It’s Valentine’s Day and you forgot to make the important reservation at the hottest restaurant in town. You’re panicking; what are you going to do? No one wants to see that disappointed look on their loved one’s face. Breathe… We have here for you, four amazing and delicious recipes for two.
You can create a wonderful meal as a surprise or you can make it an activity to do together. Either way, it’s a great alternative gift for Valentine’s Day.
However, these recipes don’t have hearts in the mix, so feel free to use them for any occasion.
All recipes come from LA Times’ California Cookbook:
Frozen Chocolate Zabaglione
Total Time: 25 Minutes, plus freezing time Serves: 8
1 pint heavy cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate broken into small pieces
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Port
Step 1: In a medium saucepan, heat the cream until it begins to bubble around the edges (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Whisk in the chocolate until the chocolate is melted and creates a ganache with the cream. (You can gently heat the cream a little more, if needed, to melt the chocolate.)
Step 2: Move the ganache to a large bowl.
Step 3: Set the bowl over ice and continue to whisk until the ganache chills and thickens. Keep whisking until it has a light, whipped cream-like consistency. Set the bowl aside.
Step 4: In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until combined and frothy. Add in the Port, whisk.
Step 5: Set the bowl over a large pot of simmering water (don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Keep whisking until the mixture increases in volume and thickness. It should be a thick, foamy cream, similar to a a very thick hollandaise.
Step 6: Remove from heat and gently fold the zabaglione into the whipped ganache. Place the mixture in a baking dish or bowl, cover with a plastic wrap. Freeze until firm, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Rigatoni with Mushrooms and Pancetta
Total Time: 30 Minutes Serves: 2 to 3
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 ounces of small diced pancetta
1 small diced onion
3 minced cloves of garlic
1/2 pound minced button mushrooms
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 pound rigatoni
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Step 1: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the pancetta and fry until crisp (3 to 5 minutes). Remove pancetta, set aside to drain on paper towels. (Leave as much oil in the pan as possible)
Step 2: Add the onion and cook until translucent (3 to 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until they release moisture (5 minutes).
Step 3: Add the tomatoes and their juices, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 4: Cook the rigatoni in boiling water for 11 to 12 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.
Step 5: Add salt and pepper to taste to the sauce, add parsley and thyme. Toss the pasta with the sauce and top with the pancetta and Parmesan just before serving.
Herb- and Lemon-stuffed Rotisserie Chicken
Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes Serves: 2 to 4
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoon chopped summer savory
1 tablespoon chopped chervil
2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon peel (or 3 tablespoons finely chopped lemon zest)
1 (4-pound) roasting chicken, rinsed and patted dry
1 tablespoon melted butter
Step 1: Heat the rotisserie according to manufacturer’s instructions. Mix the parsley, thyme, savory, chervil and lemon peel together in a small bowl. Using your fingers, slide the mixture under the skin of the chicken breasts (distribute evenly). Season the chickens with salt and pepper inside and out.
Step 2: Truss the chicken with kitchen twine. Place the chicken on the rotisserie and cook for 50 minutes. Baste with melted butter every 10 minutes.
Step 3: When the breast meat is done (165 degrees internally), remove from rotisserie and cut the trussing. Remove the legs and thighs, return those to the rotisserie basket or roast on baking sheet at 450 degrees in the oven for 15 more minutes.
Step 4: Keep the rest of the chicken warm by wrapping in aluminum foil in the oven at 200 degrees, until ready to serve.
Halibut with Grapefruit and Blood Orange Sauce
Total Time: 30 Minutes Serves: 2 to 3
1 pound halibut steaks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fresh red grapefruit juice, divided
1/2 teaspoon minced thyme
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, divided
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1/2 cup blood orange juice
1 tablespoon chives, cut into 1-inch pieces
Step 1: Rinse the halibut under running water, pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
Step 2: Combine the olive oil, one-half cup grapefruit juice, thyme and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 3: Pour the mixture over the fish in a shallow glass dish. Cover and let the fish marinate 15 minutes.
Step 4: Put the fish in a lightly buttered baking dish. Dot the top of the fish with 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter. Bake in 400-degree oven, basting once or twice with butter and pan juices for about 15 minutes.
Step 5: While the fish is cooking, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the butter in a small saucepan until melted. Stir in the minced shallot and sweat over low heat until tender (1 minute). Stir in 1/2 cup of grapefruit juice and blood orange juice, bring to a boil.
Step 6: Cook until juice is reduced to one-third cup (20 minutes). Whisk the remaining cold butter into the sauce, bit by bit until sauce thickens slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 7: When the fish is done, remove and place on serving plates. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Spoon the grapefruit sauce over and garnish with chives.