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Valentine’s Day at Home: The Making of a Memorable Feast

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No reservations? Home is one of the most comfortable (and romantic) places to have a meal with your Valentine. Putting love into cooking and sharing it with someone special in an intimate place is a delicious, delightful spectacle. These recipes are quick and easy to make and fun under candlelight.

Recommendation: Music by Etta James and candles throughout the home, including the kitchen during food preparation, will set a special Valentine mood.

 

THE APPETIZER:

Candy mints and strawberry appetizer. (Staff photo: Courtland Kimble)

Candy mints and strawberry appetizer. (Staff photo: Courtland Kimble)

Wrapped candy mints and strawberries in a candy vase.

 

Your Valentine will want something sweet and refreshing while you are preparing the meal. While the music and food aromas form over this time, you may want to share a relaxing drink or toast.

 

 

 

 

 

THE DRINK (non-alcoholic):

Preferably a minty tea or chai. Many refreshing choices. Best if cold, decaffeinated, and not soda.

THE DRINK (alcoholic):

Chocolate Valentine. (Staff photo: Courtland Kimble)

Chocolate Valentine. (Staff photo: Courtland Kimble)

Chocolate Valentine

3/4 oz vanilla vodka

3/4 oz dark creme de cacao

1/2 oz cherry juice

1 splash cream

1 splash seltzer water

whipped cream and cherry, optional

 

The key to any successful amorous evening is preparation. Make a list, double-check for utensils, visit the grocery store early, and try to do the food prep before your Valentine arrives. If the last part is tricky, no worries! Give them a front seat to witness your culinary skill!

 

 

Apple Mashed Potatoes, Kimble's Seafood Cakes, and Kimble's Steamed Green Beans and Carrots. (Staff photo: Courtland Kimble)

Apple Mashed Potatoes, Kimble’s Seafood Cakes, and Kimble’s Steamed Green Beans and Carrots. (Staff photo: Courtland Kimble)

The Meal

(Listed in order of preparation time)

Apple Mashed Potatoes

[box] This mashed potato recipe is also available here. [/box]

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

½  medium onion, diced

½  teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

1/4  teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

¼ teaspoon fresh-grated nutmeg

1/8  teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1 ½  cups chicken broth

2 Tablespoons sour cream

1 Tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Place the potatoes, apples, onions, oregano, thyme, nutmeg, and rosemary in a heavy saucepan with the chicken broth. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes until tender. Drain off liquid, reserving for later use, and return vegetables and apples to the saucepan.

Add sour cream, butter, salt, and pepper (substitute cayenne pepper for black pepper for added kick). Coarsely mash the vegetables, leaving some large lumps. If the mashed potatoes are too dry, add a little of the reserved liquid.

If necessary, reheat over low heat while stirring constantly. Serve hot.

Yield: about 6 servings

 

Kimble’s Seafood Cakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: Fried – 15 minutes, Broiled – 20-25

Total Time: 35-45 minutes

Ingredients:

16 oz. lumb crab meat

8oz. fresh or thawed tilapia or whiting (lake trout), chopped

8 oz. or ½ lb. fresh or thawed, uncooked shrimp, chopped

1 egg

1 cup breadcrumbs (add extra if mix is too wet)

½ cup sweet onion or green onions (scallions), diced

½ cup sweet mustard

¼  cup whipped salad dressing

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup Old Bay Seasoning

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

½ cup vegetable oil (for frying)

Preparation:

Place lump crab meat in a separate glass or plastic bowl. Remove tiny crab shells by hand and transfer the crab meat to a large mixing bowl. Peel shrimp and chop up into ½ inch pieces and transfer into the large bowl with the crab meat. Chop tilapia into fine pieces and transfer into the bowl with the shrimp and crab meat. Add all the other ingredients and mix by hand or spoon.  Scoop mixture and pat into 3” cakes. Set aside cakes on a clean, non-stick surface (plate or waxpaper) for cooking.

Fried Seafood Cakes:

On a medium stove setting, place a medium to large sized frying pan/skillet to heat and add the vegetable oil. Allow the oil to coat and heat for 5 minutes. Carefully place the uncooked seafood cakes into the frying pan/skillet. Fry each cake side for approximately 6-8 minutes or until bottom is dark brown. Remove each cake from pan to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak off the oil.

Broiled Seafood Cakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Move the uncooked seafood cakes to a non-stick cookie sheet. Make sure there is space between the cakes to cook. Place the sheet of cakes in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until completely browned. The cakes may be turned in the middle of the oven process to even out the cooking sides. Remove the sheet of cakes and place on a cool surface.

Yield: 10 cakes.

 

Kimble’s Steamed Green Beans and Carrots

Prep Time: 0 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

Bag of Pre-washed green beans and carrots

½ cup red cooking wine

½ teaspoon pesto

Preparation:

In a quart saucepan, combine all ingredients and steam slowly on a low stove setting for 20 mins.

Yield:  4 servings.

Now that all the cooking is done (and maybe a little dancing to Etta), it is time to settle down for a great meal. 

THE DESSERT…..Love.

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