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Valentine Dinner for Two

by Sally Bernstein

These 5 recipes were adapted from a January, 2004 issue of Gourmet magazine. Try this bold, romantic dinner for two and enjoy your time together.

Sparkling Wine Cocktail with Smashed Raspberries and Chambord

1/2 cup raspberries
3 tablespoons Chambord (black raspberry liqueur)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 half bottle Champagne or other semidry sparkling wine, chilled

Gently stir together raspberries, Chambord, and sugar in a small bowl, then macerate, covered and chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 2.

Spoon 2 tablespoons raspberries with some juice into each of 2 Champagne flutes or other glasses and slowly top off with Champagne.

Serves 2.

Avocado, Grapefruit and Dungeness Crab Salad

2 teaspoons finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pink or ruby-red grapefruit
1 firm-ripe avocado

½ lb. Dungeness crabmeat
1 oz baby arugula (2 cups)

Stir together shallot, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Add oil in a stream, whisking.

Peel grapefruit with a sharp knife. Cut segments free from membranes and transfer segments to paper towels to drain.

Halve avocado lengthwise (you will be using ½ of the avocado for this recipe). Halve remaining avocado half lengthwise and peel, then cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices.

Clean and separate crabmeat. Divide avocado and all of crabmeat between 2 salad plates and arrange grapefruit around them. Top with arugula and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.

Serves 2.

Beef Tenderloin with Madeira Green Peppercorn Sauce

1 (¾ lb.) piece beef tenderloin (3 inches in diameter), trimmed, at room temperature for 30 minutes
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped shallot
¼ cup Madeira wine
1/3 cup beef or veal demi-glace
1 teaspoon drained green peppercorns in brine, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.

Pat beef dry and sprinkle with black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Heat oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until just smoking, then brown beef on all sides (including ends), about 5 minutes total.

Transfer skillet with beef to oven and roast until thermometer inserted diagonally 2 inches into center registers 120°F, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer beef with tongs to a plate and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 10 minutes (temperature will rise to 130°F for medium-rare).

While meat stands, pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the skillet before making sauce. Then add shallot to skillet (handle will be hot) and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Add Madeira and deglaze skillet by boiling, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until liquid is reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add demi-glace and boil, stirring, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in peppercorns, butter, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and any meat juices that have accumulated on plate, then remove from heat.

Cut beef into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve with sauce.

Serves 2.

Celery Root Purée

½ lb. celery root, peeled with a sharp knife and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1 cup)
1 small garlic clove
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Simmer celery root, garlic, broth, and salt in a 1- to 2-quart heavy saucepan, covered, until celery root is very tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

Purée mixture with cream and butter in a food processor until smooth.

Serves 2.

Caramelized Banana with Rum Sauce

4 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 bananas, halved lengthwise, then crosswise
4 teaspoons packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons rum (preferably dark)
4 teaspoons water
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons sliced or chopped nuts, toasted

1 pint vanilla ice cream

Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté banana, cut sides down, shaking skillet, 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat (away from flame) and sprinkle brown sugar around banana, then pour rum around banana. Return skillet to heat and continue to sauté, shaking skillet occasionally, until sugar begins to melt, about 30 seconds.

Add water, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, shaking skillet occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Serve banana hot, sprinkled with nuts, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream as an accompaniment.

Serves 2.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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