The Valentine’s Dinner That Scored! How to Create a Restaurant Meal at Home
Get your mind out of the gutter. By scored, I meant it was really great!
I opened a restaurant last night. Miranda’s Cocina. “Cocina” means kitchen in Italian. No, I’m not italian, but I made a pasta dish for the main course so I thought it was fitting. Here is the breakdown of our opening night Valentine’s dinner.
This is such a fun thing to do, especially if you like to cook and don’t like to venture out too much. To me, eating out can be a pain in the you know what sometimes, and it is fun to change it up. Make a menu, 3 – 5 courses, and print up a couple of copies. Place them on the place settings and “seat” your guest.
If you have a special drink on the menu, go ahead and take the drink order and bring that out first. What’s the trick to keeping this night on track? Make dishes that are simple and don’t take too many steps or little cooking time. Prep everything ahead as far as it makes sense so that you only have up to 5 minutes between courses.
Stuffed Pomodorini Nested in Bacon Spoons on a Pea Pureé
For this starter, I hollowed out some cherry tomatoes, filled them with herbed goat cheese and sat them on “bacon spoons” which is just short strips of bacon. I garnished the plate with a pea puree (I left out the mint). This was creamy and delicious. Get some good goat cheese, because it makes up the flavor profile for the bite. When I do this again, I will use thick cut bacon and make then a tad bit longer so that I can actually “spoon” the tomatoes up. Hey, this is how cooks create dishes, we try something until it works!
Corn Soup with Walnut Pesto
I can’t take the credit for this wonderful soup. This recipe comes from The Bay Area Homegrown Cookbook. Recipes in this book are published from the chefs of local area restaurants. I figured since we are moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, I should pay homage. Laurence Jossel of Nopa Restaurant graciously published this recipe, and I am so grateful for it. Sweet creamy corn melds with a slightly garlicky walnut pesto. A-MAZ-ING. You just want more.
Lobster Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce
I threw this together because it takes literally 5 minutes to throw together – about 10 if you include boiling the water. Brown butter sauce is so easy and tastes fantastic, especially with sage. I think most people use unsalted butter, but I used salted because it saves me the time of seasoning the sauce, and it comes out perfect every time. Boil the pasta, brown the butter, toss in sage, turn off heat and toss in lobster and pasta. Molto buona!
Guavaberry Creme Brûlée
I tried something new, and made creme brûlée! Such a great go to dish, I made Ina Garten’s recipe, but I substituted a Gauvaberry Liquor that I had on hand instead of the Grand Marnier. I also made it a light version, which I am not sure that you should try with creme brûlée. Although it was still pretty tasty, I’ll try the full fat version soon.
My husband just loved this idea of the Restaurant at home. Try it out for your next special event and you’ll see what I mean. I would suggest stepping outside the box a little – at least 1 or 2 courses. Chicken Parmesan is good, but it won’t feel much different if you normally have that a few times a month. I hope you enjoyed your Valentine’s day. Make your date night a Restaurant at home night!