Monthly Archive for January, 2014

Valentine’s Day Dinner – Menu D’Amore

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If you’ve got love and romance on your noggin and are looking for a quiet night in, a special dinner should be the prelude to the evening ahead. (What? No love in your life well then, love the one(s) you are with. Why not spoil a friend or family member?) Keeping things delicious and simple is the way to go. Besides so many restaurants are so terribly overbooked on February 14th that I’ve been a long time fan of staying home and enjoying the evening in.

Valentine’s Day Menu D’Amore

* CocktailMandarin Beastie

* AppetizersHot Mess Spiced Bar Nuts & Pesto Parmesan Chips

* Main CourseOrange Marinaded Pork Tenderloin, Carrot Dijon Salad & Potato and Onion Au Gratin

* DessertPassion Fruit Cake or Chunky Krispie Chocolate Cherry Treats

Aside from the adult beverage, a lot of this meal can be done ahead of time. Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year so if you are like me and running in a few too many directions it’s important to be prepared. Here’s my Valentine’s Day Meal Count Down to prepare this Menu D’Amore.

February 11 (Tuesday) organize the shopping list.

February 12 (Wednesday) prepare hot messed spiced nuts and store in an airtight container.

February 13 (Thursday) marinade the meat, prepare the carrot salad and dessert (if making the cake it can be frosted on Friday). Then set the table before heading off to bed.

February 14 (Friday) bring the meat to room temperature while preparing the au gratin potatoes and frosting the cake. Prepare the Pesto Parmesan Crackers and while they are in the oven start to mix up a batch of Mandarin Beasties.

Note: All of these recipes appear throughout the Bowl Licker blog but to help you get your grocery list organized I’ve also listed the ingredients on this page. For the full instructions click on the names of each recipe in the list above.

mandarin beastie

Mandarin Beastie

Cocktail Ingredients

Ice

3 oz Mandarin orange vodka

1 oz lemonade or fresh lime juice

1 oz club soda

hot mess nuts-in-the-mix

Hot Messed Spiced Nuts

Nut Ingredients

2 3/4 cups assorted nuts (whole almonds, Brazilian nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans)

2 TBS rosemary, coarsely chopped

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 TBS dark brown sugar

2 tsps sea salt (if using salted nuts then reduce salt by 1 tsp)

1 TBS unsalted butter, melted

Parmesan crisps

Pesto Parmesan Chips

Chip Ingredients

12-16 wonton wrappers (3-inch squares)

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS Parmesan cheese

Paprika, dash

2-3 TBS pesto

pork orange marinade

Orange Marinaded Pork Tenderloin

Tenderloin Ingredients

1 cup orange juice

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 TBS fresh rosemary, chopped

3 tsps, garlic, minced

2 (3/4 pound) whole pork tenderloins

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

carrot slaw

Carrot Salad Dressing with Dijon Dressing

Salad & Dressing Ingredients

1 TBS lemon juice

2 tsps Dijon mustard

3 TBS olive oil

1 lb carrots, peeled and shredded

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 TBS fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp fresh chives, chopped

2 TBS pine nuts, toasted

au gratin

Potato and Onion Au Gratin

Potato Ingredients

2 tsps garlic, minced

2 lbs russet potatoes (approximately 4), peeled

dash Nutmeg, ground

salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup Emmentaler, grated

1 white onion, sliced

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy (double) cream

passion fruit cake

Passion Fruit Chiffon Cake

Passion Fruit Filling Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 cup passion fruit nectar or puree

4 egg yolks

1 vanilla bean—split, seeds scraped

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into TBS

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature

8 oz cream cheese (I like whipped), room temperature

2 – 3 cups powdered sugar

2 tsps passion fruit nectar or puree (often found in frozen fruit section of Latin markets)

food coloring (optional)

chocolate cherry krispie treats

Chunky Krispie Chocolate Cherry Treats

Krispie Ingredients

3 TBS salted butter

1 (10 oz) bag of large marshmallows

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

5 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Broken Lasagna with Portobello Mushrooms and Chèvre Creamed Baby Spinach

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If I was in the Star Wars movies I could imagine Daddy Darth Vader saying – The pasta is strong with this one – no surprises here. I love my pasta. Sadly my frame size does not support my habit. Too much pasta = a chubbier version of me. Continue reading ‘Broken Lasagna with Portobello Mushrooms and Chèvre Creamed Baby Spinach’

Warm Spaghetti Squash Salad

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Spaghetti squash is one of those veggies that you just can’t forget. Once cooked its bizarre consistency mimics that of broken al dente pasta. There are numerous ways to prepare it, from Asian to Italian, but I have to say, this is by far my favorite recipe. This combination of flavors just works; the bacon and pecorino are a Continue reading ‘Warm Spaghetti Squash Salad’

Spicy Smashed Chickpea Stew

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As the weather keeps its chill button turned on full throttle, I’ve been dreaming about hearty soups. Spicy Smashed Chickpea Stew really does the trick. It is a filling one pot meal that has a surprisingly developed combination of spices and a bit of kick to it. At first bite this stew brings on thoughts of far away travels. Continue reading ‘Spicy Smashed Chickpea Stew’

Focaccia di Recco

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This focaccia is typically found in a little town in Liguria called Recco, not far from Genoa. It is a far cry from your typical focaccia and it has a special twist – it is stuffed with the most amazing cheese. Since the dough does not contain yeast, it is not thick and fluffy like its well known focaccia cousin. The cheese encased in this lovely crisp dough is Continue reading ‘Focaccia di Recco’