Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day dinner!

   I hope everybody had a great Valentine’s Day yesterday! For us it’s just another day, no different than any other, and I just use it as an excuse to have a nice dinner with my husband (oh, and flowers are not bad either). By “nice dinner” I absolutely don’t mean going out to a fancy restaurant. We have no desire to fight with all those crowds, waiting for a table, and looking for a parking space (where is the romance in that?). What we do is cook a scrumptious and delicious dinner, open a bottle of wine, and watch a movie. You can’t get that in any restaurant. We usually cook our favorite dishes from different restaurants and last year we had sushi, so this year I decided to make a French onion soup and lettuce wraps, and for a dessert we had a red beet cake with raspberry frosting (this is going to be a long post).

French onion soup ingredients:
*  6 large onions (thinly sliced)
*  ½ stick of butter
*  olive oil
*  2 cups beef broth
*  1 cup dry white wine
*  1 tsp dry thyme
*  2 tbsp soy sauce
*  salt and pepper

*  French baguette
*  Gruyere cheese (or any other that melts nicely)

   Heat butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium heat and sauté onions for about 30 minutes until caramelized  (they should be browned but not burned). Add wine and cook for 1-2 minutes and then add all the remaining ingredients (without bread and cheese), some water, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer everything for about 20 more minutes. You can prepare the soup earlier (even few days ahead) and when you are ready to serve it ladle it into an oven proof cups, put a slice of toasted French baguette on the top, sprinkle it with the cheese, and broil in the oven until nicely melted, browned, and bubbly.

Lettuce wraps shopping list:

*  iceberg lettuce
*  ground turkey
*  onion (chopped)
*  2 cloves garlic
*  Shitake mushroom
*  water chestnuts (chopped)
*  red bell pepper (chopped)
*  1 tsp grated ginger
*  1/2 cup chopped cilantro
*  olive oil
*  1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
*  2 tsp Teriyaki  sauce
*  sesame seeds

   Sauté onions and garlic with some olive oil, add meat, and cook until no longer pink. Add the remaining ingredients (besides lettuce) and cook for 10-15 minutes so all the flavors can combine. Gently peel the leaves from the lettuce forming small “bowls”, scoop the meat into them, sprinkle with some more cilantro and sesame seeds, and serve!

   And last but not least: dessert. I got this recipe from my Mom and it’s definitely something different: red beet cake. What you will need is:

*  4 eggs
*  2 cups all-purpose flour
*  1 cup sugar
*  1 cup grated beets
*  1 cup grated carrots
*  1 cup grated apples
*  ½ cup chopped almonds
*  1 cup dried raisins or cranberries (or both)
*  1 cup vegetable oil
*  1 tsp cinnamon
*  2 tsp baking powder
*  2 tsp baking soda

   Separate egg whites from yolks and beat the whites until stiff. Slowly add yolks, sugar, and flour mixed with all other dry ingredients. Add fruits, veggies, and nuts, mix everything together and bake at 350F for about 50 minutes. It’s good to go by itself, but what I do is cut in half and spread with simple frosting. To make the frosting I just mix fat-free cream cheese with Confectioner’s sugar and fresh crushed raspberries. It wouldn’t be a Valentine’s Day dessert if it wasn’t in a shape of a heart and shared with a significant other/friend/pet (circle which ever applies), would it?

   All that combined with a bottle of a great Pinot Noir and a Johnny Depp movie equals fantastic evening!

Hope you had as much fun as us.

No comments:

Post a Comment