Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Salad and Veggies to Complete Your Valentine's Day Dinner!

Today's the big day!  An opportunity to show those you love just how much you care.  This delicious menu from start to finish is designed to touch their hearts in every way.  Packed with flavor, loaded with nutritional benefits from salad to dessert, this meal feels decadent, special and is likely to get you rave reviews!  So today I'm posting the final recipes to complete your meal and a photo of a final composed plate.  I hope you and your valentine enjoy every bite!

Since I suggested that you forego expensive floral table arrangements, here's a fantastic way to add a little, color, romance and whimsy to your dinner - edible flowers and globe carrots!

The salad is both delicious (after all who wouldn't appreciate a chocolate salad dressing) and so pretty that it will captivate your valentine from the first bite!  I've incorporated both chocolate and cayenne pepper in the salad to start the theme of this heart healthy meal.  There are a few components but each will only take a few moments to create, so you should be finished from start to finish in about 15 minutes!

Globe carrots are short, roundish carrots and when you slice them down the middle they turn into heart shaped little pops of color for your plate.  Combine their whimsical shape with a bit of easy caramelized tangerine juice and a tiny sprinkle of spices and cocoa and they become super simple glazed bits of heaven for your tastebuds!  You can start these in a skillet with an ovenproof handle and lid and allow them to finish in the oven along with your stuffed poblanos while you make the salad.  Things couldn't be easier!

Here is your finished composed plate!

Here are the recipes you will need to create your beautiful salad and yummy carrots . . .

Crunchy Cacao Coated Roasted Almonds

Crunchy almonds tossed in raw cacao powder or cocoa powder makes a very simple and delicious way to add an interesting twist to a salad or a dessert.  Filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber and tasty antioxidants, this is a wonderful little secret to add a bit of pizzazz with very little effort!

Yield – 1/3 cup

1/3 cup raw almonds
2 teaspoons raw cacao powder or cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread almonds on a small baking sheet and roast until the almonds are slightly puffed, about 5-6 minutes.

Using a small wire mesh colander sift cacao powder into a small bowl.  While almonds are quite hot, place a few at a time in the bowl, toss to coat, place in the nuts in the colander and tap to remove excess cacao powder.  Repeat until all almonds are coated.  Spread on baking sheet until cooled.

Store in an air tight glass jar.

Spicy Baked Goat Cheese Medallions
These little rounds of goat cheese are lightly dusted with cayenne or chipotle powder for a little kick, then baked to create a little “crust” on the exterior while leaving the interior soft and creamy.  However, if you want a crouton substitute you can bake them a bit longer.
Yield – 8 rounds

4 tablespoons fresh goat cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne or chipotle powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Divide goat cheese into 1 1/2 teaspoon rounds and flatten into a disc.  Dust with a sprinkle of chili powder and place on parchment paper.

Bake 5-7 minutes for soft medallions and 10-12 minutes for goat cheese “croutons”.  Slide parchment paper onto a rack to cool slightly.

Tangerine and Chocolate Salad

This salad of baby greens, tangerines, cacao dusted toasted almonds, tossed in a chocolate balsamic vinaigrette and garnished with chili dusted goat cheese "croutons" and edible flowers simply screams romance!  Every ingredient is delicious on its own, but when combined the flavors practically sing in harmony and will leave you wondering how anything that tastes this decadent could possibly be a powerhouse of nutrition!

Serves 2

3 cups baby greens
1 tangerine, peeled and separated into segments and seeded
3 tablespoons Chocolate Balsamic Vinaigrette
8 Spicy Baked Goat Cheese Medallions
1/4 cup Crunchy Cacao Coated Roasted Almonds
8-10 edible flowers

Cut half of the tangerine segments into bite sized pieces and place in a large salad bowl.  Chop half of the almonds and add to the bowl.  Break 4 medallions into pieces and place in the bowl.  Add baby greens and 2 tablespoons vinaigrette then toss to coat.

Divide between 2 chilled salad plates, place 2 whole medallions on top of the salad, tuck whole tangerine segments throughout, sprinkle flowers and whole almonds over salad.  Drizzle with remaining dressing and serve.

Tangerine Glazed Globe Carrots
These beautiful little carrots are naturally sweet heart shaped little cuties!  Steamed in the juice of a tangerine with just a sprinkle of spice makes these the perfect side dish for any Latin inspired dish in only 10 minutes!
Yield – 2 servings

3 tablespoons tangerine juice
1 tablespoon pH 9.5 ionized water
1 teaspoon butter or orange scented olive oil
1 teaspoon tangerine zest
1 large pinch sea salt
1 pinch Cuban Spice Blend
1 pinch coco powder
8 globe carrots cleaned and halved

Heat butter or oil in a small skillet with a tightly fitting cover, over medium heat.  Place carrots cut side up in the skillet then add remaining ingredients.  Cover and steam/sauté until carrots are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. 

Remove carrots to a heated plate or platter and continue to reduce sauce in pan until sauce is thick.  Drizzle over carrots and serve.

To plate your dish, start with a 1/4 cup Mole Sauce and run the back of a large spoon through it to spread it out.  Spoon 3/4 cup Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice along the sauce line.  Nestle the pepper into the rice, spoon a bit of extra sauce over the pepper.  Line one side of the plate with carrots and garnish with a few lime wedges and a dusting of cacao powder.

Now relax and enjoy your Valentine's Day dinner!

Dr. P

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