Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day menu recap

Just a little post to share the super easy appetizer we made for Valentine's last night, and provide links for the other food we enjoyed.

The main course was a recipe from The First Mess: a beautiful dish of grapefruit roasted beets over canellini beans and wilted beet greens, topped with pistachio butter (and we added some chopped prosciutto to use up a few slices we had that needed to be eaten up). The grapefruit really lightened up the beets, making them taste more like a summer/spring dish than a winter food, perfect for our current season here in Sydney. We love beets (a staple in Aussie burgers: yum), but if you're not yet convinced, I recommend Laura's method of roasting them in a citrus juice to balance out their naturally earthy flavor. Our local grocer didn't have shelled pistachios, so it was a labor of love to prep them for the pistachio butter, but well worth it. The full and creamy flavor-texture was a perfect accompaniment to the beans/greens/beets.
shelled pistachios @ Southern Spoon Blog
labor of love: pistachio shelling for the Valentine's Day main dish
(retro countertops for the win)
For dessert I adapted Deb's recipe for linzer heart cookies over at Smitten Kitchen. I used ground almonds that I already had on hand rather than hazelnuts, reduced the sugar a bit, replaced some of the AP flour with wholewheat, and we filled half of them with Nutella and half with strawberry jam. The dough was a little finicky to work with in the heat, but they turned out crisp, buttery, and delicious. They are the hubs' favorite cookie, though I don't make them often since they require a heck of a lot of butter, and eating just two cookies is equivalent to eating four (self-restraint is difficult in the face of Nutella). But they were a delightful treat for Valentine's Day. Will have to try Oh Ladycakes' raw version when we next get a craving for them.
linzer heart cookies with nutella & jam @ Southern Spoon Blog
linzer heart cookies with nutella and jam
And back to the starter: watermelon rounds (cut with a small biscuit cutter) topped with sliced shallots, a little crumbled blue cheese, and drizzled with a balsamic reduction (made like this one on Camille Styles). This was a simple, refreshing way to begin the meal. The watermelon felt lighter than a traditional cheese board of bread, crackers, nuts, olives, etc, and the little bites paired beautifully with a crisp white wine.
watermelon rounds topped with shallots, blue cheese, balsamic reduction @ Southern Spoon Blog
watermelon topped with shallots, blue cheese, balsamic reduction. 
Hope you had an enjoyable day, and were reminded of those you love and those who love you! 

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