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Spectacular Mimosas
Mojitos
Barbecued Oysters
Artichoke Crostini
Chipotle-Marinated Rib-Eyes
Decadent Baked Potatoes
Spinach and Mushroom Salad
Cheesy Garlic Bread
Chocolate Casserole
Amaretto Café
SPECTACULAR MIMOSAS
Champagne, by all means!!
Serves: 2
Prep.Time: 10 minutes
8 ounces brut champagne -- chilled
8 ounces fresh-squeezed orange juice -- chilled
1 ounce Cointreau or Triple Sec
2 large fresh strawberries
Fresh mint leaves for garnish
Gently pour champagne into two very large crystal goblets. Gradually pour in orange juice so that it gently mixes with the champagne. Drop 1/2 ounce Cointreau or Triple Sec into the center of each drink. Garnish each with a fresh strawberry and mint leaves.
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MOJITOS
Try these if you like something stronger...but don't have too many!
Serves: 2

2 teaspoon simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
Juice of 2 fresh limes
8 sprigs fresh spearmint
4 ounces white rum
4 dashes Angostura bitters
Ice cubes
Club soda
Boil sugar and water until sugar dissolves. Cool. In a tall chilled glass, combine lime juice, simple syrup, and half the spearmint leaves. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, crush the ingredients together. Add rum, bitters and ice cubes. Top with club soda and garnish with remaining mint leaves.
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BARBECUED OYSTERS
This was inspired by a recipe I saw in "The Chesapeake Bay Cookbook". It's a dish prepared frequently around the Bay during winter months. Of course, your Valentine is gonna love just the thought of it!
Serves: 2

12 fresh shucked oysters
6 tablespoons homemade or commercial barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Dash Tabasco sauce
2 slices smoky bacon, cut into 6 equal pieces -- partially cooked
6 large oyster shells or scallop shells
Lemon wedges and parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place 2 oysters with a little of the liquor into each shell. In a small bowl, combine barbecue sauce, lemon juice and Tabasco sauce; spread evenly on top of the oysters. Top each with a piece of bacon; bake 5-6 minutes. Do Not Overcook! Serve 3 shells per person immediately, garnished with wedges of lemon and small sprigs of parsley.
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ARTICHOKE CROSTINI
This is really easy. Just plan ahead and make sure you have all the ingredients, ready to go. It's a snap!
Serves: 4

1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 canned anchovy
1 clove garlic -- minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1 small loaf French bread
Butter or margarine
Chopped fresh basil leaves to garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a blender or food processor, combine artichoke hearts, lemon juice, anchovy, garlic, pepper and onion salt. Process until mixture is almost smooth. Place mixture in a bowl; cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut loaf of bread diagonally into 12 slices; butter one side and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Toast briefly in the oven 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Spread bread slices with artichoke mixture, garnish with fresh basil leaves, and serve 3 pieces per person.
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CHIPOTLE-MARINATED RIB-EYES
Nothing like giving your Vanetine a big juicy steak to sink his or teeth teeth into! This is particularly special, but to sure takes some planning ahead!
Serves: 2
Recipe By : Aaron Sanches (Food TV Network 11/99)

MARINATED STEAK:
4 tablespoons of chipolte in adobo, pureed
4 tablespoons of roasted garlic
2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/2 cup steak sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
2 (10 to 12) ounce rib-eye steaks (bone-in is best)
ENCEBOLLADO:
3 cups of sliced white onions
2 tablespoons sliced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
Combine chipotle, roasted garlic, cumin, steak sauce, and salt and pepper in a mixing bowl combine well. Place the rib-eyes in a shallow baking dish and cover both sides with the marinade. Allow to sit at least 1 hour. or as long as overnight, covered and refrigerated.
For the encebollado, heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the onions, garlic and oil. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the onions have caramelized. Add the cilantro and lime juice and set aside. Keep warm.
Grill the rib-eye steak on a hot outdoor grill or stove-top grill pan, to your preferred degree of doneness and serve with the encebollado on top.
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DECADANT BAKED POTATOES
Star Jones featured this decadant dish as part of her Decadant New Years Eve dinner. She even fed Mark McEwen! You don't have to feed your Valentine, but you could.... :-)
Serves 2

2 large Idaho potatoes
Kosher salt to taste
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sour cream
4 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
2 green onions with tops -- thinly sliced
2 teaspoon cooked crumbed bacon
Fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub potato under cold running water, leave wet, and prick with tines of a fork 3-4 times on top. Bake 1 hour or until tender. Remove from oven to serving plate and cut in half lengthwise. With a fork, loosen the center of both sides of the potato; season with salt to taste. Add butter, top with sour cream, then cheese and green onions. Season with pepper to taste; Top with bacon and serve hot.
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SPINACH AND MUSHROOM SALAD
This is an excellent salad that can be served with most anything or by itself. Prepare the dressing ahead.
Serves: 6

1 pound fresh Spinach -- washed and drained
1/4 pound fresh Mushrooms -- sliced
1/2 cup crumbled cooked Bacon
2 ounces Blue Cheese -- crumbled
DRESSING:
1/2 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Water
3 tablespoons Lemon Juice
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Pepper
Trim and tear spinach into bite-sized pieces; place into large salad bowl. Add mushrooms, bacon and cheese; toss to mix well. Combine dressing ingredients in small bowl; whisk until well-emulsified. Pour over salad; serve immediately.
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CHEESY GARLIC BREAD
Prepare the butter mixture early. It's then easy to cook the bread at the last minute.
Yields about 12 pieces
Recipe By : Gina Squires of Salem, Oregon ( inTaste of Home)

1/2 cup Butter -- softened
4 cloves Garlic -- minced
1/4 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 loaf French or Italian Bread (1 pound) -- halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic and oregano; spread on the cut sides of the bread. Sprinkle with Parmesan; place on an ungreased baking sheet. Broil 3 minutes or until golden brown. Slice and serve hot.
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CHOCOLATE CASSEROLE
Ply that Valentine with chocolate! This should do it!
Serves: 6

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup boiling water
1/3 cup chopped honey-roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons crushed chocolate-flavored graham crackers -- optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, the 1/4 cup sugar, and baking powder. Add milk, oil and vanilla; mix until smooth. Stir in peanut butter and chocolate pieces. Pour batter into an ungreased 1-quart casserole; set aside.
In the same mixing bowl, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cocoa; gradually stir in boiling water. Pour mixture evenly over the batter in the casserole. Bake uncovered 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake portion comes out clean. Remove from oven; top with peanuts and graham crackers if used., Serve warm with cream or whipped cream.
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AMARETTO CAFÊ
Ahhh, a perfect ending to a wonderful dinner, prepared with love.
Serves: 2

2 cup black coffee
2 ounce amaretto
Whipped topping
2 maraschino cherry
Fill coffee mug or cup with hot coffee. Stir in amaretto. Top with pressurized dessert topping and cherry. Serve with teaspoon.
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Copyright 2008, Carol Stevens, Shaboom's Kitchen, All Rights Reserved