SPICE UP YOUR VALENTINE’S DAY DINNER BY COOKING AT HOME
With Valentine’s Day only a few days away, Spice For Life has some suggestions for cooking a delicious, easy, and memorable meal. Treat that special someone in your life to a home cooked meal that will tantalize the taste buds. For this special evening, we are recommending a French themed dinner…French has been said to be “the language of love”.
First start with our take on the classic French 75 Cocktail:
- 2 oz. Gin
- 3 oz. Champagne
- 1 oz. compari
- 1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 oz. lemoncello
- 3 pink peppercorns
- lemon twist
Add all the ingredients except the champagne, peppercorns, and lemon twist into a shaker. Add ice cubes and shake well. Strain into a champagne flute, filling the flute halfway. Add the champagne, garnish with the lemon twist, and float the peppercorns on top.
For the main course, Roasted Chicken with Herbes de Provence spice blend. This is the classic French blend of fine herbs from Southern France with its delicate mixture of herbs and its signature ingredient of culinary lavender. See the recipe on our website.
For the side dishes to keep the cooking easy, do Roasted Root Vegetables and Potatoes with Herbes de Provence also. Wash the vegetables: 3 parsnips, 2 turnips, the tops of 3 leeks, and one bunch of rainbow carrots, cut into 1 -2-inch size pieces. Do the same with the 6-8 small Yukon gold potatoes. Put everything into a bowl and toss with 4 Tablespoons of olive oil, 2 Tablespoons of Herbes de Provence, and 2 teaspoons of Sel Gris Salt or kosher salt. Place the vegetables and potatoes at the bottom of the roasting pan under the chicken, which is on a rack in the roasting pan. Then cook the vegetables and chicken together.
For a salad, make a simple Arugula Salad with Crumbled French Goat Cheese. The dressing can be made of extra virgin olive oil, a high-quality balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, ground Black Tellicherry Peppercorns, and salt. The quantities will vary depending upon the amount of dressing desired. Whisk together well 1 tsp. of mustard, 1/8 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of vinegar, a dash of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Place the arugula (1 bag) with 2 oz. of crumbled goat cheese into a salad bowl and toss with the dressing.
For dessert, Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Chambord.
- 2 pears (Anjou)
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- ¼ cup unsweetened cacao powder
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon (or more if desired) Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
Peel, split in half, and core the pears. Combine 1 ¼ cups sugar with 2 ½ cups of water in a saucepan that will be able to hold the pears. Split the vanilla bean with a knife, scrape out the seeds, and add both to the sugar water. Turn heat to medium high and bring to a boil.
Add pears and adjust heat so mixture bubbles slowly. Cook approximately 8 minutes or until a knife can inserted into the pear easily. Let pears cool in liquid for 30 minutes.
Now combine ½ cup of water with the remaining sugar in a saucepan until sugar is totally dissolved. Turn off heat and whisk in cream and cacao. Heat on very low flame until it begins to thicken, stirring often. Add Chambord at the end. Place pears on a plate and serve warm sauce over them.
Enjoy your meal and happy Valentine's Day!