For Valentine’s Day!
We stayed in for Valentine’s. Like New Years, Valentine’s Day seems to be riddled with overpriced options meant to impress, but often fall short. Thank you, I’ll pass on the $80/pp prix fixe sweetheart dinner and obligatory long stemmed rose. This year, I opted to whip up a variety of tapas at home instead.
Pork wrapped in…more pork
I started with my favorite bacon wrapped, chorizo stuffed dates (hence the title of this post). I skipped the tomato sauce this time, thinking it was just too much work but I will say, I really missed it. The sauce just takes the whole dish one step further.
Then we moved on to marinated Ciliegine (small balls of fresh mozzerella – smaller than bocconcini) with tomatoes, basil and olives. The marinade was a lemony olive oil concoction supplied by the always fabulous Emeril Lagasse.
And then there was…you guessed it…more pork
Following that was a spectacular five spice pulled pork in wonton cups. This turned out great. Oh, I have forgotten how much I love five-spice powder! For reference – it’s a spice blend often used in Chinese cooking usually consisting of Szechuan peppercorns, star anise, fennel, cloves and cinnamon. Give it a try with your favorite stir-fry for something a little different. I promise it doesn’t disappoint! I’ll give that recipe special attention in it’s own post (cause it was that fabulous).
Greens keep it healthy
Since I didn’t want to give my beloved a heartattack, we finished with a salad consisting of baby lettuces (really, I wanted Mache, but my local grocery doesn’t prescribe to that kind of snobbery), wafer thin slices of Asian pear, onion, feta tossed with a Walnut Raspberry Vinaigrette (woohoo! A use for my new Walnut Oil!). More experimentation on salad dressings is needed I think.
But not too healthy…
We topped the whole meal off with a slice of Devils Food White Out cake - my first Tuesdays With Dorie truimph! And it truely was a great finish to our Valentine’s meal.
The Lemon Marinade for Fresh Mozzarella
Emeril’s Marinated Bocconcini
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, Emeril’s Food of Love Productions, 2008
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 inch x 1- inch strip of lemon peel (yellow part only)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 fresh bay leaf
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound mozzarella bocconcini or ciliegini, drained
In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the lemon peel, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, oregano, crushed red pepper and salt and let steep for 3 to 5 minutes over low heat. Remove from heat and allow to completely cool. When cool, pour over the bocconcini and allow to marinate for 2 to 4 hours and up to 1 week before serving.
Yield: 4 small servings