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Romantic Dinner for Two



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Dinner for Two II
Dinner for Two II
Willem Haenraets
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La Belle Cuisine


Romantic Dinner for Two
from the Williams-Sonoma Complete
Entertaining Cookbook

General Editor-Chuck Williams, Menu Concepts
and Recipes-Joyce Goldstein
1998/2000 A Weldon Owen Production,
Readon Publications, Inc.


Oysters with Tangerine Salsa
Roast Lobster with Meyer Lemon Butter
Broiled Squabs in Honey Marinade
Wild Rice
Pear, Fennel & Frisée Salad
Chocolate Pots de Crème with Candied Rose Petals

Wine Recommendations: Start the evening with a high-quality, lighter-style California sparkling wine or a French Champagne. Continue it with the
lobster, or go on to a half-bottle of classic Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc,
or even a soft Pinot Noir. With the squab, serve a distinctive red wine such
as Merlot or Côtes du Rhône. With dessert, pour generous snifters of your
favorite brandy.

Each recipe yields 2 servings.

Oysters with Tangerine Salsa

“You can use more or less jalapeño to taste in this sweet, tart, spicy salsa,
but don’t make it so hot that it dominates the oysters’ flavor. To shuck the
shellfish, you need an oyster knife (available at a well-stocked cookware
store), or have your fishmonger shuck the oysters and pack them to go
on the half shell.”

1 small jalapeño (hot green) chili pepper,
seeded and minced
Grated zest and juice of 1 tangerine
Freshly ground pepper to taste
12 oysters in the shell
Rock salt

Combine the jalapeño, tangerine zest and juice. Add the pepper. Pour into
a small ramekin or bowl.
To open the oysters, hold each one in a heavy dish towel with the rounded side of the shell down. Work the tip of an oyster knife into the hinge near
the narrow end of the shell; twist the knife to pop open the shell. Slide the
knife along the inside of the upper shell to sever the muscle, then pull off
the top shell and discard. Loosen oyster from the bottom shell by sliding
the knife under the oyster. Remove any bits of shell debris or sand.
Spread some rock salt in a layer on a serving plate. Place the oysters in
their shells on the plate and serve with the salsa. Spoon the salsa over
the oysters to eat.


Roast Lobster with Meyer Lemon Butter

2 teaspoons minced shallot
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons tarragon wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon grated Meyer lemon zest or
regular lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh Meyer lemon juice or
2 teaspoons fresh regular lemon juice plus
1 teaspoon orange juice
1/4 cup (2 oz/60 g) unsalted butter at
room temperature
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 live Atlantic (Maine) lobster,
about 1 1/2 lb (750 g)

Place the shallot, tarragon and vinegar in a small saucepan and cook over
high heat to reduce until the liquid is almost totally evaporated and syrupy.
Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Let cool, then beat this mixture into the
butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The butter may be made
ahead and refrigerated, covered, up to 1 day.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, drop in the lobster and cook,
covered, for 7 – 8 minutes. Plunge the lobster into cold water. Cut the
lobster in half lengthwise and remove the meat from the body and claws;
clean and reserve the body shell halves. Cut all the lobster meat into bite-
size pieces and replace it in the body shell halves. Cover tightly and refri-gerate up to 8 hours.
To roast, let the lobsters and the lobsters and the lemon butter come to
room temperature; preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Spread
the butter over the lobster meat, cover loosely with aluminum foil and
bake until heated through, about 8 minutes. Serve at once.


Broiled Squabs in Honey Marinade

“The marinade adds flavor and helps the skin turn a burnished
mahogany when cooked. Eat rare for best flavor."
[Begin preparation 1 day in advance.]

2 squabs, about 1 lb (500 g) each
1 star anise
2 whole cloves
Seeds from 1 cardamom pod
One 2-inch (5-cm) piece fresh ginger,
smashed with the side of a knife
2/3 cup (5 fl oz/160 ml) light soy sauce
1/3 cup (3 fl oz/90 ml) Scotch or bourbon
1/3 cup (4 oz/125 g) honey
Salt, freshly ground pepper, ground ginger
and ground cinnamon to taste

To prepare the squabs, insert a sharp knife through the neck cavity of
each bird and cut through the back, leaving the breast intact. Remove the
backbone, breastbone, cartilage and ribs. Cut the birds in half through the
breast. Place the squabs in a glass or plastic container.
Combine the star anise, cloves, cardamom seeds, fresh ginger and soy
sauce in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Simmer for 5 minutes,
remove from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the
liquid. Stir the Scotch or bourbon and honey into the liquid. Pour over
the squabs, cover and refrigerate overnight, turning once.
To cook, let the squabs come to room temperature. Preheat a broiler
(griller). Lightly sprinkle the squabs with salt, pepper, ground ginger
and ground cinnamon. Broil skin-side down for 3-4 minutes, then turn
and broil 3-4 minutes on the other side for rare, or cook slightly longer
if desired.


Wild Rice

“The nutlike taste of the wild rice is the perfect foil
for the sweetly marinated squab.”

1 1/2 cups (12 fl oz/375 ml) water
Salt to taste
1/2 cup (3 oz/90 g) wild rice
2 tablespoons minced green part of
a green (spring) onion
1/4 cup (1 oz/30 g) toasted sliced almonds

In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil, add the salt and wild
rice and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook the wild rice until
tender, about 1 hour.
Stir in the green onion. Spoon the wild rice onto individual plates and
garnish with the sliced almonds.


Pear, Fennel and Frisée Salad

“This simple salad is served on the same plate as the squab and
wild rice, but it could also be served as a first course.”

1 firm ripe Comice or other winter pear
1 small fennel bulb
1 small head frisée or 1 bunch watercress
1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup (4 fl oz/125 ml) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 Cut the pear in half lengthwise, remove the stem, core and seeds, then
slice thin. Remove the tubular stems from the fennel, reserving any
attractive fronds for a garnish, if you like. Cut the bulb into quarters
lengthwise and remove the hard center core and any discolored outer
portions. Slice thin.
Trim the tough stems from the frisée or the watercress.
In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar and grated ginger. Let stand
for 5 minutes, then whisk in the sugar and the oil. Season with salt
and pepper.
Toss the frisée or watercress with half of the vinaigrette and divide
between two plates. Arrange the pear and fennel slices over the greens
and drizzle the rest of the vinaigrette on top. Garnish with the reserved
fennel fronds, if using.


Chocolate Pots de Crème with
Candied Rose Petals

“You can find candied rose petals in gourmet shops, but making
your own is quite easy. Be sure to use only unsprayed roses.”

For the Pots de Crème:
2/3 cup (5 fl oz/160 ml) heavy (double) cream
2 oz (60 g) bittersweet chocolate, grated
2 teaspoons light brown sugar, packed
Pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)

For the Candied Rose Petals:
Unsprayed rose petals
1 egg white, beaten lightly
1/2 cup (4 oz/125 g) superfine (caster) sugar

To make the pots de crème, place the cream, chocolate, sugar and salt
in the top of a double boiler and cook until scalding. Whisk the egg yolks
lightly in a small bowl, then whisk in a bit of the hot chocolate cream to
warm them. Gradually stir this mixture back into the cream in the double
boiler and cook, stirring, over simmering water until thickened, about 10
minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and pour into pot de
crème cups or small custard cups. Let cool uncovered, then chill until
cold, about 2 hours or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator about
30 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, to make the candied rose petals, gently brush each flower
petal with egg white, then sprinkle it with sugar. Place the petals on a
cake rack and let dry, then use them to garnish the pots de crème.

“After dinner, retire to a comfy spot and toast each other with a final sip
of brandy. Generously sized snifters are perfect for swirling the spirit to
develop its aroma. If you are fond of the best, look for Cognac, the classic
French brandy. It’s labeled according to its age, with the oldest (those that
are aged more than 6 1/2 years) bearing the X. O. designation. Each brand
has its own characteristics that result from the blender’s art.”

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