Eating for Two; Valentine’s Dinner

Valentine Diner for Two


You and your sweetie, dress up.  Put aprons on each other and enjoy making this meal and eating it together.


The First Bite:


Not a spontaneous dish!!  Start these tomatoes a day ahead.  During the winter months, tomatoes can be, well frankly, meh.  Roasting those less-than-summer vine ripened can prove to be a winter mouth-saver.  For an appetizer, try a glob of the roasted tomato on a tiny baked potato.  Add salt and pepper and a drizzle of fine olive oil and it’s a delightful bite.


                             Roasted Tomatoes


8             medium  tomatoes

Olive oil

Pinch  salt


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Core tomatoes and rub outside with oil. Sprinkle salt in center. Place on sheet pan and roast for approximately 4 hours. When cool enough to handle, peel the thin, papery skin and process tomato until smooth.


Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 52 Calories; 1g Fat (11.8% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 22mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 2 Vegetable.


Serving Ideas : TRY AS:

• a flavoring base for pizza

• a flavoring for soups and seafood chowders

• a topping for pasta

• a topping on grilled French or Italian bread, with capers, olives or Mozzarella, for an appetizer.

• a sauce, when thinned with broth, with boneless chicken breast or grilled steak

• a sauce for skillet-fried potatoes seasoned with rosemary

• a sauce for brunch omelettes.


NOTES : Cooking tomatoes the low, slow way takes out the water, leaving you with a caramelized tomato. The intense, rich flavor of the processed pulp provides a vibrant backdrop to a wide variety of dishes. Use it to your heart’s delight!



The Main Event


A fabulous winter lettuce-wrap supper for two, is also a wonderful plan-over for lunch!  Have fresh, head lettuce leaves washed, and spun-dried.  The dressed salad is added to the lettuce and wrapped to the best of your ability


The recipe and notes are from Heidi Swanson, * I added the “wrap” part.


Roasted Winter Squash Salad


Recipe By: courtesy of Heidi Swanson (love her!), 101 Cookbooks

Serving Size  : 6


Amount  Measure       Ingredient — Preparation Method

——–  ————  ——————————–

1              pound  winter squash* — cut into 1-inch / 2.5-cm chunks, skin removed, roasted

4                     celery stalks (with leaves if possible) — diced

1                     medium red onion — finely chopped

2       big handfuls  toasted walnuts — chopped

1/4           cup  dried currants / dried figs

2/3           cup  beer (something along the lines of Anchor Steam)

2          teaspoons  Dijon-style mustard

2        tablespoons  cider vinegar

3        tablespoons  olive oil

1 1/2       teaspoon  honey or brown sugar

1/4      teaspoon  fine grain sea salt

1 or 2 heads of fresh, crisp lettuce—washed and dried


If you haven’t already roasted your squash, start there*.   *Toss 1 1/2 inch thick slabs of (de-seeded) squash with a few gluts of olive oil, a sprinkling of salt, and 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary in the top third of a 425F / 220C oven until completely tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove and let sit until cool enough to handle. For this recipe, slice into 1-inch / 2.5 cm chunks, leaving the skin behind.


In the meantime, make the dressing by whisking together the beer, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, honey, and salt. Taste; adjust with more sugar or salt if needed, and set aside.


Toss the squash in a large bowl with about a third of the dressing. Let it sit for a minute or two, add more dressing, and most of the celery, red onions, walnuts, and currants. Toss again. You’ll likely have dressing left over, but this is a salad you should overdress in the beginning – the squash really drinks it up. Also, taste for seasoning at this point and add more salt if needed. Sprinkle with the remaining celery, red onions, walnuts, and currants, and enjoy. Let sit at least 5-10 minutes and serve.


*Place a tablespoon or so on a lettuce leaf and roll it to wrap.  It’s a bit messy, but that’s the fun of the meal.!!




“101 Cookbooks”

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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 62 Calories; 7g Fat (97.0% calories from fat); trace Protein; trace Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 21mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 0 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.


NOTES : As I mentioned up above, I made this with orange kabocha squash, but I imagine it’d be nearly as good with acorn, delicata, or most other winter squash, really. I used walnuts, but I bet roasted pepitas or almonds would be great, and chopped dried figs in place of the currants. You can make and toss this ahead of time, but bring it to room temperature to serve.


The Final Act


As a service to our couples, we offered Massage Dinners and would schlep along matched masseuses with their tables.  We would prepare the lucky couple’s supper while they were getting a relaxing 60 minute massage.  The couple in their bathrobes would stagger into the dining room to find an elegant, candle-lit supper for two and big bowls of decadent chocolate dips and treats to finish their meal.  By the time they got to the dessert, we were long gone and have no idea if the couple made it out of the dining room.


                        Mannix’s Pools of Pleasure


Recipe By     : courtesy of Mannix (The Love Bite)  Mannix Johnson!  Love him.


Amount  Measure       Ingredient — Preparation Method

——–  ————  ——————————–


Melt: 8 oz dark chocolate (semi-sweet) with 1 cup heavy cream. add a splash of brandy or rum, if you like


Repeat: using white chocolate instead of dark chocolate. Try Kahlua or Frangelico instead of brandy.


Serve: in separate bowls with sliced fruit, lady fingers or ‘nilla wafers. Try melting some sugar and pouring it over chopped pecans to make a praline, break it into slabs and serve it with the chocolate dips



“I’m known in several countries for this dessert”


“the lovebite”

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Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 0 Calories; 0g Fat (0.0% calories from fat); 0g Protein; 0g Carbohydrate; 0g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 0mg Sodium.  Exchanges: .


Serving Ideas : Aphrodisiac Dinner Dessert


Happy Valentine’s everyone!!  Have fun eating.