Monday, February 9, 2015

Easy 3-Course Valentine's Dinner

I am not fond of going out to dinner on Valentine's Day. The restaurants are crowded, the service is lacking and the food generally atrocious. I'd rather make a delicious dinner at home that I know we will enjoy more. Today I am sharing a 3-course dinner that is high on the flavor barometer and low on the fuss, a beautifully light pea soup, a parchment baked fish and yummy nutella and banana pastry bundles. If you do some of the prep work ahead of time (like chopping or slicing the veggies etc), it will all come together in about 30 minutes. The soup you can make ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a day or two. You can even make it at the beginning of week and freeze it till you are ready to serve it, just defrost it and gently warm through. 
I hope you and your loved one have a beautiful Valentine's celebration!

First Course

Spring Pea Soup

Serves 2
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 tablespoon light butter
3 - 4 shallots, small dice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic gloves, crushed
5-6 leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup milk (use your preference, whole, 2%, skim etc)
1/2 cup half and half

In a medium stainless steel pot heat the oil and butter over medium heat and add shallots, sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, saute for 3 minutes. Next add garlic gloves, basil and parsley, cook for another 2 minutes and add stock and the peas. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 5-7 minutes.

Using either a blender or immersion stick blender, process until smooth. Stir in milk and half & half, heat through but do not boil. Add remaining salt or season to taste.

Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream.

Second Course

Lemon & Paprika Infused Parchment Roasted Grouper

1/8 cup of olive oil
1/2  teaspoon of minced garlic
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika (sweet or hot your choice)
3 shallots*, sliced into rings
2 fish fillets* - use your favorite firm whitefish -  I used grouper

Place the first 5 ingredients into a medium bowl. Whisk together until ingredients are incorporated. Add the sliced shallots rings. Let sit for 15 minutes or a few hours (you can even prep this part the night before).

Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees F

Cut two sheets of parchment* enough to create an envelope around the fish. Pat fish dry. Salt and pepper both sides to taste and place in the bottom half of the sheet. Place shallots ring atop each fish fillets and spoon marinade over each fillet. Like you would for an empanada or hand-pie make a pouch with the parchment to enclose the fish.  Place pouches on a lipped baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or 15 minutes per inch of thickness if you are using a thicker cut of fish.

Third Course

Banana and Nutella Pastry Bundles

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 banana, sliced in 1/2 inch pieces, 9 pieces total
9 teaspoons of Nutella
1 egg, beaten

1. Thaw the puff pastry until you can easy handle it. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Lightly flour your work surface and place your puff pastry down to cut it into 9 squares (remember do not worry about being perfect, it's ok!).

3. In each square, place a teaspoon of nutella topped by the banana slice. Brush the egg along each edge. Take each opposite corner and press tightly together. Repeat to all pastry pieces.

4. Place the pastries on a baking sheet and brush all over with the egg for the extra golden color when baking. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden in color.

5. Place on a cooling rack when done for about 5 minutes


  1. Yummy yummy yummy! 3 delicious "The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon" recipes in a wonderful Valentine's day bundle.
    Loved it!

  2. Jackie, everything sounds wonderful. Who needs to go out to eat when you have food like this at home!

    1. My thoughts exactly Dawn! and Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting, always appreciated!