I am trying really hard to get my act together in 2011 and pre-plan my life. I am always running around at the last minute trying to get things done and make things just so...well, perfect.
This week, I am hoping to get my act together and get my Valentine's Day dinner plans all figured out. We don't do anything too fancy. The last 2 years, Ellie has had dinner with us and it was really nice so this year will be the same. With any luck Rob and Ellie will like what I make. Maybe I get them both to help me out in the kitchen.
Here are a few of the recipes I am considering for my Valentine's Day dinner appetizer: savory sun-dried tomato pesto palmiers (elephant ear cookies), shimp and scallop ceviche and mini crab cakes. I am pretty certain Rob and Ellie will like them. I know they like all the ingredients in each of them. Now I just have to decide which one to make.
Savory Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Palmiers
1/2 package all butter puff pastry, thawed
2 cups spinach
½ cup fresh basil
4 to 5 sundried tomatoes
½ teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
- Unfold the puff pastry onto a lightly floured worked surface.
- Combine the spinach, basil, sundried tomatoes, olive oil and 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese in a food processor and pulse until mixture reaches paste consistency.
- Spread the pesto mixture over the pastry evenly.
- Sprinkle the pesto with the remaining parmesan cheese.
- Now Roll. Roll the left vertical side towards the center seam. Roll the right vertical side towards the center too. Gently press together.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour until cold and firm.
- Remove plastic wrap and slice into 1/2 inch slices.
- Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. NOTE: Keep a close eye on the pastries after about 11 minutes. They burn quickly.
- Remove pastries from baking sheet and place on cooling rack.
Shirmp and Scallop Ceviche
Rob and I went to Talara in Baltimore and they have a traditional ceviche listed on the menu that is incredible. We ordered it with Scallops and I am not kidding when I say it was one of the best things I have had. Now, we were really hungry and all but it really was good. Talara serves it in single serve spoons but I think I would serve with tortilla chips for some added crunch and I don't have the spoons. If I go out and buy one more thing for my kitchen, Rob will KILL me.
Normally ceviche is done with raw fish but I am not brave enough to do it. The version we got at Talara did use cooked scallops so I think that is how I will do it, too.
1/2 pound scallops, cooked and chopped
1/2 pound shrimp, cooked, peeled, deviened and chopped
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 bell peppers, red and green, seeded and diced
1 large red onion, diced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped, reserve a few whole leaves for garnish
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 or 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Cover and refrigerate 4 hours.
- Just before serving, pour the mixture into a colander to drain.
- Put the ceviche in a serving bowl.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro.
Mini Crab Cakes
I don't know of anyone in Maryland that would turn their nose up at something made with crab meat so I have to consider crabcakes. They really are easy and so good. I think I would use my traditional crabcake recipe but make a few changes: mix in some corn, replace the bread with cornbread, serve with a spicy sauce or a salasa topping so it is more appetizer like and I would pan fry them.
Spicy Crabcake Sauce
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped jarred roasted red bell pepper
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- In a blender, combine bell pepper, hot sauce, zest and mayonnaise.
- Blend until smooth.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Now, which one should I pick? Hmmm. I might need to see which one Rob would prefer...of course after I decide which one I want to make so I can guide him in the right direction.