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I Just Cooked To Say I Love You

I Just Cooked To Say I Love You

 Dear ladies and gentlemen,

It’s that time of year again when if you haven’t already made your Valentine’s Day restaurant reservation months in advance you’re probably in panic mode right now wondering what to do.

My advice is, cook! It is the single most romantic way to say “I Love You” without breaking the bank. Besides, who wants to be in a stuffy restaurant with a dozen other couples when you could be hot and heavy at home.

 

So if that is the road you decide to travel this Tuesday, you wont be disappointed. Well, not with my meal anyway. The rest is up to you. (Wink!)

I am about to share with you a swoon-worthy Valentine’s Day dinner that’s sexy, sumptuous and easy to prepare. Below you’ll find the recipes—and my personal Chef’s Notes**—with tips on how and when to prepare each dish so that your dinner goes off without a hitch. (Or with one, whichever you prefer.) (Wink Number Two.)

Each year I make something different based on what inspires me seasonally and locally. Our Eagle Rock Farmers’ markets are a great place to look. Whatever you can’t find there, Trader Joe’s, Vons and Whole Foods will have.

No matter the menu, I always use different techniques designed to wow my significant other and, of course, keep it easy and stress free for me. Also— and most importantly—I always find a way to incorporate red into each dish! (Wink Number Three.)

Because I’m too busy with work these days to plan anything too elaborate (read time consuming) I’m choosing a simple but elegant meal that will take less than an hour to prepare and plate. Yep. You heard me right. It’s so quick you’ll have plenty of time to shop for that gift (ahem, jewelry) she’s been eyeballing.

All right. Enough of that. Here’s the menu:

• Olive oil-poached cod with blistered sugar plum tomatoes

• Roasted red and purple heirloom potatoes with sour cream and chives

• Kale salad with cranberries and toasted pine nuts

• Chocolate-dipped strawberries

• Cherry Garcia hot fudge sundae with whipped cream

O.K., this may seem like a lot of food, but if you keep the portions small (i.e. 4-5 oz fish per female and 5-6 oz per male) you’ll have plenty of energy for … romance!

Here are the recipes, so start your engines!

Happy Cooking to all you sweet Valentines out there!

 Olive Oil-Poached Cod

2 (4-6 oz each) filets Cod (halibut or salmon can be substituted)
Enough olive oil to cover fish (you can use half olive, half canola if you don’t have enough olive oil)
2 rosemary sprigs
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pat Cod dry with a paper towel and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil to 110 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometer here’s how you can rough it: Stick your finger into the oil. It should be very warm but not hot. Rule of thumb—or finger: If you can keep your finger submerged in the oil for 1 1/2 to 2 seconds before it burns you you’re at the right temperature. When oil is ready, slide seasoned fish into the oil. Cook on one side for three minutes and flip. Cook for another three minutes and remove from oil. Top with tomatoes and rosemary.

Chef’s Note: The cod should be the last thing you cook before you serve your meal.

Blistered Sugar Plum Tomatoes

1-1/2 cups sugar plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil (can use poaching oil)
1 sprig rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400F and line a sheet tray with foil.
Spread tomatoes on sheet tray and season with oil, salt and pepper.
Add the rosemary and bake for 20 minutes or until skins of tomatoes blister and pop. They should be sweet and tender when finished.

Roasted Red and Purple Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

2 cups scrubbed, washed and quartered red and purple potatoes
2 tablespoon olive oil (can use poaching oil)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400 F and line a sheet tray with foil.

Spread potatoes on sheet tray and season with oil, spices, salt and pepper

Bake for 10 minutes and turn potatoes to make sure they are cooking evenly.

Bake another 10-15 minutes or until skins of potatoes are crispy and the interior tender. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and chopped chives

Kale Salad with Cranberries and Toasted Pine Nuts

1 bag washed and cut kale (Trader Joe’s has a good one)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 lemon juiced and zested
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon agave or honey
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a big bowl, place kale (sort through to find stems and toss them out) with all the ingredients and message the kale until coated. That’s it! And it’s even better the next day. Store leftovers in the fridge.

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

8 oz milk or dark chocolate chips
1 pound strawberries

Melt chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1-1 1/2 minutes. Check often so it doesn’t burn.
Wash and dry strawberries.

Line a plate or sheet tray with wax paper. Dip strawberries in chocolate and let set on wax paper for 30-45 minutes. If you’re impatient, place in the fridge to set more quickly.

Cherry Garcia Ice Cream Sundae

1 pint Cherry Garcia Ice Cream or Low Fat fro-yo
1 can whipped cream (or fresh if you want to make it)
1 Jar dark chocolate fudge (I like “The Kings Cupboard” from Whole Foods)
Cherry on top (optional)

Chef’s Notes**

1.   Start your chocolate strawberry dipping first.

2.   Cook potatoes and tomatoes at the same time.

3.   Massage kale while potatoes and tomatoes cook.

4.   Olive oil takes roughly 5 minutes to heat up, but let your fish come to room temp for at least 20 minutes before poaching.

5.   Cool down poaching oil and refrigerate for up to one week. Tasty!

6.   Before you sit down to eat, take out ice cream and leave it on the counter. It will be soft enough to scoop in 30 minutes or so. If you happen to get sidetracked and forget about it, remember that ice cream soup is pretty darn good, too.

Butternut Squash Goat Cheesecake
Roasted Salmon with Cilantro Pesto

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Thursday, 15 November 2018

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