Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Easy Valentine's Eats

Valentine's day is synonomous with indulging in some delicious food.  However, I've never been one for braving the overpriced and hectic restaurant scene. As a mother of two boys, valentines is celebrated with the family.  We don't go for heart shaped, pink coated treats, instead I opt for delicious whole food, easy to prepare with a history steeped in romance.  Even if your not the most experienced cook, these valentine eats are sure to make your loved ones feel special and get you out of the kitchen in a flash.


Asparagus with Cocoa and Balsamic Reduction
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup balsamic
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Remove and shock in ice water (or very cold water).
Place balsamic vinegar in a small pot, on the stove and simmer for about 15 minutes - until consistency is thick and luscious.  Whisk in chocolate.
Place asparagus on plate and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Figs with Goat cheese and Honey
  • 6 ripe figs, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 Tbsp honey
Lay cut figs on a platter, top each with some goat cheese then top with honey!

Vanilla and Cinnamon Poached Pears

  • 4 firm Bosc pears, peeled
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 2 cups water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick broke in half
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
Place cranberry juice, water, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon and vanilla in a pot large enough to accommodate the pears. Bring to a boil then add the pears.  Turn heat down so the liquid is only simmering.  Cook pears for approximately 15 minutes. Remove from liquid and set aside.  Continue to cook the liquid until it is reduced by half and is syrupy.
Serve pears on a plate, drizzled with reduced poaching liquid.



Pumpkin Ravioli with Chillies 
While making ravioli from scratch in not that difficult, I opt to use an excellent store bought brand here.

  • PC Black Label Pumpkin Ravioli
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 sage leaves, 
Cook ravioli as per package instructions
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Once melted add chili flakes and sage, cook for about 3 minutes.  Drain ravioli and toss with butter.  Serve


Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Mayo
  • 2 artichokes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
To prepare the artichoke:  Use a sharp knife to cut the top 1" off of the artichoke.  Trim the stem end.
Use scissors to trim the thorny tops off every artichoke leaf.  

Place a large pot over medium heat and add about 2" water, bay leaf, lemon juice and garlic clove. Bring to a simmer. Add a steaming basket, followed by the artichokes.
Steam for approximately 20-25 minutes.  Leaves should pull of easily.
Serve with 1/2 cup mayo mixed with 1 Tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp lemon zest.

Almond Butter Cups


Find the recipe here

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