Friday, February 8, 2013

Easy romantic valentines day recipes

Easy, Romantic Valentine's Day Recipes
By: Chef Cristian Feher

Ah, Valentine’s Day. A day to appreciate your significant other over a glass of wine and, hopefully, a great meal. If you plan on staying in and preparing a romantic dinner together, I have a menu below that you may enjoy eating, as much as you enjoy making (If not, give me a call, and I’ll help ;)

When I look at planning a Valentine’s day menu, I use the following criteria:
- Must be delicious, obviously
- Must be light, but satisfying
- Must be pleasing to both the male, and female palate
- Must be easy and fun to make
- Must not leave you falling asleep by dessert (the Thanksgiving Dinner Phenomenon)

Appetizer: Tomato, Lime and Shrimp Bruschetta

This is sort of a hybrid recipe between South American Ceviche and Italian Bruschetta. The tomato and shrimp mixture is fresh and light, and so are the crispy, garlicky bread croutons. It’s also relatively easy to make.

If you don’t eat shrimp, you can easily substitute it in this recipe with diced smoked salmon, or even sauteed, diced zucchini and portobello mushrooms if you want to keep it vegetarian.

- Crusty French bread
- 1 dozen cooked, peeled, deveined, shrimp (large)
- 2 ripe field tomatoes
- 4 garlic cloves
- Fresh basil
- Fresh parsley or cilantro (whichever you prefer)
- 3 limes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper


1. Turn the oven on to 400 bake. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil (remember to put the non-shiny side up).

2. Cut the crusty bread into diagonal slices, place face-up on the cookie sheet. Drizzle them generously with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper. Put them in the oven and cook them until they are crispy and toasted. Light brown is ok, dark brown is over-cooked, black is “start again”. Remove from oven.

3. Peel and cut a garlic clove in half. Rub the garlic clove over the top of each crispy bread slice to impart the flavor of garlic onto the bread. This is best done when the bread comes out of the oven and is still hot.

4. For the bruschetta mixture, combine the following in a bowl: Diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley/cilantro (remember to wash well first), 2 minced garlic cloves, chopped up shrimp, salt and pepper to taste, and lime juice to taste. Most people don’t put enough salt into this recipe, so don’t be scared! Mix well and put mixture over the bread croutons.

5. Chop up some fresh basil and sprinkle over top of bruschetta. Enjoy!

Main Course: Chicken and Steak Caprese on Wilted Spinach and Roasted Zucchini

This main course is satisfying, flavorful, and high in protein. I’ve left out the usual pasta or potatoes to lighten it up. This way, your dessert won’t act like a bowl of sleeping pills and you’ll be able to make it through dinner feeling comfortable.

I prefer steak, and my wife likes chicken. So I make this recipe with both. This meal can be made in the oven or on the BBQ grill.

- 1 thin cut rib eye steak
- 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast
- 1 can of whole San Marzano tomatoes (from Italy)
- 2 green zucchinis
- 1 salad container of baby spinach
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Fresh, slices of mozzarella cheese
- Fresh basil
- Fresh or dry oregano
- Salt and pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil


1. Turn BBQ on and pre-heat on high. OR preheat oven to 400 roast. If using oven line a cookie sheet with non-stick foil.

2. Slice the mozzarella. Separate the juice from the canned tomatoes. Peel and mince the garlic.

3. Cut the zucchini into long strips, rub them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them in the oven on the cookie sheet until light brown, or grill them on the BBQ until they are soft and have grill marks. Set aside.

4. Sautee half the garlic with some olive oil in a skillet quickly without burning the garlic. Only like 1 or 2 minutes. Add the spinach and mix with the olive oil and garlic until it wilts. As soon as it wilts, add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

5. The chicken should be butterflied or pounded out thin. If you don’t know how to do this, you can buy it as “chicken cutlets” at the supermarket. The steak should be thin (no more than an inch thick).

6. Pleace the chicken and steak on the cookie sheet OR on the grill. Top with salt and pepper, crushed San Marzano tomatoes, a couple of fresh basil leaves, a little fresh chopped or dry oregano, and a couple of slices of fresh mozzarella cheese. Close the oven door, or the BBQ lid and cook until the cheese is all melted and the chicken is cooked through (takes 15-20 minutes in my oven or BBQ).

I like to pre-heat the BBQ on high, and then right before I put my food on the grill, I’ll turn off the heating element underneath the grill I put the food on. This prevents the food from burning, and it prevents flare-ups. I then close the BBQ lid and it acts as an oven.

7. Serve the meat on a mound of wilted spinach with roasted zucchini on the side. Enjoy!

Dessert:  Warm Berries and Coconut Gelato

This is one of the easiest and lightest desserts I can think of. I buy Talenti brand coconut gelato at Publix - it’s really good! The warm berries make an excellent contrast with the gelato as they melt on your tongue. And it takes 5 minutes to put together.

- Fresh strawberries
- Fresh blueberries
- Fresh raspberries
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar (or more to taste)
- Talenti coconut gelato (ice cream)
- Mint leaf for garnish


1. Wash and cut up strawberries into quarters. Combine them with blueberries and raspberries. Put them in a non-stick skillet at med-high and add the sugar. Cook them for a few minutes until they are warm and soft, and the sugar melts.

2. Scoop some coconut gelato into a bowl. Top with warm or hot berry mixture. Top with a sprig of mint and enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. If you really like to spoil your date this is the most romantic and delicious dessert I can imagine.
    romantic recipes