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Southernfood.com, L.L.C.
1205 Johnson Ferry Rd Suite 136-419 Marietta, GA 30068

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Wesley’s Romantic Valentine's Menu

Wesley’s Romantic Valentine's Menu

 

Hello everyone. This week’s color theme is red! We must plan in advance for these moments of preplanned passion. Passion for food that is. Of course it wouldn’t hurt to invite your significant other to join in the gastronomic festivities. Whether you have a new relationship or are trying to renew the one you’ve already got, this meal should please. It’s supposed to be cold in February, not here, so you can sit by the fire and snuggle. I guess I’ll just put on my bikini and hope I don’t sweat. Last week’s menu really worked for me.

I think you should wear red. I think you should drink pink champagne before dinner and red wine with dinner. Or you can put red food coloring in the water. Better yet, in the ice cubes. But remember, any of these beverages can turn your mouth a nasty shade of maroon, so be careful.

Wesley’s Romantic Dinner for Two

Fresh Asparagus Soup

English Country Salad

Duck with Dried Cherries and Green Peppercorns

Bistro Potatoes

Chocolate Soufflé with Sabayon Sauce

Obviously this menu should serve 2, but there will be leftovers

Fresh Asparagus Soup:

2 lbs fresh asparagus, peeled and cut into pieces

3 cups chicken broth

2 shallots, finely chopped

1/4 cup butter

5 tablespoons flour

3 cups half and half

1 teaspoon curry, or to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 tablespoons sherry

Place asparagus in large saucepan with broth and shallots and cook until asparagus is tender. Pour into food processor and blend until smooth. You may have to strain this if the asparagus is stringy. Melt butter, add flour and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add asparagus puree and half and half. Stir until blended. Add seasonings and sherry and simmer 15 minutes.

English Country Salad:

2 unpeeled Granny smith apples

1/2 lb Belgian endive

1 bunch watercress

4 ounces walnuts

1/4 lb Stilton cheese, crumbled

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup best-quality olive oil

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Slice apples crosswise into 1/4 inch thick round slices to reveal star pattern of core. Arrange endive leaves in a spoke pattern on 2 chilled salad plates. Place one round slice of apple in center of plate and dice remaining apples. Make a circle of watercress around the apple slice. Sprinkle nuts, cheese and diced apples on top of watercress. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Serve.

Duck with Dried Cherries and Green Peppercorns:

1 duck breast

2 1/2 cups red wine (such as Zinfandel)

5 tablespoons butter

1 cup cherry preserves

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 shallot, minced

1/3 cup dried cherries

1-2 tablespoons brine-packed green peppercorns, drained

Marinate the duck refrigerated in 1 cup wine overnight, turning regularly. Reserve marinade. In a large sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoon butter. Sauté duck on each side for 2 minutes. Transfer to a roasting pan and add marinade. In another pan, melt cherry preserves. Spoon 1/2 half of preserves over duck breast. Roast duck in a 350- degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. The meat should be pink. Deglaze the pan with 1 1/2 cups of the wine. Add broth and shallot, heat and reduce to about 1/3 cups liquid. The sauce should be somewhat syrupy. Whisk in 3 tablespoons butter, 1 at a time. Add dried cherries and green peppercorns.

Allow the duck breast to sit for 30 minutes to retain juices before carving. Carve by slicing lengthwise. Arrange slices on a plate, nap with the sauce and top with additional dried cherries and peppercorns, if desired.

Bistro Potatoes:

2 medium garlic cloves, peeled

1 medium shallot, peeled

5 tablespoons butter

3/4 lb mushrooms, wiped clean

2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup minced parsley

Mince the garlic and shallot and put them in a 10 inch skillet with 2 tablespoons butter. Insert the shredding disk into your food processor and shred the mushrooms. Heat the butter and cook the garlic mixture until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook over medium heat until they are dark and dry and give up all their liquid, about 40 minutes. You can do this up to 1 week ahead. Just cover and refrigerate. Cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch dice and soak them in cold water for 10 minutes. Drain them in a colander, then spread them on cloth towel; pat very dry.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Sauté one half of the diced potatoes in the skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes, turning frequently. Cover, increase the heat slightly and cook 5 minutes longer, tossing frequently. Decrease the heat slightly and cook until potatoes are browned and soft when pierced with a sharp knife, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Set aside and repeat with the other half of potatoes.

Reheat all the potatoes in a large skillet. Stir in the mushrooms and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss over medium heat until hot, thoroughly mixed, and any liquid remaining in the mushrooms has evaporated. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Chocolate Soufflé with Sabayon Sauce:

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup milk

7 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa

Pinch salt

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces

5 egg yolks

7 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Sabayon sauce:

3 egg yolks

1 whole egg

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup sherry

1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

Melt butter in small pan and add flour. Stir constantly until thick and smooth. Set aside. Heat milk, sugar, cocoa and salt until sugar has dissolved. Add butter and flour mixture and cook until thick. Stir in chocolate until melted, then cool slightly. Beat egg yolks into the sauce one at a time. Recipe can be done in advance to this point.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff. Fold whites into chocolate mixture. Pour into heavily buttered 1 1/2 quart soufflé dish, dusted with granulated sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and serve hot with Sabayon sauce.

To make Sabayon sauce, beat egg yolks and whole egg in the top of a double boiler until thick and foamy. Add sugar and continue beating until ribbon forms. Add sherry and cook over medium heat until thick. Add orange zest. Just before serving, fold whipped cream into the warm sauce.



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