Valentine's Day is a holiday where we prepare many dinners for two. But, nothing can be more romantic or more fun than preparing that Valentine dinner together.
And, when doing so, add some of those aphrodisiac herbs, spices and oils that make it that much better. It is a simple and effective use of fresh herbs that can liven up more than just your cooking. From lavender and saffron to basil and rosemary, fresh herbs have long been known for their ability to arouse and electrify the senses. Sweet spices such as vanilla, cloves, cardamom, ginger and cinnamon have mystic effects.
Incorporate nuts such as almonds as we have in our Rack of Lamb recipe with almond, mint & pesto crust. To end the evening, do incorporate honey and chocolate, which are known to awaken and arouse and add that “wow” factor.
Lamb Chop with Toasted Almond Mint Pesto Crust
1/4 cup slivered almonds (about 1 ounce)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 ounce)
1 large garlic clove
1/3–1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
26 lamb chops
Finely chop toasted almonds, cheese and garlic in processor. Add 1/3 cup oil and process to form paste. Add mint and basil and process until well blended and smooth. Mix in more oil if necessary to loosen mixture. Season pesto with salt and pepper.
Arrange lamb chops in single layer on baking sheet. Lightly brush lamb with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Top pesto with 1/4-inch-thick layer of olive oil. Cover pesto and lamb separately and refrigerate. Spoon off oil from top of pesto before serving.) Broil lamb just until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to platter. Serve with pesto.
If you'd rather have someone else do the cooking, here is Cuisine Unlimited's Valentine's Day menu. The deadline to order is Feb. 12 by noon:
Cupid’s Dinner, $33.00 per person
Wild berry and flower salad served with Champagne vinaigrette
Ciabatta rolls with sweet butter
Rack of lamb with almond pesto crust or pepper-encrusted beef tenderloin, herb-roasted fingerling potatoes, spring asparagus bundles with orange ties
Long-stemmed chocolate dipped strawberries
Hearts & Roses Dinner, $26.75 per person
Red and white stripped beet salad served with Cara Cara oranges and burrata cheese drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette
Petite rolls with herb butter
Chicken Wellington with lemon beurre blanc, almond rice pilaf, baby spring vegetables
Chocolate Diva Cake with fresh raspberries and raspberry coulis
Forget Me Not, $26.75 per person
Vegetarian and gluten-free option
Mandarin green salad with toasted almonds and jicama hearts served with orange vinaigrette
Portobello mushroom torte topped with fried spinach, herbed mashed parsnips, medley of spring vegetables
Chocolate flourless torte with fresh raspberries and raspberry coulis