Valentine’s Day is a truly subjective menu. Not everyone wants or dreams of the same foods. So, awhile back when we were just sitting around I quizzed hubby in a round about way and was able to come up with his favorite romantic menu to create a romantic meal. What are you doing for Valentine’s Day this year?
2 cups crushed ice
1/2 cup fresh strawberry puree
1 cup tequila
2 limes, juiced
Splash Triple Sec
Splash simple syrup (equal amounts sugar and water heated until sugar dissolves completely and then cooled)
- Combine in a blender, ice, strawberry water, tequila, lime juice, Triple Sec and simple syrup.
- Puree until smooth.
- Pour into rocks glasses, garnish and serve.
CAJUN SHRIMP COCKTAIL
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup chili sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
Juice of 1 lemon (save your rind to make the cute serving dish)
2 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Frank’s red pepper hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
plenty of fresh medium-large shrimp, cleaned and chilled
- I use my mini food processor to mix it all in until well blended.
- Chill for a day or so before needed to allow flavors to meld together.
CAESAR SALAD DRESSING
6 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Champagne Vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/3 cup canola oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Minced anchovy fillets (optional – I usually leave them out)
- Combine garlic, mustard, vinegar and two pinches of salt in a blender and mix thoroughly.
- Add mayonnaise and blend together to form a thick base.
- In a slow stream add oil.
- Scrape dressing with spatula into a bowl and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
- Optional – Add anchovies to dressing to create a deeper, saltier taste.
PARMESAN CHEESE CROUTONS
6 slices thick sourdough bread
butter, melted, enough to coat bread
½ cup Fontina Cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place bread slices on oven rack and bake until dry and golden.
- Melt butter in flat bowl.
- Combine cheeses in flat bowl.
- Dip first in butter and the cheese mixture.
- Bake on cookie sheet 8-10 minutes until cheese is bubbly and melted.
- Cut to desired size*
*If I’m in a hurry I will sometimes cut these ahead of time and toss with the butter and cheese which coats all the sides better.
Steak of choice (hubby choose T-bones)
2 cloves of garlic per steak, minced fine
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar per steak
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
- Pierce each steak with a marinater.
- Whisk together the garlic, oil, salt and pepper to taste.
- Place steak side by side of a large plate.
- Pour marinade over top.
- Turn steak and make sure each is well coated.
- Cover and marinate overnight.
- Take steak out of refrigerator an hour before grilling, turn several times making sure still well coated in marinade.
- Firmly press garlic pieces into the steak.
- Grilled to desired doneness – mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, medium rare….
TWICE BAKED POTATOES
4 large baking potatoes
8 slices bacon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
8 green onions (tops and all), sliced and divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour or until done through.
- Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
- When potatoes are done allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl; saving skins.
- To the potato pieces add the sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 the green onions. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese, green onions and bacon.
- Bake for another 15 minutes.
SOUR CREAM DUTCH APPLE PIE
3+ cups apples, cored, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1 small egg, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream (not light)
9 inch pastry shell, pre-baked and cooled
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, sliced extremely thin
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Chop the apples and combine with just enough lemon juice to coat and prevent browning in large bowl.
- In a small bowl sift together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt.
- Fold in the sour cream, egg, vanilla and maple extract until well blended.
- Fold the sour cream mixture into the apples until well coated.
- Carefully pour into the pie shell, mounding towards the center.
- Toss together the topping ingredients until well blended.
- Sprinkle topping evenly over the apple mound.
- Lay the pieces of butter all over the top.
- Bake 30 minutes or until apples are tender.
- Best served with ice cream or fresh whipped cream. If you want to be really decadent try it with Caramel Sauce.
HOMEMADE VANILLA ICE CREAM
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 jumbo eggs
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
- Warm the milk in a small pan.
- Whisk the eggs with the sugar in a separate bowl.
- Slowly add the warm milk to the egg mixture while continuously whisking the mixture.
- Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and heat slowly, stirring continuously until mixture thickens to loose pudding texture. DO NOT BOIL! Let it cool to room temperature.
- Whisk in the cream and vanilla.
- Follow your ice cream maker directions for freezing.