(44 B)

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we are posting this delicious and romantic Valentine’s “Dinner for Two” from our dear friend, chef, and WAM supporter Cristina Ferrare. author of “Food For Thought,” who is laying out a menu that allows us to splurge a little on this romantic night. For example, note the cocktail, which is not part of our usual brain-health recommendations (always make sure to check with your doctor about whether alcohol is okay for you).

The cranberries in the cocktail contain ursolic acid which may play a role in preventing brain cells from deteriorating, The salad contains pommegranates—high concentrations of polyphenols—and walnuts, rich in DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid; all great for brain protection. Also, be sure to use organic, pasture-raised turkey for your main course.

MENU

  1. Love Potion Martini
  1. Heart Healthy Pappardelle Pasta with Turkey Bolognese
  1. Butter Lettuce with Greek Feta, Roasted Walnuts & Shallot Vinaigrette, French Baguette!
  1. Flourless Chocolate Cake!

I want to make this evening stress free. This is an easy dinner to prepare for a romantic evening with that special someone. The Bolognese sauce can be made up to two days before, it actually tastes better. The shallot vinaigrette can be made the day before and stored in a tightly closed mason jar in the refrigerator.

One note on the Chocolate Cake. It is sweet and dense, but I am giving myself a hall pass and will have a small serving after the dinner with a lovely glass of Muscat or Riesling, and an espresso!

I know your heart beats for everyone you love and deeply care for! Take care of it and each other! I hope you enjoy your evening with that special someone!

 LOVE POTION MARTINI!

Place your Martini glass in the freezer for an hour before preparing and serving!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 oz Mount Gay Rum
  • 1.5 oz Citron Vodka
  • 1.5 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 4.5 oz Cranberry Juice
  • Fresh mint (2 small fresh mint stems)
  • 6 thin slices of Jalapeno (optional)

In a shaker with ice add the Rum, Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Cranberry Juice and gently shake back and forth. Pour into a martini glass and serve.

FIRST COURSE

PAPPARDELLE PASTA WITH TURKEY BOLOGNESE

Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large white onion, quartered
  • 1 small carrot cut into four pieces
  • 1 celery rib cut into four pieces
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 lbs. ground turkey, dark meat
  • 2 turkey sausages casings removed
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
  • ½ teaspoon Stevia
  • 1- cup water plus additional as needed
  • 8 oz. Pappardelle pasta
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped coarsely

DIRECTIONS

It helps if you line up the ingredients first before you start to cook.

In a food processor add onion and process into small pieces. Set aside.

Pulse chop carrot and celery into small pieces. Set aside.

Heat a saucepan on medium-high until hot, add the olive oil and heat for 30 seconds. Add the onions, reduce heat to medium, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the carrot and celery, sauté for 2 minutes.

Add the ground turkey and turkey sausage and use a metal spatula to break up the meat. Sprinkle on salt and pour in the milk, continuing to break up the meat.

Cook, reducing the milk until the meat starts to sizzle, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, and mix well. Continue to cook, reducing the wine and you hear the sizzle again.

Reduce heat to low, add tomato paste, stir in completely and keep mixing for at least 30 seconds.

Add the tomato puree, Stevia, and water mix well. Cover and simmer on medium low heat for 1-1/2 hours, stirring often. If you see the sauce is getting too thick, add more water, ¼ cup at a time.

SERVE

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well and pour it back into the pot you boiled it in.

Turn the heat to high, add several ladles of the sauce and mix together to heat the pasta and sauce together.

Serve in heated pasta bowls. Using tongs add a serving of the Pasta into each bowl, ladle on a generous amount of sauce, and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Garnish with basil. Serve immediately.

SECOND COURSE

BUTTER LETTUCE WITH FETA, WALNUTS, & SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE, & WARM CRUNCHY BAGUETTE!

2 servings

  • 1/4 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1 head of butter lettuce, rinsed and spun dry
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt3 to 4 tablespoons of Shallot Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup Greek feta cheese, crumbled
  • 6 tablespoons pomegranate seeds or 8 fresh raspberries sliced (when they’re sliced they look like hearts)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 small baguette

Toast the walnuts by placing them in a small dry frying pan. Turn the heat to medium and toss and shake the nuts back and forth until they have browned and released their fragrant oils, about 4 to 5 minutes. You will be able to small the aroma. Be careful not to burn the walnuts they will end up tasting rancid. Place in a small bowl and set aside. 

BAGUETTE

Pre-heat oven 350F
Bake for 15 minutes
Place 10 to 12 leaves of the butter lettuce in a salad bowl.

Sprinkle salt over the lettuce and pour 3 tablespoons of the dressing over the lettuce, and gently toss. If you feel the salad is too dry and needs more dressing, add 1 tablespoon at a time.

Evenly distribute the lettuce among 6 to 8 plates. Garnish with feta cheese, pomegranate seeds or raspberries, parsley and walnuts. Tear off pieces of the baguette and serve on the side.

SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine the mustard and shallot in a bowl, and whisk in the olive oil slowly. Continue to whisk to incorporate all the ingredients until smooth. Add the rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Whisk to blend all ingredients until smooth. Add salt. You will have extra vinaigrette left over. This vinaigrette will keep in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator.

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE!

Yes, this cake is extremely rich, creamy and decadent and I very rarely bake or eat like this any longer, HOWEVER, every once in a great while I just go for it and when I do I want to make it worth-while, and this flourless chocolate cake never disappoints. It is so dense and chocolatey that a small slice will satisfy the chocolate lover in you! ENJOY the rest of your evening!

CHOCOLATE CAKE 

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ organic unsalted butter cut up into pieces plus 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter for greasing the pan
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 5 large egg yolks, at room temperature (set 3 egg whites aside; save the other 2 for an egg-white omelet)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons organic sugar1 tablespoon instant espresso, dissolved in ½ cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • Parchment paper

INSTRUCTIONS

Use half of the 1-1/2 tablespoons of butter to grease the inside of an 8 or 9 inch round cakepan. 

Line the pan with parchment paper; grease the paper with the other half of the butter. Dust with the cocoa powder.  

In top of a double boiler over simmering water, add the chocolate and butter, and melt completely. Mix together well using a wooden spoon and set aside to cool, for 30 minutes. 

Use a mixer with a wire whisk on medium-high to beat the egg yolks, ¼ cup of sugar, coffee, vanilla, and salt for 5 minutes, until the mixture is pale and thick. With the mixer on medium low, slowly add the cooled chocolate mixture; beat until well incorporated.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites using a clean wire whisk until foamy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons of sugar, beating until medium -firm peaks form. Gently fold half of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the remaining egg whites just until no streaks remain.  

Pre-heat the oven to 300 F. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.

Bake for 40 minutes, until the cake puffs slightly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out moist. Do not overbake. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes. 

Run a butter knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake; then invert it onto a flat plate. Gently lift off the pan and peel off the paper. Cool at room temperature for 1 hour; refrigerate for 2 hours.

Slice the cake into small slices, it is very rich and a little goes a long way, dipping your knife into hot water and wiping it dry before you cute each slice.

CHOCOLATE GLAZE

  • ½ cup organic unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the glaze, combine the butter and chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water and melt, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the corn syrup until the glaze is smooth and shiny. Set the cake on a wire rack over a large baking sheet. Pour the warm glaze over the center of the cake. The glaze should cover the surface evenly, spilling over the edges and down the sides, with all the excess falling onto the baking sheet. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until firm.

COOKS NOTE; Dip your knife into hot water and wipe with paper towel to dry before you cut each slice.

“EAT, LOVE & LIVE “WELL”! 

LOVE,

CRISTINA