Monday, February 15, 2010

Will You Be My Valentine???

Like many couples this year, Nick and I decided to stay home for Valentine’s Day.  In the 10 years we’ve been together, themany t imes we've attempted a “fabulous restaurant,” we would walk away feeling disappointed.  The meal would feel rushed,  service would often be subpar and at times even the meal itself would sound better on the menu, than it actually tasted.  With that said, yesterday it was my mission to create a beautiful and memorable meal.  I wanted to try something new, that would stand out as a Not your EVERYDAY meal.

2010 Valentine’s Day Menu

1st Course
Arugula Salad with red onion and pear.
Served with a fresh squeezed lemon vinaigrette

2nd Course
Lobster Salad with Chile Dressing
Fresh Sea Bass with Miso Honey Glaze

Whoopie Pies from Susie Cakes

Once I had the menu figured out, I had to hit the street and buy all my ingredients.    For those of you who don’t know me very well, although I LOVE to cook, I HATE grocery shopping.  I blame it on my mother Marge who would drag me to the Pak N' Save in South San Francisco when I was a kid.  Whenever we went grocery shopping my job was to steer the cart (which I hated to do).  My mother is a fast woman today and was even faster then, and trying to keep up with her was grueling. I remember getting the evil eye multiple times after nipping her heels with the shopping cart each time she suddenly stopped.  With that said, I've boycotted shopping carts and have joined the local army of weekend warriors who attend the local Farmers Market.  I truly believe there is no place more inspiring than the Farmers Market.  Here you're able to buy fresh and beautiful produce directly from the farmer that grows it!!!  In addition to wonderful produce, some Farmers Markets offer flowers, cheeses, baked goods, and even seafood.  To find a Farmers Market in LA or Orange County check out it: or
 After buying all my ingredients, I headed home and was ready to put my culinary skills to the test.  I was very concerned that making a lobster salad was going to be over my head,  but I actually found it to be extremely easy.  If anyone wants to make an impressive meal, I highly suggest you try this recipe. 

 Putting Nick's pottery bowls to good use. 
I only have 50 more I need to incorporate into our decor!!! 

 My sous-chef taking a break to smell the tulips!

Lobster Salad with Chile Dressing

8 small or 4 large lobsters
12 - 15 Shrimp
1 ½ lb. potatoes, cut into chunks
A bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 red onion, very thinly sliced
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Leafy salad to serve

Chile Dressing
1 green or red chile, seeded (optional) finely chopped
2 inches fresh ginger finely chopped
5 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar

Serves 8
To make the dressing, put the chile, ginger and garlic into a saucepan.  Add the vinegar and sugar and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes until reduced by half.  Add 2 tablespoons water, remove from heat, and let cool. 
To cook the lobster tails fill a large saucepan with water and add 1 teaspoon of salt for each liter of water.  Bring the water to the boil and drop the lobster tails into the pan.  Boil the tails for about 1 minute per oz of total weight. If there are 5 oz of lobster tails, you will need to cook them for 5 minutes.

Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling, salted water for 20 minutes, until tender when pierced with a knife.  Drain and let cool.  Add the cilantro and chopped lobster to the potatoes, with salt and pepper to taste.  Mix lightly, then spoon the mixture into the empty lobster shells.  Spoon over the dressing, sprinkle with the onion slices and serve with a leafy salad.    

 Finished Product. Bon appetit!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds delicious. I wish art wasn't allergic to lobster though