Posted By Vicki McClure Davidson on February 11, 2011
Love is in the air… love makes the world go ’round… love means never having to say you’re sorry… love don’t cost a thing… all you need is love…
FOOD. GLORIOUS VALENTINE’S DAY FOOD.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and whether it’s a romantic dinner or a silly snack, showing that special someone in your life how much you care about him or her with a heart-and-love-inspired breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert doesn’t have to break the frugal food budget.
The beautiful Valentine’s Day food photos in this edition should get your creative juices flowing.
When available, recipes will accompany the “Fab Food Friday Fotos,” with a guarantee that at least one recipe — most preferably a frugal recipe — will always be included.
Photographer/cook Neil Harvey wrote this about his version of this healthy, tasty Valentine’s Day salad:
A salad with walnuts, apple, and heart-shaped roasted beets, as seen on the Vegan Lunch Box blog.
Here’s the recipe and summary from the always-excellent vegan cookbook author and blogger Jennifer McCann:
Heart Beet Salad Recipe
This has been a favorite Valentine’s Day meal for my sweetie and I for several years now. The sweetness of the roasted beets marries beautifully with the flavors of orange and apple. Use blood oranges if you can find them.
* 3 Large Beets, scrubbed
* 1 Head Butter Lettuce, washed and dried
* 1 Handful Baby Spinach Leaves, washed and dried
* 1 Celery Stalk, chopped
* 1 Tart Apple, peeled, cored and chopped
* 2 Oranges, preferably blood oranges
* 1⁄4 C. Raw or Toasted Walnuts, chopped
* 1 T. Fresh Basil Leaves, cut into thin ribbons
* 1 t. Balsamic Vinegar
* 3 t. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* Salt and Pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 450º.
2. Wrap the beets in foil or parchment and place on the oven rack. Roast until tender, about 60 to 75 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fresh basil leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
4. Use the back of a paring knife to peel off the outer skin of the beet. Lay the beet on its side and cut into 1⁄4 inch slices. Use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out hearts (save the scraps to snack on or use in another dish). Repeat with the remaining beets.
5. Cut or tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces, then place the lettuce, baby spinach, celery, and apple slices into a large salad bowl. Cut the orange in half and score as you would a grapefruit, then spoon out the orange segments into a large salad bowl. Squeeze the remaining orange juice into the salad dressing and whisk to combine.
6. To serve immediately, toss the salad with the dressing, then arrange on plates topped with the heart beets and toasted walnuts. If packing for a lunch, arrange the beets and toasted walnuts on top of the salad in a lunch container, with a smaller container of dressing on the side.
Elegant and easy, this seared ahi tuna dish will make for a delicious and memorable Valentine’s Day dinner. Photographer/cook Lauren Bosak provided this recipe:
For Valentine’s Day, we made this recipe out of the Trader Joe’s Companion.
Seared Ahi Tuna on Lemon Papperdelle
* 2 Sashimi Grade Ahi Tuna steaks (6-8 ounces each)
* 1 pkg Lemon Pepper Pappardelle pasta
* 1 Tbsp Lemon Pepper grinds
* 2 tsp + 1 Tbsp olive oil
* 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
* Pinch of salt
* 1 Tbsp chopped parsley or basil
1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
2. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium to high heat.
3. Coat all sides of the tuna steaks with lemon pepper seasoning. When pan is hot, sear both sides of the tuna steaks for 1-2 minutes per side. Photo above shows steaks seared for 2 minutes per side; cook less if you prefer them more rare.
4. Remove tuna from pan and slice into 1/4-inch slices.
5. Mix remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil with lemon juice and salt to make a quick dressing. Toss the drained pasta in the dressing.
6. Serve tuna slices over pasta and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
What a romantic, delectable dinner! Not a cheap meal to make, by any stretch of the imagination, but a huge savings over going out to dinner with your special valentine. Photographer/cook Troy B. Thompson followed this Martha Stewart recipe, originally published in Martha Stewart Living, February 2006.
FYI: Dry grated Parmesan cheese, or even Greek feta, can be substituted for the grated cotija cheese in this recipe. Cotija is a Mexican cheese that is usually used crumbled or grated as a popular topping for Mexican beans, soups, salads, tostadas, or tacos. When cotija cheese is in the mouth, it has a grainy texture.
Filet Mignon with Herb-and-Cheese Potatoes Recipe:
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
* 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
* 1 teaspoon minced garlic
* 1/3 cup finely grated cotija cheese
* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
* 2 russet potatoes, about 9 ounces each, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices and again into 1/8-inch-wide strips, set aside in a bowl of cold water
* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir together butter, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic in a small bowl. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use. Stir together remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon garlic, the cheese, and cayenne in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with the olive oil; set aside. Drain potatoes; pat dry. Add to bowl with cheese mixture; toss to coat. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes; turn potatoes, and cook until golden, about 20 minutes more.
3. Meanwhile, season both sides of beef with salt and pepper.Heat a medium skillet over high heat. Brush both sides of beef with vegetable oil; place in skillet. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook beef 7 minutes; turn, and cook until medium rare, 7 to 8 minutes more. Top each with cilantro butter; serve with potatoes.
Decadent goodness… hazelnut praline and rosemary ganache on small chocolate cakes, each with a candied rosemary sprig. Photographer/cook show and tell used Martha Stewart’s Rich Chocolate Heart Cakes recipe (originally published in Martha Stewart Living, February 2000) to make this rich Valentine’s Day dessert:
Rich Chocolate Mini-Cakes with Hazelnut Praline & Rosemary Ganache
You will need twelve 3 3/4-inch heart molds or tart pans with removable bottoms to make individual chocolate cakes.
* 6 large sprigs fresh rosemary
* 1 large egg white
* 1/2 cup superfine sugar
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
* 11 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
* 5 large eggs, separated
* 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* Chocolate Rosemary Ganache
* Hazelnut Praline (optional)
1. Separate rosemary into small bunches. Beat egg white with a drop or two of water until it is very loose. Place superfine sugar in a small, shallow bowl. Lightly brush one sprig of rosemary with the egg white. Sprinkle superfine sugar over the damp bunch of rosemary; shake to remove excess. Transfer rosemary to a cooling rack to dry, at least 1 hour. Repeat until all rosemary is used; set aside sugared rosemary. (It will keep at room temperature for about 24 hours.)
2. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees with two racks centered. In the top of double boiler, or in a heat-proof bowl set over simmering water, melt butter and chocolate together, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Set mixture aside to cool.
3. In a medium bowl, lightly beat egg yolks, and stir them into the cooled chocolate mixture. Add granulated sugar, flour, and baking powder to the chocolate mixture, and stir to combine.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites just until soft peaks form. Stir one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold the chocolate mixture into the remaining egg whites, just until combined. Spoon the batter into twelve 3 3/4-inch heart molds with removable bottoms. Transfer molds to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until centers spring back when touched, about 45 minutes. Transfer molds to a wire rack, and let sit 5 minutes. Unmold cakes. (After they have cooled, if not using right away, cover cakes lightly with plastic wrap.)
5. To serve, place a cake on serving plate. Pour warm ganache over it; sprinkle with praline, if using. Top with a second and then a third cake layer, drizzling each with ganache. Repeat to make 3 more servings. Sprinkle cakes with praline if desired, and garnish with sugared rosemary. Serve.
Photographer/cook CraftyGoat provided this background on her Valentine’s Day Dinner photo:
We generally avoid going out to eat on Valentine’s Day — places are so crowded that it doesn’t seem romantic. Instead we stay home & cook something special.
This was our homemade Valentine’s Day feast for this year: Queensland Crab Bisque, Shrimp Scampi, and Garlic Yeast Bread with oil/balsamic vinegar for dipping. Hubby curled the green onion for the little heart-shaped garnish. It was all delicious!
No recipe for the crab bisque was provided, but here is one that is easy and inexpensive to make — and it freezes well — from the fab frugal website Cheapskate Living:
Easy Crab Bisque Recipe
* 1 celery rib, thinly sliced
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 2 cans (14 and3/4 ounces each) cream-style corn
* 2 cans (10 and3/4 ounces each) condensed cream of potato soup, undiluted
* 1 and 1/2 cups milk
* 1 and 1/2 cups half and half cream
* 2 Bay leaves
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (can use black)
* 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
* 3 cans (six ounces each) crabmeat, drained, flaked and cartilage removed (I use the refrigerated fake crabmeat – Louis Kemp brand)
In a large saucepan or soup kettle, sauté celery, onion and green pepper in butter until tender. Add the next nine ingredients; mix well. Stir in crab; heat through. Discard bay leaves. You can freeze this soup also if you would like. Transfer to a freezer container; cover and freeze for up to 3 months.
Check out Island Vittles for the description of these unusual Valentine’s Day lollipops… while there is no actual recipe, for knowledgeable, home candy makers, the information and accompanying photographs on the website will be of great value.
They say that oysters are an aphrodisiac…
Easy dessert to make for Valentine’s Day… photographer/baker capn madd matt provided this recipe:
I Heart U – Valentine Raspberry Napoleon
* 1 package (17 1/4 oz) frozen puff pastry, thawed
* 1 cup cold milk
* 1 package (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
* 1 cup heavy whipping cream
* 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 1-1/4 cups raspberries (or sliced strawberries)
* Additional confectioners’ sugar
On a lightly floured surface, roll out each pastry sheet to 1/8 inch thickness. Using about a 3-1/2 inch heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out 12 hearts. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 deg F for 8-11 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
In a bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. In a mixing bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Beat in confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form. Fold into pudding.
Split puff pastry hearts in half. Place bottom halves on serving plates. Spoon 1/4 cup filling over each; top with berries and pastry tops. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
Serve immediately. Yum.
I must stop drooling… the recipe for just the sorbet is provided by photographer/cook norwichnuts — once I can locate the recipe for the cocoa blueberry ganache, I’ll include it:
Cocoa Almond Sorbet with Fresh Blueberry and Cocoa Blueberry Ganache Recipe
Valentine’s Day is only one week away!
For the sorbet:
2 1/4 cups water
1 cup raw sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Amaretto liquor
In a large saucepan, whisk together 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of the water with the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Let it boil, continuing to whisk, for 45 seconds.
Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it’s melted, then stir in the Amaretto and the remaining 3/4 cup (180 ml) water.
Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze in ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Food photos selected and posted are credited and have Creative Commons-licensed content with some rights reserved for noncommercial purposes, unless otherwise noted.
Previous Fab Food Friday Fotos posts: