Guest Author - Amelia Johnson
Tired of fighting the crowd at your favorite restaurant on Valentines day? This year avoid the masses and whip up a romantic Valentine's dinner for two in the comfort of your own home. Read on for ideas and recipes to make the most of your romantic day.
-If possible, dim the lights in the house. Light vanilla candles or (another muted scent)in all areas of the house that will be used. Group multi-size candles together to add visual interest to tables and shelving spaces.
-Place roses in several mini-vases around the room, and on the dining table, grouped together to bring on the romance. Stick with red for a romantic monochrome palate or multi-color for a more fun feel.
-Set the table with red or white plates, as well as silverware and glasses. Set up should be determined depending on how formal the meal is going to be.
-Serve appetizers, soup/salad course, main course, and dessert if the meal is going to be formal.
Appetizer: Grilled Jalapeno Poppers
Soup: Broccoli & Cheddar soup
Salad: Strawberry & Spinach salad
Main Course: Braised Beef Pot Roast with Twice Baked potatoes, baby corn, and dinner rolls
Dessert: Chocolate Mousse
Braised Beef Pot Roast:
8 ounces sirloin, 1" thick
3/4 teaspoon olive oil, or canola oil
1/2 onion, cut in eighths
2 carrots, cut in 2" pieces
1 stalk celery, cut in 2" pieces
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or 1 cup red wine
3/8 cup beef broth
1/4 bay leaf
1/4 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/16 teaspoon salt and black pepper, freshly ground
- Trim fat from beef. Cut a length of kitchen string about four times the length of the roast and wrap once around the length, then around width several times, tying where it comes together.
- In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over moderately high heat. Brown beef on all sides. Transfer to a plate.
-Add vegetables to pan and saute for about 7 minutes or until browned and slightly softened. Transfer to a plate.
-Return beef to pan. Add wine vinegar, stock, herbs, salt and pepper. Stir to blend. Cover and simmer gently about two hours, turning meat every 30 minutes.
-Return vegetables to pot, cover, and simmer about 15 m inutes, or until beef is very tender.
-Discard bay leaf. Slice meat and arrange on platter surrounded by vegetables. Serve with pot juices.
8 ounces chocolate chips
6 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
-Melt chocolate and water in saucepan.
-Whisk in the vanilla.
-Allow to cool.
-Whip the cream.
-Add the confectioner's sugar.
-On low beater, blend in the chocolate.
-Scoop the Chocolate Mousse into a clear, glass bowl.
-Garnish with grated chocolate or some of the chocolate from the pan drizzled on top.