Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Heart Healthy Valentine's Day dinner

Are you one of those people that don't like to go to a packed over priced restaurant for Valentine's Day and feel the pressure of having the perfect dinner with your date?

Maybe you should skip the restaurant and make something for your special someone at home instead.  You can prep as much as you like in advance and just warm and assemble or you can make it a shared experience where you cook together.

Here's a couple of dishes that will make your night a bit more Heart Healthy and still big on flavours.   I came up with this recipe because of things I had on hand that I thought maximized a tasty meal that will leave you feeling great after dinner for a better Valentine's Day Evening.
Here's my 3 course meal that will boost your energy for good things.

1st Course

Steamed Artichoke with Spicy Vinaigrette

This recipe is a mish mash of something my mom used to make all the time with adjustments by my brother and I.  We kept experimenting with the basic vinaigrette sauce my mom made.

To start steam 2 Artichokes until you can remove one of the leaves easily.  Before you cook them soak in a lemon water solution to help hold the color a bit more and then toss the lemon into the steamer pot when cooking.  You can trim the artichokes to make them look better but we never bothered to do that.
In a small bowl combine a teaspoon of mustard.  Our mashup included both yellow mustard and dijon mustard.  You can use grainy mustard if you like too.  Add a small clove of crushed garlic.  Add 1 part acid (lemon juice or vinegar)  we used both lemon juice and different vinegars including malt vinegar.  Add another part of olive oil.  A traditional vinaigrette is more oil than vinegar but I have found that it's better to have equal parts so that it doesn't slide off the artichoke and retains a punch.  Add a teaspoon of chopped parsley.  And to kick up the heat add a couple of drops of sriracha or tabasco sauce.  You can add chili flakes too but the sauce will work better.  Add a pinch of sugar to balance the acids.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.  To serve just pull an artichoke leave and dip it in little individual sauce bowls as seen in the photo.

2nd Course

Turkey Scallopini with sweet potato and spinach
Turkey Scallopini
2 slices of Turkey Scallopini or pounded turkey white meat if you can't find it.
Get 3 deep dishes and one small cookie sheet.

In one bowl add panko bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, thyme and lemon zest.  

In the second bowl add flour seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper, paprika, cayenne and garlic powder.

In the third bowl beat 3 eggs.  You don't need to season the eggs.
To Bread the Scallopini first coat with the flour mixture and then shake off the excess.  Then dip it into the egg and let the excess drip back into the bowl.  Then dip it into the panko mixture and pat it down and make sure you cover all the spots well.  Place on a cookie sheet and let it rest for 20-30 minutes to make it stick better.  It only takes a couple of minutes to cook it so you will cook it while the other things are done.
Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes.  Cut up a large sweet potato into 1/4 inch slices and then using a heart shaped cookie cutter cut out heart shapes from each slice.  In a bowl add a drizzle of olive oil, smoked paprika, regular paprika, salt and pepper.  Add to cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 350degrees for about 20 minutes or until browned.   
Using the leftover sweet potato scraps boil them in water until soft and then drain and add freshly grated nutmeg, butter, salt and pepper and mash until smooth.  Keep warm.

In another saucepan boil water with salt and add a bag of spinach and blanch until bright green.  Remove from the water with a spider and drain the water out.  Add the spinach back to the pot and add butter, a tbsp of heavy cream, grated nutmeg, grated parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.  Puree with a stick blender until smooth.  Keep warm.
Once the you have all the sides ready and warming you can heat a frying pan on medium high heat and add vegetable oil to coat the pan.  Once the oil is hot add the breaded turkey and cook until you see it start to rise up on the bottom or until it is golden brown underneath and then flip over to cook the other side.  it should take about 5 or 6 minutes to cook each Scallopini.   Drain on a plate with paper towel.
Now you are ready to plate.    Add the mashed sweet potato first,  then add the Turkey Scallopini,  If you puree your spinach really smooth you can add it on as a sauce or just set it to the side.   Add the brown heart shaped sweet potatoes on top and the side of the plate.   Garnish with a lemon slice and a pinch of paprika.

If you are more creative than me when it comes to plating you can probably make it look even better.. But I made this for myself so this was my first attempt at plating.     Unfortunately the sweet potato and turkey were too close in color but you could make a steak instead if you wanted to change the protein.

3rd Course (Desert)

Blood Orange Chocolate Hazelnut
I kept the desert course easy and light but with a nice sweet finish that will still leave you satisfied.
Cut a couple of blood oranges into thin slices and arrange on a large plate.   Toast hazelnuts in a dry frying pan until they are slightly browned.  Crush or chop the hazelnuts.   Melt a good quality chocolate bar in a microwave or using a double boiler.  A bowl on top of a saucepan with water simmering.   You can also heat up heavy cream and pour into a bowl of broken up chocolate and stir until smooth and shiny.  In a pinch you can use Nutella or chocolate syrup but a good quality dark chocolate would be the best option.  Drizzle the chocolate over the orange slices and then sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts on top.  That's all there is to the desert but it's a really nice balance of sweet, sour, crunchy and smooth that will satisfy your palette but not leave you feeling bloated.

Unfortunately the worst part of this whole thing is the dishes that need to be cleaned up...  but I say do the dishes together and then enjoy the rest of your evening feeling very satisfied and hopefully very Happy.

Have a very Happy Valentine's Day and i hope these suggestions make your night a great one.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely Linda! Those are some awesome ingredients you had on hand to whip on these dee-lish dishes!


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