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Valentines' Dinner For Two

Posted by hopsondesk@aol.com on February 1, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Use carob powder as a food stabilizer or darkening agent.However, it can’t replace the full flavor of chocolate. Nothing represents St. Valentine’s Day like flowers, jewelry and scrumptious chocolate.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Hello, I’m the caterer from “My Make You Do Wrong Man” (pg.52) If your thinking of having your significant other over for a romantic dinner for two you might want to use my suggested menu served with champagne in your candlelit living room, on the cozy sofa, in front of the TV while watching your favorite, romantic movie.

THE APPETIZER

Plateau De Fruits De Mer With Two Sauces

Have the fish vendor steam the fish and shuck the oysters for a small charge. You can make your sauces early that day.

¼ c. white-wine vinegar

1 tbs. finely chopped shallot

2 tbs. finely diced, peeled cucumber

Coarsely ground black pepper

1/3 c. catsup

1 tbs. horseradish

¼ tsp. finely grated orange zest

4 jumbo shrimp, steamed, peeled and deveined

4 oysters shucked and in shells

1 lobster tail steamed and cut in half

Garnish: lemon wedges

THE ENTRÉ

Rack Of Lamb With Mustard Sauce

1 rack of lamb frenched

Coarse salt and ground black pepper

1 tsp. vegetable oil

¼ c. dry white wine

1 c. chicken stock

2 tsp. whole grain mustard

1 tsp. pomegranate molasses

Preheat oven to 425°. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Heat oil over high heat in a large ovenproof skillet, and sear lamb, fat side down, until brown, about 6 minutes.

Remove lamb from skillet, and discard fat. Return lamb, seared side up to pan, and roast in oven until thermometer inserted in the center reaches 130°, 15 to 17 minutes. Set lamb on a cutting board loosely tented with foil.

Pour excess fat from skillet, and place over medium high heat. Add wine, and simmer, stirring and scrapping up browned bits, until reduced by 2 thirds (about 2 minutes). Whisk in stock, mustard and molasses and simmer until thickened, (about 8 minutes). Carve lamb into individual pieces and serve.

Roasted Fennel And Artichoke Hearts

1 fennel bulb (12 oz.) cut into ¾ inch wedges

with 1 tbs. fronds reserved for garnish

1 can whole artichoke hearts in water (13.75 oz.)

drained, patted dry, and cut lengthwise

3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. lemon juice

2 tbs. roughly chopped flat leafed parsley

Preheat oven to 425°. Arrange and artichokes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tbs. of oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables until caramelized on both sides, about 35 minutes, tossing after 20 minutes.

Drizzle with remaining oil and lemon juice. Add parsley and toss to combine. Garnish with fennel fronds.

THE DESERT

Chocolate Pots De Créme

This desert takes up to 4 hours to chill and can be made 2 days in advance.

¾ c heavy cream

½ tsp. instant espresso powder

¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 ½ oz. bittersweet chocolate finely chopped

1 large egg yolk

1 tsp. sugar

pinch of coarse salt

Preheat oven to 325°. Bring ½ c. plus 2 tbs. cream, the espresso, and vanilla to a simmer; pour over chocolate in a medium bowl. Let set for 3 minutes; whisk until smooth.

In another medium bowl, whisk together egg yolk, sugar and pinch of coarse salt; add warm chocolate mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Strain custard through a fine sieve into a 2 cup- glass measuring cup. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally (about 15 minutes).

Place 2 teacups in the center of a baking dish. Divide custard between cups, and fill pan with enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the teacups. Cover tightly with foil; poke several holes in the foil. Bake until custard is set around edges, but wobbly in the center (about 25 minutes).

Remove cups from water bath, and let custards cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 2 days. Before serving, whisk remaining 2 tbs. cream to soft peaks and dollop over pots de crème.

Hmmmm. If the romantic dinner and movie rental doesn’t put him in the mood for love, may I suggest listening to Ravel’s Bolero??????

Please Note: The above is an expression of opinions and not professional advice. It is only to be used for personal entertainment purposes. You are solely responsible for the use of any of the content and Jewel Hopson is not responsible for any event or claim.

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