Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Scrumptious Valentine

It's that time of year again, the four letter word LOVE is written a million times over: it's Valentine's day on February, 14th!

As Germans say, love is created in the tummy - so that is why we have created a delicous Valentine's Menue for you. Why dine out if you can enjoy a romantic evening at home? And I promise these are easy recipes that do not keep you in the kitchen all day long (although cooking together can be quite sexy, don't you think?)


Heart shaped crostini with two types of spreads: eggplant and sun-dried tomato. For those, mix 2/3 creme cheese and 1/3 of Roberta’s sun-dried tomato spread or with 1/3 of Roberta’s eggplant spread. (use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut sandwich bread). Spread on hearts and drizzle with Cosimo’s Extra Vergin Olive Oil “Premium Blend”

Cheese nibbles with Green Tomato Jam and Tomato Jam with Grappa (you can also use a honey or Cosimo’s extra virgin olive oil as a cheese condiment)

Recommended cheeses: aged sheep cheeses, parmeggiano reggiano, grana padana, fresh mozzarella. Break chunks of cheese out of the parmeggiano or grana using the tip of a knife. Cut aged sheep cheeses first in slices and each slice in to three triangle shaped bites. Cut mozzarella in slices and cut each slice in four bite size pieces. The mozzarella can also be briefly grilled on a slice of bread in the oven, with a layer of green tomato jam between bread and cheese!

Serve condiments on the side in small dessert bowls or shot glasses with small spoons.

Primo: Pasta with heart warming tomato sauce

Bring salted water to boil for the pasta (a Farfalle shape would do well)
In the meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat one whole, but slightly crushed garlic glove in 3 tablespoons of Cosimo’s extra virgin olive oil “blend”, until the garlic is slightly browned. Take garlic out of oil, add one small hot chilli pepper and 1 lb. fresh tomatoes cut in to cubes and let simmer over medium heat for five minutes. Add a tablespoon of Roberta’s Sun-dried Tomato spread.
Add pasta to the boiling water. When the pasta is almost al dente (after about 9-10 minutes for Carlo’s Durum Wheat Pasta in The Scrumptious Pantry, if you use different pasta take reduce cooking time indicated on the packaging by one minute), drain and put the pasta in the pan with the sauce. Add two teaspoons of Guido’s Balsamic Dressing Sauce and let stand for two minutes.
Serve in warmed plates.

Secondo: Steak with potatoes and seasonal veggies

To prepare the potatoes and veggies “Italian Style”, cut the potatoes and veggies (i.e. fennel, carrots, onions, peppers, eggplant, zucchini) in large chunks, put them in an oven safe pan, coat them in Cosimo’s extra virgin olive “blend”, sprinkle them with Roberta’s Roasting and Grilling Salt bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 375°F, stirring occasionally.

Homemade Ricotta dessert with Tomato Jam with Grappa

To prepare fresh ricotta see one of the last blog entries!

For the dessert:
9 oz or 1/2lb of ricotta
a shot glass of grappa or dark rum aged for a minimum of 7 yrs
two tablespoons of cane sugar

Mix ricotta, sugar and rum, put into small glass bowls (or long shot glasses), put the ricotta mix, add a thin layer of Barbara’s Tomato Jam with Grappa from The Scrumptious Pantry and then add a hint of freshly grinded nutmeg over it!

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