Monday, January 4, 2016

A Romantic Dinner for Two on Valentine’s Day

If your budget doesn’t extend to an evening out on Valentine’s Day, or you just enjoy cooking at home, I’ve got a lovely menu for you. This menu and the recipes that go with it, were in my local newspaper a few years ago around Valentine’s Day. I made the main course that year – easy and delicious. The recipes originated from Eric Akis, food writer at the Victoria Times Colonist. All the recipes are easy, my favorite kind!

Valentine Dinner for Two
Salad greens with apple, walnuts and brie
Sumptuous Seafood for Two
Roasted Asparagus
Deluxe Brownie Dessert

Salad Greens with Apple, Walnuts and Brie
15 ml. (1 T.) cider vinegar
45 ml. (3T.) extra virgin olive oil
5 ml. (1 tsp.)Dijon mustard
10 m. (2 tsp.) honey, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 litre (4 cups) baby salad greens, washed and dried
12 to 16 thin, half slices of red apple
30-45 ml. (2 – 3 T.) walnut pieces
75 g (2.6 oz. or ¾ c.) brie cheese, cut into small cubes

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Divide and mound the salad greens on 2 salad plates. Top with the apples, nuts and cheese. Drizzle with salad dressing and serve.

Sumptuous Seafood for Two
60 ml. (1/4 cup) white wine
30 ml. (2 T.) butter
15 ml. (1 T.) fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinches paprika, cayenne pepper and dried tarragon
1 100-115 g (3 ½ to 4 oz.) lobster tail, (thawed if frozen), split in half lengthwise
4 large scallops
4 large shrimp or prawns, peeled with tail portion intact
1 170 g (6 oz.) fish fillet, such as halibut, cod or salmon, cut in half
15 ml. (1 T.) chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 230 C. (450 F). Place the butter, wine, lemon juice, garlic, spices and tarragon in a small pot. Set over medium heat and heat 3 to 4 minutes, just until the butter is melted. Remove from heat.
Use a paper towel to pat and remove any excess moisture from the seafood. Arrange seafood, setting the lobster cut side up, in a single layer in a shallow-sided baking dish. Drizzle seafood with wine/butter mixture. Bake 11 to 13 minutes, or until the shellfish and fish are just cooked. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Note: When cooked, fish and shellfish should feel slightly firm, not hard, a sign you’ve overcooked it, and not soft, a sign it’s undercooked. When fish is cooked it will also slightly separate into flakes.

Roasted Asparagus
(The asparagus has the same cooking time as the seafood, so they can go into the oven together.)
12 – 14 asparagus spears, stems trimmed
22 ml. (l ½ T.) olive oil
15 ml. (1 T.) balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 230 C (450 F). Bring a wide skillet of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook 2 minutes, until bright green, but not quite cooked through. Drain well, cool asparagus in cold water, and then drain well again. Place the asparagus in a casserole dish just large enough to hold it in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Roast 11 to 13 minutes.

Deluxe Brownie Dessert
(This recipe uses store-bought brownies to save time. I suppose you could bake your own brownie if you wanted to, but wouldn’t you rather be spending time with your sweetie?)
8 small to medium fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries, sliced
15 ml. (1 T.) icing sugar
150 ml. (½ oz.) orange liqueur, or to taste (optional)
2 squares or wedges of brownie
2 scoops mango or other fruit sorbet
2 fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Place strawberries and icing sugar in a small bowl and toss to combine. Flavor with orange liqueur, if using. Divide and spread the strawberries on two dessert plates. Set a brownie on each plate and put a scoop of sorbet on top of each brownie. Garnish with mint, if using. Enjoy!

Do you like cooking at home on romantic occasions or would you rather go out for dinner?

Chill Out
Candy Hearts Series
Jana Richards

Genre: contemporary romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date of Publication: January 4, 2016


ISBN: 978-1-5092-0370-3

Number of pages: 90
Word Count: 20,000

Cover Artist: RJ Morris

Book Description:

Renata Cabral needs to hide for the weekend. Her cousin’s Valentine’s Day wedding means she’ll face embarrassing questions from her large, extended family. Questions like “Why aren’t you married yet?”  Since the breakup of her last relationship, she’s not ready to answer that question. She invents a work-related excuse and escapes to a friend’s lakeside cottage.

Noah Brownlee has been hiding for two years. But now he’s ready to come home and mend his broken relationship with his brother. When a friend offers the use of his lakeside cottage, Noah arrives in the middle of a blizzard with his English Mastiff, only to find the place is already occupied. With her big brown eyes and quirky sense of humor, Renata stirs feelings he thought long dead.

As the blizzard rages, the candy hearts predict love. Can Valentine’s Day work its magic between them?

This is part of a multi-author series of novellas The Wild Rose Press has put together for Valentine’s Day- all can be read as standalone titles

Amazon US    Amazon UK    Amazon CA    Kobo    Chapters/Indigo  

Bookstrand    The Wild Rose Press     Kobo    BN    ARe

Excerpt 2:

“Dylan wasn’t just my brother, he was my best friend, and in some ways, he was like a father. When our mother died, he petitioned the court to make him my legal guardian so I wouldn’t have to go into care. He made sure I studied, pushed me to apply to med school, helped me with expenses.”
“He sounds like a wonderful big brother.”
His lips curved in a sad smile and Renata’s heart ached for him. “He was, and I know he’s going to be an amazing father. I want this animosity between us to end. I want my brother back.” His voice cracked. “But I’m not sure he feels the same way. I said some ugly things…”
“Perhaps, with the baby coming, he wants to mend the rift between you as much as you do.” She hoped she was right.
“Maybe. I’ll find out tomorrow. I’m going to phone Dylan and try to arrange a meeting.”
“It’ll work out. You’ll see.”                                                                                     
He leaned toward her, the corners of his eyes wrinkling with his smile. “I appreciate the pep rally.”
“Well, I was a cheerleader in high school. Rah, Rah.”
He laughed softly, then cupped her face with his hand, his thumb idly stroking her cheek. Her breath hitched at his tender touch. “Thank you for making this easier for me, Renata.”

He leaned in and her heart pounded in anticipation of his kiss. When his lips touched hers, a firestorm of longing ignited inside her. She strained toward him, needing his kiss, needing to heal his pain. His lips parted against hers, and she opened her mouth eagerly, reveling in his taste as his tongue danced with hers. The world faded away, and nothing existed for her except this man and all the tenderness she felt for him. It felt so right to kiss him, so perfectly, completely right.

About the Author:

When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Western Canada with their Pug/Terrier cross Lou and several unnamed goldfish.

She loves to hear from readers.  Connect online at:

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Shandie Valdez said...

I would love to try Deluxe Brownie Dessert :D ^_^

Jana Richards said...

Shandie, this recipe couldn't be easier, which is the best kind as far as I'm concerned! And who doesn't like chocolate? Thank you for commenting.

Jana Richards said...

Thanks for having me on your blog today!