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
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
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
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.
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
Chocolate Soufflé with Sabayon Sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk
7 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
5 egg yolks
7 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
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.