This Valentine’s weekend try preparing a dinner where you can enjoy spending time together over a fun meal which can be prepped ahead and served with a minimum of heating and plating.
Prepping this together can be fun. Almost each component can be made in advance and finished with a minimum effort.
The short rib can be made a few days ahead and it can be placed in your casserole dish ready to be placed in the oven. The dish can be placed in the oven at the beginning of dinner and be ready to serve when the asparagus salad is cleared from the table.
Enjoy your romantic dinner for two.
White Wine Poached Bay Scallops with Mango Relish and Green Papaya
About 16 bay scallops, rinsed, dried with the side muscle removed
Juice and zest from 1 orange
2 tsp. black peppercorns
2 tsp. chopped ginger
2 tsp. chopped garlic
2 cups white wine
1 TBS lime juice
1 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS seasoned rice vinegar
¼ tsp chile paste
Salt and white pepper to taste
Steep white wine, orange juice and zest, black peppercorns, ginger and garlic together, bringing to a low boil and turn heat off and let sit.
Strain and add lime juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chile paste, salt and white pepper. Bring to a very low simmer. Add scallops and stir. Turn off heat and let Scallops poach gently. When they are almost cooked, remove from heat and place on a sheet pan. They will finish cooking. Taste and re season poaching liquid. Remove from heat and refrigerate both scallops and poaching liquid. Can be made a day ahead.
Green Papaya Slaw
1 cup julienned green papaya—shredded green papaya can be found at Asian markets
1 tsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp chopped mint
2 TBS fish sauce
2 TBS sugar
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
Dissolve sugar in fish sauce and season with lime juice.
Toss dressing to taste with papaya and set aside.
Diced red onion
Diced red bell pepper
Diced jalapeno, no stems or seeds
Salt, fresh ground pepper and a squeeze of lime juice
Mix together and set aside. Can be made a day ahead
To Plate the Dish
Place green papaya slaw in the middle of the plate. Heat poaching liquid and add scallops to heat through. Spoon onto, over and around slaw adding as much liquid as you would like. Garnish with mango relish and serve.
Roast Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus and Arugula
2 pieces prosciutto
6 asparagus spears, tough bottoms cut off, blanched in salted boiling water and chilled in iced water.
4 tsp. room temperature goat cheese
1 cup of cleaned arugula
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
Lay prosciutto on a sheet pan and spread 2 tsp of goat cheese on each piece of prosciutto. Place asparagus in middle of prosciutto and wrap prosciutto around asparagus. Make the day before
Bring balsamic to a simmer in a sauce pan and whisk in brown sugar. Simmer until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside—can be made a week ahead.
To Plate the Dish
Heat prosciutto wrapped asparagus in 350-degree oven for 5 minutes. Divide arugula on two plates. Turn oven to broil and brown the prosciutto and remove and place on arugula, drizzle with balsamic syrup and serve.
Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs
Roast carrots, cipollini onions, pee wee potatoes, kale and red wine jus
1.25 lbs. boneless beef short ribs
1 carrot, rough cut
2 stalks celery, rough cut
I small brown onion, rough cut
1 small rough cut leek
3 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
2 cups red wine
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup tomato puree
salt and fresh ground pepper
Season short ribs with salt and fresh ground pepper. Sear in a hot pan with oil, browning on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Deglaze pan with red wine, scraping all bits from pan.
In an oven proof dish, place vegetables, herbs, garlic and liquid. Place short ribs on top and cover with aluminum foil.
Place in a 350 degree pre heated oven and cook. Check after an hour to see if meat is finished. It should be fork tender. Keep cooking until you meat is finished and remove from oven and uncover. Let sit for 20 minutes and transfer beef to a plate to cool, cover and put in refrigerator. Strain braising liquid and place in the refrigerator loosely covered overnight to cool.
15- 20 small carrots, cleaned with tops removed
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Toss carrots with olive oil salt and pepper, place on sheet pan covered with parchment paper and roast in 350-degree oven until soft around 30 – 45 minutes. Carrots are finished when soft to touch.
Pee Wee Potatoes
About 20 pee wee potatoes
Wash potatoes, place in a pot with cold water and turn on heat. Bring water to simmer, season lightly with salt and cook over low heat. When potatoes are just tender remove from water season lightly with salt and let sit to cool.
Cipollini Onions and Kale
About 10 onions and 1 bunch of kale
For kale, bring pot of water to boil, season with salt.
Clean kale and remove stem. Place in boiling water and blanch—allow kale to cook until just soft. Remove from water and place in ice bath to chill. When cooled remove and squeeze water from kale, cut roughly and store until ready to use.
For cipollinis, remove skin and sauté with oil in a pan and when turning brown add white wine, some chicken stock, salt, fresh ground pepper and a couple of sprigs of rosemary. Place in 350 degree oven and cook until caramelized and soft. Let cool and set aside until ready to assemble dish
To Plate the Dish
Clean fat from braising liquid and place in sauce pan and bring to simmer. Season with salt and white pepper, can thicken with a slurry of cornstarch and water—2 TBS of each mixed and added to sauce. Let simmer and sauce will thicken.
Arrange vegetables in the bottom of a nice casserole dish, cut meat in 4 oz. portions and place on top. When you are ready to heat pour the sauce over and into dish, cover with foil and heat in oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.
When ready to serve, uncover and place on table and serve with Dijon horseradish cream.
Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 t sugar
1 T butter; cold; cut into small cubes
3-4 T half and half or cream
Heat oven to 375
Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl.
Work butter into the flour mixture, slightly squeezing the butter into the flour with your fingers, but still leaving little pieces of butter visible.
Add half and half to mixture; combine just until a dough forms.
Divide dough in half, loosely forming 2 round shapes; place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
Brush tops with a little half and half or cream and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 15-20 minutes until browned.
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 T sugar
Pinch of salt
A dash of balsamic vinegar or orange liqueur (if desired)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl; let sit at room temperature about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until sugar and salt has dissolved and some juices from the berries are released. Taste and add more sugar if desired. Can be made 2 hours before the meal.
To Plate the Dish
Cut each shortcake in half; warm slightly.
Place bottom half of shortcake on plate; top with half of strawberries; top with whipped cream and top half of shortcake.
(Dessert recipe by Mark Stovall, Pastry Chef from Sage, Sage on the Coast and Canyon Restaurants)