Four Course Valentine’s Day Meal

Fettuccine with Cashew-Chardonnay Sauce
 
I’ve always been a big fan of trying new things. With that being said, this year I decided to try not to dislike Valentine’s Day. In the past, I always looked at this holiday as commercialism exploiting love. Or, a holiday to make lonely people feel really, really sad. Or, a holiday that always disappoints your lover no matter what you do. So, usually, my husband and I never celebrate Valentine’s Day and instead celebrate Chocolate Day (a.k.a. February 15). 
 
This year I decided to try something new. I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my husband. The concept of celebrating love for another person out weighs the aforementioned cons. I showed my love the best way I know how: I cooked a four course meal.
 
I used the meal outlined in the Jan/Feb 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times, which consisted of four dishes I had never made before. I had good intentions of practicing each of these dishes prior to V-day, but life happened and practicing did not. 
 
How to Cook a Four Course Meal without Going Crazy
 
  1. Plan ahead! 
  2. Allow plenty of time between courses
  3. Drink lots of wine
Plan Ahead!
I decided on my menu far in advance. Then, I reviewed each dish to determine what parts I could do ahead of time. I made the soup, balsamic reduction, salad dressing, and poached pears days before the actual meal. I also sketched out the tasks I needed to do the day of the meal, keeping in mind that I wanted to have about 10 minutes between each course.
 

Grilled Romain Salad with Poached Pear

 
Allow Plenty of Time Between Courses
Between each course, I prepped, cooked, and assembled the next course. I also washed the dishes (with the help of my husband!) between each course so that by the time we ate the dessert, we only had a handful of dishes to do. 
 
 
 
Drink Lots of Wine
This is supposed to be fun! Recognize that things will go wrong. When they do, there is wine. šŸ™‚ When I nearly started a fire grilling the vegetables on a stovetop grill pan, fell into a panic attack, and Oreo escaped onto the balcony, there was wine (once I could breathe at a normal pace again, of course). 
 
Bananas Foster
The Menu
Red Pepper Soup with Balsamic Reduction (not pictured)
Fettuccine with a Cashew-Chardonnay Sauce
Grilled Romaine Salad with Poached Pears
Bananas Foster
 
Red Pepper Soup with Balsamic Reduction
Serves 8
A spicy yet simple soup designed to ignite your tastebuds.
Print
Total Time
50 min
Total Time
50 min
142 calories
20 g
0 g
6 g
2 g
1 g
315 g
662 g
10 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
315g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 142
Calories from Fat 50
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
9%
Saturated Fat 1g
4%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 662mg
28%
Total Carbohydrates 20g
7%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 10g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
50%
Vitamin C
119%
Calcium
8%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  2. 1/4 cup agave nectar
  3. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 1 medium red onion
  5. 1/2 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  6. 1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
  7. 1 large shallot, diced
  8. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  9. 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  10. 1 clove garlic, minced
  11. 6 cups vegetable broth (I used Rapunzel no-salt vegan bouillon cubes)
  12. 2 large red bell peppers, diced
Instructions
  1. Make the balsamic reduction: Bring vinegar and agave to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until as thick as you like. Cool.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, potatoes, and shallot. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add spices and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes. Add broth and bell peppers. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. To serve, drizzle each serving with balsamic reduction.
Notes
  1. The thickness of your reduction is up to you; for this, I kept it fairly thin and then I was able to use it to make the salad dressing, which was superb! However, a thin reduction will sink in the soup and thus won't be as pretty as a thicker reduction.
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
beta
calories
142
fat
6g
protein
2g
carbs
20g
more
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
Craving Sustenance http://www.cravingsustenance.com/
Fettuccini with a Cashew-Chardonnay Sauce
Serves 3
A creamy vegan sauce slathered on noodles.
Print
Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
466 calories
44 g
0 g
22 g
14 g
4 g
236 g
18 g
6 g
0 g
17 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
236g
Servings
3
Amount Per Serving
Calories 466
Calories from Fat 185
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 22g
34%
Saturated Fat 4g
22%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 18mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 44g
15%
Dietary Fiber 5g
21%
Sugars 6g
Protein 14g
Vitamin A
16%
Vitamin C
29%
Calcium
6%
Iron
27%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup raw cashews
  2. 1 cup Chardonnay wine
  3. 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  4. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  6. 3 ounces uncooked fettuccine
  7. 12 asparagus spears, cut into 2 inch lengths
  8. 1/4 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
Instructions
  1. Blend cashews and 1 cup water in a blender until smooth. Pour through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth to catch the solids. Keep liquid and discard solids. Simmer Chardonnay in a small saucepan for about 10 minutes, or until reduced to about 1/3 cup. Add the cashew liquid, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and black pepper. Stir well to combine and keep warm.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add fettuccine and cook for about 12 minutes, or until al dente. Drain.
  3. Steam the asparagus and bell pepper.
  4. Assemble on each plate: Start with pasta, top with sauce and then veggies. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. This sauce is so good you may find yourself licking out the pot. While the cashews do make this high in fat, it is much better for you than traditional alfredo sauce. All the alcohol gets boiled out of the Chardonnay, leaving behind the flavor; therefore, it is crucial that you select a Chardonnay you like. Also, blend the cashews using a blender instead of a food processor. My food processor leaked cashew water all over my kitchen. It was a messy sight. Also, the original recipe grilled the veggies. I thought this was more work than it was worth; I recommend steaming instead.
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
beta
calories
466
fat
22g
protein
14g
carbs
44g
more
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
Craving Sustenance http://www.cravingsustenance.com/
Grilled Romaine Salad with Poached Pears
Serves 2
Grilled romaine, pears poached in apple juice, cinnamon, and cloves, topped with a simple balsamic vinegar dressing. A salad that is not to be missed!
Print
Total Time
40 min
Total Time
40 min
358 calories
71 g
0 g
8 g
5 g
1 g
706 g
53 g
48 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
706g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 358
Calories from Fat 73
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
13%
Saturated Fat 1g
6%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 53mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates 71g
24%
Dietary Fiber 16g
65%
Sugars 48g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A
575%
Vitamin C
44%
Calcium
41%
Iron
33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 Bosc pear, peeled and halved
  2. 1 1/2 cups apple juice
  3. 1/3 cup agave nectar
  4. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  5. 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. 3 whole cloves
  8. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or reduction)
  9. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  10. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  11. 1 romaine heart, halved
  12. 1 cup mixed greens, washed
  13. 1 green onion, thinly sliced
Poach the pear
  1. Place apple juice, agave nectar, lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon, and cloves in a small sauce pan. Add the pear halves, round-side down. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until tender. (This boils over very easily, keep an eye on it!) Let cool in liquid.
  2. Whisk balsamic vinegar/reduction, maple syrup, and olive oil together. Brush romaine heart halves with the dressing. Place romaine heart halves on a medium-high heated grill for about 5 minutes or until slightly wilted. Chop coarsely.
Assemble salad
  1. Place mixed greens and green onion on a plate. Add grilled romaine. Drizzle lightly with dressing. Slice pear halve and fan off to the side. Repeat with second plate.
Notes
  1. I ran out of balsamic vinegar, so I ended up using the balsamic reduction instead of the vinegar - the result was delicious! The grilled romaine had a fantastic flavor; however, the oil reached its smoke point and caused chaos in my house. I will make this again, but only when it is warm enough to grill the romaine outside. Poached pears, on the other hand, may need to become a staple. Wow are they delicious! By far one of the best salads I've ever had!
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
beta
calories
358
fat
8g
protein
5g
carbs
71g
more
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
Craving Sustenance http://www.cravingsustenance.com/
 
Bananas Foster
Serves 1
Dark chocolate ice cream with bananas and a richly sweet hot rum sauce.
Print
Total Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
676 calories
100 g
83 g
31 g
4 g
19 g
274 g
70 g
85 g
1 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
274g
Servings
1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 676
Calories from Fat 269
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 31g
47%
Saturated Fat 19g
96%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 83mg
28%
Sodium 70mg
3%
Total Carbohydrates 100g
33%
Dietary Fiber 4g
15%
Sugars 85g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
21%
Vitamin C
18%
Calcium
13%
Iron
7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/2 tablespoon rum
  4. 1 firm banana, halved
  5. 1/2 cup dark chocolate ice cream (vanilla would also be delicious)
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, combine 1 tablespoon butter, brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in rum and cook for 1 more minute. Keep hot.
  2. Heat remaining butter in a skillet. Place banana halves cut side down into the skillet. Cook until lightly browned.
  3. To serve, place banana halves in a bowl. Top with ice cream and the hot rum sauce.
Notes
  1. I made extra hot rum sauce for later ice cream indulgences. When I warmed up the hot rum sauce later, it cooled quite quickly on the ice cream and became more like caramel. Equally delicious, but a much different result from the initial serving of the sauce.
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
beta
calories
676
fat
31g
protein
4g
carbs
100g
more
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
Craving Sustenance http://www.cravingsustenance.com/

 

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3 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    What a great menu! Glad you didn’t burn down the new furniture šŸ˜‰

  2. Jeremy says:

    This looks great! Especially the soup. I’m going to make and freeze some vegetable stock this week and save it for a great soup recipe like that. Peppers should be at the market soon too. Can’t wait!
    JeremyEG
    HomeCookLocavore.com

  3. Coralie says:

    I made the bananas foster for six people. But I must admit, when tripling the recipe I got confused and put all of the butter into the sauce, then tried to double (again) the rest of the ingredients very imprecisely:) Nevertheless, I got complements on the sauce. Not bad!