We are coming back with an awesome show stopper of a post. Nicole and I are good friends with Brett Wilson, the author of Cooking With No Heat and we wanted to do something special for Valentines Day. Something that would wow the special someone with some effort and a decent cost. Nicole and I had such a great time with Brett to produce this menu and I would like to thank him and his family for allowing us to cook for them. Also, a special thanks to Brett for being the awesome photographer that he is and shooting these amazing photos. With that said, lets get into it.
Let’s start off with something bright and light. This salad was of Nicole’s design. As you all know Nicole has an affinity for all things vegetables, so we let her do the salad. She did a great job on this one and the only thing that is cooked is the beets (the recipe will follow). This is a fool proof method of cooking beets that we always go to. Its a basic formula that allows for an amazing amount of creativity. With the earthy beets we have juicy blood oranges, crisp fennel, peppery arugula, and creamy goat cheese all coming together in a delicious well-balanced salad.
We were cautious about putting a beet salad on the menu because they are in almost every restaurant. However in Nicole’s infinite wisdom, we decided to reverse the usual colors of red beets and regular oranges with golden beets and blood oranges. I don’t like to boast, but it’s a very pretty plate she did and it would definitely wow your lovely date. See recipe at the bottom of this post.
Check out this show stopper! Brett loves to do lamb so when we were faced to pick proteins for the entree we of course landed here. We found an amazing assortment of mushrooms from our farmers market to use in the side dish. He also showed us an interesting technique to cook rice called the Charleston Ice Cream. This technique is interesting because you treat the rice basically like pasta in that you boil the rice in a lot of water and then drain. The result: perfectly cooked single grain rice. I don’t know how it works but it does. The rice and the lamb are flavored with an assortment of Middle Eastern spices to go along withe the kale and mushroom mix, all topped with some pomegranate seeds to add a bit of bright sweet tartness to the dish.
I should also mention that Brett is a home cook and the food that he produces is amazing. I keep pushing him towards the culinary road but with no avail. He specializes in mostly raw applications of food particularly with seafood. Something that Nicole and I don’t ever do. Thus his blog Cooking with No Heat. I do admire him for this and it’s worth checking out. Check him out and the recipe for this lamb dish here.
This here was my idea to do a mousse. It’s a simple dish that you can do ahead. All it requires is eggs, sugar and heavy cream (plus of course, flavorings). So for the last course if you had done this the night or day before all you have to do is take it out and serve. The orange curd took some trouble shooting because we originally wrote it for lemons which have a stronger flavor. But that is an easy fix by adding more orange and a touch of salt. Nicole also helped with the mousse because there was a lot of whipping to be had. Mousse is more or less air forced into three ingredients which is easily done by a machine. However I started whipping not knowing there was a machine and it was just too far to turn back. Plus we look cool.
So after all the beautiful pictures, here are the recipes to recreate this. This pairs well with a nice dry red wine, but I’m a firm believer in drinking what you like. So grab your favorite bottle, a date, and get to it.
We hope you enjoy these dishes as much as we enjoyed creating them! Don’t forget to check out Brett at Cooking With No Heat!
Happy Cooking and Happy Valentines Day Everyone!