For most people, preparing for Valentine’s Day dinner is a “sprint”. On Valentine’s Day, you go to a nice restaurant, pick your meal off of a menu, and call it a night. For me, it is a “marathon”. I start thinking about Valentine’s Dinner in the middle of January and “train” a little until the end of the month. I start reading restaurant menus online, going through magazines and test a few things in the kitchen.
Once I flip my calendar to February, I start getting nervous. I start carbo-loading and my adrenaline increases each time I see red hearts in the grocery store. It is at this point, I know I had better make a decision or I will never make it to my goal.
Desperate times, call for desperate measures and I had to talk to my coach, my husband. I broke down and just asked him what he wanted. His first response was “anything you make will be delicious.” (One of the reasons I love him so much) Earl’s second response was the decision maker; he wanted tuna tataki and scallops. I was surprised and pleased at the same time.
We both love tuna tataki. For those of you who have never had it, it is delicious piece of seared tuna that has been marinated in rice wine vinegar and seasoned with ginger. We like it a little spicy so I always add some cayenne to the mix.
Most tuna tataki is serve rare which is wonderful if you have sashimi grade tuna available to you. Since that is hard to find in a small town, I chose to prepare ours mid-rare. I sliced it thin and served it with a daikon salad in a ponzu dressing. Although it wasn’t 100% traditional, it still tasted great.
Our entrée was a plate of simply seasoned, semi-seared sea scallops over quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). I chose the quinoa for a couple of reasons. I kept reading that it was high in protein, fiber, phosphorous, magnesium and iron. It is also gluten-free and allegedly easy to digest. (I will dispute that in a later blog). It is easy to prepare like rice and it was red so it was perfect for the occasion.
I jazzed up the quinoa with portabella mushrooms sautéed in balsamic vinegar, spinach and just a little bit of bacon. It was the perfect vessel to display my scallops.
Finally, it was time for dessert, almond torte with amaretto whipped cream and berries. I am not a dessert fan but this was just phenomenal. The crisps I made could be considered tuilles with the delicateness of their body. They were light, mildly sweet and a little salty from the nuts. I whipped heavy cream within an inch of its life and added just a little bit of powdered sugar and a generous teaspoon of amaretto. I added a few berries and I had a perfect filling for my cookies. This was the euphoria I wanted to feel as we crossed our meal’s finish line.
I hope you all had a wonderful day filled with food and love.
- ¾ cup chopped almonds
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ stick of butter
- 1 Tbsp. Flour
- 2 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
- Preheat oven to 375
- Combine ingredients in saucepan.
- Heat over medium-low heat until butter and sugar are completely melted and dissolved.
- Set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Evenly space 6 teaspoons of batter on cookie sheet. Do not overcrowd since the cookie is going to spread.
- Bake until lightly brown 5-8 minutes.
- Cool on pan for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.