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A Romantic Valentine's Day Dinner

As much as I love dining out at my favorite restaurants in New York, on Valentine's Day I prefer to stay at home and cook an intimate romantic dinner to share with my one true love. That is, as long as he still does the dishes after dinner! So arrange the flowers, light the candles, and chill the champagne.  These recipes can be made a day ahead so that re-heating the Coq au Vin until it is 165°F internal temperature in a 350°F oven.

This is a French-inspired Bistro menu that serves four.  The Coq au Vin freezes well, and any leftover marinated mushrooms will keep refrigerated for a few days.  The pears in Cointreau will also keep refrigerated for a few days to have as a dessert at another meal.

 

Crimini mushrooms Olave E.V. olive oil Fresh lemons
Garlic Flat or curly leaf parsley Celery
Black peppercorns Coriander seeds Fresh bay leaves
Fresh thyme Fennel seeds Mesclun Greens
Endive Kashi whole grain crackers

Champignons à la Grecque
Greek Marinated Mushrooms

1 lb. Small white or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
2 cups water
¾ cup Extra Virgin olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
1 stalk celery
10 black peppercorns
10 coriander seeds
1 fresh bay leaf
¼ tsp. Dried thyme or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
¼ tsp. Fennel seeds
½ tsp. Sea salt

Place all ingredients in a 3 qt. saucepan and cook mushrooms over a low heat for approximately 15 minutes. Remove mushrooms to a serving bowl. Discard celery, bay leaf and parsley sprigs. Over a medium-high heat, reduce liquid until approximately ¾ of a cup remains.

Strain reduced liquid using a fine mesh strainer over the mushrooms. Cover and chill the mushrooms for several hours before serving. Serve mushrooms on a bed of mesclun greens or julienned endive along with whole grain crackers or slices of toasted baguette.

 

D'Artagnan Organic Chicken Kerrygold unsalted butter Olave E.V. Olive Oil
Small white onions Fresh thyme Fresh tarragon
Organic ground cloves Fresh Bay leaves Baby Carrots
Fingerling potatoes Garlic Flat or curly parsley
Château Lagarosse Premiéres Côtes de Bordeaux College Inn bold chicken stock All-Clad Copper Core 5.5 qt. Dutch Oven
     

Coq Au Vin
Chicken in Red Wine

3 - 4 lbs. D'Artagnan Organic Chicken, cut into serving pieces
¾ cup flour, seasoned with salt & pepper
4 Tbls. Butter
2 Tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
16 Small white onions, peeled
2 sprigs Fresh thyme (about 3" long)
1 sprig Fresh tarragon (about 2" long)
¼ tsp. Ground cloves
2 Fresh Bay leaves
1 teaspoon Sea salt
Black Pepper to taste
15 baby carrots
12 fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 Tbls. Flat leaf or curly parsley, chopped
3 cups dry red wine
1 cup College Inn Bold Rotisserie chicken stock
 

Dredge chicken pieces in flour. Melt butter with the olive oil and sauté chicken lightly in a heavy Dutch Oven over low/medium heat.  Do not let the chicken or drippings get too dark brown. If using a Dutch oven with a lid, continue with the same pan; remove chicken to a plate.

Heat oven to 350°F.

Sauté onions in remaining drippings in the Dutch oven until they are lightly browned. Add thyme, tarragon, cloves, bay leaves, salt and pepper to the onions.  Return chicken to the Dutch oven and place baby carrots and fingerling potatoes around the chicken; add garlic and parsley. Pour in the red wine and stock so that at least ¾ of the chicken is submerged. Bring the contents of the Dutch oven to a boil on the stove top before covering and place on the center shelf in the heated oven for 1 hour.  Remove the cover and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes.

If making a day ahead, to cool the dish down before refrigerating, remove the chicken to a holding plate;  remove carrots and fingerling potatoes to another holding plate; pour the juices into a large measuring cup.  Allow all of the components of the dish to cool completely (living in a cold climate the easiest way is to place the holding plates in front of an open window or in my case out on the lanai (balcony).  You can store the components separately, covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.  When re-heating, return all ingredients to the Dutch oven and re-heat partially on the stove top for 20 minutes and then place in a heated 350°F oven until the chicken and sauce register at least 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.

Serve in large white shallow bowls if you have them, to hold the sauce.

Bosc pear Fresh lemon Fresh orange
Mint Cointreau liqueur Lindt truffles
   
  All-Clad Stainless 3qt. Saucepan  

Poires Au Cointreau
Pears in Cointreau

4 firm Bosc pears with stems intact
2 cups water
Juice of 1 lemon
Peel of 1 orange
3 sprigs of fresh mint
¾ cup sugar
1 cup Cointreau

Pare and core the pears, leaving the stems on. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each pear so that it can stand upright. Place pears in a 3 qt. Saucepan with remaining ingredients except the Cointreau.

Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat and let pears cook at a simmer, uncovered, until they are fork tender.  Remove pan from heat and allow pears to cool in the liquid. Discard orange peel and mint. Add pears and liquid to a glass serving bowl and pour in the Cointreau. Spoon syrup over the pears and chill before serving. Serve each pear with a fresh sprig of mint. Place a chocolate truffle or other good quality chocolate on the plate next to the pear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
           
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