2016-02-12 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Time to plan that romantic dinner for two
By Connie Wendell Special to the Post

Valentine’s Day is just about here and it’s time for cards, flowers, candy and dinner for two. I have included some recipes that fit the bill for easy to prepare and delicious for you and your valentine. Enjoy.

Marinated shrimp scampi

2 tablespoons olive oil; 2 tablespoons dry white wine; 2 cloves garlic, minced; 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel; 1/8 teaspoon salt; 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper; 1 pound fresh or frozen extra-jumbo shrimp in shells (32-40); 1 tablespoon fresh parsley; and lemon wedges.

For marinade, in a small bowl combine olive oil, wine, garlic, lemon peel, salt and red crushed pepper.

Thaw shrimp if frozen.

Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact. Rinse shrimp; pat dry with paper towels. Place shrimp in a large resalable plastic bag set in a shallow bowl. Pour marinade over shrimp. Seal bag; turn to coat shrimp. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat broiler. Remove shrimp from marinade, reserving marinade. Arrange shrimp on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for 2 minutes. Turn shrimp over and brush with reserved marinade; discard any remaining marinade. Broil for 2 to 4 minutes more or until shrimp are opaque.

Place shrimp on a serving platter, sprinkle with parsley. Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves two.

Pan seared tenderloin
steak with sauce

2 beef tenderloin steaks, cut about ¾ inch thick; 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter; 1/3 cup dry red wine or apple juice; ¼ cup reduced-sodium beef broth; 1 clove garlic, minced; 1 tablespoon whipping cream; salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter, reduce heat to medium. Cook steaks about 3 minutes per side or until medium rare. Transfer steaks to a platter. Cover with foil; let stand for 5 minutes while preparing sauce.

Drain fat from skillet. Add wine, beef broth and garlic to the hot skillet. Using a whisk, stir and scrape up any browned bits in the bottom of the skillet. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Reduce heat to medium low.

Stir in cream; stir in remaining 4 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until butter is melted and sauce has thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sauce over steak.

Serves two.

Mediterranean Tabbouleh
salad with chicken

¾ cup water; ¼ bulgur; ½ cup chopped tomatoes (1 medium); ½ cup finely chopped seeded cucumber; ½ cup finely chopped Italian parsley; 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions (1); 2 tablespoons snipped fresh mint or 1 teaspoon dried mint, crushed; 3 tablespoons lemon juice; 2 tablespoons olive oil; ¼ teaspoon salt; teaspoon ground black pepper; 4 large leaves romaine, Bibb or Boston lettuce; and 6 ounces grilled or broiled skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, sliced.

In a large bowl combine the water and bulgur. Let stand for 30 minutes. Drain bulgur through a fine sieve, using a large spoon to press out excess water. Return bulgur to bowl. Stir in tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, scallions and mint.

For dressing, in a screw top jar combine lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Cover and shake well. Pour dressing over bulgur mixture. Toss lightly to coat. Cover and chill for four to 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serve lettuce leaves with bulgur mixture and cooked chicken.

Serves two.

Enjoy your dinner for two and until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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