Valentine Day’s Menu: Shrimp & Steak Plus Chocolate Cake

Valentine’s Day for us means sharing a great meal at home with family and/or friends. We enjoy both the cooking and the meal itself.

We’ve put together a do-it-yourself menu that’s easy enough to prepare for your Valentine – either with or without your Valentine’s help in the kitchen.  You’ll find dishes intended to please meat eaters, fish lovers, vegetarians, vegans and, of course, chocolate lovers. (You can find additional recipes on our Website by clicking here.)

Appetizer

Marinated Feta Bruschetta

Prepare a batch of this bruschetta to munch on beforehand accompanied by your favorite libation. The topping combines feta cheese marinated in extra virgin olive oil, a variety of fresh herbs, and garlic. A touch of cayenne pepper and some lemon zest give the dish an added zing. (Click here for recipe.)

Entrées

Goan-Style Shrimp CurryThis dish combines two our favorites: seafood and Indian cuisine.  The recipe comes from Suvir Saran, chef and co-owner of New York’s Dévi restaurant. It’s the only Indian eatery in the United States that’s earned a Michelin star. “If you have not tried this dish it is a Must Try!” an enthusiastic reader of our blog wrote us. (Click here for recipe.)

Couscous Salad with Almonds, Raisins, and Saffron Onions

Photo credit: www.andrebaranowskiphoto.com

Your vegetarian dining guests will be happy to tuck into this main course salad. Couscous is a staple grain product throughout North Africa. Couscous salad, however, isn’t a traditional dish from the region. “But this is a salad with Moroccan flavors and Americans love it,” Joyce Goldstein, the San Francisco chef who created this recipe, told us. (Click here for recipe.)

Grilled Beef Tagliata with Rosemary, Capers  and LemonsWe’re big fans of grilling year-round. Rain and snow don’t stop us. And this Italian-style grilled steak is an especially popular recipe. It features perfectly grilled meat and spicy greens all bathed in a flavorful extra virgin olive oil. The meat is topped with a balsamic vinegar reduction, fried capers, garlic chips, and shaved Parmesan. (Click here for recipe.)

Vegetables

Leeks VinaigretteThis classic French bistro dish showcases a vegetable that’s in season. “Leeks are sweet, tender, and only mildly oniony,” says the creator of this recipe: Mark Peel, chef-owner of the Los Angeles restaurant Campanile. “I love their gentle flavor and their pale, translucent green color.”   (Click here for recipe.)

Sautéed Carrots with Warm Olive and Mint Dressing“Carrots and olives were made to go together,” says Susie Middleton in her cookbook Fast, Fresh & Green (Chronicle Books, 2010), where this recipe appears. The carrots are dressed with a vinaigrette and combined with mint, chopped olives, and chopped toasted almonds. (Click here for recipe.)

Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Maple BBQ SauceThese homemade fries would be a natural match for the grilled beef dish. They’re definitely a crowd-pleaser. And they’re a healthy alternative to French fries — particularly the deep-fried kind you might have at a fast-food chain. (Click here for recipe.)
Desserts

Chocolate Cake to Live For

You don’t have to be a vegan to savor this luscious, chocolaty cake. We can personally vouch for that. The cake —from vegan pastry chef Fran Costigan — also is a breeze to make. (Click here for recipe.)

Chocolate Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake

We knew we had a winning cake recipe from our friend Marie Simmons when she told us she’d have to send us a photo of just part of the cake. Marie’s husband had been so excited to eat it she’d been unable to take a photo of the whole thing. We hope you enjoy the cake — in the photo at the top of the blog post — as much as Marie’s husband did. (Click here for recipe.)

Orange-Glazed Olive Oil CakeHere’s a worthy alternative if you’d rather have something other than chocolate for dessert. This cake has Italian roots, which isn’t surprising given how Italians and other Mediterranean residents have been baking with olive oil instead of butter for generations. It comes from White House pastry chef Bill Yosses. (Click here for recipe.)

Bon appétit,

Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch

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