November 27, 2014

Everyday Gourmet: Valentine sparkle

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By Kim Dannies

I love the February light—it sparkles on the snow a bit brighter and lasts a bit longer in the afternoon. When Valentine’s Day arrives, I always feel a whisper of relief that, maybe, just maybe, we have turned the corner on the worst of winter. We are lucky to have a holiday that sparks us to remind loved ones just how much we care. It doesn’t matter if romantic love is on the menu this particular day, a hearty meal with friends or family should be. Surprise them with this dream dinner and watch their faces sparkle with delight.

 

Spaghetti squash Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Split two spaghetti squash in half and roast, face down, on a parchment lined cookie sheet until skin is soft, 45 minutes. Let squash cool. With a fork, pluck out seeds and discard. Scrape out the squash, it will release in strings just like spaghetti. In a prep bowl mix squash, 4 tablespoons soft butter, 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with Pam. Spread squash evenly in baking dish and top with 1/2 cup of additional cheese. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

Goat cheese stuffed chicken

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process together 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, 3 garlic cloves and the zest of one orange. Add generous pinches of S&P, the juice of one orange and 6 ounces of goat cheese. Pulse gently. Pound 4-6 small chicken breasts flat. Place a dollop of cheese at the top of each breast. Using the jellyroll method, roll the chicken. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each packet. Place in a baking dish, seam side down. Add 1/2 cup water and cover with foil. Bake 45 minutes.

 

Chocolate avocado mousse

So yummy! To a food processor add 4 ripe, peeled avocados, 1/2 cup maple syrup and coconut milk each, 3 teaspoons strong coffee,1 teaspoon almond and vanilla extract each, 1 cup premium cocoa powder. Pulse together 20-30 times and then blend 90 seconds. If it is too thick, add more coffee to desired consistency. Spoon mousse into small ramekins and top with toasted coconut, crushed almonds, and a tiny pinch of sea salt. Serves 6-8.

 

Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.

 
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