme Brulee is my all time favorite desert!!!!!!!!!! The only thing close is Chocolate Mousse and, as I said in Royd's thread, Rice Pudding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:clap2: :clap2: :clap2:

I'll have to check out this recipe more closely as I have a favorite that I got from Cook's Magazine.

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:21 pm

CREME BRULEE
Printed from COOKS.COM
________________________________________
2 1/3 c. heavy cream
2/3 c. milk
1/4 c. granulated sugar
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Heat cream, milk, sugar in a heavy saucepan to almost boiling. In a separate bowl beat whole eggs and extra egg yolks together well.

Gradually whisk the heated mixture into the eggs, then return mixture to the saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard coats the back of the spoon (3 to 4 minutes); remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.

Pour custard into 6 individual custard dishes or into 1 shallow baking dish about 9 inches across. Set dish or dishes in a large pan and place on the middle rack of the oven. Pour hot water into the outer pan to come level with custard. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until center is set.

When done, remove custard from water bath and cool. Cover and chill. A few hours before serving, preheat broiler. Sift brown sugar over top of custard. Set custard under broiler as close to heat as possible. Broil until browned about 1 1/2 minutes. Watch closely. Remove and chill.

Makes 6 portions.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
This is the recipe I've used for about 15 years!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to give yours a try... maybe this weekend!!!!!!!!!!

I have a torch so I don't use the broiler to brown & crisp the sugar but it's fine to do it that way.

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:34 pm

Roasted Fresh Figs with Gorgonzola
Serves: 4 servings

12 ripe figs
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Gorgonzola
1/3 cup good-quality honey
4 pinches finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a paring knife, carefully trim any tough portion of the stems from each fig. Rub each fig all over with extra-virgin olive oil, then slice down through the stem about 3/4-inch. Make a second cut perpendicular to the first cut, so that you have an X-shaped cut in the top of each fig. Gently pry the edges apart and stuff each fig with about 1 teaspoon of the Gorgonzola. Place the figs upright on a baking sheet and bake until the figs are plump and shiny but have not burst, about 10 minutes.

Drizzle equal amounts of the honey on each of 4 serving plates and place the figs on top of the honey. Sprinkle each plate with a pinch of the chopped rosemary and some of the remaining Gorgonzola. Serve immediately.
++++++++++++++++++++++++
You can feed each other these!!!!!!!!! Now, please I'm not being... well, whatever it's just an idea!! :embarrassed:

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:37 pm

Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Serves: ??????
1 pound chocolate covered strawberries 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 pound strawberries with stems (about 20), washed and dried very well


Put the semisweet and white chocolates into 2 separate heatproof medium bowls. Fill 2 medium saucepans with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowls of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until smooth. (Alternatively, melt the chocolates in a microwave at half power, for 1 minute, stir and then heat for another minute or until melted.)
Once the chocolates are melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. Dip a fork in the white chocolate and drizzle the white chocolate over the dipped strawberries.

Set the strawberries aside until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.

Copyright 2003 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Oh, goodness it wouldn't be a Valentine's Recipe Thread without a recipe for Chocolate Dipped Strawberries... see the above note for an idea! :lolh: :embarrassed:

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:41 pm

Filet Mignon with Rich Balsamic Glaze
Yields: 2 servings

"Beef tenderloin filets are browned, and then cooked in red wine and balsamic vinegar for a quick and simple dinner for two."

INGREDIENTS:
2 (4 ounce) filet mignon steaks
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste salt to taste
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dry red wine

DIRECTIONS:
1. Sprinkle freshly ground pepper over both sides of each steak, and sprinkle with salt to taste.

2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place steaks in hot pan, and cook for 1 minute on each side, or until browned. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add balsamic vinegar and red wine. Cover, and cook for 4 minutes on each side, basting with sauce when you turn the meat over.

3. Remove steaks to two warmed plates, spoon one tablespoon of glaze over each, and serve immediately.

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:43 pm

Easy Asparagus
Yields: 2 servings

"Asparagus cooked right in the frying pan, drizzled with an onion-wine glaze and parmesan cheese."

INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup sliced purple onion
1 clove garlic, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
lemon pepper to taste
10 spears fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons white wine
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon crushed whole
wheat crackers

DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Mix in onion and garlic, and season with salt, pepper, and lemon pepper. Cook and stir until tender. Place asparagus in the skillet, and cook 8 minutes, turning occasionally to coat with seasonings. Sprinkle wine into the skillet, and scrape up any browned bits.

2. Transfer asparagus to a shallow dish. Drizzle with remaining mixture in skillet, and dust evenly with Parmesan cheese and crushed whole wheat crackers.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
It's a bit early for asparagus season... but, what the heck! If they look good buy them!!!!!!!

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by falvegas » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:45 pm

Pixie wrote:Oh, wow! Creme Brulee is my all time favorite desert!!!!!!!!!! The only thing close is Chocolate Mousse and, as I said in Royd's thread, Rice Pudding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:clap2: :clap2: :clap2:

I'll have to check out this recipe more closely as I have a favorite that I got from Cook's Magazine.
Made that Creme so many times I never look at a recipe. Problem with doing so many dishes from memory, it's harder and longer to write them down than it is to explain them verbally...or just show someone. I did notice a lot of Creme recipes that don't chill the Creme overnight before they serve it or caramelize it...a no-no.

Over several years I'd amassed several hundred DVD recordings from the greats, Pepin, Puck, Keller, and a dozen others BUT they were not organized. I took one weekend and made 12 DVD's, organized by topic, annotated, edited all commercials and non essentials out. Gave these to my neice as a gift because she visualizes better than reading a recipe. As we all do. Once you see it...you know exactly what to do...sometimes forever.

I'm oraganizing my files today, before I go back to the office. Got enough in here to write a book. Hey Pix, there's an idea. I'm also organizing a compendium of Valentines recipes for my brother and brother-in-laws. I'll be about 15 to 20 pages of stuff for them to choose from. They can make their own menu from it. pick-n-choose. That's why I've been popping things in. When I see something applicable I post it.

Last day a free man. Then I'll be out of your hair forever....sort of.

Rice...it's OK never been one of my favorites. Few starches are. I do throw my own Pasta together often. It's quick, and cooks quick. I prefer homemade pasta to Potatoes, and Rice. I like wild rice, sometimes California Brown. But I will use it in Etoufee's...sometimes.

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:48 pm

First Class Bleu Cheese Salad
Yields: 2 servings

Nearly everyone who had this salad commented on how good it was. Romaine lettuce, toasted almonds and hard-cooked egg are tossed with blue cheese dressing. This salad is best if served very cold and not made too far in advance of serving."

INGREDIENTS:
1 hard-cooked egg, sieved or finely chopped
8 romaine lettuce leaves, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing (you can make your own or use a bottled, I'll post my recipe)
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a medium bowl, toss together the egg, romaine lettuce, blue cheese dressing, toasted almonds, and crumbled blue cheese.

Divide between two serving plates.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Romaine is my favorite lettuce!

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:51 pm

falvegas wrote:
Pixie wrote:Oh, wow! Creme Brulee is my all time favorite desert!!!!!!!!!! The only thing close is Chocolate Mousse and, as I said in Royd's thread, Rice Pudding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:clap2: :clap2: :clap2:

I'll have to check out this recipe more closely as I have a favorite that I got from Cook's Magazine.
Made that Creme so many times I never look at a recipe. Problem with doing so many dishes from memory, it's harder and longer to write them down than it is to explain them verbally...or just show someone. I did notice a lot of Creme recipes that don't chill the Creme overnight before they serve it or caramelize it...a no-no.

Over several years I'd amassed several hundred DVD recordings from the greats, Pepin, Puck, Keller, and a dozen others BUT they were not organized. I took one weekend and made 12 DVD's, organized by topic, annotated, edited all commercials and non essentials out. Gave these to my neice as a gift because she visualizes better than reading a recipe. As we all do. Once you see it...you know exactly what to do...sometimes forever.

I'm oraganizing my files today, before I go back to the office. Got enough in here to write a book. Hey Pix, there's an idea. I'm also organizing a compendium of Valentines recipes for my brother and brother-in-laws. I'll be about 15 to 20 pages of stuff for them to choose from. They can make their own menu from it. pick-n-choose. That's why I've been popping things in. When I see something applicable I post it.

Last day a free man. Then I'll be out of your hair forever....sort of.

Rice...it's OK never been one of my favorites. Few starches are. I do throw my own Pasta together often. It's quick, and cooks quick. I prefer homemade pasta to Potatoes, and Rice. I like wild rice, sometimes California Brown. But I will use it in Etoufee's...sometimes.
What a great gift to your niece!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you kept a copy for yourself?????

Ummmm, if I may... I don't want you out of my life!!!!!!!!!!!! :lolh: :nono: :nono: :nono:

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:57 pm

Blue Cheese Dressing
Yields: 12 servings

"This is the BEST I have ever tasted, but not for the fat conscious."

INGREDIENTS:
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/3 cups mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
hot sauce to taste (whatever your favorite brand is and base it on how spicy you like your dressing, without over powering the blue cheese)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir in blue cheese. Cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by falvegas » Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:58 pm

Pixie wrote:First Class Bleu Cheese Salad
Yields: 2 servings

Nearly everyone who had this salad commented on how good it was. Romaine lettuce, toasted almonds and hard-cooked egg are tossed with blue cheese dressing. This salad is best if served very cold and not made too far in advance of serving."

INGREDIENTS:
1 hard-cooked egg, sieved or finely chopped
8 romaine lettuce leaves, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing (you can make your own or use a bottled, I'll post my recipe)
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a medium bowl, toss together the egg, romaine lettuce, blue cheese dressing, toasted almonds, and crumbled blue cheese.

Divide between two serving plates.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Romaine is my favorite lettuce!
You know, Roquefort is one of my passions, and like Chocolate I have to discipline myself, almost with chains or I'd put on 30 pounds so fast. Blue and Gorgonzola are the same. It's taken me so many years to master that discipline. If I didn't, they're the foods where I could eat the whole thing and go out for more.

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:01 pm

Seafood Stuffed Avocados
Yields: 2 servings

"Avocado halves are filled with a delicious mixture of shrimp, crab, and cucumber. A wonderful beginning to a light lunch, or a great appetizer for an elegant dinner!"

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup flaked cooked crabmeat
1/2 cup cooked small shrimp
2 tablespoons peeled and diced cucumber
1 tablespoon mayonnaise 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 pinch salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pinch paprika
1 avocado

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a bowl, mix the crab, shrimp, cucumber, mayonnaise, and parsley. Season with salt, and pepper. Cover, and chill until serving.

2. Slice the avocados lengthwise, and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh of the avocado, leaving about 1/2 inch on the peel. Spoon the seafood mixture into the hollowed centers of the avocado halves.

Sprinkle the tops with paprika.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
You might prefer this to the romaine salad... or you might prefer this to the asparagus??????? If you replace the asparagus this would make it a quasi surf 'n turf.

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:02 pm

falvegas wrote:
Pixie wrote:First Class Bleu Cheese Salad
Yields: 2 servings

Nearly everyone who had this salad commented on how good it was. Romaine lettuce, toasted almonds and hard-cooked egg are tossed with blue cheese dressing. This salad is best if served very cold and not made too far in advance of serving."

INGREDIENTS:
1 hard-cooked egg, sieved or finely chopped
8 romaine lettuce leaves, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing (you can make your own or use a bottled, I'll post my recipe)
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a medium bowl, toss together the egg, romaine lettuce, blue cheese dressing, toasted almonds, and crumbled blue cheese.

Divide between two serving plates.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Romaine is my favorite lettuce!
You know, Roquefort is one of my passions, and like Chocolate I have to discipline myself, almost with chains or I'd put on 30 pounds so fast. Blue and Gorgonzola are the same. It's taken me so many years to master that discipline. If I didn't, they're the foods where I could eat the whole thing and go out for more.

ME TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE it!!!!!!!!!!!

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:07 pm

Strawberry Tiramisu for Two
Yields: 2 servings

"Strawberries add bright notes of taste and color to this multi-layered treat. Spongy ladyfingers, brushed with espresso, are blanketed with a creamy mix of mascarpone cheese, coffee liqueur and strawberries, and set into a pool of strawberry puree."

INGREDIENTS:
1 pint fresh strawberries
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur
18 ladyfingers
1/3 cup chilled espresso
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cut off the tops of the strawberries and slice the berries. Reserve 2 large whole berries for garnish.

2. In a blender, place 2 cups of strawberries and 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar; blend to puree and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, 1/4 cup cream, 1/4 cup sugar, and liqueur; beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until thickened.

4. Place 6 ladyfingers on a serving plate and brush each with approximately 1 teaspoon cold espresso coffee. Spread or pipe out 1/2 of the cheese mixture over the ladyfingers, and layer with half of the sliced strawberries.

5. Repeat with the next 6 ladyfingers, espresso, remaining cheese mixture, and sliced strawberries; top with remaining 6 ladyfingers.

6. In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup heavy cream with 2 tablespoons sugar; beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until just whipped, approximately 1 minute. Spread cream evenly over top layer of ladyfingers.

7. Dust cocoa over whipped cream, and garnish with 2 reserved strawberries. Pour strawberry puree onto two serving plates. Cut tiramisu in half, and place onto puree.
++++++++++++++++
Oh, yummy... but, personally as I've stated my preference would be a Chocolate Mousse or a Creme Brulee!!!!!!!

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by falvegas » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:08 pm

Pixie wrote:
falvegas wrote:
Pixie wrote:Oh, wow! Creme Brulee is my all time favorite desert!!!!!!!!!! The only thing close is Chocolate Mousse and, as I said in Royd's thread, Rice Pudding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:clap2: :clap2: :clap2:

I'll have to check out this recipe more closely as I have a favorite that I got from Cook's Magazine.
Made that Creme so many times I never look at a recipe. Problem with doing so many dishes from memory, it's harder and longer to write them down than it is to explain them verbally...or just show someone. I did notice a lot of Creme recipes that don't chill the Creme overnight before they serve it or caramelize it...a no-no.

Over several years I'd amassed several hundred DVD recordings from the greats, Pepin, Puck, Keller, and a dozen others BUT they were not organized. I took one weekend and made 12 DVD's, organized by topic, annotated, edited all commercials and non essentials out. Gave these to my neice as a gift because she visualizes better than reading a recipe. As we all do. Once you see it...you know exactly what to do...sometimes forever.

I'm oraganizing my files today, before I go back to the office. Got enough in here to write a book. Hey Pix, there's an idea. I'm also organizing a compendium of Valentines recipes for my brother and brother-in-laws. I'll be about 15 to 20 pages of stuff for them to choose from. They can make their own menu from it. pick-n-choose. That's why I've been popping things in. When I see something applicable I post it.

Last day a free man. Then I'll be out of your hair forever....sort of.

Rice...it's OK never been one of my favorites. Few starches are. I do throw my own Pasta together often. It's quick, and cooks quick. I prefer homemade pasta to Potatoes, and Rice. I like wild rice, sometimes California Brown. But I will use it in Etoufee's...sometimes.
What a great gift to your niece!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you kept a copy for yourself?????

Ummmm, if I may... I don't want you out of my life!!!!!!!!!!!! :lolh: :nono: :nono: :nono:
You know, I didn't, because they were all on RW DVD's so when I was done it was just too much work...at that point I was making up the master index. I know, I should have. But I can recover them from her in the future. She learned so much from them especially terms, methods, and most important, technique...I was glad I did it.

Oh, I'll be in from time to time, just not as much of a pest.

Oh no...Tiramisu. You're dangerous. We should put in the classic, perfect for Valentines. Boy did I ever screw up the first of those I ever made. Later learned to make Lady Fingers...helped a lot.
Last edited by falvegas on Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Pixie » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:11 pm

It's just that you said it's without interruption or commercials!!!!!!!!!!! How nice!!!!!!!!!!! I can't imagine a nicer gift!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Johnny 99
Formerly known as "kad"
Posts: 12575
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2006 4:32 pm
Location: I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by Johnny 99 » Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:30 pm

Hey, Falv-

Thanks for making me look bad with my stupid flowers.

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:







:jk:

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falvegas
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Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:14 am

Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by falvegas » Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:05 pm

Owen 16 wrote:Hey, Falv-

Thanks for making me look bad with my stupid flowers.

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:







:jk:
Nothing wrong with your Flowers, it's a romantic gesture, and not cheap.
Think of buying edible flowers, make an inexpensive dinner with the difference in cost, and dress the food with edible flowers, by candlight, maybe a nice wine. It'll last longer in her mind than the flowers.
We could help you with that. Good Idea for a post. 'How to dress up inexpensive meals for Valentines Day'

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falvegas
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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by falvegas » Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:59 pm

Roast Duck is elegant for almost any special occasion (if you're a carnivor, and like Duck). It's in my top 3 favorites for game. Easy to prepare, 1 1/2 to 2 hours to cook, good for 2 heavy eaters up to 4 moderate eaters.
But if you haven't done Peking Duck before, it takes 8 to 10 hours to prepare (the last photo below). I do one once a year, more like every year and a half or so. very time consuming.

Roast Duck

Image

Cut Roast Duck

Image

Peking Duck

Image

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falvegas
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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by falvegas » Tue Jan 06, 2009 5:05 pm

You can dress up Valentines dishes with edible flowers. Most dishes become exciting, especially simple Salads, and vegetable dishes with the addition of flowers. Be sure to review all the safety and handling methods before using them. Below are a handful of those that are edible:

Violets—purple--can be candied
Chive Blossoms-- soft lavender flower
Calendula--Bright, cheerful, yellow
Lavender--purple flower bursting with fragrance
Monarda/Bee Balm--shaggy red heads
Nasturtiums--bright red, orange, and yellow flowers
Squash Blossoms-- large orange blossoms

Image






list of edibles
http://homecooking.about.com/library/we ... lowers.htm

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falvegas
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Re: It's Not That Far Away...Valentines Day

Post by falvegas » Tue Jan 06, 2009 6:03 pm

I think there aren't enough males in here who give a hoot about cooking. I feel like a boy hanging around a girls club. Thought I might lure some in on a Valentines post...fat chance. It's early but never too early to plan, not for the significant other.

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