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Your Valentine’s Day Menu, Made With Love

Your Valentine’s Day Menu, Made With Love

Our menu for two is so simple. It’s easy, minus all the fuss, and has love cooked into every bite.  We’ve designed this special menu so that almost everything can be prepared in advance and then quickly assembled or reheated before serving. This way, you can enjoy yourself on Valentines Day as well!

Appetizer
Artichoke-Parmesan Crostini

Main
Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon

Side
Creamy Spinach
Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

Dessert
World’s Best Chocolate Cake

 

Artichoke-Parmesan Crostini
Artichoke-Parmesan Crostini

    Ingredients 

  • 8 slices (1/4 inch thick) baguette
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 jar (6 1/2 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
    Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make crostini: Brush baguette slices on both sides with a total of 1 Tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet, and bake, turning over once, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool.
  2. Meanwhile, make topping: Finely chop artichokes, and combine in a bowl with parmesan, parsley, and remaining tablespoon oil.
  3. Dividing evenly, spoon topping onto crostini, and garnish with additional parmesan, if desired.

 

Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon
Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon
Filet mignon is best cooked rare to medium rare. The pepper enhances the meat’s flavor.

    Ingredients 

  • 2 filet mignons, (5 to 6 ounces each, about 1 1/2 inches thick)
  • Coarse salt and very coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Red Wine Sauce, for serving (optional)
    Directions 

  1. Season filets very generously on both sides with salt and pepper (especially pepper), patting in firmly.
  2. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high. Cook filets until desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side (depending on thickness) for medium-rare.
  3. Plate the filets and serve with Red Wine Sauce, if desired.

 

Artichoke-Parmesan Crostini
Creamy Spinach 
This classic side dish can be made ahead and reheated for your weekend dinner.

    Ingredients 

  • 1 pound curly spinach, well washed, thick stems removed, water still clinging to leaves
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, minced, or 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 to 1 cup milk
    Directions 

  1. Place spinach in a large saucepan (3 to 4 quarts) over medium heat (it will be extremely full), and season with salt. Cover and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander, and rinse under cold water until completely cooled; squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium-low; add shallot, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add flour; cook, stirring, 1 minute (do not let brown); add 3/4 cup milk. Simmer gently over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Thin with additional milk, if necessary. Remove from heat; stir in spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

 

Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Slow-Roasted Tomatoes 
Slow roasting concentrates the flavor of the tomatoes and intensifies the sweetness.

    Ingredients 

  • 3 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side up. Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with thyme leaves; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast until tomatoes begin to collapse, brushing occasionally with pan juices, about 30 minutes.

 

World’s Best Chocolate Cake
World’s Best Chocolate Cake**

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks but 1 ½ tablespoons), at room temperature and cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into ¾ inch pieces
  • 1 ½ teaspoons instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons self-rising flour ( if you cant find self-rising flour, whisk together 1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and 2 2/3 teaspoons baking powder and use this mixture instead)
  • 1/3 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus 1 ½ teaspoon for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon salt.

For the chocolate ganache (optional)

  • 7 ounces dark chocolate broken up or chopped roughly ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
    Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 23cm round spring form pan with butter and line with parchment paper, then set aside.
  2. Make the cake: Place butter, chocolate and hot coffee in a large heat-proof bowl and mix well until everything is melted, combined and smooth. Whisk in sugar by hand until dissolved. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk again until thoroughly combined and smooth. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt together into a bowl and then whisk this into the melted chocolate mixture.
  3. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for one hour or until the cake is cooked and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with only a few dry crumbs attached. The top will form a crust and crack a little. Leave the cake to cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pan, then set aside until completely cool.
  4. Make the chocolate ganache, if desired: Place chocolate pieces in a food processor, process until fine and set aside. Combine cream and corn syrup in a small pan and place over medium-high heat. As soon as bubbles begin to appear (just before it comes to a boil), remove from the heat. Get the food processor running again, with the chocolate still inside and pour in the hot cream in a steady stream. Process for 10 seconds, then add butter. Continue to process until mixture is shiny and smooth. (You can also make the ganache by hand; just make sure the chocolate is chopped fairly finely before adding the cream mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until almost melted, then add the butter. Stir again until the ganache is smooth.)
  5. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the ganache into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, with the plastic touching the top of the ganache. Set aside until it has set to the consistency you want. If you want a thin layer to spread over the cake, it can be poured over while liquid so that you get an even, light and shiny coating. For a thicker ganache with a spreading consistency, leave it for about two hours at room temperature. (The ganache can be stored at room temperature, providing it is not too warm, for three days or kept in the fridge for up to two weeks. It can also be frozen, although it will lose a bit of its shine when defrosted.)
  6. If desired, we love to add homemade whipped cream as a dollop on top! It’s your choice here, but not necessary. See step #7
  7. Peel the parchment from the cake and discard. Transfer to a serving platter and spread the ganache, if using, on top of the cake. Slice into wedges, divide the cake among plates and, if using, spoon a dollop of whipped cream if desired. With or without icing, the cake will keep well for four to five days in an airtight container.

 

*Recipes reprinted from www.Foodnetwork.com
**Recipe adapted from “Sweet” By Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh

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