A Little Romance to Start the Week

It’s funny how we get certain ideas in our heads. Such as what foods are romantic. What dishes are thought of as casual dining and what constitutes fancy. Are we taught these things? Is it based on our own experience or are we influenced by romantic movies? I don’t have a clue.

All this got me to thinking. Do I have a preference? Is there a cuisine that speaks the language of romance to my taste buds? So I decided to take a look at everything I’ve shared surrounding Valentine’s Day.

It turns out I do have a preference. Since beginning this adventure into blogging, including today’s post, there have been 8 Romantic Valentine’s Day Suppers. Three featured Chicken entrees, two Surf and Turf, two Seafood dishes and even one for pizza. Italian seems to be my go-to cuisine for Romance, with six of the eight posts featuring Italian inspired recipes. All but one of my menus included dessert, pizza being that one exception. As for the desserts themselves, like most women chocolate spells love. Five of the seven desserts featured something made with chocolate.

Seems I’m pretty typical when it comes to romance. Italian and chocolate dominate my landscape of love. You’d think it would be French. After all, Paris is the city for lovers and I do adore all things French. When it comes to home-cooking, I just think Italian is easier to master than French Foods. Especially for those of us on this side of the pond. And a lot of that has to do with availability of ingredients. Pasta is easy to come by, Escargot not so much.

This year Valentine’s Day happens to fall on a Monday. Most of us are busy on week days. There are family obligations and career commitments that so often get in the way. I’ve taken that into consideration. This beautiful supper is both romantic and easy to prepare. If you can boil noodles, you can make Lobster Spaghetti. Thanks to the folks as Food Network, this Spaghetti dish is exquisite in presentation while remaining effortless in preparation. The most complicated thing on the menu is the Chocolate Mousse. If you make that first, and let it chill, everything else will come together like a breeze.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Weekday Romance in Three Courses
Spicy Lobster Spaghetti
Char-Braised Basil Asparagus
Warm Bread

Simple Caesar Salad

Mousse au Chocolat et au Brandy


Spicy Lobster Spaghetti
4 Garlic Cloves
1 Fresno Chile
1 medium Yellow Onion
2 tablespoons Italian Parsley
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Chile Flakes 
1/2 cup White Wine 
1 (28 oz) can whole San Marzano Tomatoes
Kosher Salt to taste 
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
1 lb Spaghetti Pasta
3 (6 oz) Lobster Tails, thawed

Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside. Stem Fresno Chile, mince leaving the ribs and seeds for extra spice. Set aside. Peel and finely mince onion, set aside. Snip parsley for garnish, set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chile flakes, garlic, Fresno chile and onions and cook until the onions are tender and fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add the white wine and bring to a low simmer. Stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until reduced slightly, about 35 minutes or so.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente according to the package instructions, about 11 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water, then drain the pasta and keep warm.

Add the lobster tails still in the shell to the sauce, cover and par-cook for about 5 minutes. Transfer tails to a cutting board. Carefully use a knife to split open the backside of tails. Remove the meat and coarsely chop.

Scatter the chopped lobster meat back to the sauce along with a few tablespoons of the pasta water and the spaghetti noodles. Toss to coat, adding more pasta water as needed if the sauce appears too dry.

Place in a large serving bowl. Garnish with parsley and one of the empty tails for a splash of color. Serve with warm buttery bread and enjoy.

Char-Braised Basil Asparagus
1 lb Green Asparagus, trimmed
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Basil Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
1/2 Lemon, freshly squeezed juice only
Basil Leaves for garnish

Rinse the asparagus and trim off the ends, leaving spears about 8 inches long. Season asparagus with salt and pepper, set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat the Basil Olive Oil and butter to sizzling. Turn down the heat to medium and add the asparagus.

Using a broad spatula, turn the spears over from time to time until they are browned and become tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus.

While the asparagus chars, cut the lemon in half. Stack basil leaves and cut into small ribbons. Set aside.

Just before serving, squeeze half of a lemon over the asparagus. The pan will spurt and sizzle. Roll the asparagus in the sizzling juice, then transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with basil and serve at once.


Simple Caesar Salad
1 head Romaine Lettuce
Favorite Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing
Parmesan Cheese as desired
Caesar Garlic Croutons as needed
Fresh Pepper as desired

Tear lettuce leaves into large bite-size pieces. Place in a bowl and add a small amount of Caesar Dressing on lettuce leaves, just enough to lightly coat leaves, toss to blend.

Plate the salad on chilled salad plates, top with Parmesan Cheese and croutons. Add fresh black pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

Mousse au Chocolat et au Brandy
Mousse

6 oz chopped Dark Chocolate
4 tablespoons Butter, soft
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 tablespoons Brandy
4 tablespoons Sugar, divided
4 separated Eggs

Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Whisk the butter into the melted chocolate, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir in the vanilla, Brandy and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Stir until well incorporated.

Whisk in the yolks one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next. Set the mixture aside.

Stir the egg whites in a mixing bowl set over a saucepan of hot water until the whites are slightly warm (1 to 2 minutes). Remove the bowl from the saucepan, then beat hard until stiff peaks form. Slowly add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue to beat until shiny. Whisk a quarter of the whites into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the rest of the remaining whites. Be careful to not overwork the mixture.

Spoon the mousse into individual Martini Glasses. Refrigerate for several hours for mousse to set.

Whipped Cream
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Brandy

Chill mixing bowl & beater for 30 minutes.

Pour heavy cream into the well-chilled bowl. Add sugar and brandy. Whip on low speed until just beginning to froth. Increase speed to medium and whip until soft peaks form. Increase to high, continue to whip until stiff.

Finishing Touches
Chocolate Curls as desired
Hazelnut Pirouette Crème Filled Wafers

Using a vegetable peeler, shave curls from a chocolate candy bar, set aside.

Top each serving of mousse with whipped cream. Garnish with chocolate shavings and wafer cookies as desire.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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