Valentine's dinner Menu decided!

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by Jude, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. Jude

    Jude Guest

    OK, I dug out the book "Aphrodite", by Isabel Allende. It's all about
    the sensous qualities of food and its uses through history for
    aphrodesiac qualities. The soup recipe and the fig appetizer are from
    the recipe section.

    For starters and nibbles:

    Fresh figs split open and filled witha dab of black pepper coated goat
    cheese, and drizzled with an aged balsamic

    Smoked salmon devilled eggs topped with creme fraiche and fresh dill

    stuffed mushrooms, with stuffing of breadcrumbs, garlic, and wild
    mushrooms....anyone wanna help me make up a recipe? I'm pretty new to
    stuffed mushrooms!!

    soup course: a soup called "alicante cream", which has shrimp,
    tomatoes, oysters, leeks, and cream in it, from the cookbook

    main dish: seared scallops with lemon, garlic, white wine, and spinach
    leaves, served over buttered angel hair pasta

    salad of arugula and baby romaine with blue cheese, dried cranberries,
    and hazelnut spicy praline, with a viniagrette dressing

    bruschetta, not sure of toppings yet

    dessert: meringue shells filled with fresh whipped cream and
    strawberries
    WITH
    chocolate truffle brownies

    coffee with irish cream liqeur and chambord in tiny chocolate shot
    glasses

    followig dessert: champagne with fresh rsapberries.....and me
     
    Tags:


  2. ntantiques

    ntantiques Guest

    Be still my beating heart...

    Sounds fabulous, but may I suggest elegantly petite portions. You're
    planning a whole lot of very rich food for 2 people & I assume you do
    want the object of your affections to actually be able to rise from the
    table and show proper and enthusiastic appreciation for your thoughtful
    efforts.

    Nancy T
     
  3. Jude wrote:

    > OK, I dug out the book "Aphrodite", by Isabel Allende. It's all about
    > the sensous qualities of food and its uses through history for
    > aphrodesiac qualities. The soup recipe and the fig appetizer are from
    > the recipe section.
    >
    > For starters and nibbles:
    >
    > Fresh figs split open and filled witha dab of black pepper coated goat
    > cheese, and drizzled with an aged balsamic


    I emphatically approve.



    > Smoked salmon devilled eggs topped with creme fraiche and fresh dill


    Another great idea.



    > stuffed mushrooms, with stuffing of breadcrumbs, garlic, and wild
    > mushrooms....anyone wanna help me make up a recipe? I'm pretty new to
    > stuffed mushrooms!!


    OK, I'll come up with concrete suggestions sometime in the next day or two.
    The book _CookSmart_ has an entire chapter devoted to stuffed mushrooms, and
    everthing I've made from that book has been pretty much foolproof. Trouble
    is, I'm at work for another few hours and I won't have time to look at it
    when I get home because I'll already be running very short on sleep time.
    But if things go according to the current plan, I ought to be able to work
    on it this afternoon or tonight.



    > soup course: a soup called "alicante cream", which has shrimp,
    > tomatoes, oysters, leeks, and cream in it, from the cookbook


    Presumably your SO has no objection to oysters?



    > main dish: seared scallops with lemon, garlic, white wine, and spinach
    > leaves, served over buttered angel hair pasta


    While this sounds fantastic, let me caution about the difficulty of
    maintaining a romantic atmosphere when one or both both parties have spinach
    stuck in their teeth. :)



    > salad of arugula and baby romaine with blue cheese, dried cranberries,
    > and hazelnut spicy praline, with a viniagrette dressing
    >
    > bruschetta, not sure of toppings yet


    Do you intend to serve the bruschetta with the salad? If not, I'd recommend
    doing away with it entirely. You're already serving lots of food.



    > dessert: meringue shells filled with fresh whipped cream and
    > strawberries
    > WITH
    > chocolate truffle brownies
    >
    > coffee with irish cream liqeur and chambord in tiny chocolate shot
    > glasses


    Are those chocolate-lined shot glasses, or shot glasses made from chocolate?
    I'm mindful of the dangers of melting beverage receptacles.



    > followig dessert: champagne with fresh rsapberries.....and me


    The piece de lowered resistance, as it were! ;-)

    Last year, there was a Waterford clearance near me, and I got a pitcher
    which would be PERFECT for serving champagne with berries. See
    www.dishesdecorandmore.com/catalog/product_detail.php/pid=35815~subid=5281/index.html

    Bob
     
  4. Jude

    Jude Guest

    ntantiques wrote:
    > Be still my beating heart...
    >
    > Sounds fabulous, but may I suggest elegantly petite portions. You're
    > planning a whole lot of very rich food for 2 people & I assume you do
    > want the object of your affections to actually be able to rise from the
    > table and show proper and enthusiastic appreciation for your thoughtful
    > efforts.
    >
    > Nancy T


    point taken. we're also figuring on a long, slow evening, with a few
    interruptions between courses........
     
  5. Jude

    Jude Guest

    Bob Terwilliger wrote:
    > > stuffed mushrooms, with stuffing of breadcrumbs, garlic, and wild
    > > mushrooms....anyone wanna help me make up a recipe? I'm pretty new to
    > > stuffed mushrooms!!

    >
    > OK, I'll come up with concrete suggestions sometime in the next day or two.
    > The book _CookSmart_ has an entire chapter devoted to stuffed mushrooms, and
    > everthing I've made from that book has been pretty much foolproof. Trouble
    > is, I'm at work for another few hours and I won't have time to look at it
    > when I get home because I'll already be running very short on sleep time.
    > But if things go according to the current plan, I ought to be able to work
    > on it this afternoon or tonight.
    >
    >



    Much appreciated, Bob!!

    >
    > > soup course: a soup called "alicante cream", which has shrimp,
    > > tomatoes, oysters, leeks, and cream in it, from the cookbook

    >
    > Presumably your SO has no objection to oysters?
    >


    We both like oysters. I will plan small cups of soup, maybe 1 or 2
    oysters ands 1 or 2 shrimp each.

    >
    > > main dish: seared scallops with lemon, garlic, white wine, and spinach
    > > leaves, served over buttered angel hair pasta

    >
    > While this sounds fantastic, let me caution about the difficulty of
    > maintaining a romantic atmosphere when one or both both parties have spinach
    > stuck in their teeth. :)
    >

    Hm. Should I use floss to make the napkin rings? =)

    >
    > > salad of arugula and baby romaine with blue cheese, dried cranberries,
    > > and hazelnut spicy praline, with a viniagrette dressing
    > >
    > > bruschetta, not sure of toppings yet

    >
    > Do you intend to serve the bruschetta with the salad? If not, I'd recommend
    > doing away with it entirely. You're already serving lots of food.



    Yeah, but we're both bread-lovers with pasta. I fugured bruschetta was
    a way to limit him from eating 5 pieces of butter-slathered garlic
    bread....which he would, if offered!


    >
    >
    >
    > > dessert: meringue shells filled with fresh whipped cream and
    > > strawberries
    > > WITH
    > > chocolate truffle brownies
    > >
    > > coffee with irish cream liqeur and chambord in tiny chocolate shot
    > > glasses

    >
    > Are those chocolate-lined shot glasses, or shot glasses made from chocolate?
    > I'm mindful of the dangers of melting beverage receptacles.
    >


    They are made completely of chocolate, but they're pretty thick. Oh
    well, if they melt, I suppose I'll just have to do some quick lickin to
    keep anything from getting too sticky......

    >
    > > followig dessert: champagne with fresh rsapberries.....and me

    >
    > The piece de lowered resistance, as it were! ;-)


    Something like that!
    >
    > Last year, there was a Waterford clearance near me, and I got a pitcher
    > which would be PERFECT for serving champagne with berries. See
    > www.dishesdecorandmore.com/catalog/product_detail.php/pid=35815~subid=5281/index.html


    Wow, that's gorgeous! I'll be serving the champagne in red cut-glass
    flutes that I found at Big Lots for 99 cents each!
    >
    > Bob


    Thanks for your thoughts.And TAI for your help with the mushrooms!
     
  6. I wrote:

    > The book _CookSmart_ has an entire chapter devoted to stuffed mushrooms,
    > and everything I've made from that book has been pretty much foolproof.


    Here's part of the introduction to that chapter:

    ==============================BEGIN QUOTE================================

    ROASTING RULES

    I started with the most straightforward method, stuffing raw mushrooms with
    a basic filling of sautéed stems, onions, bread crumbs, and binder and
    roasting them at temperatures ranging from 350 to 450 degrees. Cooked at
    the lower temperature, the caps were weak-flavored and spongy-textured,
    while at the highest temperature, the stuffing burned. Roasting on the
    lowest rack of the oven gives the mushrooms the right amount of strong heat,
    and a temperature of 425 degrees is sufficient to evaporate their liquid,
    intensify their flavor and turn them a nutty golden brown. But this
    browning only occurs when the roasting pan is low- or (or no-) sided and
    when the pan is not overcrowded.

    It's important to butter or oil the mushroom caps before filling them.
    Without some lubrication, the caps wrinkle unattractively. Before brushing
    them, I whirl the oil with garlic in a food processor, which produces a
    smoother blend than does chopping and mixing the garlic by hand. [BOB'S
    NOTE: A mortar and pestle can make it even smoother. Your choice.]

    A number of recipes suggest roasting the mushrooms before filling them. I
    pre-roasted mushrooms in several ways: stem side up, stem side down, and
    then starting them on one side and turnign them. I discovered that as long
    as you roast the mushrooms on the bottom rack on the right baking sheet,
    this extra step is unnecessary. Nor is broiling stuffed mushrooms either
    before or after stuffing them a good idea. The mushrooms require constant
    tending and turn leathery. Sautéing them before roasting doesn't give
    superior results, either.

    Simmering or soaking the mushrooms in boiling lemon water is another first
    step in a few recipes. This hot bath is supposed to jump-start the cooking
    process, but it gives the mushrooms an unpleasant canned flavor. To draw
    out some of their liquid and season them throughout, I tried salting a
    batch. Again, no luck: the salt made the mushrooms tough and rubbery.

    THE BIG SCOOP

    Scraping out the dark brown gills with a melon baller (or a teaspoon) helps
    in four ways. It reduces the amount of moisture released by the mushroom.
    It creates a larger area for stuffing. Although hollowing out the mushrooms
    takes a little more time, it makes the stuffing process easier. Finally,
    the filling can be spread over the entire bottom of the cap, resulting in a
    mushroom that's easier to eat.

    Regardless of the kind of filling, it makes sense to use the mushroom stems
    as a base. Bold flavorings work well in combination with them, and strong
    cheeses, such as blue, feta, and goat, can double as flavoring and binder.
    For the filler, crushed cracker crumbs are superior to fresh and dry bread
    crumbs, offering better texture than fresh and better flavor than dry.

    ===============================END QUOTE=================================


    Here's what Jude wrote earlier:

    > stuffed mushrooms, with stuffing of breadcrumbs, garlic, and wild
    > mushrooms


    Learning from the experiences of others, I'd recommend using cracker crumbs
    rather than breadcrumbs. Since you want to use wild mushrooms, I guess
    you'll be either discarding the gills and caps from the "normal" mushrooms
    or saving them for some other use. With those notions in mind, here's a
    first cut at a recipe (scaled down for two people):

    VALENTINE'S DAY MUSHROOMS

    Vegetable-oil cooking spray
    4 large mushrooms or 6 button mushrooms
    1 large garlic clove
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 shallot, finely chopped
    2 ounces fresh wild mushrooms or 1 ounce dried wild mushrooms
    a pinch of dried thyme leaves
    2 teaspoons sweet sherry
    a generous tablespoon of crushed saltine crackers
    2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley leaves
    1 tablespoon freshly-grated Parmesan cheese

    If the wild mushrooms are dried, rehydrate them in plenty of warm water. Let
    them soak for 15 minutes, then squeeze them in a towel to remove excess
    liquid. Chop (fresh or rehydrated dried) wild mushrooms finely.

    Line a cookie sheet or other low-sided pan with foil and spray with
    vegetable-oil cooking spray. Remove mushroom stems. Using a teaspoon or
    melon baller, scrape the gills from each mushroom. Reserve stems and gills
    for some other use or discard.

    Using mini-chopper, garlic press, or mortar and pestle, incorporate HALF the
    garlic into ONE TABLESPOON of the oil. (You're after a smooth purée.)
    Brush the mushroom caps with the garlic-oil purée and then salt and pepper
    them. (You should have a little bit of the garlic-oil purée left over.)
    Arrange the mushroom caps on the pan; do not crowd.

    Adjust oven rack to lowest level and preheat oven to 425F.

    Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small skillet. Add shallot and
    sauté until soft and golden, just a couple minutes. Press the remaining
    garlic into the skillet at the last minute. Add chopped wild mushrooms and
    thyme; lightly season with salt and pepper. Cook until liquid evaporates,
    2-3 minutes. Add sherry and simmer for about 15 seconds to burn off some of
    the alcohol.

    Transfer mixture to a small bowl. Stir in cracker crumbs, parsley, and about
    three-quarters of the Parmesan cheese. Stuff mushrooms with that mixture,
    then sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top of the mushrooms.
    Lightly brush the mushrooms with the remaining garlic-oil purée and roast
    until caps and filling are well-browned, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5
    minutes, transfer to serving dishes, and serve.


    Bob
     
  7. Jude

    Jude Guest

    Bob, you rock. I really appreciate that info........gives me a whole
    lot of ideas about how to approach this. I like the recipe you
    concocted as well. nice and simple for a starter, not oo much rich
    stuff inside. I'll let you know how they turn out!

    =)jude
     
  8. ntantiques

    ntantiques Guest

    Bob Terwilliger wrote:

    (Hugely snipped)
    >
    > THE BIG SCOOP
    >
    > Scraping out the dark brown gills with a melon baller (or a teaspoon) helps
    > in four ways. It reduces the amount of moisture released by the mushroom.
    > It creates a larger area for stuffing. Although hollowing out the mushrooms
    > takes a little more time, it makes the stuffing process easier. Finally,
    > the filling can be spread over the entire bottom of the cap, resulting in a
    > mushroom that's easier to eat.


    Wonderful post Bob - All anyone needs to know about successfully
    stuffing mushrooms. That lowly little melon baller has become, of late,
    one of my most useful kitchen tools. Works like a charm on mushrooms,
    but also is my trick to "no fuss" coring of apples and pears.
    Particularly nice when they're going into a dessert where the slices
    will be seen, like a tart.

    Nancy T
    (who will be stuffing her 'shrooms with crab, cream cheese, and chives)
     
  9. Nancy wrote:

    > (who will be stuffing her 'shrooms with crab, cream cheese, and chives)


    Kind of a Crab Rangoon combination? Have you considered sprinkling it with
    panko before cooking, so you'll have a crunchy element?

    Bob
     
  10. ntantiques

    ntantiques Guest

    Bob Terwilliger wrote:
    > Nancy wrote:
    >
    > > (who will be stuffing her 'shrooms with crab, cream cheese, and chives)

    >
    > Kind of a Crab Rangoon combination? Have you considered sprinkling it with
    > panko before cooking, so you'll have a crunchy element?


    Definitely Crab Rangoon inspired and nice with small mushrooms. I
    usually just dance a few regular breadcrumbs on top, but panko would be
    a better alternative. Just love that stuff, but don't have any on
    hand. Weather too dicey to make a grocery run - we got 4" of snow this
    am and it's 28 degrees out now and icy. So much for the temperate
    Southern Willamette Valley - we hardly ever get snow, so it was quite a
    treat.
    Plan to broil a couple of great steaks, steam some lovely asparagus,
    toss a log on the fire and curl up with my sweet baboo tonight. Just
    finished making his favorite Valentine's treat - lemon meringue pie -
    for dessert. Make it once a year, and it's a major event. Looks
    gorgeous. Meringue made with a Professional Kitchenaid mixer is a piee
    of cake & a thing of beauty. Don't know how I managed without it.

    Nancy T ( who is still hoping Jude will post some of those recipes from
    the Valentine's menu that started the thread)
     
  11. Jude

    Jude Guest

    Bob, you are a hero around this household! The stuffed mushrooms were
    the best I've ever eaten. Everything that can be wrong with stuffed
    mushrooms - filling is mushy or flavroless, mushrooms are hot but
    watery, muchrooms are wrunked beyond belief - did not happen. I
    followed your recipe pretty close, subbing chardonnay fr the sherry and
    using half bread, half cracker crumbs. I also brushed them with a
    garlic-infused olive oil rather than making a paste, mostly because I
    had some handy and it was a timesaver. (I tripled it, BTW - found a
    dozen nice fat caps, served 3 apicec to us, 2 to my daughter, and saved
    the remaining 4 for lunch today) Stuffing used a combo of oyster and
    shiitake. Had a wonderful earthy flavor.

    We had the appetizers and then the soup course along with a bottle of
    red wine. Then we paused for the champagne and dessert course. An hour
    or so later, appetite revitalized, we had entrees and then sweets.
    Skipped coffee and liquiers- we were tipsy enough to be tired by that
    point.

    A wonderful, incredible, romantic, memorable evening. And one more to
    come after our restaurtant celebration this weekend.

    Nancy, what recpies are you iterested in? happy to post anything. It
    all turned uot just like I wanted it. The soup had an incredible flavor
    - and apparently the oysters did their trick pretty quickly......
     
  12. ntantiques

    ntantiques Guest

    Jude wrote:

    ( snipped )
    > Nancy, what recpies are you iterested in? happy to post anything. It
    > all turned uot just like I wanted it. The soup had an incredible flavor
    > - and apparently the oysters did their trick pretty quickly......


    Glad your evening was such "a rousing success." When you have a
    minute, I'd love the "alicante cream" soup recipe - sounded heavenly.

    Nancy T
     
  13. Jude

    Jude Guest

    The soup had a phenominal flavor, and yet it was nice and light. I made
    the soup base mid-afternoon, and finished it off with the shelfish
    later in the day.

    Alicante Cream - from "Aphrodite" by isabel Allende
    serves 2

    1 medium leek, white part only
    1/2 onion
    1T olive oil
    1 T flour
    1/2 t paprika (I didn't measure, I prob used a little more than this)
    2 c fish stock (I didn't have any, so I used 1 c veggie stock and 1 c
    bottled clam juice)
    4 oz cleaned cooked shrimp
    6 cooked (I used raw) shucked oysters
    3 T crream

    1. Thinly slice the leek and onion. Saute in oil a few minutes until
    golden. ( I cooked them down for about 15 minutes, til they were pale
    gold but not carmelized yet.)

    2. Sprinkle with flour. Cook for 1 -2 minutes til lightly golden in
    color. Add salt,pepper to taste, and paprika.

    3. Add stock and simmer for 10 minutes until a clear broth results. (I
    got up to here in the afternoon. Then it only took 5 minutes to finish
    at serving time.)

    4. Add shrimp and oysters and leat, covered, for 5 minutes. (I used raw
    oysters and this was plenty to get them to poach perfectly. i'ma fraid
    if they were precooked they might have been rubbery.)

    5. Add cream and heat to warm.

    It's really good.Its also quite simple! I think that making the base
    ahead allowed the flavors to blend nicely. Let me know whatb you think
    when you try it!
     
  14. jay

    jay Guest

    On Wed, 15 Feb 2006 13:10:32 -0800, Jude wrote:

    > The soup had a phenominal flavor, and yet it was nice and light. I made
    > the soup base mid-afternoon, and finished it off with the shelfish
    > later in the day.


    <recipe saved>

    > It's really good.Its also quite simple! I think that making the base
    > ahead allowed the flavors to blend nicely. Let me know whatb you think
    > when you try it!


    I just saw this. I really like how this sounds and am going to try it.
    Were the shellfish portions adequate?
     
  15. Jude

    Jude Guest

    jay wrote:
    > On Wed, 15 Feb 2006 13:10:32 -0800, Jude wrote:
    >
    > > The soup had a phenominal flavor, and yet it was nice and light. I made
    > > the soup base mid-afternoon, and finished it off with the shelfish
    > > later in the day.

    >
    > <recipe saved>
    >
    > > It's really good.Its also quite simple! I think that making the base
    > > ahead allowed the flavors to blend nicely. Let me know whatb you think
    > > when you try it!

    >
    > I just saw this. I really like how this sounds and am going to try it.
    > Were the shellfish portions adequate?


    They were, but remember this soup is supposed to be a starter, not a
    main dish. It serves 2 quite nicely.There was enough for a nice started
    portion apiece,and my BF had a small cup of seconds, which finished it
    off. I served 3 shrimp and 2 oysters in each serving.
     
  16. ntantiques

    ntantiques Guest

    Jude wrote:
    > The soup had a phenominal flavor, and yet it was nice and light. I made
    > the soup base mid-afternoon, and finished it off with the shelfish
    > later in the day.
    >
    > Alicante Cream - from "Aphrodite" by isabel Allende
    > serves 2
    >
    > 1 medium leek, white part only
    > 1/2 onion
    > 1T olive oil
    > 1 T flour
    > 1/2 t paprika (I didn't measure, I prob used a little more than this)
    > 2 c fish stock (I didn't have any, so I used 1 c veggie stock and 1 c
    > bottled clam juice)
    > 4 oz cleaned cooked shrimp
    > 6 cooked (I used raw) shucked oysters
    > 3 T crream
    >
    > 1. Thinly slice the leek and onion. Saute in oil a few minutes until
    > golden. ( I cooked them down for about 15 minutes, til they were pale
    > gold but not carmelized yet.)
    >
    > 2. Sprinkle with flour. Cook for 1 -2 minutes til lightly golden in
    > color. Add salt,pepper to taste, and paprika.
    >
    > 3. Add stock and simmer for 10 minutes until a clear broth results. (I
    > got up to here in the afternoon. Then it only took 5 minutes to finish
    > at serving time.)
    >
    > 4. Add shrimp and oysters and leat, covered, for 5 minutes. (I used raw
    > oysters and this was plenty to get them to poach perfectly. i'ma fraid
    > if they were precooked they might have been rubbery.)
    >
    > 5. Add cream and heat to warm.
    >
    > It's really good.Its also quite simple! I think that making the base
    > ahead allowed the flavors to blend nicely. Let me know whatb you think
    > when you try it!


    Thank you so much for sharing the recipe - looks like one of those
    soups that tastes labor intensive, but is really easy to make. Will be
    whipping some up the next time we hit the fish store for fresh oysters
    - know my DH will love it. I'll make enough to make an entree of it.
    Definite soup weather here - the local news just predicted 16 degrees
    on Friday and maybe more snow. BRRRR. Average for the date is around
    50. The poor daffodils are terribly confused.
    Thanks again,
    Nancy T
     
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