by Chef Mark Allison, Dole's Director of Culinary Nutrition
I myself love winter because it can be such a cozy time of year, with the fireplace crackling and the house full of good smells from cooking a sumptuous stew or baking a cinnamon cake. Valentine dinners are a particularly special—and cozy—occasion. Choose your partner’s favorite foods and surprise him or her with a wonderful romantic meal and a special table set for two. If you have a fireplace, set a small table close by, and use your best china and crystal. A few candles and a small bowl of fresh flowers will complete the atmosphere.
Even better, plan and prepare your dinner together. The meal doesn't have to (and shouldn't!) be an elaborate or time-consuming chore; if your partner's favorite food is lasagna, serve it in a fancy oven proof dish and enjoy with a healthy salad. Or, this might be the perfect time to splurge on lobster, shrimp, or delicious piece of wild salmon. A tablecloth, candles and a smile can turn the most basic dish into a meal and night to remember for you both. Don't forget the romantic music to set the mood, and end the meal with a bite of dark chocolate. Wear an apron and clean as you go, but don't worry too much about the dirty dishes; leave them till morning and enjoy your time together!
These Valentine's Day celebration recipes are a perfect way to enjoy a special night for two, on an otherwise cold and dreary winter’s day.
Grilled Salmon with Balsamic Glaze
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 2x 4oz wild salmon fillets
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- In a small saucepan, heat the balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over a low heat until syrupy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Heat grill to medium heat. Brush salmon fillets with olive oil and season fillets with black pepper.
- Place salmon fillets carefully on the grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes or until the salmon is flaky and opaque.
- Brush salmon fillets with balsamic glaze, grill for 1 more minute. Remove from grill.
- To serve, plate salmon and lightly drizzle with left over glaze. Serve with Sunset Slaw.
- ¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 lime – zest and juice of
- ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 carrot, washed, dried and cut into fine strips
- 1 small jicama, washed, peeled and cut into fine strips
- ½ red pepper, seeds removed, cut into fine strips
- ½ yellow pepper, seeds removed, cut into fine strips
- ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 red Thai chili pepper, cut into fine dice
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro
- Add the Cajun seasoning, red pepper flakes, cumin and honey to a large bowl. Add the zest and juice of the lime. Whisk in the oil.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix together well, cover with plastic, and place into the refrigerator to infuse the flavors for at least 1 hour. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Published February 1, 2016