Valentine Virtual Dinner

wizardnmJanuary 17, 2013

First of all this virtual dinner is open to all, don't be shy, it's a fun thing and the more that participate the more fun it is. So jump in anytime! Even if you only do a special Valentine dessert, please join in and share. The whole idea is to share recipes and ideas and talk about what you are cooking.

The theme is centered on Valentines Day, which can be anything you want. In the past we have had themes centered on various cuisines from around the world. I think everyone had fun with the South America virtual dinner. I know there were many good recipes floating around. Some invited friends or family for dinner, others just made dinner for themselves. Even if you are alone, there's nothing wrong with making a special dinner just for are special and deserve it.

When: The actual virtual dinner will be Saturday, Feb 16 2013. If you are doing your dinner on Valentines Day, which falls on Thrusday, or on Friday, Feb 15, you can still post about it on Saturday. I know many go out for dinner on Valentines Day, so maybe you could just think of Saturday nights dinner as a second special dinner.

Before the actual day of the dinner, please post about what you are going to make and share recipes. This part can start right away. Please post only on this thread so that we can keep it all together. Other's might find your ideas are something they want to try too. Recipes do not have to be T+T as we all understand you might be trying something new. I don't really have any ideas yet for this year, we do something different every year. I know there are others that have made it a tradition to do the same dinner every year. As I type this, I'm thinking crab cakes might be good this year. I love making desserts so that may be harder to decide. Please post your menu if you can, again, not required but it may give someone else an idea.

On the day of the dinner, if you can share progress posts that will add to the whole thing. Please take pictures of your dinner, if you can.

AnnT sent me a list of who said they wanted to participate, when she asked me to do this part. She has some extra stuff going on right now so I said I would help.

Rules???? There aren't any....I hope we can just have fun with this!!!!

Questions???? Just ask!!!!


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Thank you Nancy and Ann! THe Virtual Dinners are so much fun! I will definitely participate, but I have no idea what the menu will be... thinking I may dust off my Lobster Strudel recipe from years ago. And there will definitely be something chocolate for dessert.

Looking forward to all the menues and recipes that everyone has planned


    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 5:41AM
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I've been thinking off and on about what might be a great Valentine dinner. The talk about risotto has me leaning that way, but I don't know, yet. And what else to make? I, too, love to make deserts, so that will be fun to think about, too.

I'm looking forward to this!


    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 9:55AM
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I am SO doing this! OMG this could be fun.....EJ style...

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 12:24PM
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Nancy, thanks for taking this on. I've always enjoyed the Virtual Dinners and will definitely be participating.

Just need to give some thought to a menu.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 2:44PM
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OK, how could I not when Jessica opened like that!

I'm in, probably on the Saturday, but we'll see what works.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 4:13PM
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The last couple of Valentine's days, we have ordered a takeout dinner through a local church but catered by the best grocery store in our area. We enjoyed it but the Virtual Dinner gives me a reason to cook a romantic dinner for the two of us.

We have a good source of fresh blue crabmeat and haven't had any for a while so think that will be somewhere in the menu.

I'm looking forward to getting some good ideas as this thread develops.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 5:00PM
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So far, I've decided that our entree will be Crab Imperial/Imperial Crab. It used to be a popular menu item in Chesapeake Bay seafood restaurants and DH often ordered it or I made and baked it in those big scallop shells. It will be a surprise for him since I haven't made it for at least 30 years. I'll post the recipe when I find it in my archives.

Honey tangerines should be just about ending their season around Valentine's Day. Anyone have a good dessert recipe showcasing them?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 9:19AM
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Ruthanna, would you please post the recipe for your Crab Imperial here. I'm still deciding but I could be influenced by other's menus and recipes. Thanks


    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 10:27AM
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Ann, I'll post it when I find it, and that might take a while. I think the recipe was from one of my older cookbooks but I have no idea which one.

In the meantime, here's a good crab recipe I made as a first course for a dinner last year. I should have done a neater job of rolling them.


24 thin slices of prosciutto
12 oz. Fresh lump crab meat
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce (I use Cholula)
1 lemon
2 Tbs. minced parsley
Freshly ground black pepper

Arrange 4 slices of prosciutto on a flat surface, each slightly overlapping the other. Place a heaping tablespoon of crab in the center of the end slice. Roll ham slices over filling cigar-style; repeat with remaining meat and crab to make 6 rolls.

Heat butter in a large skillet; when it foams, add the six rolls. (The ham will cling to the crab when heated.) Turn rolls once and cook until ham starts to frizzle and crab is heated through. Transfer to a hot serving dish.

Add Worcestershire and Tabasco to skillet and squeeze in juice of lemon. Heat for about 30 seconds and pour over ham. Sprinkle each roll with parsley and pepper.

[edited to remove the offensively oversized photo]

This post was edited by ruthanna on Sat, Jan 26, 13 at 10:36

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 5:43PM
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Ruthanna! That's looks so good!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 5:56PM
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Oh my goodness...Ruthanna, that Coach House Crab looks GREAT!!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 8:00PM
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Interesting. Those do look great Ruthanna. Love me some crab.

At first I thought of seafood cheesecake. Haven't made that in years. Then thought of my seafood crepes. Way my carpal tunnel has been, I'm not sure I can deal with the crepes, or in fact what I'll be able to do. Maybe using flour tortillas...hmm.. I decided to skip the seafood cheesecake because I think I want to do a citrus cheesecake for dessert. A basic cheesecake with lemon, lime and orange zest and juice.

Fun to have time to figure it out.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 8:15PM
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I do have a question. I have been invited to a few Valentine's dinner parties. In addition to my own Valentine's dinners, I will be making many dishes.

As usual, I have no ideas and no plans of what I will be making. Depending what are on sale in the stores and what come to my mind at the spur of the moment.

Whatever I will be making probably will not be based on any recipes. I do generally do some test runs first beforte I finalize my dishes. So my Valentine's cooking will last many days.

Should I be posting on this thread or should I start a new one? I am OK either way.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:31PM
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dcarch, I think it would be very nice of you to share on this thread.
Please join in.

I would however try to refrain from doing multiple images of the same dish, that can get old.

Even if you do not use a recipe, a complete description of what is on the plate and any cooking notes are always good. This forum is a cooking forum, unlike food porn sites.

Posting and sharing together is a good thing!


    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 8:47AM
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OK, I found the ancient recipe and am looking forward to making it again. I am also planning on making an Orange-Rum cake but with the honey tangerines instead of oranges. I'll be making a test run of it when DH is away all day and will post the recipe if it is as delicious as the recipe sounds.

Any suggestions for side dishes for the crab?


Mix together and set aside:

1 beaten egg yolk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 drops hot pepper sauce
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. each drained capers, chopped pimiento and chopped parsley

Put 1 pound back fin crabmeat in a large bowl. Remove any cartilage. Sprinkle lightly with salt and Old Bay seasoning to taste. Pour sauce over crab and mix LIGHTLY to coat.

Divide crab between four greased scallop shells or small baking dishes. Brush with melted butter [or a thin layer of mayonnaise] and sprinkle with paprika. Put shells on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 9:45AM
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I don't know what we'll be having for dinner, but dessert is traditionally bread pudding. It is the first thing I every cooked for DH before our marriage. My favorite recipe is from Nora Ephron's book Heartburn.

"Once in New Orleans, we all went to Mosca's for dinner, and we ate marinated crab, baked oysters, barbecued shrimp, spaghetti bordelaise, chicken with garlic, sausage with potatoes, and on the way back to town, a dozen oysters each at the Acme and beignets and coffee with chicory on the wharf. Then Arthur said, 'Let's go to Chez Helene's for the bread pudding,' and we did, and we each had two. The owner of Chez Helene gave us the recipe when we left, and I'm going to throw it in because it's the best bread pudding I've ever eaten. It tastes like caramelized mush.

Cream 2 cups sugar with 2 sticks butter. Add six beaten eggs, then add 2 1/2 cups milk, on 13-ounce can evaporated milk, 2 tablespoons nutmeg, 2 tablespoons vanilla, a loaf of wet bread in chunks and pieces (any bread will do, the worse the better) and 1 cup raisins. Stir to mix. Pour into a deep greased casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours, stirring after the first hour. Serve warm with hard sauce."

DH prefers cinnamon to nutmeg, so I do substitute. This makes so much, I usually split it between a large and small casserole dish, shorten the baking time, and freeze the smaller casserole.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 10:06AM
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Well, I, for one, look forward to dcarch's "food porn"
Start a new thread and post your pics. Peeps who don't want to see multiple pics of the same dish can refrain from opening the thread!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 10:46AM
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I was set on Chocolate Mascarpone Tart until you said Bread Pudding, oasisowner. DH can make one dessert...Chocolate Raspberry Clafouti. I have to work that Saturday...hmmmm....

I will probably make this tart though, since I make them for fundraisers and DH snivels that someday he'd like to try one.

Other than that, I haven't decided. We have a package of beef tenderloin in the freezer, potatoes starting to sprout and trays of Asian salad greens and baby kale in the greenhouse, so it might be steak, potatoes and salad ~yawn~. Hoping to be inspired here.

1 Cup All-purpose Flour
3 Tablespoons Alkalized (Dutch Process) Cocoa
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cold
1 Large Egg
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Water
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
8 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 Eggs
1 Cup Mascarpone Cheese (about 9 ounces)
2 Ounces Milk or White Chocolate, melted

1 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom

1. For the crust, combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to mix. Cut butter into 10 pieces, add to work bowl, and pulse until finely mixed in. Add egg and pulse until dough forms a ball. Wrap and chill dough until ready to bake the tart.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Knead chilled dough slightly until malleable, then form into a disk. Flour dough and surface and roll dough to fit pan. Sever excess dough at rim of pan and press dough firmly into pan.

3. For the filling, bring sugar and water to a boil in a non-reactive saucepan. Add butter and continue to cook until butter is melted. Off heat, add chocolate and allow to stand 2 minutes, then whisk smooth.

4. Whisk together the eggs and mascarpone, then whisk in the chocolate mixture. Pour the filling into the crust and bake until the dough is baked through and the filling is set, about 30 minutes.

5. Cool the tart on a rack.

6. To decorate the tart, fill a non-pleated plastic bag a with the melted chocolate. Force all the chocolate into one corner of the bag and snip a hole in the end. Streak the top of the tart with the chocolate.

Katie's note: To serve, drizzle plate with huckleberry or raspberry coulis.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 9:27PM
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Thank you Nancy and thank you angelaid. NowI am torn which way to go.

May be I will try both and see how it goes. :-)

Nancy, I quite agree with you, that the cooking forum should not be for the purpose of demonstration of food porn and display of photographic proficiency.

All my posts have been for information only. I have not varied my posting format at all.

To document food, I don't choose different posts, or change styles. No purposeful out of focus shots, and no one picture only showing only one single close up of one single ingredient.

As you know I have been consistently tow shots for every dish, showing one complete top view of all the ingredients, and one side view close up of ingredients not visible from the top view and detailed texture of the dominant ingredient.

For me every chance to cook is another chance to learn, to learn from experimentation. There are many more better cooks than I am in the application of T&T recipes. I don't go into much details of the experiments other than the general concept because I am not sure if the concept is of any interest to anyone else. However, I am always happy to give more details if requested.

So, here is a quick one I am trying out. Mostly to find out why there are talks about pie crust falling. I used store bought pie crust for a Meyer Lemon pie which I may be making. No shrinkage and no falling whatsoever. No weights were used either.


BTW, ruthanna, that COACH HOUSE CRAB WITH PROSCIUTTO is fancy enough for Valentine for sure.

This post was edited by dcarch on Sat, Jan 26, 13 at 0:41

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 9:57PM
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Dcarch, I think this is what Nancy meant by multiple photos of the same dish. We can clearly see the tart in the first photo-- but rather than a second photo, we'd appreciate a rough idea of the recipe or at least the ingredients.
I love Meyer lemons and would be most interested after seeing how light and airy your tart appears. Additionally, not to be cranky, but your photos are pretty large on my screen which makes the thread longer when we're scrolling for recipe ideas.
Thanks for being considerate.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 12:23AM
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Compumom, I would be surprised if that's what Nancy meant. I have posted hundreds, (a thousand?) dishes the same style on many other food forums, they have been viewed and commented by tens of thousands, not one single one has complained that two pictures of a dish are too many.

Regarding my pictures are too big, can you give me more details? They appear to be reasonable sizes on my screen, about the same size as Ruthanna's. I wonder if there could be some software issues with GW and Photobucket compatibility.

The Pie (9") - as I said, I got curious because many others have experienced crust shrinkage and falling. I had made my own crust longtime ago, and recently mostly use store bought dough. I don't remember that ever happened, so I tried again. The second close-up picture shows a little better of the crust condition.

The filling of the pie is somewhat typical lemon pie filling. I basically eyeballed the quantities, so the following may not be correct.

Four jumbo eggs.
3/4 stick of butter.
1/4 cup heavy cream.
3/4 cup sugar.
5 Meyer lemons, rind and juice, seeds removed.

The follow are my own non-typical ingredients:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 drops yellow food coloring (the next time, one drop)

Everything into the blender to puree and pour into semi-baked pie crust and bake again. As it turned out, I should have used more sugar ( I couldn't taste the mix because of the raw eggs), and less lemon rind. Still delicious, but not perfect.

I was playing with another idea. I am trying to develop a technique to create a pie texture that has the top layer uniformly crackled, just like a fine Raku ceramic piece. Obviously I am not there yet.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 8:35AM
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dcarch - No rules. Nancy said it herself. Anything else are just suggestions, and only because you asked. ;)

Your pie looks good, and has me thinking about including Meyer lemons in my Valentine's meal, not sure if in the main course or on the dessert end. Perhaps a selection of mini tarts or other small bites - lemon, chocolate mousse, and...??? (Suggestions welcome!)

Like others, I've got crab on the brain. I'm wondering about the tip to soak the crab in milk to reduce the funky flavor of pasteurized crab meat. Sometime this taste comes through in the final dish more times than others, but when it does it ruins the meal for me. Has anyone tried this method?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 9:16AM
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Dcarch, your pie looks luscious. Can't wait to see what other Valentine's creations you come up with. I have no idea why multiple photos of a dish would be a problem.

FOAS, the link below has so many good lemon recipes. Maybe you can get some ideas from it.

Years ago, people used to soak smelly fish in milk before cooking but I don't think it really did much except was them. If I am craving crab and have to use the pasteurized instead of fresh, I taste it as soon as I open it and if it has that canny taste, I dump it in a big bowl of water mixed with lemon juice, swish it around very gently, and then dump it in a colander. Then I store it in a container with folded paper towels in the bottom to soak up any moisture left from the lemon wash. That does help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lemon Recipes

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 9:52AM
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Compumom said what I meant very well. Sometimes a second picture is nice if it shows the inside of the food vs just the outside. All forums are different, making each one unique as to their emphasis. On this forum, the emphasis has always been on methods and recipes. That is why so many do not even bother to post a photo. I don't visit other forums that are not actual cooking and recipes, but that's just me. I follow blogs about cooking and really enjoy Pinterest.

The age of digital cameras has made it much easier to do the visualization but a recipe or method makes it easier to taste. I can read a recipe and taste it, a way of knowing if I want to make it.

FOAS is right, just suggestions.

There is a setting on Photobucket for the size of pictures, when uploaded to a site. Some people still have problems with large sized photos.

Just a note about falling pie crusts. I was under the impression that the post was about baking an empty shell, not a filled one and one that is made from scratch vs out of the box. People are using butter rather than all lard or shortening, hence the drooping sides when they bake an empty shell. Not a pie with filling in it before baking.

Edit: I just saw AnnT's post on her filet, that is a great example of when two pictures should be used. The additional pics help the whole dinner experience. The recipe posted at the same time encourages me to make it.


This post was edited by wizardnm on Sat, Jan 26, 13 at 10:27

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 10:19AM
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Well this is disappointing. I had hoped all the responses were recipes and menus about the upcoming celebration. DC - I would love for you to start a new thread for your photos.

THe Imprerial Crab sounds great, but I am sticking with the lobster theme I think. This is what I made for DH to celebrate our first Valentines day back when he was still BF status. The salad will definitely be spinach, but I may swap out the rose vinaigrette. It sounded interesting to me, but I am going to give it a taste test before I commit.

Menu so far (probably with a couple of bottles of champagne)

Spinach Salad with strawberries and rose vinaigrette

Lobster Strudel
Duchesse Potatoes (just because DH loves them)
Steamed green beans with dill

Raspberry Chocolate Ganache Truffle Cake

If anyone is interested in the Lobster Strudel recipe, I have C&P below. I got it 15+ years ago from the exec chef at Arrows restaurant in my home town in Maine. It was my favorite thing to order for special occassions.

Lobster Strudel

1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup dry vermouth
4 each egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup parsley, snipped
1 teaspoon salt
� teaspoon pepper
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
12 ounces lobster meat
8 each phyllo dough sheets
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Cook onions in butter until golden. Add vermouth. Boil until reduced to 1/3 cup.

Whisk a tablespoon or two of butter mixture into beaten eggs. Slowly add egg yolks to butter and onion mixture. Add parsley, salt, and pepper. Add cream cheese and cook, stirring until cheese is melted. Fold in lobster.

Thaw phyllo dough according to package directions. Place 1 sheet phyllo on work surface; brush with butter and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon bread crumbs. Layer a second sheet, butter, and crumbs and repeat two more times, to end with a stack of 4 sheets.

Mound half of the lobster mixture lengthwise on phyllo 1 inch from the edge. Roll phyllo into 2 inch thick roll and place on a cookie sheet. Repeat process to make a second roll.

Brush roll tops with melted butter. With a serrated knife, make partial slices in roll before baking or freezing. Bake at 35O� for 15 minutes, then at 450� for 5 to 10 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes. To serve, cut in slices.
Serves 4

Here is a link that might be useful: Arrows Restaurant

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 2:47PM
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Alexa, your menu sounds like it will be a very special dinner at your house.

I first saw this recipe in a cookbook about 45 years ago (as you probably can tell from the directions). I always wanted to make it but recognized there were too many steps I could mess up in the process. I preferred a citrus dessert to go with the crab so decided to finally give it a dry run today. I followed the recipe exactly as written but substituted Florida honeybells (grapefruit & tangerine hybrid) for the oranges. It was worth the trouble and I will be making it again for the virtual dinner.


3 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 Tbs. fresh orange juice
2 tsp. grated orange rind
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Orange-Rum Topping
Orange slices, candied cherries and whipped cream rosettes for garnish

Beat eggs until light. Gradually beat in sugar and continue to beat until mixture is thick and lemon-colored. Use an electric beater if possible, and beat at high speed for about 5 minutes. Stir in orange juice and rind. Sift flour with baking powder three times and fold into batter. Pour into buttered and floured 9-inch springform pan. Bake in preheated moderate oven (350 degrees) for 30 minutes, or until cake tests done. Cool in pan. Pour Orange-Rum Topping over cooled cake and chill until serving time. Remove from pan. Decorate with oranges, cherries and whipped cream rosettes.


1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
2 cups hot milk
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/3 cup dark rum
1 large orange, halved and sectioned with grapefruit knife
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Soften gelatin in cold water. Stir in hot milk and sugar. Cook over low heat until mixture is hot. Do not let boil. Gradually pour over egg yolks, stirring constantly. Add rum. Set pan in bowl of cracked ice and stir constantly until cool and beginning to set. Fold in orange sections and whipped cream.

Edited to add a pic of the dry run cake. Next time, i will try to do a smoother job of folding in the whipped cream and tapping the pan to eliminate air bubbles.

This post was edited by ruthanna on Fri, Feb 8, 13 at 14:46

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 4:35PM
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DH made a lovely Venison Wellington the other night (he said he needed to practice) with home-grown Brussel sprouts from the freezer and roasted carrots. We used the recipe linked below, substituting venison for the beef, used dried shiitake mushrooms and left out the ham. It was delicious!

Please forgive the plating - we're in the process of tearing out the kitchen after the fire and most of our stuff is already packed up :-( But we're still cookin'!

Here is a link that might be useful: Beef Wellington Recipe

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:34PM
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Yum, Malna, that looks delicious.

I have no idea what we're going to have, I'm leaning toward sushi since we haven't had that in quite a long time.

Dessert? I don't know that I'll even make any since we are going to Elery's for his granddaughter's birthday party on the 16th and I have to make Minnie Mouse themed cake balls.
Elery doesn't eat desserts, so it would be just for me anyway.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 7:44PM
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If things go as planned, I'm going to take off on the 14th and shop/prep/cook/bake all day. My exact menu and courses change with my mood, but it looks like it'll include salad, crab cakes, some sort of risotto (thinking mushrooms), lamb chops, and a variety of mini desserts.

While I want to make a memorable several-course meal, I want the memory to be of us eating a great meal, not of me scrambling and cursing in the kitchen between each course and her wondering if it's rude to catch up on the soaps on her iPhone as she waits to be served.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 8:16PM
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"----While I want to make a memorable several-course meal, I want the memory to be of us eating a great meal, not of me scrambling and cursing in the kitchen between each course and her wondering if it's rude to catch up on the soaps on her iPhone as she waits to be served."

Who is she? Has your wife met her?

dcarch LOL!

Sounds like a great romantic plan. Shoprite has very good canned crab meat, almost like fresh.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 8:37PM
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Anybody making plans? Valentines Day is only 10 days away.

I admit that I have been a little slow at planning myself.

Here is a recipe that I am considering:

Dungeness Crab Pasta with Wine, Fried Meyer Lemon Slices and Fried Capers

Cook time
15 mins

Total time
15 mins

Simple ingredients are sublime in this positively fresh pasta dish.
Author: Lemons & Anchovies


1 pound spaghetti (either fresh or dry would be okay; my fresh pasta yielded about 14.5 ounces)
About 1/2 pound (8 ounces) lump crab meat
6 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
Dried chili flakes, to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1 Meyer lemon, sliced thinly (half will be fried (seeds removed), the other half for garnish)
Another 1/2 lemon for its zest and juice
About 2 tablespoons capers, drained and mashed a little
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup fruity olive oil for the sauce plus more for frying the lemons and capers.
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley plus more for garnish
**Breading for the lemon slices: Combine all ingredients below in a small bowl***
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


To prepare fresh pasta, please click here for the recipe. Feel free to use dried spaghetti if you wish. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
To prepare the capers: First drain the capers and press with a spoon just once or twice to expel more of the liquid. Heat a bit of olive oil in a small pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the capers. They will sizzle a lot but watch them carefully as they will cook very fast, under a minute. Any longer and they will get too brown. Remove from the pan and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside.
To Prepare the fried lemon slices: Using the same pan and oil that you fried the capers in, dredge the slices in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess, then add them to the pan. Fry on each side over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side. You�ll lose some of the lemon pulps in the pan causing some sizzling but it�s okay. Drain the lemons on the same plate lined with a paper towel. They should crisp up as they cool. Set aside.
To prepare the sauce (this would be a good time to put the pasta in the pot to cook): Heat the 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chili flakes and garlic and cook for only a minute. Be careful not to let the garlic get too brown; turn your heat down if you see that they're cooking too fast. Add the wine and turn the heat up a bit. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 tbsp of chopped parsley.
Right before you add the pasta to the sauce, add the most of the crab, leaving some behind to top the plates. Stir them around the sauce for just a minute, the meat is already cooked so you just want it to get to roughly the same temperature as the sauce. Add the cooked pasta and toss well to combine. Arrange on plates and top with the remaining crab, parsley, the fried lemon slices, fried capers and more lemon slices if you wish.
This will serve 3-4 as a first course and 2-3 as an main dish.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 2:13PM
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Nancy, that looks so, so good.

I still haven't decided what I am making yet.
But here is something I would love to try. I think it looks and sounds wonderful. Probably better when tomatoes are in season, but if I can find some decent tomatoes, I might give it a try.

The recipe and photo can be found on She Simmers.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:32PM
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Nancy, that looks really good. C/P.

OMG, Ann. That looks wonderful. C/P and will try this summer with heirloom tomatoes. Makes my mouth water.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 5:07PM
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BF and I were just discussing this yesterday. We were both lying in bed (now don't get any ideas, we were both sick as dogs coughing and hacking and whacked out on anti-histamines) so for a diversion I asked him what his "ideal" Valentine's Day meal might be. As per usual, he said, "Whatever you would like" (he really thinks I'm not on to him!) but realistically we figured if we did anything we'd probably go out to eat since both of us are sick and not much cooking or cleaning or anything else is going on at our house. But if I did make a Valentine's dinner I decided it would be:

A mushroom rissoto recipe I have been wanting to try from Anna Del Conte's "Italian Kitchen" cookbook

Roasted brussel sprouts or asparagus or beets, all of which are rare expensive treats for us

Shrimp stuffed sole. What we really want is lobster tails but we both agreed they just weren't worth the money.
I think I am going to try this recipe I found on the Williams and Sonoma Web site, but with some panko and parmesean cheese in with the stuffing since it seems kinda overly "spinachy" to me.
Baked Stuffed Sole with Shrimp Sauce

Chocolate cheesecake which we have in the freezer leftover from the holidays.

Cognac. Don't ask me why, that was BF's idea. I told him I wanted chocolate cherries with liqueur in the middle. I would settle for coffee with Amaretto.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 7:21PM
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Nancy - that looks absolutely sublime! Definitely C&P!

Ann that looks like a great summer dish. There is no way I can find "worthy" tomatoes here this time of year.

LPink - I hope you and BF feel better soon. THe Mushroom Risotto sounds lovely - and I may switch my menu up to add a Risotto appetizer. It would be too rich with the Lobster Strudel, but sounds really yummy and we all love risotto.

I did a "trial run" with AnnT's White Chocolate Raspberry tart and everyone here loved it. I will definitely make it again for Valentine's Day!

Sounds like some super menus coming together!


    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 7:49PM
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Ann, I saved the tomato recipe, can't wait to try it.

All the talk of Risotto reminded me of another recipe I have had me eyes on.

Caramelized scallops + risotto with Fino sherry

Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients U.S. Metric Volume
For the risotto
Butter 2 oz 60 g 4 Tbsp
Onion, finely chopped 4 oz 120 g 1/2 cup
Carnaroli rice 14 oz 400 g 2 cups
Sherry Fino 5 fl oz 150 ml 2/3 cup
Chicken stock 2 qt 2 l 8 cups
To finish the risotto
Butter 2 oz 60 g 4 Tbsp
Parmigiano, grated 3 oz 90 g 1 cup
For the scallops
Sea scallops, dry-packed 2 lbs 950 g
Kosher salt 8 1/2 oz 240 g 1 cup
Hot water 8 fl oz 240 ml 1 cup
Cold water 2 qt 2 l 8 cups
Light olive oil 2 fl oz 60 ml 1/4 cup
Fino sherry 3 fl oz 60 ml 1/4 cup
Butter 2 oz 60 g 4 Tbsp
Freshly ground black peper

In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil then lower to heat to maintain at a simmer.
prepare the brine, combine salt with the hot water in a bowl, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add the cold water. Add the scallops to the brine and let stand for 10-15 minutes. Drain the scallops, rinse under cold water, and pat them dry.
In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter on a low heat. Add the onion and cook slowly for 10 minutes paying attention not to brown it. The onion should be soft and translucent.

Turn the heat to medium, add the rice and cook stirring constantly until the rice is well covered with butter. The rise grains should look chalky with a white dot in the center. Do not let the rice brown
Add the sherry and let it reduce, stirring constantly until the mixture is almost dry.
Turn back the heat to low, start adding the hot stock 1/2 cup at the time stirring frequently until almost all of it is absorbed. Continue to add stock in this fashion, stirring until the grains are tender and the risotto is creamy but not soupy. About 18 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, let the risotto rest for 2-3 minutes to slightly cooling it down. This is an important step do not miss it. Adding butter or cheese at this point, may split the risotto because the high temperature will melt butter or cheese too fast.

Quickly stir into the rice, first butter and then the grated Parmigiano cheese. Pay attention not burn yourself. Adjust with salt and pepper and set it a part while caramelize the scallops.

In a large heavy frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high until it begins to smoke. Add the scallops to the pan, without crowding, they shouldn't touch each other; if they do, they will steam rather than caramelize. Cook, without moving the scallops, until the bottoms are a golden brown. Turn the scallops and caramelize the second side. Remove the scallops from the pan and set them a part.

Turn the heat off, Pour off most of the fat from the pan. Add sherry to the pan, it will come up to boiling very quickly, bringing up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. As the liquid boils, scrape up the fond. Once the liquid is reduced by half and the fond is dispersed throughout it, turn the heat down, season the sauce with salt and whisk in the butter until slightly thickened.

Serve the risotto in warm dishes with scallops arranged on top of it. Pour the scallop sauce over them and sprinkle each dishes with little extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.

Maybe I need to take a vote..... which recipe? 

Then there is some type of sinful dessert to think about. 

Nancy (I see I need to change my Photobucket settings... sorry pic is so big)

Here is a link that might be useful: [Cooking for Ronnie](
    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:00PM
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OMG Nancy I might just have to try that dish! Scallops was another menu idea BF and I discussed! We both love them and they are a sustainable seafood choice. I'd have to buy the "Sherry Fino" though and I rarely use sherry. I guess I could try and incorporate more sherry into my cooking, lol!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:52AM
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lpink, you can add a little Sherry to so many things, it really kicks up the flavor. I use it like a seasoning with poultry, fish and veggies. I also use a good red, usually a Cab, in any red sauces or beef dishes...

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:33AM
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good luck on those photobucket settings, Nancy, I find that Photobucket will not let me reduce past the 30% point, which is about the size of your photo.

Love scallops, though, and I have some in the freezer, maybe those will be Valentine's Day dinner. Right now we're waiting for a plumber so we might not be cooking anything at all. I'm going to the Laundromat later, after my appointment with the ortho guy this afternoon.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:46AM
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I'm really having a hard time figuring out what to make. I really wanted to make some mushroom risotto, but with the pesky carpal tunnel I'll be lucky to make something that takes no real stirring let alone risotto. Christy doesn't like crab but I love it and the dungeness is on sale. I thought of just doing crab for me and shrimp for her. Both with a nice garlic butter. Green beans as a side and maybe just bake a mushroom pilaf. Dessert might be a lemon mousse.

I saw a recipe for strawberry fudge made with canned strawberry icing and white chocolate. It was very pretty and I have some tiny heart sprinkles to decorate it with. I can't and won't use canned frosting...shudder... it has a terrible aftertaste to me. But, I thought I'd try a nice stiff butter cream with some strawberry scraps I have in the freezer and use that with the white chocolate and see how it turns out. Strawberry scraps are what I call the leftover juice and a few berries from when we have strawberry shortcake. I just freeze them for use over ice cream or in something where the syrup would add to it. Sometimes I'll just take a few bags and some fresh berries and make ice cream.

Anyway... I'm a bit confused because the following week, on the 21st is Christy's birthday and the day after is our Anniversary. All need food. LOL.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 1:56AM
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Wizardnm, please don't change your Photobucket settings. That picture is perfect!

Is it too late to join?

I'm thinking about joining in the Virtual Dinner but haven't decided on a main course. All the seafood dishes look and sound wonderful but getting quality seafood here is not gonna happen so I will probably go with beef or chicken. Malna's Beef Wellington looks good.

Salad will be baby spinach with mandarin orange, almonds and a citrus vinaigrette. Dessert will involve chocolate with either strawberries or raspberries.

Di -a virtual dinner virgin!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:27AM
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Diinohio, of course you can join in, it's never too late. Glad to have you.

I'm thinking dessert has to be chocolate something here. I made Black Forest cupcakes for Kim's birthday recently but something with chocolate and strawberries sounds wonderful.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 11:00AM
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OK, Elery just started the "17 day diet". We'll be having Valentine's Day Dinner, but I'm going to have to get really creative here.

No carbs, lean meats, lots of vegetables, probiotics, some fruit. I don't think cheesecake fits. (grin)


    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 11:34AM
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I'm still up in the air myself. We're going to Tahlequah for half the week next week to spend some nice quiet time together for our anniversary on the 12th, and that's when we're doing our dinner. We'll be hosting one other couple for the dinner. The gentleman has had a recent heart attack, so the meal needs to be heart healthy.

I rarely cook fish, but I'm thinking either trying fish, or maybe roasting a chicken, or doing something with chicken breasts. But not being an experienced chicken breast cook, either, and they are always, always dry (Even when I ate meat, I hated breast meat). So, I'm not sure what I'm going to do, yet. I'm terrible at menu planning.

We'll be away from a computer while we're in Tahlequah, but we'll take pics and post one when we get back, or on Saturday, since that's the designated day. No matter what we end up doing, it'll be nice just to be away.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:39AM
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Sally, check out the recipe that I posted on the Feb. New Recipe thread that FOAS started. It would be a great special dinner using chicken breasts.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:02PM
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Sally as you know I am a mostly vegetarian but when BF and I do eat meat is is usually chicken or fish, and when it is chicken, 9 times out of 10 it is boneless chicken breasts. So I have developed a whole set of recipes and techniques for making them! For the elegant pan cooked saucy versions I invested in a meat pounder. Good investment! The secret to making a good pan cooked white meat boneless chicken breast is to pound it out so that the breast meat is an even thickness throughout. Otherwise the thin end overcooks by the time the thick end is done. Then, I usually bread it lightly with flour, cook about 10 min. on each side in butter and olive oil, and set aside to make the sauce. Our favorites are mushroom wine cream sauce and lemon caper picatta sauce. If I'm doing a mushroom sauce I saute the mushrooms and onions with the chicken to ensure the mushrooms are well cooked, which makes a big difference IMHO. I'm linking to my favorite recipe for chicken breasts because it is easy peasy and delicious, except I don't use the Marsala wine. I use some other kind of wine I have on hand splashed into vegetable broth. I also rarely use cream, mostly I use soy milk, light cream or 2% milk, whatever I have on hand. Just a tad in my case. That makes a very yummy dish but not high calorie. We usually serve it with brown rice pilaf because if I'm having a creamy sauce over my meat I don't feel like I need to guild the lily with creamy risotto.

This Fabio guy is over the top corny but the recipe is something I can work with! I adjust amounts to suit my taste.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chicken piccata with marsala sauce (piccata meaning

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:17AM
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Thanks, Lpink and Nancy. I'll check out both recipes. Y'all are a big help.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:23AM
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Annie, I lost 25 lbs. on "The 17 Day Diet". If Elery is religious with it it works! I really do enjoy eating the way Dr. Moreno suggests in his book. After a year I've only gained 2 lbs. back from the original weight loss. I still eat 3-4 times a week from the foods he suggests.

OK, back to the Virtual Dinner!

I was going to get all fancy pants and make that amazing recipe of COACH HOUSE CRAB WITH PROSCIUTTO! This is something I want to try one day...but not with Maggie. She likes bacon and chicken fried fish.

Any suggestions for a dinner with a 6 year old that loves to eat breakfast?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:23AM
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I'm glad it worked for you, RR, so far it's the most disgusting thing I've done. After three days I've lost nothing. I like yogurt as a cooking ingredient, but not by itself and I don't like fruit at all. I will go without entirely before I'll eat lettuce in any amount. I told Elery I'd just go on a 17 day fast, thanks and I'm not drinking green tea for any reason.

Pretty much nothing I like is allowed right now. No sweet potatoes, no potatoes, no avocado, no butternut squash, no oatmeal, no starches, no beef, no shellfish.

It's easier to just skip it, so I skipped breakfast entirely this morning and had coffee. As far as I can see it works by sucking every bit of enjoyment I've ever derived from food. Ugh.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:36AM
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It is a challenge but on the second cycle you can adapt some of the recipes. For now just eat alot of chicken, turkey, fish and what ever you can stomach vegetable wise.You don't need to eat the probiotics because you can take them in pill form. I don't like hot green tea so I would drink it cold with lot's of lemon :-)

I'm sorry that you don't like it. How bout Elery? Does he like it or just tolerating it?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:47AM
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Oh, I didn't lose any weight for 2 weeks when I first started it!

Then it melted away very fast!

Does anyone have any ideas for the virtual Valentine dinner with a 6 year old that likes bacon? ;-)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:51AM
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Karen, here's a dinner recipe that you could try.

bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with mushroom sauce
dinner party!

2 pork tenderloins
1 package of bacon (14 slices)
1 T olive oil
1 T dijon mustard
1 T grainy mustard
1 T dark brown sugar
1 T bbq sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 T minced rosemary
1 t dried thyme
salt, pepper

1. Whisk together olive oil, mustards, sugar, bbq sauce, garlic, and spices.

2. On a platter/cutting board, arrange the bacon so there are 2 sets of 7 slices side-by-side, to wrap around your pork.

3. Place a tenderloin on in the middle of the bacon (so the slices can wrap around the pork). Smear half of the olive oil/mustard mixture on each pork tenderloin (while it's on the bacon).

4. Wrap the bacon around the pork, and then secure with kitchen twine. You could probably also just cook it seam side down if you didn't have kitchen twine.

5. Let marinate for a few hours.

6. To cook - preheat oven to 425F. Put pork in oven (I put mine in a rack in a pan, so the bacon fat could drip. I also put 1 cup of water in the pan, so I wouldn't have to smell burning bacon fat as it dripped onto the pan). Clean up is easier if you line the pan with foil. ;)

7. Cook for about 35-45 minutes, until the thickest part of the pork measures at least 145F (you can go as high as 160F and it will still be pretty moist). Let rest for at least 10 minutes. Remove twine, slice and serve.

mushroom sauce
1 package dried wild mushrooms (about 14g)
1 cup boiling water
2 T butter
1/4 c minced shallot
1/2 c sherry/marsala (sweetish fortified wine)
LOTS of pepper, some salt
3/4 c whipping cream

1. Reconstitute the mushrooms in the boiling water (you may need more than 1 cup; this is fine). Let them soak for about 15-20 minutes. Strain, but keep the soaking liquid. Chop the mushrooms.

2. Heat a pot over medium-high heat. Add butter, and before the butter burns (but after it browns), add shallots. Saut� for 2-3 minutes. Add chopped mushrooms, saute until most of the liquid is out of the mushrooms and things are starting to stick/brown a bit. Add the sherry/marsala. Let it reduce until it's almost evaporated. Add the soaking liquid. Turn heat to high. Once the liquid has reduced to about half of what it was, add a ton of fresh-ground pepper, and the whipping cream. Keep the heat high until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 of what it was before, and it nice and thick. The key to a recipe like this is having the patience to wait until the liquids thicken. It takes forever, so I like to do it in advance. The result is a rich, creamy, concentrated sauce and this particular sauce is delicious on almost anything - mashed potatoes, chicken, steak, pork, rice, etc. It's yummy, and it's also vegetarian and gluten-free. I make this up in advance and just reheat before serving.

Ever make a taco shell out of bacon....could be fun....but not the healthiest. 

Here's another idea....with bacon, eggs and spaghetti, it's more dinner... 


Pasta Carbonara Frittata 

turkey bacon   
1/2 teaspoon salt   
1/4 teaspoon pepper   
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook spaghetti until just tender, about 8 minutes, or as package label directs. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and toss with olive oil to coat. Let cool to room temperature.   
Cook turkey bacon in a large skillet over medium\-high heat until crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 1 Tbsp. of fat in skillet.   
Preheat broiler to high. Whisk together eggs, Parmesan, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a bowl. Pour over spaghetti and toss to coat. Crumble bacon into bowl and mix well.   
Place skillet on stove over medium\-low heat and add egg\-and\-spaghetti mixture, spreading into an even layer with a spatula. Cook until bottom is well\-browned, about 8 minutes, sliding a spatula underneath frittata occasionally to loosen.   
Place pan under broiler and cook until top is golden and set, about 3 minutes. Cut frittata into wedges and serve. 


    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 1:38PM
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Karen, Elery doesn't eat fruit at all, except grapefruit, but he will eat yogurt. I've decided that I'll have a glass of skim milk and an acidophilus tablet for breakfast, but I'm not going to try to eat the fruit. Neither is Elery.

He's tolerating it better than I am, but neither of us like it. At all. I'm getting disgusted and crabby already, he's just resigned. If they clear the foot and a half of snow we got yesterday and last night, we'll drive the 50 miles to Grand Rapids tomorrow and actually buy things that we can eat, plus those tablets. The problem is that Elery just decided to do it, starting immediately, and there was no time to shop or prepare and I'm very limited with my small grocery store. Plus, with the broken elbow in a splint, I'm finding cooking to be somewhat cumbersome, that doesn't help.

I had yogurt this morning with sliced strawberries and sweetener. I ate two bites, gagged on the third, lost it all with bite #4. I'll drink just water, no green tea, not hot or iced.

I'm good at giving up things I like, lousy at eating things I don't like.

So, within those parameters, what should I make for Valentine's Day dinner? Fish or poultry, no starch, very limited vegetables. I could probably bake apples, I could tolerate that but Elery won't eat them.

Actually, now that I've realized the limitations, I think I'm going to forget about Valentine's Day and the virtual dinner. It's pretty much futile, I'll have a glass of water and Elery will eat lettuce. (grin)


    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:27PM
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"---Karen, Elery doesn't eat fruit at all,

That makes him an antifruitarian.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:39PM
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Well, no, actually it makes him a hypoglycemic, most fruits have enough natural sugar to give him a migraine. There are few he tolerates and he never eats desserts or sweets.

I think antifruitarian sounds better, though.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:44PM
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Looks like I will be cooking tonight. DH bought a pound of MD back fin crabmeat this morning so guess I'll be making the Imperial Crab. I par-boiled some baby red potatoes this morning and will soon make a tomato and zucchini dish for the vegetables. I made two salads with beets, peaches and pecans and a container of citrus dressing. DH said he was in the mood for a chocolate dessert so chocolate-orange mousses are chilling in the fridge.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:54PM
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Eat fruit before 2:00 p.m. then walk really really fast around the outside of the house for 17-20 minutes...that's what I do ;-)Burn that sugar/carbs right off my belly is what I say.

Ann, I think I'll be making that bacon wrapped pork tenderloin! Perfect for Maggie!


    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:45PM
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Karen, I was thinking about the young bacon eater. Sounds like you have a good idea with the tenderloin, but I had an idea. My idea was to make what you want for you guys and then take some chopsicks and wrap bacon around them and bake until crisp. It doesn't matter if it is hard to get off because you can just give her the sticks to gnaw the bacon off. Sounds kid friendly and cute, at least in my mind. LOL.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:53PM
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So, Karen, Maggie is going to have the same entr�e as the adults, and so that has to be bacon? Or can she have her own, like a nice appetizer of "pig candy", those little smokies wrapped in bacon, rolled in brown sugar and baked? I say it's Valentine's Day, give the kid what she loves. Bacon and sugar, how could it get better? LOL I really like the chopsticks idea too. Could you dip those in chocolate? (grin)

Nope, no fruit, before two or after it. I choke down a piece of fruit maybe twice a month. I just don't like it, no way am I going to be able to eat it twice a day, or even twice a week. So, I'll have coffee for breakfast. For lunch, replace the fruit with vegetables and when I get tired of chicken (which will be pretty darned soon), I'll stop eating that and eat some more vegetables. It's a good thing I like fish. It's only 17 days, then at least I can have beans, it's not like I'll starve or become horribly malmourished.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 12:55AM
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I'm so doing the bacon wrapped chopsticks for Maggie! What a great idea Coconut! Maggie does have a loose front tooth that needs to come out! Yay us! We will have a Valentine's dinner and then hopefully the tooth fairey will visit us!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 1:12AM
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Well I don't have pics yet....
We are having surf and turf...
Lobster tails with drawn butter and strip steaks RARE
We will start off with a appetizer of puff pasty with carmilized onions, goat cheese tomatoes and parm on top baked and then broiled to melt the parm.
Dessert will be a flourless cake.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 5:19PM
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I've lost 15 lbs the past two or three months by portion control and cutting out pretty much all carbs. When I'm hungry, I grab fruit, vegetables, protein, or hummus on a rice cracker. Nothing tastes as good as feeling thin - thanks Richard Simmons. My other motivation was the thought that a strange man was going to see me in birthday dermatologist.

I found my main course - sides will be bruschetta, snap or snow peas, a pineapple on our counter, waiting to ripen. A crusty loaf of bread for those who want (the teenager LOL).

Braised Hoisin Beer Short Ribs
Recipe courtesy Dave Lieberman

Prep Time:25 minInactive Prep Time: -- Cook Time:3 hr 20 min
4 to 6 servings

For the ribs:
3 pounds beef short ribs, about 10 ribs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 to 12 garlic cloves smashed
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
12 ounces good ale (recommended: Bass)
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 cup hoisin sauce

Season the ribs generously with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy pot with a lid (Dutch oven) over high heat. Brown the ribs on all sides, in batches if necessary. Remove the ribs and pour off all but a couple tablespoons of the rendered fat.

Return the pot to the stove, lower the heat to medium and saute the garlic and ginger for about 3 minutes. Add the ribs back to the pot. Add the beer and the vinegar. Stir and then cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Pour the hoisin sauce over the ribs, move the pot to the oven, and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Remove ribs and ginger from sauce. Strain fat from the top of the pot so that you're left with just the good stuff.

Here is a link that might be useful: David Lieberman braised short ribs in beer and hoisin

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 8:29AM
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Gooo for you, Jessica!

That would work for me and I'd be a lot less miserable, you know I'm a big advocate of "eat less, move more", but Elery is one of those very "extreme" people. He loves the fad diets. Sigh. He is quite a lot heavier than I am too, something about a couple of glasses of wine and some cheese every night since he retired. He shares the cheese with Cooper and Cooper is getting too fat too, LOL. So, in trying to be supportive, I told him I'd do it too. Bad choice on my part!

So, anyway, what can I fix for Valentine's Day? I'm leaning toward salmon because we both love it. Maybe a peach salsa with that?


    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 10:09AM
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I was looking for a particular serving dish last week and ran across my fondue plates. I was planning to make something with chicken breast tenders so ended up marinating them and stir frying as for Velvet Chicken and then serving them and roasted tiny Yukon Gold potatoes with a selection of dipping sauces. We also had a broccoli and dried cranberry salad. It was a fun and relaxing meal without dragging out the fondue pot and a change of pace for chicken breast meat.

This post was edited by ruthanna on Sun, Feb 10, 13 at 13:36

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:29AM
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My how things can change.... I was running a few frantic errands this afternoon, and discovered my fav butcher has GORGEOUS whole tenderloins on sale through Thursday.... sooooo..... our Virtual Valentines Day Dinner is now going to be Chateaubriand! Talk about rocking it old school, when was the last time you heard of someone making (or a restaurant serving) Chateaubriand?

That opens the door for a Lobster Risotto appetizer and probably a Ceasar salad instead of the spinach I had planned.

THe only constant is the champagne! LOLOLOL!


    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 4:24PM
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Alexa, that sounds great. It's been a long time since I've made that.

We are having a simple dinner on Valentines Day. We both love a good braised pork shoulder. I have my farmers market in the morning and needed something easy for dinner.

On Saturday I will make a more involved Valentine dinner. I have everything I need, just not sure what recipe yet. I'm still deciding on dessert. Chocolate? Fruit? Creamy? Maybe all three in one....
I'll pick up some micro greens if possible, otherwise baby greens with fresh fruit and brie and a sweet sour dressing.

How is everyone else doing?


    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:26AM
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Well, I've not officially joined the virtual VD dinner but DH told me this morning that it looks like we hit the jackpot this morning in the POD and he thinks he's found the kitchen stuff. He's busy hauling in boxes. It looks like tomorrow we are going to make that roast chicken dinner we've been craving since Sandy. If nothing else, we can make grilled cheese sandwiches in OUR kitchen!

/tricia (now if we could just find the bathroom towels we'd be happy campers - been using the same two towels we took with us when we evacuated in October 2012)

This post was edited by triciae on Wed, Feb 13, 13 at 11:44

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:43AM
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Malna, your venison Wellington must have been great! I've been reading a book about the history of cooking and eating in Britain and there were many laws regulating the harvest and consumption of venison. For centuries, it was the most prized meat. You did make a dinner fit for a king.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 1:09PM
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That's fabulous news Tricia. Even grilled cheese will be a celebratory meal indeed. This is the best news I've heard all week!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 3:23PM
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Ruthanna, you never disappoint with your cute dishes. What a nice dinner.

Looks like I either need something simpler for tomorrow or wait until Sunday to do my Valentine's Dinner. Monday Christy had a MOH's on some skin cancer on the side of her face in front of her ear. It's about an inch and a half incision so it is a bit sore and she can't do any more shopping for me, so I have to make from what's on hand. Plus I won't want her to try helping me cook, so it will have to be somewhat simple. Hmmm.. I have shrimp in the freezer, fresh green beans.... maybe a scampi, which she loves, with some saffron rice and the beans? I'm going out now to make some of Colleen's lemon curd with the Meyer lemons. Think I'll make a cheesecake to have it on?


Tricia, I'm so excited for you. If you don't find what you need for the chicken, I'll bet those grilled cheese will be the best ever!!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 3:29PM
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Tricia, So excited for you both!

Well, it is funny how plans change. It looks like we will have Maggie's little brother, Max, over for Valentine Dinner. He's a bacon eater too so we still have bacon wrapped chopsticks on the menu! Maggie has a social life that I forget about sometimes ;-)

I'm thinking Osso Bucco. But I'm at a loss for sides. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 5:47PM
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Duh, I'll have risotto to go with the Osso Bucco. I also make a Gremolata of minced parsley, lemon zest and garlic to go on top.

I'm thinking a salad?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 6:05PM
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Wayne will be away on business this VD. So it will just be us girls. We won't be making anything special for dinner. We will wait till Wayne comes home to celebrate. We usually go out to dinner for VD. I have been reading and enjoying this thread though. Many great menus! Happy Valentines Day everyone! NancyLouise

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 6:50PM
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Alexa, are you going to do all the vegetables surrounding it too? I haven't had that for years. It was always a show-stopper and I bet yours will be too. Can't wait to see it.

Tricia, that is exciting news. I am happy to hear it.

Coconut, I really love the commercial made in the USA plates like Shenango and McNicol and have a few of many different patterns. We went to a fabulous restaurant auction in December and although I bid on quite a few lots, I came home with only a stained glass lamp and a carton of sake sets. :(

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:34PM
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We had our dinner tonight. We participate in a soup/bread dinner every Thursday night to benefit our local food bank. Tomorrow night will be so special with 6 of us bringing our homemade soups and bread.

We had a fresh raw beet salad with an orange vinaigrette :

DH made his homemade pasta and a shrimp sauce with sauteed shallots/grape tomatoes/capers/cilantro stems. Garnish was parmesan and fresh cilantro leaves.

We had a toasted homemade sourdough..forgot to get a pic..this is how it looked before we cut it. Great thread !!!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:37PM
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Trailrunner, that looks like a wonderful dinner! Thanks for sharing it.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:45PM
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Not exactly food but I had embroidered this table runner and intended to use it for our special dinner but I forgot where I stored it. You can pretend I used it.

We had our Valentine's dinner on Friday night.

We started with a salad of greens, beets, peaches and pecans with a tangerine-maple vinaigrette.

The main course was the Crab Imperial, parslied potatoes and minted zucchini sticks. The crab tasted just the way we remembered it from years ago and we both enjoyed it.

Dessert was chocolate-orange mousse.

Thanks for the inspiration. It was a great way to spend a snowy evening.

This post was edited by ruthanna on Wed, Feb 13, 13 at 22:36

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:09PM
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Great dinner's!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 6:39AM
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Trailrunner and Ruthanna, your dinners look wonderful.

We did ours Tuesday night, as Tuesday was our anniversary. We were in Tahlequah, and had another couple over for dinner. Sadly, Jerry was coming down with a virus that's been going around, so he had little appetite. And, as he's the photographer, and I was busy just trying to get the dinner made, we totally forgot to take photos.

I decided to go with the Chicken Marsala recipe that Lpink recommended. It turned out very well, thank you, Lpink. At least, the guests, and even Jerry liked it. I had a portabella mushroom.

Desert was almost a disaster. I think I took half my kitchen with me to Tahlequah, but unfortunately, I took the wrong half. I forgot to take any cake pans, so I didn't make the lemon mousse cake. I had lots of meyer lemons to use, so I decided to make lemon curd, for the first time, of course. I retrofitted a pie pan into a tort pan by using foil, then, and make a tort shell. Then I made the curd.....well, tried to make curd. I've never made it before, and don't know exactly what it's supposed to look like, but I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to look runny hours after it's finished cooking. On to plan B. I'll make a pound cake, and use the runny lemon curd as a sauce. I had to retrofit a 9 x 11 pan into a 9x5 pan with foil, which worked beautifully. So, desert was pound cake with blueberries and lemon sauce. It was a hit, and one of the guests went back for more. Whew.

I wish we had pictures to share.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:40AM
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Calillo.....funny you mentioned Chateaubriand..I just had this at my cousins wedding 2 weeks ago and I said to DH I cant remember the last time I had was delicious! By the way Rachael Ray was a couple tables down from me with her DH John!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 10:49AM
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Everything looks and sounds so good !! Thank you ruthanna and sally !

I posted our Valentine's breakfast on the other thread. Hope everyone has a wonderful day. There are so many great ideas on this thread. I need to go and list them in my notebook ! c

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 10:54AM
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Nice looking (and sounding) dinners!

My dinner will be tonight, and the house is smelling pretty good. So far I've made the risotto which will become risotto cakes, and I'm about to start the mushroom ragout which will go with it. Ann T's white chocolate/cream cheese/ raspberry tart is about five minutes from coming out of the oven. A lamb stock has been simmering for a few hours now; that will be used for a sauce to go along with lamb chops. There's still a bunch to do (including lots of clean-up) but I'm feeling pretty ok with where I'm at.

Funny thing about the tart. The dough would not come together no matter how much I tried. I added a bit more butter, still just crumbs. Finally I realized what I did: The recipe says the filling is enough for two, so I halved everything in my mind. Unfortunately I didn't stop with the filling - I halved the butter in the dough! I think I recovered ok...

Will keep you posted!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 2:50PM
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I just posted this on the other Valentine Dinner am repeat posting here, in case that was the wrong place.

Here's a fun dessert I made the first time on Saturday for a dinner party. It was the perfect ending to the evening.

This is a recipe from my grandmother, who would be 110 years old, if she were still here to grace my life. She had these wonderful small tartlet molds I used, and they came in all kinds of shapes -- heart, squares, oval, fluted, etc. These molds are small enough that at most you get 2 bites out of the tartlet. This was the first time I'd ever made the recipe or used the tartlet pans (they're aluminum, I believe).

I made both chocolate (using Joy of Cooking's recipe for chocolate pie filling) and lemon filling for the tartlets. the guests raved about how pretty they looked and how wonderfully they tasted.

"Sandbakelsens" -- Makes 3 dozen tartlets

1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
3 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 egg yolk

3 hours before serving (or up to 3 days ahead):

Measure flour, sugar, butter, water, extract and egg yolk in medium sized bow. With hands, knead to soft dough consistency. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes till easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Shape into 3/4 inch balls. Gently press a ball into bottom and up sides of each tart mold. Work quickly, because as the dough warms up, it becomes more sticky to work with.

Prick in several places to prevent puffing during baking. Set molds in jelly roll pan. Bake about 20 minutes till golden. Cook in molds on baking racks for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from molds. Cool completely on wire racks before filling.


Fill with any flavor -- Chocolate pudding, lemon, butterscotch, etc.

Lemon filling:

3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs corn starch
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbs. grated lemon peel
1/8 tsp. salt
2 eggs

Mix cornstarch with a tiny bit of water to mix well and ensure there are no lumps. Add rest of the ingredients, and beat till well blended (whisk or beater). Cook over low heat, stirring constantly till thick -- about 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

Fill tartlets and garnish with a bit of whipping cream and lemon zest.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 2:57PM
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FOAS - too funny! That tart is incredible. I made a practice run with it a few days ago and it lasted precisely 1 hour in my house. Yes, the men decided 1/4 of it was a "single serving". I hid the last tiny sliver for myself in the back of the fridge.

Ruthanna and Eileen, I am definitely doing veg and Chateau Potatoes with the Chateaubriand. Thinking I might do a medly of roasted root veg (parsnips, carrots, turnips) as a slight twist onthe original.

I have not had Chateaubriand in 20+ years... and I can't even tell you why that came to mind when I saw the tenderloin, but I can guarantee that I will enjoy it immensely!

Happy Valentines Day all and I can't wait until Sat!


    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:23PM
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FOAS - too funny! That tart is incredible. I made a practice run with it a few days ago and it lasted precisely 1 hour in my house. Yes, the men decided 1/4 of it was a "single serving". I hid the last tiny sliver for myself in the back of the fridge.

Ruthanna and Eileen, I am definitely doing veg and Chateau Potatoes with the Chateaubriand. Thinking I might do a medly of roasted root veg (parsnips, carrots, turnips) as a slight twist onthe original.

I have not had Chateaubriand in 20+ years... and I can't even tell you why that came to mind when I saw the tenderloin, but I can guarantee that I will enjoy it immensely!

Happy Valentines Day all and I can't wait until Sat!


    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:31PM
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Well according to my wife the Meyers lemon salad dressing was "the best dressing ever." Crab cakes were "good." She never got the risotto cakes because they fell apart hopelessly. Just as well because leading up to making them I realized they were entirely out of place. The mushroom ragout was good but not eaten, either, as a result. The lamb chops with their spicy wine gastrique were "possibly the best things [she's] ever eaten." As as stuffed as we both were, Ann's tart was "OMG" and we both had thirds.

With the exception of the failed dish, there was a certain amount of CF influence in each course. Thanks everyone! Off to bed so I can avoid the disasterous mess that extends even out past the limits of my kitchen, until the morning!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 10:42PM
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FOAS, you have a very lucky wife. Your dinner sounds wonderful. Maybe you can make something with that risotto - scramble some eggs with it....add it to soup....something like that. If you don't want that mushroom ragout, I'll take some. :-)

Saturday we both work, and as Jerry is still feeling poorly, I may or may not do something then. I've got a whole bunch of leeks and several red bell peppers Jerry bought that we haven't used yet, so maybe I'll do something with them. Red bell peppers could look very valentine-y.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:33AM
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FOAS, your dinner sounds wonderful. Don't you love it when you get "best ever" feed back?

We are having dinner with our neighbours on Saturday, so I'm postponing our "Virtual dinner" until Sunday.

I'm liking the idea of Chateaubriand.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:34AM
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Well I am boring! Strawberries with prosecco (not him, but for me), lobster, and a hot fudge pudding cake. But the little fellar and I enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. I hope everyone enjoys themselves! (if you haven't already)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:51AM
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FOAS, your dinner from last night sounds great. Glad you enjoyed it. Ours was good too. It was just a simple favorite pork roast dinner but, I just want you to know you weren't the only one doing kitchen cleanup this morning. I went to bed last night with a dishwasher that needed ubloading ans sink full of dishes to go in it.

Maybe Saturday I can be a little better organized for our Virtual Dinner!


    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 11:24AM
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Well best laid plans! Looks like I will be cooking on Sunday with Ann. Wont that be funny if we both make Chateaubriand a day late? LOL! Anyway, yes life has gotten in the way so tomorrow it is. Hope everyone who is cooking today has a great time!


    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 9:48AM
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I'm cooking tomorrow too, but it won't be Chateaubriand. Smiles. On Valentines Day Christy was feeling better and wanted to cook something so she made some tasty burgers and steak fries. It was good. We don't do major cooking on Saturdays since it's our cleanup day and just too much going on. Four litter boxes, taking all the trash to the dump, plus she does our shopping Saturdays. So, Sunday it will be. I also have her birthday Thursday. Luckily she wants to cook for our Anniversary Friday. Now I'm thinking a Chicken Marsala for tomorrow. I'm still not sure what to go with. My mind is still on saffron rice but I could make that to go with Scampi for her birthday. Our veg will be dictated by what looks best at the store today. I have a feeling I'll decide on the main dish at the last minute, aka when I go to the freezer to decide what protein to thaw. I think the Citrus Cheesecake is still the front runner for dessert.

The pics posted have been great. So pretty and delicious looking. Trailrunner, if I didn't loves shrimp so much I'd just eat all that bread and call it a day. Looks sooo good. Of all the food posted, Ruthanna your Crab Imperial is my top pick. I just love it and sure haven't made it in ages. Love to get out my scallop shells too. Your table runner is beautiful. Maybe I can serve the Scampi in them on Thursday. Dcarch, that Lemon Pie is so pretty. Love the strawberry hearts and the clever lemon heart presentation.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 1:53PM
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Anyone cooking for tonight yet?

I just made salad dressing and I have some lobster tails thawing, I changed my mind when I looked at a recipe yesterday for Lobster Newburg. It's something I love and haven't had in years.

I need to get my potatoes cooked for the Duchess Potato recipe I decided to make. Green beans need prepping.

The day is slipping away fast, we'll be eating late.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 5:23PM
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Another one doing the virtual dinner tomorrow.

Today was spent being handcuffed taken to jail (where the heck did that come from?) eating pizza and cuddling with my grandson. Hey, we were playing!

Tomorrow will be roasted turkey, I can do that in my sleep, but hope to at least get creative with the side dishes.

Can't wait to hear what else everyone is preparing.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 6:26PM
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BF and I just finished our virtual dinner. My pics are bad but I have a cheapo camera and can't be bothered to set a very good stage. I want to eat! We had spinach stuffed flounder with shrimp sauce, wild rice brown rice confetti pilaf with shitake mushrooms, and sauteed yellow summer squash. I couldn't justify the price of beets at the store--four small beets for $3.50, and asparagus was $5.00 a bunch. So I went with the summer squash for a treat. One of my usual Jackson Pollock meals! On the plus side, I took my first visit to the new seafood market two blocks from my house. Great place. But I couldn't find sole anywhere and went with the flounder. It was undercooked somewhat since the recipe made way too much sauce and stuffing for my four small flounder fillets. Oh well, lots left over for a sauce for pasta tomorrow. It was fab. We have some leftover chocolate cheesecake for dessert but one glass of vidal blanc is enough sweet for me.

Two out of focus photos, one of the meal and one badly lit one of the table.

Boy, posting this was a great way to get out of doing the dishes!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 8:45PM
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We had dinner today, Traverse City chicken, made with chicken breast and sweet cherries from the freezer. Roasted cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. No dessert. It was OK.

We also had a birthday party today for Elery's granddaughter, so I made these, but we didn't eat any. The kids loved them, so there was a dessert of sorts, I suppose.

Happy Valentine's Day!


    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 8:49PM
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Lpink, your dinner looks yummy. Flounder with shrimp sauce sounds really good (hold the spinach on mine). I'm sure you will find a use for the extra sauce.

Annie, nothing wrong with a cherry chicken, nice you had a stash of cherries. Kids seem to love anything on a stick right now so I'm sure they were happy.

Our dinner tonight was very rich. I knew it would be, so I held off on making a dessert. We had salads of baby greens, blue berries, mandarin oranges and blackberries. Dressing was house special sweet and sour that we love.
I made Lobster Newburg for our virtual dinner. We also has fresh green beans and Duchess Potatoes.

I'm glad I didn't make a dessert, neither of us would have been able to eat it. As it is there is enough of the lobster left over for a really good Lobster Benedict breakfast...Yay!

This was fun!


    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 9:31PM
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Happy Valentine's Day to you all! We had our VD dinner tonight, and it was very tasty!

My gift for Valentine's Day, from DH, is one of Ann's boards and a knife rack! Yay me! You will see both in the pictures below.

We prepared Osso Buco, Parmesan Risotto, Garlic-Roasted Asparasgus and a caperese salad.

This is a picture of the prep before we cooked. This picture is one of my old boards from Ann and Moe.

This is the knife rack. I'm still deciding where I want to mount it.

And now for the meal!

Osso Buco

¼ pound pancetta, diced into ¼-inch cubes (Do not substitute bacon. I had to substitute prossiutto with a little additional olive oil.)
2½ to 3 pounds veal shanks
½ cup diced carrot (¼-inch cubes)
½ cup diced celery (¼-inch cubes)
1 medium onion, diced into ¼-inch pieces
2 tablespoons (about 4 cloves) chopped garlic
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1 cup dry white wine
1-2 cups chicken or veal stock
Flour for dusting the meat before browning
Salt and pepper


2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
1 tablespoon grated lemon jest
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat a dutch oven over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally. When pancetta is crispy, and most of the fat has rendered (about 5 minutes), remove the pancetta to a plate covered with some paper towel and set aside. If necessary, drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.

Season the veal shanks well with salt and pepper. Dredge the shanks through some flour, shake off any excess, and add the meat to the hot fat in the pan. Increase the heat to medium high and cook the meat on each side until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the shanks to a plate and set aside.

Add the onions, carrots, and celery to the dutch oven. Cook the onion mixture, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes, and then toss in the garlic and thyme. Continue cooking until the vegetables just begin to brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the pancetta and shanks back to the pan. Pour in the wine, and then add enough stock to come a little more than half was up the side of the shanks. Bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and put it in the oven to cook until the meat is tender, about an hour to an hour and a half.

Combine the gremolata ingredients and place in a separate small serving dish.

Serve the veal on top of risotto or polenta. Sprinle with gremolata.

Serves 4 to 6.

The salad is on the stunning board I got for VD.

And after gorging on the scrumptious meal, we feel like a couple of overstuffed court jesters!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 10:12PM
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Everybody did such a great job! LPink your dinner looks very yummy. Flounder with shrimp sauce, what's not to like. Your rice gave me an idea. Annie, your chicken looks good to me and cauliflower and brussels are our favorites. Um, Nancy, Christy and I are on our way for the leftovers. Ok, I'm the only one that eats lobster but that's no problemo. Karen, ooooo... your hubs knows a good girl when he sees one! Excellent Valentine's gifts!! The food looks almost as good as the Jesterette. LOL.

Well Christy came home from the market with her own Valentine's surprise for me. A nice bag of barely steamed crab legs! There is a woman that comes a few times a month with the seafood. Christy only bought/paid for 1.35 lbs of legs and the woman kept throwing claws in and such. She likes Christy. She doesn't eat crab except crab cakes [what kind of Nola girl is she???] so she heated them up for me in a little water with a Meyer lemon and some garlic. I spent about an hour and a half in crab heaven. Still have all the crab on the right of pic to eat. There is a very pretty napkin peeking out of the left side that I got from our last swap. Thanks again Gellchom!

I'll be cooking for her tomorrow as I said.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 11:23PM
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Wow, these meals are amaayzing! I am so jealous. Now I wish I had planned ahead, not that I could ever make anything to compare to the culinary masterpieces here.

Not wanting to feel left out, here is my Valentine meal:

Ta da! A heart shaped PBJ sandwich!

And now it is a broken heart:

Gives new meaning to the phrase "eat your heart out", doesn't it? (please try not to notice the snowman on the plate. The only red plate I had was from Christmas).

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 11:27PM
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Totally amazing meals everyone!

I wish I was your Valentine. :-)


    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 12:17AM
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Beautiful dinners, wow! I wish I had remembered photos for mine, although we ended up serving buffet style, so plating would have been whatever people put on their plates.

I'm going for another dinner today, with something totally different. I bought leeks and Jerry bought 3 beautiful red bell peppers last week, thinking we'd use them. We didn't, so I'm planning to do something with them tonight. Red bell peppers look sort of valentiney to me, although I'm sure Dcarch could really make them look like valentines.

This has been fun. I'm glad you thought of this, Nancy. Thanks.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 8:56AM
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Love to see all the meals shared here. Nancy, your lobster Newburg looks wonderful. Haven't made that in a long time.

Coconut, now that is a crab feast.

Pam, you crack me up.

LPink your dinner sounds wonderful.

Karen, one of my favourite meals. (love your charger plates).

I made Moe Cioppino on Valentine's Day, and tonight I am making our Virtual Dinner.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:52AM
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I'm late. We did have our roast chicken dinner. Very simple. So good! Had mashed potatoes with just S/P, butter and a touch of cream. Since the oven was already on we roasted fresh green beans while I made the gravy (also with a couple tablespoons of cream). We changed our minds on dessert. Was going to have chocolate pudding cake but with all the talk about Meyer lemons we decided to make a spicy gingerbread with lemon sauce.

We've been working really hard the past few days and the kitchen is 95% functional. There's still a lot I have to replace but we can eat with what's available. I've been working on a grocery list all day. DH will shop mid-week to avoid the weekend crowds since he'll have a couple carts to manage. We haven't replaced the freezer yet because getting to it in the garage would still be a challenge so we'll wait for the Memorial Day sales.

Our kitchen is open for dinner! Oh Happy Day! Tonight is beef stragonoff over homemade noodles & fresh beets w/oranges. Can ya tell we're on a comfort food kick? :)


    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:02PM
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Ooooooh my I wish had played! These dinners are so much fun and the meals all sound so wonderful. Just wasn't in the cards this time unless restraunt meals count..... :-(

Great menus everyone

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:05PM
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Ooooooh my I wish had played! These dinners are so much fun and the meals all sound so wonderful. Just wasn't in the cards this time unless restraunt meals count..... :-(

Great menus everyone

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:06PM
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I finally made our Virtual Dinner tonight.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin "Greek Style" with Orzo.

The pork was rubbed with garlic, lots of black pepper, salt, oregano and juice of a lemon and left to marinate for 20 to 30 minutes before grilling.

The Orzo was cooked and then tossed with seeded chopped tomato, chopped green onion, dill, baby spinach, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon and baked for 15 minutes.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:05PM
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Pam, that's so cute! Hey the plate was red and you did make a very nice heart! Good sport.

Ann, that Ciopino looks so good and I don't even eat mussels. LOL

Tricia, I'm so glad you two got your chicken dinner. However, Stroganoff is one of my favorites!

Aw, Sharon, I wouldn't mind seeing your restaurant meal!

Well, Ann, the pork looks great! We bought a whole tenderloin this week so it's in our future soon too. The orzo sounds great and we both like it.

My dinner was sort of hit and miss. I did make Chicken Marsala. Since I was having trouble being in the kitchen I decided to cube the chicken instead of whole or half breasts, so it would go faster. A method more than a recipe.
In a nice hot pan a few turns of oil and seared the chicken. Remove from pan, add some butter and quickly sauteed some giant shallots, then a bunch of halved or quartered mushroom. Deglazed with about a cup of Marsala and then another cup of chicken broth. Added back the shallots and chicken and cooked for another four or five minutes until sauce reduced some and chicken was cooked. I wanted pilaf but Christy really wanted mashed potatoes and since it's her birthday week, that's what I made. She was in charge of steaming the green beans and while we both like our veggies cooked through, these....were.. smiles.

For dessert I made a citrus cheesecake with zest of Meyer lemon, lime and orange and the juice from the Meyer lemon and the lime. We were a bit too full so we did try a sliver late and it is delicious but I'll have to take a pic of it tomorrow.

Starting the chicken. I do like to see it starting to cook on the underside right away so you can count on some good fond on the pan by time you deglaze.

Plated. The lettuces were all crap except the romaine hearts so we had a small salad with some tomatoes I had ripened but forgot to take a pic of that.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 1:45AM
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I got to make our Valentines Day Virtual Dinner last night too... ended up with Panko Shrimp, Chateaubriand (with Bernaise, RoastedCarrots, Chateau Potatoes and Brandied Mushrooms) and Peanut Butter Tart for dessert. The guys loved it all!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 7:11AM
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I just want to add "Congratulations!" Tricia on reclaiming your kitchen!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:16AM
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Yes, congratulations Tricia! I'm sure a homecooked meal was the best Valentine's dinner you could have asked for.

The dinners all look and sound great! Alexa, it looks like your bearnaise held just fine.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:36AM
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That steak really looks good Alexa and the Bernaise held up great.

I made the citrus cheesecake Sunday but we only finally got around to eating some tonight. It really was an excellent cheesecake. I'll make it again. I didn't put the sour cream on top of the cheesecake, in case I wanted to make the lemon curd for it. Also, instead of just zest I used the juice from the Meyer Lemon and the lime. I also added a tablespoon of cornstarch to make up for the added juice.

Classic Cheesecake [modified]
8 to 10 servings

This is a classic cheesecake -- velvety, rich, sweet and so satisfying. We are major fans of a thin sour cream cap on top of
cheesecakes; it's the perfect balance to this rich cake.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch fine salt


2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups sour cream
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla paste (see cook's note) or extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest [used zest from 1 Meyer lemon]
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest [zest from half an orange]
[added zest from 1 lime]
As said above I added the juice from the lemon and lime plus a tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in the juices.

3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
Berries, optional


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.

For the crust: Melt the butter, covered in the microwave, in a medium microwave safe bowl, or a saucepan. Brush a

9-inch springform pan with some of the butter. Stir the remaining butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt. Press

the crumb mixture over the bottom of the pan, taking care to get the crust evenly into the edges. Bake until golden

brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool. Wrap the bottom and up the sides of the pan with foil and put in a roasting pan.

For the filling: Beat the cream cheese on medium speed with a hand-held mixer until smooth. Add the granulated sugar

and beat just until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl and beaters as needed. Slowly beat in the sour cream,

then eggs, vanilla and both citrus zests; take care not to over whip. Pour into the cooled crust.

Bring a medium saucepan or kettle of water to a boil. Gently place the roasting pan in the oven (don't pull the rack out of

the oven). Pour in enough hot water to come about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake for
about 1 hour and 10 minutes---the outside of the cake will set but the center will still be loose.[Mine took almost 1hour and a half]

For the topping: Stir together the sour cream, confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Spread over the top of the cooked

cheesecake and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Turn the oven off, cook the cheesecake in the residual heat in the oven

for about1 hour. This gentle finish minimizes the risk of the dreaded crack in your cheesecake.

Remove cheesecake from the roasting pan to a rack. Run a knife around the edges and cool to room temperature. Cover

and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Bring cheesecake to room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Remove the springform ring. Dip a knife in warm

water, wipe dry before slicing each piece. Serve with berries, if desired.


We love vanilla bean paste. It has intense vanilla bean flavor in a convenient paste form. It's a great way to add great

flavor and distinctive vanilla flecks without having to use a whole bean.

My note: Do let it set in refrigerator for time suggested. It's a very creamy cheesecake.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 10:28PM
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