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The Cookstr 10: Ten Recipes for Valentine’s Day

February 15, 2011

Yeah, yeah, we know it’s kind of a Hallmark holiday, but we don’t care. Valentine’s Day is an excuse to cook and eat good things with the person or people we love, and we’re buying into that any day of the week. What’s the downside?

Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner's Roast Beef Tenderloin with Red Currant Jus

The recipes chosen here are ones that should make Valentine’s Day feel special. These aren’t recipes that most of us would cook and eat on any old weeknight; they aren’t recipes that you would bring to a potluck; these are recipes that say, “Hey, you. I clearly spent some thought and energy on this meal because I am quite fond of you, and I hope you enjoy it (and I hope you remembered to buy me flowers).”

Arlen Gargagliano's Ginger-Champagne Cocktail

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Cookstr.

“Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”–Harriet van Horne, Vogue, October 1956

1. Arlen Gargagliano’s Ginger-Champagne Cocktail. Nothing says special occasion more than champagne, and Valentine’s Day is a perfect occasion to pop your cork, so to speak. Making a special cocktail from a bottle of bubbly is that above-and-beyond kind of touch that shows you’ve really put some thought into the matter…and this citrusy cocktail is refreshing enough to sip the whole night through.

2. Brigit Binns’ Baby Greens with Blood Oranges and Sage-Prosciutto Polenta Croutons. A beautiful mix of tender lettuces of all shapes and colors forms the backdrop for addictive salty-herby cornmeal croutons and brilliant blood orange segments. The croutons are where the work in this recipe lies, but they make the salad more than memorable. Try not to eat them all before you actually get the salad together.

3. Michel Nischan and Mary Goodbody’s Tamari Shrimp and Scallops. Most varieties of shellfish have a natural affinity for each other, and scallops and shrimp are one of those incomparable duos. This is such a simple but sumptuous dish, and the way the scallops look, all “spooned” into the inside curve of the shrimp, is pretty adorable. A judicious drizzle of tamari sauce is delicately salty, and not overpowering to the crustaceans.

4. Michael Lomonaco’s Black Currant-Lacquered Duck Breast. Duck is a dish that most of us associate with special occasions, and many of us are nervous about preparing at home. Here the duck is quickly pan-roasted and then the burnished sauce comes together right in the same pan. The glaze is a snappy-sweet blend of shallots, ginger, honey, and black currant jam, with a zing of vinegar pulling it all together.

5. Susan Spungen’s Osso Buco with Toasted Garlic Gremolata. Rich, indulgent, classic. Serve up this ridiculously sumptuous Italian veal shank, and the person you are feeding will know that you love them. The seasonings are very straightforward; it’s the cut of veal and the long, slow cooking that results in the luxurious falling-off-the-bone meat that do the work here.

6. Marie Simmons’ Tubettini with Porcini and Cream. Who says decadent has to be difficult? A few very simple ingredients–namely short pasta, umami mushrooms, and the incomparable addition of a bit of cream–fuse into a vegetarian side dish that will make any entrée feel romantic.

7. Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner’s Roast Beef Tenderloin with Red Currant Jus. A little bit sweet, a little bit tart, and rich with port, this sauce takes a splurge-y beef tenderloin to another place. This festive dish can also be made with duck, which, as we’ve already waxed lyrical about, is equally impressive and romantic.

8. Wai Hon Chu and Connie Lovatt’s Chestnut Gnocchi with Walnut Sauce. If you’re in the market for a vegetarian main course, these unusual gnocchi are sultry and exotic. The chestnut flour enhances the potato base with a nutty and verdant taste, and the creamy walnut sauce is anything but ordinary. Both the gnocchi and the sauce can be made ahead.

9. Carole Bloom’s Salted Caramel-Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles. Some food trends leave us shrugging our shoulders, but the ongoing craze for sweet combined with salty makes us deliriously happy. These divine truffles, topped with a few grains of fleur de sel (or other coarse salt), are the epitome of why this flavor combination has grabbed us all by the scruff of our necks and made us converts. They can be made well ahead of time, which is both a bonus, and very, very dangerous.

10. Barbara Scott-Goodman’s Mocha Mousse with Fresh Strawberries. Another chocolate dessert recipe? You know it. Desserts than can be categorized as rich and light at the same time are a special breed, and this one has Valentine’s Day written all over it. The mousse is spiked with coffee and whipped into a cloud of egg whites (uncooked, so caveat emptor if you are concerned about raw eggs) and cream. Ruby red strawberries are the juicy finishing touch.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2011 4:55 pm

    you are right katie Hallmark holiday is not an excuse to enjoy delicious Food 😉 !

  2. More followers on pinterest permalink
    March 6, 2013 5:38 am

    i have been reading your blog for a while now, and i really do love your writing, i was wondering is there any way you can get updates for the latest article you post on email or even cell, Forgive my immaturity in this as i am really new to this internet stuf

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