Every Day is Valentines Day Dinner

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach … an old proverb, but a true one at that.  Which is why, as a (self-proclaimed,) pretty good wifey, I enjoy the journey to the Husband’s heart, and cook for him pretty much every night.  What was extra special about this particular dinner, is that I normally don’t make cocktails before hand & I normally don’t make dessert after.

For openers, a blood-orange cocktail with raspberries was a welcome hello to The Husband who had just gotten home from a long day at a new job.  blood orange cocktail | The Fairly Good Mother

blood orange cocktail w/ raspberries
Serves 2

Ingredients

    • 2 oz blood orange juice
    • 4 oz Vodka
    • 3 oz Cointreau
    • 1 oz lime juice
    • raspberries

Method:
Place 3-4 raspberries in the bottom of each chilled martini glass.  Add all other ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well, strainer into glasses. Garnish with raspberries.

For the main course, I actually made very simple lightly breaded pork chops with a warm goat cheese salad, but I didn’t feel like writing up the recipe right now – I’ll do it later & update the post here.  So, you’re getting a recipe for a dish I make quite often & is elegant enough for a special occasion, but easy enough for a weeknight meal … sorry, I can’t believe in the many years I’ve been making this dish, that I have never once taken a picture!

lemon-artichoke chicken with steamed chokes & jasmine rice 

Prep & cook time – 45 mins to an hour
You can either use 2 or 4 chicken breasts – I make the same amount of sauce for both.

Ingredients
2 or 4 boneless / skinless chicken breasts (you can pound them or not pound them, I usually don’t go to the trouble unless they’re really thick.

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 jar (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained
  • 2 tbsps dry cooking sherry
  • 2 tbsps grated lemon peel (i love my microplane)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 c whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesean cheese (optional)

Method:
Preheat oven to 350, Salt & pepper them, use some lemon pepper seasoning if you desire it a little more “lemony”… melt butter in frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook, turning once, until browned (about 4-5 mins on each side) Transfer chicken to a 9×11 cooking dish and put chopped artichoke hearts on top of chicken.

Add sherry, lemon peel & lemon juice to remaining butter in frying pan; stir over medium heat until well blended & hot – about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add cream & stir, let thicken a bit until bubbling.  Remove from heat, pour sauce over chicken & artichokes, then sprinkle with cheese if desired.

Bake until sauce is bubbling & golden brown on top – about 20-25 mins.

free happy snoopy.jpgBecause Valentine’s Day isn’t a government holiday & 5 times out of 7 falls on a weeknight, let’s make this easy.  I love the Trader Joe’s frozen organic jasmine rice – just pop it in the microwave for 3 minutes & then serve it as a side to this flavorful dish.

And you might say it’s artichoke ovrekill, but around these parts we love our chokes …what can I say, I’m a California girl born and bred – artichokes & avocados every day!  And steamed artichokes go along well with this dinner.  Some of my friends say they’ve never steamed an artichoke – I say, CRAZY!

artichoke

They’re easy to make, you trim the pokers off the tops of the leaves, cut the stem off so the artichoke can sit upright, rinse them out, (best way to do that is to let them sit in a sink – or a bowl – of cool water for an hour,) drain them, and then put them in a large pot with a little bit of salted water – covering them 1/4 of the way or so.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to steam … they take about 45 mins – an hour, you can tell when they’re done b/c a fork will go in and out of the stem with ease!

We love dipping the leaves in drawn butter infused with lemon & garlic, and then scraping the meat off the leaves with our teeth.  When you make the heart, let it cool all the way down & be sure to scrape the “chokers” off before dicing up the heart.  It’s so apropos for Valentine’s day ❤  One of these days I’ll get around to making a video about artichokes.

If you’re not into chicken, how about grilled swordfish and a cilantro-lime cream sauce.  you can still do the steamed chokes, or you could do a sauteed zucchini squash as a side-dish.  Swordfish is a great fish to serve to non-fish lovers because it’s the ‘steak of the sea’ & very mild. And the jasmine rice is a great companion to this dish as well.

2011-Chenin-Blanc,-Mendocino---280px2Some wines that would rock these dishes are:  2009 Rouseanne from Zaca Mesa, 2011 Sauvignon Blanc from Morgan Winery, or 2011 Chenin Blanc from Elizabeth Spencer.

Dessert is so easy … or hard, depending on what you’re looking to do after dinner?  Cook some more in the kitchen or in the bedroom?  Or both?  I vote for these mini cheesecakes with raspberry sauce from Annie’s Eats , or dark chocolate walnut-chunk brownies, from Martha, (I add walnuts.)  Both you can make ahead of time and serve in the bedroom if you desire.

Happy Valentines Day!

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