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Valentine's Dinner for 2
The origins of Valentine's Day trace back to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia. Held on February 15, Lupercalia honored the gods Lupercus and Faunus, as well as the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
In addition to a bountiful feast, Lupercalia festivities included the pairing of young women and men. Men would draw women's names from a box, and each couple would be paired until next year's celebration.
While this pairing of couples set the tone for today's holiday, it wasn't called "Valentine's Day" until a priest named Valentine came along. Valentine, a romantic at heart, disobeyed Emperor Claudius II's decree that soldiers remain bachelors. Claudius handed down this decree believing that soldiers would be distracted and unable to concentrate on fighting if they were married or engaged. Valentine defied the emperor and secretly performed marriage ceremonies. As a result of his defiance, Valentine was put to death on February 14.
After Valentine's death, he was named a saint. As Christianity spread through Rome, the priests moved Lupercalia from February 15 to February 14 and renamed it St. Valentine's Day to honor Saint Valentine.
Here are some recipes for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner for two.
2 jars marinated artichokes
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco® sauce
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 Cup cracker crumbs
Drain and save the oil from the artichokes, then chop the artichokes. Sauté scallion in artichoke oil plus the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Combine all ingredients except cracker crumbs and parsley. Put into greased 8-inch square pan. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs and minced parsley. Bake at 325ºF for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool, then cut into 2-inch squares.
SHRIMP IN CHAMPAGNE SAUCE WITH PASTA
1 Cup sliced mushrooms
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3/4 lb. medium shrimp, shelled
1 1/2 Cup champagne
1/2 Tablespoon garlic pepper seasoning
2 Tablespoons minced shallots or scallions
1 large tomato, diced
1 Cup heavy cream
1/2 lb. dried thin spaghetti
3 Tablespoon chopped parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese
Sauté mushrooms in medium saucepan in hot olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook just long enough to release mushroom juices and let them evaporate. Remove mushrooms and set aside. In same saucepan, combine shrimp, champagne and garlic pepper seasoning. Over high heat, heat to simmer. When liquid JUST boils, shrimp are done. Remove shrimp from cooking liquid with a slotted spoon immediately. Set shrimp aside. Add chopped shallots and tomatoes to cooking liquid. Boil over high heat until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, approximately 8 minutes. When liquid is reduced, add 3/4 cup heavy cream and boil 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly thickened and reduced. Add shrimp and mushrooms to sauce; heat through. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Meanwhile cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain thoroughly and return to cooking pot. Toss with remaining 1/4 cup cream and parsley. To serve, divide pasta between two plates. Spoon shrimp and sauce over pasta. Garnish with parmesan to taste.
BAKED RASPBERRIES WITH BRANDY SAUCE
4 Cups (2 pints) raspberries (or1 1/2 bags, 14 to 16 oz - frozen, without juice)
1 1/4 Cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 Cup brandy
2 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 Cup butter or margarine, softened
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place raspberries in ungreased 9-inch square baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients except butter until smooth; pour over raspberries. Dot with butter. Bake uncovered about 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Stir gently, scraping bottom of dish to loosen sugar and stir into sauce. Serve warm. Yields 8 (1/2 cup) servings.
Cool Culinary Trivia - Strange Deli Sandwiches
"Mohammed Ali" - A triple-decker with corned beef, pastrami, chopped liver and Bermuda onion.
"Shirley MacLaine" - lake sturgeon, Nova Scotia salmon, lettuce, tomato and onion.
"Dolly Parton" - two rolls stuffed with corned beef, pastrami, coleslaw, and Russian dressing.
The 'Oprah' is a triple-decker with corned beef, turkey, pastrami, roast beef, and Swiss cheese.
The 'Debra Winger': avocado, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, and Monterey Jack cheese on multigrain bread.
The 'Robin Williams' is a little tongue and a lot of bologna, with pastrami, cole slaw, and Russian dressing.
The 'Pete Rose' is a triple-decker with chopped liver, bacon, turkey, lettuce, and tomato.