Valentine’s Day is this Friday. Here are some ideas for a home-cooked celebration dinner.
Linguine with Shrimp Scampi
1 T. kosher salt plus 1-1/2 tsp.
3/4 pound linguine
3 T. unsalted butter
2-1/2 T. good olive oil
1-1/2 T. minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 lb. large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 lemon, zest grated
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
1/8 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.
Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Sauté for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and sauté until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.
When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve. Serves 3.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
4 chicken breasts skinless and boneless
4 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
1/2 lb. Gruyere, grated
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 c. panko bread crumbs
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lay the chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove the top sheet of plastic and lay 2 slices of prosciutto neatly over the top to cover the breast and sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the prosciutto. Tuck in the sides of the breast and roll up tight like a jellyroll inside the plastic wrap. Squeeze the log gently to seal and twist both ends tight to form a nice log. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Season the flour with salt and pepper. Mix the bread crumbs with thyme, garlic and kosher salt, pepper, and melted butter. The butter will help the crust brown. Beat together the eggs and season, so the flour, the eggs and the crumbs are all seasoned.
Remove the plastic wrap. Lightly dust the chicken with flour, dip in the egg mixture and gently coat in the bread crumbs. Lightly coat a baking pan with olive oil and carefully transfer the roulades onto it. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until browned and cooked through.
Cut into pinwheels and serve with your favorite pilaf and vegetable, if desired. Serves 4.
Filet Mignon with Bacon Cream Sauce
4 (4 oz.) filet mignon (beef tenderloin)
1 tsp. olive oil
3 slices bacon, chopped
1 T. butter
4 shallots, diced
¼ c. half-and-half cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.
Brush the filets with olive oil, and cook on the preheated grill to desired doneness (about 4 minutes per side for medium rare). An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 130 degrees F (54 degrees C). Set the steaks aside on a platter tented with aluminum foil to rest.
While the steaks are resting, prepare the sauce: cook and stir the chopped bacon in a small saucepan over medium heat until the bacon pieces are crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and shallots, and cook and stir until the shallots are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes more.
Stir in the half-and-half, bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve over the steaks.
Tips: You can also cook the filets on a hot skillet instead of grilling them, if you like. Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.
Cherry Cheesecake Cupcakes
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
3/4 c. butter, melted
2 T. white sugar
1 lb. whipped cream cheese
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 muffin cups with foil liners.
Mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar together in a bowl. Press crumbs into the bottoms of prepared muffin cups.
Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract together in a bowl until filling is smooth. Divide filling between muffin cups.
Bake in the preheated oven until top is golden around the edges and slightly cracked, about 10 minutes. Cool completely and top each with cherry pie filling.
Valentine’s Day Strawberry Muffins
1 T. lemon juice
1 c. milk
1/2 c. butter, at room temp.
1-1/2 c. white sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. lemon extract
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1-1/2 c. chopped fresh strawberries
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. miniature semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
12 slices fresh strawberry
1 T. white sugar
Mix lemon juice with as much milk as needed to measure 1 cup; let the soured milk stand for 5 minutes before using.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners.
Cream together the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time; add the lemon extract. Gradually stir in the lemon zest and soured milk. Gently fold in the chopped strawberries.
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in another bowl. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture until dry ingredients are just moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups to about 2/3 full. Place a strawberry slice atop each muffin and sprinkle with some of the 1 tablespoon white sugar. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before serving warm.
Simple ‘N’ Delicious Chocolate Cake
1 c. white sugar
1 1/8 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. cold, strong, brewed coffee
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Add flour mixture, alternating with coffee. Beat until just incorporated.
Grease and flour an 8-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.
OR to bake this recipe as cupcakes, line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Divide batter into cupcake pan and bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes.
It can be frosted with chocolate or coffee icing, and, if desired, place one chocolate espresso bean center of frosted cupcake.
Easy Coffee Icing:
1-1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 T. heaping instant coffee
1 lb. powdered sugar
2-3 T. brewed cold coffee
With a mixer, mix together the butter and coffee. Now mix in the powdered sugar. Blend well. Slowly add small amounts of the coffee until the frosting is the desired consistency. Spread on cake and enjoy!
Quote of the Week:
“‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise.”
~ C.S. Lewis