Valentine’s Day is the one night to really splurge in the kitchen. After all, a home-cooked meal is a lot sexier than date night at a restaurant. Chef Candice Kumai, who is also food columnist at Men’s Fitness and author of “Clean Green Drinks,” shared a few of her favorite Valentine’s Day recipes. These romantic treats are not only satisfying but have the added bonus of firing up the libido.
Herbed Pasta with Lobster:
(makes 4 servings)
2 Lobster tails (Spiny or Maine lobster is delicious!)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 thyme sprigs
1 cup dry white wine
1 ⁄ 2 cup finely chopped Italian parsley + additional to garnish (optional)
Finish off with a touch of nutmeg
1 ⁄ 4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 ⁄ 2 pound capellini pasta (G-Free or whole wheat is always a healthy option)
1 ⁄ 2 cup wild arugula
Chili flakes (optional)
Tabasco sauce (optional)
Keep it Fabulous: Wait until just before serving the meal to toss in your fresh herbs and arugula, so they stay vibrant and green.
- In a large stockpot, heat the butter over low heat. Add the garlic and thyme sprigs and sauté just until fragrant.
- Turn down the heat to medium-low and remove the lid. Pour the wine into the pot and reduce to create a thick sauce.
- Cook the liquid until the wine reduces by one-third. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and basil. Add the sea salt.
- Meanwhile, cook the lobster tails in a medium stockpot filled with salted boiling water (add approximately 1 tablespoon of salt) After about 6 minutes or so, the lobster tails will turn pink and curl, carefully remove from the boiling water and set aside to cool before handling.
- Begin to cook the pasta as directed on the box in a large stockpot or pasta pot of boiling salted water. When the pasta is al dente, strain it and rinse it with cold water
- Using clean scissors, cut the cooled lobster tails down their front-middle. Gently remove all the lobster from the tails and sear in the buttered wine sauce for about 5 minutes, on all sides. Remove the lobster tail from the pan. Slice into round medallions.
- Toss the pasta gently in the sauce. Using tongs, divide the pasta between 2 individual dinner plates. Arrange the lobster medallions around each plate. Top with arugula to finish. Serve with a little additional fresh parsley, chili flakes, or even Tabasco, if desired.
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries:
(makes 2 1 /2 dozen Strawberries)
1 lb large ripe strawberries, long, green stems are the most elegant!
3 3.5 oz. 72% dark chocolate
1 3.5 oz. white chocolate (optional)
1 / 2 cup chopped raw pistachios or almonds (optional)
Create a double boiler over medium high heat. Double Boiler: 1 small saucepan filled 1/ 2or 3 / 4 of the way with water. Place a metal or glass mixing bowl over the water. Add your dark chocolate pieces to the mixing bowl, and slowly melt over medium-low heat. Be sure not to get any water into this pan, must stay completely dry.
Using a spatula, gently mix and stir the chocolate until fully melted.
Holding the top of each strawberry, dip the strawberries 3 / 4 of the way into the chocolate. Place onto wax or parchment paper.
*If using nuts, roll the chocolate dipped strawberries into a plate of crushed nuts. Place onto wax or parchment paper.
* If using white chocolate, melt the white chocolate into a clean double boiler, follow the same directions as above. When melted and slightly cooled to the touch, using a small spatula, add the white chocolate into a Ziploc bag (remove all air and seal the bag) or use a parchment cornet. Using clean scissors, clip a very small hole onto the corner of the bag. Twist the bag at the top and going back and forth horizontally across the strawberry to make some fabulous stripes!
Allow the chocolate to cool to room temperature for approximately 2-3 hours, or place into the fridge for 30 minutes.
Dark Chocolate Flourless Cake with Lavender & Rose petals
(makes 8 to 10 servings)
12 ounces high-quality premium dark chocolate, chopped
1 ⁄ 2 cup butter
3 ⁄ 4 cup granulated sugar
3 ⁄ 4 cup high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
Lavender + Rosepetals
Dark Chocolate Ganache
3 ⁄ 4 cup heavy cream
1 cup finely chopped premium dark (70% cacao) chocolate
1 tablespoon kirsch (optional)
To Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray an 8-inch round spring-form pan with cooking spray and dust it with cocoa powder or a light coat of flour.
- Make a double boiler: Bring a small pot of water to a simmer. Place a nonreactive bowl on top of the pot, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Place the dark chocolate and butter in the bowl to melt. Gently mix them to combine with a rubber spatula.
- Whisk the eggs together in a separate bowl.
- Remove the chocolate from the heat, cool slightly, and stir in the sugar and cocoa powder. Mix gently. Add the whisked eggs and orange zest, and stir until combined. Pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake on the middle oven rack for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To Make the Ganache:
- While the cake is baking, in a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream just to a boil. Have the chopped chocolate at hand in a bowl.
- Remove the hot cream from the heat and pour it over the chopped chocolate, mixing well to incorporate. Add the kirsch, if desired.
- Place the cooled cake on a mini rack on top of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (to catch any excess chocolate ganache).
- Pour the ganache to coat the entire Dark Chocolate Cake. Chill until set. Top with lavender & rosepetals for a final, elegant touch!