If you haven’t made a Valentine’s Day dinner reservation and prefer a quiet evening at home, consider giving your special someone the best of both worlds by combining the decadence of a dinner out with the romance of a night in.
To help you prepare, we’ve enlisted the expertise of Lynn M. Guggemos, owner of award-winning We Cater To You. “My chef has provided Plymouth Magazine readers recipes for a four-course meal that are simple to prepare and delicious enough to serve at some of our events,” Guggemos says.
Starter: Rosemary Shrimp Scampi Skewers
1 Tbsp. dry white wine
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
18 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 3/4 lb.)
Six 6-inch rosemary sprigs
Lemon wedges (optional)
Combine first six ingredients in a zip-top plastic bag. Add shrimp to bag. Seal and shake to coat. Marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes, turning bag occasionally.
Working with one rosemary sprig at a time, hold leafy end of sprig in one hand. Strip leaves off sprig with other hand, leaving 1/2 inch of leaves attached to leafy end of sprig. Repeat procedure with remaining rosemary sprigs to make six rosemary skewers. Thread three shrimp onto each rosemary skewer.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat both sides of shrimp skewers with cooking spray. Arrange three skewers on pan and cook two minutes on each side or until shrimp are done. Remove from pan and keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining skewers. Serve with lemon wedges if desired.
Soup: Wild Mushroom Soup
1/2 tsp. butter
1/2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. celery, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. shallots, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. carrot, finely chopped
1 cup button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
1 (14-oz.) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp. dry sherry
1/2 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
Heat butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add celery, shallots and carrot. Sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon vegetable mixture into a medium bowl.
Coat pan with cooking spray; add button mushrooms. Sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add button mushrooms to vegetable mixture. Coat pan with cooking spray; add shiitake mushrooms. Sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add shiitake mushrooms to vegetable mixture.
Combine vegetable mixture and broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in sherry and remaining ingredients. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
Salad: Field Green Salad
1 (5-oz.) package of salad greens
1 red pear, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing
2 Tbsp. walnuts, finely chopped
Garnish: Pomegranate seeds
Combine first two ingredients in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss gently. Spoon onto plates and sprinkle evenly with walnuts. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Entrée: Stuffed Beef Tenderloin
1/2 cup butter
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread
1/2 cups fresh parsley, chopped
One 2 1/4 to 2 1/2-lb. center-cut beef tenderloin roast
12 bacon slices
Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add breadcrumbs; sauté until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; mix in parsley. Season stuffing with salt and pepper. Cool completely.
Starting at the long side, cut tenderloin lengthwise almost in half, stopping about 1/2 inch from opposite long side. Open tenderloin like a book. Sprinkle cut side with salt and pepper. Pack half of stuffing on each side of tenderloin. Fold plain side over stuffing.
Slightly overlap half of bacon slices on sheet of parchment paper, forming rectangle equal in length to the tenderloin. Place tenderloin at one edge, across bacon ends. Using parchment as aid, roll up tenderloin in bacon. Using kitchen string, secure bacon around tenderloin, tying at 1 1/2-inch intervals. Tie once lengthwise. Repeat with remaining bacon and tenderloin. (Can be prepared a day ahead. Wrap tenderloin and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour enough oil into large skillet to coat bottom; heat over high heat. Add tenderloin. Sauté until bacon is brown, turning often, about 10 minutes. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Roast until thermometer inserted into center registers 130 to 135 degrees for medium-rare, about 30 minutes. Transfer to platter. Let stand 15 minutes. Cut off strings. Cut tenderloin into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve.
Side: Roasted Root Vegetables
1 lb. new potatoes, quartered
3/4 lb. yellow beets, cut diagonally 11/2 inch pieces
3/4 lb. red onion, same as above
2 bunches of fresh asparagus
3/4 lb. parsnips, cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 lb. carrots, cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch pieces
4 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped and divided
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 tsp. olive oil
Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh chives or chopped fresh parsley
Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a bowl, toss potatoes, parsnips, carrots, asparagus, beets and red onion with rosemary, salt, black pepper, 1 tablespoon water and 2 teaspoons oil.
Coat a rimmed sheet pan with cooking spray. Add vegetables and roast for 10 minutes, turning vegetables once. Cover loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Dessert: Red Velvet Brownies
1 (4-oz.) bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (1-oz.) bottle red liquid food coloring
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
Cream cheese frosting
Garnish: White chocolate curls
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides. Lightly grease foil.
Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl at high for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals. Whisk in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Gently stir in flour and add the next four ingredients. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
Bake for 44 to 48 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 2 hours).
Lift brownies from pan, using foil sides as handles. Gently remove foil. Spread cream cheese frosting on top of brownies and cut into 16 squares. Garnish with white chocolate curls, if desired.
For red wine lovers, try Castle Rock Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. It’s a versatile and elegant medium-bodied wine that smells of cherry and spice, and tastes of berries, cinnamon, black cherry, sweet vanilla, oak and floral notes with a long velvety finish.
For white wine drinkers, try Cline Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. It’s a well-balanced wine with flavors of green apple, pear and a touch of vanilla toast.