Friday, January 20, 2012

Getting ready for Valentines?  Seems like it’s one holiday after another.   You know, all this giving stuff can get really expensive.  Especially that I like to give little things to my mom, in-laws, kids, nieces and nephews, etc.  The best way to keep everyone happy is to cook or bake for them.  This year my daughter and I are planning on baking Red Velvet cupcakes, filled with white chocolate and  mascarpone frosting.  I bought cupcake holder boxes on-line that fit four cupcakes.  I will put a nice ribbon around each box and Walla…Happy Valentine’s Day!  As for my hubby, I want to plan a nice Sunset dinner out on the boat.  Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday so I’m not sure if I will celebrate that day or the prior weekend.  Either way, that’s what I would love to do.   The menu that I am planning for our special evening is simple.  It will consist of Tapas.  For those not familiar with the word, I will give you a bit of background.  It is said that the first Tapas was simply a chunk of bread which was placed over the glass (of wine) to keep the flies out. Hence the word ‘tapas’ was born (which means “lid”).  Throughout the years, Tapas have developed and have become more elaborate although it's still served in small portions or small plates (like an appetizer).  Most bars serve Tapas as a sort of appetizer with a drink.

I will fill you in on my fabulous menu!
Shrimp Ceviche  (I will make the day before)
1 lb. Shrimp, cleaned & deveined
1 red onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
1 bunch of fresh cilantro (chopped)
Juice of 4 limes
1 tsp white wine vinegar
Sea salt
Dash of pepper

Put it all together in a glass bowl.  Toss, cover and let sit for minimum 2 hours in the refrigerator.  The shrimp will cook in the lemon juice

I serve it in a martini glass and garnish with a cilantro leaf

Mussels in White Wine Sauce
3 pounds cultivated mussels
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots (5 to 7 shallots)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
1/2 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, drained (4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon good saffron threads
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup good white wine
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To clean the mussels, put them in a large bowl with 2 quarts of water and the flour and soak for 30 minutes, or until the mussels disgorge any sand. Drain the mussels, then remove the "beard" from each with your fingers. If they're dirty, scrub the mussels with a brush under running water. Discard any mussels whose shells aren't tightly shut.
In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the tomatoes, saffron, parsley, thyme, wine, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.
Add the mussels, stir well, then cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the mussels are opened (discard any that do not open). With the lid on, shake the pot once or twice to be sure the mussels don't burn on the bottom. Pour the mussels and the sauce into a large bowl and serve hot.

Chorizo Cantimpalo ¼ lb. (Spanish Sausage)     
Manchego Cheese  ¼ lb. (Hard Spanish cheese made of goat milk)
Slice each one thin and altérnate; chorizo, cheese, chorizo, etc.!  Put on a nice dish.  You can add several large stuffed green olives in the middle to decorate (and eat).

Baguette of French bread

Red Velvet cupcakes with white chocolate filling and mascarpone frosting

Don’t forget…a nice bottle of chilled Chardonnay!  Doesn't get any better!
Will share pictures ;-)

No comments: