Valentine’s Day Go-To Dinner Party Menu

ON THE MENU:

Heart “Beet” Salad with Walnuts & Blue Cheese
Grilled Rosemary Lamb Chops with Mashed Potatoes & Asparagus
Individual Chocolate Cakes

Valentine's Day Heart Beet Image 1

BLUEPRINT: You can make the chocolate cakes the day before, keeping them in the fridge until time to serve. You can make the mashed potatoes in advance keeping them warm in a bain marie (double boiler). You can prep the salad ahead of time, leaving only assembly and dressing to be done. You can marinate the chops, blanch the asparagus and have the BBQ grill or grill pan ready to rock n roll. Don’t forget to warm your plates and make sure to let the chops rest prior to serving. Enjoy!

 Grocery List:

  • Fruit: 6 oz fresh raspberries, 1 lemon
  • Produce: 14 oz asparagus (about 30 spears), 7 oz baby butter lettuce and radicchio, 16 oz of cooked baby beets, 3 lbs yukon gold potatoes
  • Fresh Herbs: 1 bunch fresh mint
  • Meat & Fish: 12 lamb chops (about 1/2” thick)
  • Dairy: 3 oz crumbled blue cheese, 3/4 whole milk, 4 tbs salted butter, 3 tbs shredded parmesan cheese (optional), 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Frozen: 1 quart good quality vanilla ice cream
  • Staples: 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 tbs white vinegar, 1 tsp garlic puree , 1 tbs olive oil
  • Baking: 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tbs vanilla, 1/2 cup good quality chocolate chips
  • Spices: salt, pepper, 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • Other: 1/2 tbs instant coffee, 2 tbs gravy master

 

Heart “Beet” Salad with Walnuts & Blue Cheese

What you need: measuring spoons/cups, paring knife, chef’s knife, salad bowl, spoons to toss with, small heart cookie cutter (optional)

Serves: 6

  • 1 pack of butter lettuce & radicchio (approximately 7 oz)
  • 2 packs of baby beets (approximately 16 oz)
  • 3 oz crumbled blue cheese
  • 3 tbs chopped walnuts
  • Kitchen Moxie Vinaigrette
  • salt & pepper to taste

Cut six beets (all of a similar size) in half and then into thin slices. Optional: use a small heart cookie cutter to cut heart shapes out of the beet slices. Set aside. Take the remaining beets and dice.

Tip: Slice the beets on a plate rather than cutting board. The juice from the beets can be absorbed by the board and hard to clean, whereas it will rinse right off of the plate.

To Serve:  Place a mound of the butter lettuce and radicchio onto six individual plates. Arrange a few of the sliced or  heart shaped beets around the outside of the mound in a circle. Divide the diced beets evenly and spoon on top of the mound of lettuce. Sprinkle about 1 tbs of blue cheese and a 1/2 tbs of the chopped walnuts over the salad and using a squeeze bottle dress the salad with the Kitchen Moxie Vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.

Grilled Rosemary Lamb Chops with Mashed Potatoes & Asparagus

What you need: measuring spoons/cups, mixing bowl, BBQ grill or grill pan, Ziploc bag, aluminum foil, kitchen towel, medium heavy bottomed sauté pan, colander, chef’s knife, cutting board, knife, food processor, vegetable peeler, large pot, potato masher, small heavy bottomed pot

Serves: 6

  • 12 lamb chops (approximately 1/2” thick)
  • 2 tbs gravy master
  • 4 tbs lemon juice (about the juice of 1 1/2 whole lemon)
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary (ground into small pieces)
  • 1 tsp garlic puree
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 lbs of Yukon gold potatoes (peeled & quartered)
  • 4 tbs of salted butter
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 14 oz of fresh asparagus spears
  • 3 tbs shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 tbs olive oil (to grease grill pan)
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the Chops: Mix the Gravy Master, 4 tbs lemon juice, rosemary and garlic & 1/2 tsp salt. Place chops in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over them. Close the bag and move the chops around to make sure they are all coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least an hour (preferably longer). Take the lamb out of the fridge and bring to room temperature.  Fire up the BBQ grill or heat a grill pan greased with olive oil to medium high heat. Remove the chops from the marinade and grill each for approximately 7 – 8 minutes per side for medium (or to your desired temperature). Let the chops rest for at least five minutes (covered with foil and a kitchen towel) while you plate up the rest of the meal.

For The Mashed Potatoes: Fill a large pot with water and add 2 tbs of salt. Cook potatoes until fork tender – about 20 minutes. Gently warm the milk in the small pot. Drain the potatoes and return the pot back to the burner (on low). Shake the pot around a little to “dry out” the potatoes. Turn off the burner and add the butter in 1 tbs pats and the warmed whole milk. Season with salt & pepper to taste, mashing until smooth & creamy.

For the Asparagus: Clean the asparagus spears and cut the end off on an angle. Blanche the asparagus by placing it in a pot of boiling salted water and once it’s bright green (about  2 -3 minutes depending on stalk thickness) immediately plunge it into an bowl filled with water and ice to stop the cooking process. Remove, dry and set aside. Place the asparagus on the BBQ grill or olive oil greased grill pan. Grill to for a few minutes each side or until slightly browned and heated through.

To Serve: Place a scoop of mashed potatoes onto a heated plate. Criss cross the chops on one side and place the asparagus spears on the other. Optional: Sprinkle asparagus with shredded parmesan and black pepper. Serve immediately.

 Individual Chocolate Cakes

 This recipe comes courtesy of my friend Cheryl Carbeau. It’s a family recipe that she kindly passed along. The cake is moist and delicious and easy to pull together – no special equipment necessary. I can’t get enough of it! 

Makes 12 individual cupcake size cakes

What you need: measuring spoons/cups, muffin tin, large bowl, fine mesh sieve, heatproof bowl, small heavy bottomed pot, cupcake liners, 6 same size marbles (optional)

For Chocolate Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup  + 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs white vinegar
  • 1/2  tbs instant coffee
  • 1/2  tbs vanilla

For Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup good quality chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
For Plating:
  • 6 oz raspberries
  • 6 mint sprigs
  • 1 quart god quality vanilla ice cream

For Cakes: Preheat oven to 350 °F. Sieve all dry ingredients (except instant coffee into a large mixing bowl). Use a whisk to combine. Dissolve the instant coffee into the hot water and combine with the other wet ingredients. Add to dry ingredients and whisk by hand until smooth. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners. Optional: Place 1 marble (outside of the liner) in each muffin tin hole to create a heart shape in the liner. Pour the cake batter into the cupcake liners. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).

For Ganache: Place the chocolate chips in heatproof bowl. Slowly heat the cream over low heat. Pour over the chocolate chips and gently whisk to combine.

Once cakes are cool enough to handle, remove the liners and dip each individual cake into the ganache. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To Serve: Carefully place the cakes on individual white dessert plate. Place a scoop of ice cream some raspberries and mint sprig on each and serve immediately. 

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