DIY Valentine's Day Dinner

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If braving the crowds this Valentine’s weekend doesn’t sound like a pleasant part of your romantic plans, consider a romantic night in. All it takes is a little planning, a trip to the grocery store, and maybe a small bribe to keep the kids at bay, and voila… a DIY date night at home. We scoured through our Edible community to find a few aphrodisiac recipes to stoke your inspiration. Feel free to use Florida oysters.

Apalachicola Rockefeller, Edible Orlando

oysters-rockef

Serves 4

¼ pound thick slab bacon, diced
1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon chopped garlic
16 Apalachicola oysters, shucked, juices reserved, shells discarded
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
2 pounds baby spinach, steamed
1 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups torn pieces artisan bread
½ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Instructions
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Place bacon in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy.  Remove bacon from skillet with a slotted spoon, and drain away some of the bacon fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons bacon fat in pan.

Turn heat to medium-high and add onion. Cook until caramelized.  Add garlic, cooking 30 seconds, then add reserved oyster juice and wine. Reduce until almost dry, then add cream and reduce by half.

Turn off heat and add spinach to pan. Fold bacon into mixture. Add lemon juice, mix well, and season with salt and pepper.

Divide mixture into 4 individual, oven-safe dishes, or spread evenly into one baking dish. Arrange 4 oysters on top of spinach mixture in each individual dish or all 16 oysters in large dish. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add bread, tossing to coat evenly in oil.  Season with salt and pepper and continue to toast bread, stirring frequently,
3 to 5 minutes.

Arrange croutons on top of oysters. Sprinkle with Pecorino and lemon zest.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until mixture is bubbling and croutons are browned. Serve warm.

Recipe courtesy Hamilton’s Kitchen at the Alfond Inn

Oyster Stew, Edible Long Island

2 1/2 dozen shucked oysters with their liquor
2 cups bottled clam juice
1 cup chicken stock
4 ounces thick-cut bacon
4 tablespoons butter
1 large or 2 medium leeks (white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced)
1 bay leaf
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch dice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 half teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups heavy cream
6 ounces baby spinach leaves, thick stems removed
a pinch of red pepper flakes, or more if desired
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Combine the oyster liquor, clam juice and chicken stock to form a broth; set aside.

In your favorite soup pot over medium heat, brown the bacon until fat is rendered and bacon is golden brown. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined dish; set aside for garnish.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from pot. Add the butter. Add sliced leeks, saute till soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add bay leaf and garlic. Saute 30 seconds more. Add reserved broth and potatoes to pot. Bring to boil and then simmer until the potatoes are tender on outside but still firm on the inside, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Smash a few of the cooked potatoes with spoon to thicken broth. Add nutmeg, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Add the cream, bring back to a simmer and stir in the spinach. Cook until just wilted.

Add the oysters and a nice pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until oysters are done.

Serve immediately or, if adventurous, reheat over a campfire in a cast-iron Dutch oven.

Recipe by C. Prather

Ganache Tarts, Edible South Florida

Alfredo Añez

Buttery, not-too-sweet chocolate shortbread is topped with a dollop of dark chocolate ganache. Use your favorite bittersweet chocolate for the filling.

Ingredients for Chocolate Shortbread
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus butter or baking spray for molds
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa (not Dutch process)Dash salt

Ingredients for Filling
5 ounces semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Instructions

Preheat oven to 325°. Butter small tart pans or spray with baking spray.

Combine all shortbread ingredients in food processor and pulse until blended. When you squeeze a bit between your fingertips, it will stay together. Spoon into each tart pan and press along sides and bottom evenly. Bake about 30 minutes – watch carefully during final minutes of baking to avoid burning. Remove to rack and cool.

Meanwhile, prepare filling. Chop chocolate coarsely and place in bowl. Heat cream until small bubbles form around edge of pan. Pour hot cream over chocolate. Stir gently until perfectly smooth. (If it’s not, pour through fine strainer). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Carefully remove tart shells from pans by inverting onto rack – shells are delicate. Place filling in pastry bag or zip-top plastic bag fitted with star tip and pipe a generous amount of filling in shell. Or use a teaspoon to fill each shell. Refrigerate until serving time.

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