Feb09

Romantic Night Menu

Woo Your Special Somebody

Romantic Night Menu

Looking to woo somebody special?

You can't go wrong with romantic meals like this menu.

Serve this romantic meal with plenty of wine (you'll find some great wine pairing suggestions for each dish) and perhaps a few roses, and set the scene for a perfect romantic dinner date.


Menu for a Perfect Romantic Night

Romantic Appetizer

Skewers of Melon, Jamón, and Mini Mozzarella
Served with a dry Riesling or Pinot Blanc

Romantic Main Dish

Rack of Lamb with Herbes de Provence and Roasted Tomatoes
Served with a Pinot Noir or Shiraz

Romantic Dessert

Easy by Decadent Nutella Mousse
Served with Tawny Port or Coffee

And an After-Dinner Suggestion...

Champagne and Fresh Strawberries
Served... in the bedroom


jamon-melon-mozzarella-skewersSkewers of Melon, Jamón, and Mini Mozzarella

This recipe is such a fun, easy, elegant, and (of course) tasty beginning to a romantic meal. As a bonus, it can mostly be assembled ahead of time, leaving you free to get the rest of dinner (and yourself) ready for your sweetie.

Can't find or don't want to use melon? Sub a package of cherry tomatoes, instead. It's easy and just as tasty! To make this romantic meal appetizer ahead of time, assemble the skewers, cover, and refrigerate until needed (no longer than 6 hours or so). Add dressing just before serving. Makes a generous two servings.

Ingredients:

Dressing:
1/3 C. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 C. fresh basil leaves (packed)
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Skewers:
1 small honeydew or other melon
6 balls of mini mozzarella (water-packed)
6 slices of Spanish jamón or Italian prosciutto
Wooden skewers

Instructions:

1. To make dressing, combine olive oil, basil leaves, shallot, and salt in a blender or food processor. Pulse in blender until ingredients are finely chopped and combined. Add pepper to taste.

2. Peel and seed melon and cut into several wedges. Cut each small wedge in half to make large chunks.

3. Cut your 6 jamón (or prosciutto) slices in half lengthwise.

4. To assemble skewers, place one piece of melon, followed by one piece of jamón (fold several times into a fanned piece before skewering), one mozzarella ball, another piece of "fanned" jamón, and a last piece of melon. Repeat until you've used up your mozzarella and jamón. Depending on its size, you may not use all of your melon.

5. Place your skewers on a platter and drizzle dressing over. Serve immediately.


rack-lamb-romantic-recipeRack of Lamb with Herbes de Provence and Roasted Tomatoes

This hearty but romantic recipe is based on one from Gourmet Magazine, and makes just about the best-tasting rack of lamb you'll ever try. While you can use dried spices, fresh spices really bring this recipe alive.

When shopping for rack of lamb, look for one with 8 bones (or 8 chops), and ask your butcher for a "frenched" rack. This mean the end of each bone will be trimmed and exposed, making for a prettier presentation.

Recipe below serves two, and includes both the main dish and side dishes; giving you less to worry about. One of the simplest and most delicious romantic meals.

Ingredients:
2 lg. cloves garlic, peeled
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 C. olive oil, divided
2 ripe tomatoes, halved
1 rack of lamb, frenched (about 1 lb.)
2 shallots
2 med. white potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp. white wine

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Chop garlic and place in a small bowl (a mortar and pestle works best) and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Mash into a paste. Stir in chopped herbs and half of the olive oil.

3. To prepare tomatoes, cut in half. Grease a pie plate or other baking dish place tomatoes, cut-side-up, inside. Drizzle with about 1/3 of your garlic/herb mixture. Set aside.

4. Rinse rack of lamb and pat dry. Cut in half.

5. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper.

6. In an oven safe skillet or frying pan, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil until quite hot over moderate-high heat. Brown rack of lamb on all sides. Set aside.

7. To prepare the remaining vegetables, slice potatoes into 1/4" slices. Peel and slice shallots thinly.

8. Add remaining olive oil to skillet. Heat over medium. Add potatoes and shallots and cook until beginning to brown, about three to five minutes. Stir occassionally. Stir in wine and about half of your garlic herb mixture.  Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

9. Into the fat side of your racks of lamb, rub in the rest of your garlic herb mixture.

10. Place baking dish with tomatoes in the oven. Roast 30-40 minutes, until very tender.

11. Place racks of lamb upright in skillet on top of potato mixture. To keep the two half-racks steady, nest the exposed bones together at the top.

12. Roast lamb and potatoes about 20 to 25 minutes, until the internal temperature of lamb reads about 130 degrees for medium rare.

12. When lamb has reached your desired level of doneness, remove from oven and tent with foil. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes.

13. Slice rack into chops if desired and serve with potatoes and tomatoes.


nutella-mousse-with-raspberry-garnishEasy but Decadent Nutella Mousse Recipe

I'm pretty sure there are exactly zero people out there who don't love Nutella. Creamy and chocolaty with a soft hazelnut flavor, it's the king of chocolate spreads. It also makes one of the best --and easiest-- mousse recipes you'll ever try. This recipe is the perfect end to this romantic meal.

Recipe serves 4, but leftovers never go unappreciated.

Ingredients:
1 C. whipping cream, very cold
1/2 tsp. high-quality instant coffee granules
1/2 C. Nutella (or other chocolate-hazelnut spread)
Whipped cream, to garnish
Fresh raspberries, to garnish (optional)

Instructions: 1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine whipping cream and instant coffee.

2. Refrigerate 5 minutes, then stir until coffee is dissolved.

3. Stir in Nutella.

4. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat mixture until soft peaks form. Scrape bowl occassionally with rubber spatula as you mix.

5. The mousse will be very soft here-- don't worry. It sets up as it chills.

6. Divide among 4 serving dishes. Chill at least four hours, or overnight.

7. Just before serving, garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls or fresh raspberries, if desired. 


Courtesy of Divine Dinner Party

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