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An elegant meal of scallops, risotto, and custard tart is presented on a table.

If you’d rather spend a cozy night at home than jostle for a seat at your favorite restaurant on a busy night, this Valentine’s Day menu is the perfect solution. These dishes are a step above your usual weeknight meal, but they’re not terribly elaborate or difficult to make. Add a starter salad of greens lightly drizzled with olive oil, shaved Parmesan, and a pinch of salt for a meal that’s truly worth celebrating.

Pan-Seared Scallops With Brown Butter and Lemon Sauce

Sea scallops with lemon are fanned out on a plate.

Makes two servings
Prep time: five minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbs. butter, divided
  • 1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10–12 jumbo scallops, about 1 lb.
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat a nonstick skillet coated with 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil to medium-high heat.
  2. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel and lightly salt both sides with about 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.
  3. Place scallops on the preheated skillet and allow to cook to a rich, golden brown color, about three to four minutes.
  4. Flip scallops and cook the other side until scallop is just opaque, about two minutes.
  5. Remove scallops from pan and set aside.
  6. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, stirring to remove anything stuck to the pan. Continue cooking butter, swirling the pan lightly to ensure even cooking, until it’s golden brown and smells nutty and toasty, about two to three minutes.
  7. Add lemon juice and remaining 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, whisking until combined. Spoon over scallops and serve hot.

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Oyster Mushroom Risotto

A plate of oyster-mushroom risotto

Makes two servings
Prep time: five minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 tbs. butter, divided
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 4 oz. oyster mushrooms
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbs. minced fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add vegetable stock to a small saucepan and heat to a simmer on medium heat, about three to four minutes. Then reduce heat to low to keep the stock hot.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons butter. Once butter is melted and hot, add shallots and oyster mushrooms. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender and shallots are translucent, about three to four minutes.
  3. Add rice and stir continuously until grains are coated in melted butter, about one minute.
  4. Add white wine and cook until wine is fully absorbed and evaporated, about two minutes.
  5. Add a ladle of the hot vegetable stock and allow liquid to absorb fully, stirring frequently. Repeat, adding one ladle of stock at a time until the stock is absorbed and rice is al dente, about 15 minutes.
  6. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and Parmesan. Salt to taste and portion onto two plates.
  7. Garnish with fresh parsley.

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Gluten-Free Ricotta Custard Tarts

Two tarts are presented topped with berries.

Makes two servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Crust:

  • 3 tbs. almond flour
  • 1 tsp. raw cane sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coconut oil, melted

Custard:

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup ricotta
  • 1 tbs. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh raspberries

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare crust by combining almond flour, cane sugar, and sea salt in a small bowl. Stir in melted coconut oil until combined.
  3. Divide in half and gently press mixture into two molds in a large, greased muffin tin or two small greased ramekins.
  4. Bake crust for five to six minutes, until light golden brown.
  5. While the crust bakes, make the custard. In a medium bowl, whisk egg until foamy. Add ricotta, honey, and lemon zest, and stir until combined.
  6. When the crust is lightly browned, divide custard mixture in half and pour a portion over each crust. Return to the oven to bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from muffin tin or ramekin by running a knife along the sides of the custard and turning upside down to release.
  8. Flip tarts right-side up to plate and serve topped with fresh raspberries.

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