Valentine’s broiled lobster tails

Valentine’s broiled lobster tails

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I am back and up! Humm, actually not really… Got home after our wonderful winter get away, happy to see our gang (dog, cat and daughter, no wait… daughter, dog and cat) and get back to cooking and blogging right away but got under the weather. It seems my body was holding on, fighting the flu, that everybody has had already, to enjoy the holidays and eventually it gave up. But I am lucky enough to have had lots of natural vitamin D. Today, in a snow storm day coming our way, cozy and warm at home, some TLC and my immune system is working in full speed, the worst has passed.

January is gone and now it is almost Valentine’s! No kidding, hearts and pink and red stuff everywhere! I love change and this cycle of Christmas, Boxing Day sales, Valentine’s is so predictable… Anyway I am all for celebrating our partnerships in a special way and sharing good food with the one you share your life with is an act of love, one amongst many others.

If your thing is to celebrate Valentine’s day at home avoiding the crowded restaurants, this is the perfect dinner for you. I find it “perfect” because it beats all requirement for healthy, romantic and tasty! Splurge with the lobster dish and it will be still cheaper and way better – hopefully- than going to a fancy restaurant, which is the only way to enjoy a perfectly cooked lobster tail. Set up a nice table, candles on, little flowers in the center, some wine and Chocolate dipped strawberry and apples bites for dessert and you are ready!
In these dinners my husband is normally the cook for the meat dish and I make dessert and the side dish or salad. Fun starts way ahead, planning, shopping and cooking together.

The original recipe is from All recipes Canada and we didn’t make any change to it, worked perfectly!

The side dish you see in the background is my ever favorite Crunchy veggie mousse that took our special meal to a heavenly level!

Broiled lobster tails

2 servings (you can see we more than doubled it)

2 whole lobster tails
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
salt to taste
ground white pepper, to taste
1 lemon – cut into wedges, for garnish

Preheat the broiler.
Place lobster tails on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife or kitchen shears, carefully cut top side of lobster shells lengthwise. Pull apart shells slightly, and season meat with equal amounts of butter, paprika, salt, and white pepper.
Broil lobster tails until lightly browned and lobster meat is opaque, about 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges to server.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

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Check out another idea for a special dinner:

Cajun sea food vol au vent

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Chicken pot pie with a puffy crust

Chicken pot pie with a puffy crust

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This is the best puffy crust chicken pot pie ever!
I got this recipe many years ago from the Food Network, they said it was provided by professional chefs and had been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. They hadn’t tested it nor mentioned any credits. I’ve been improving it over the years and now I can say that I can’t be humble about this recipe. It is really one of my best ones, pure comfort, real homy meal, a winner!
Really, who doesn’t like a steaming chicken pot pie with a crispy crust, creamy filling, fresh from the oven? Designed for winter and fall, for family getting together or for a romantic dinner with wine and a candle.
It feels so great when you cook something that everybody enjoys and that you have mastered over the years! It is not a diabetes friendly dish with the puff pastry, although it has not been too bad for my husband’s sugars and we have it here as a treat, once in a blue moon. But it is so worth it!

Be sure to follow the instructions for baking the packed puff pastry. I actually buy mine, as a “no name type” in my grocery store and it doesn’t come with any instruction, so I will share my own way of baking it just in case.

So, here it is, I am so happy to share it and hope you enjoy as much as we do!

6 individual pot pies

Ingredients for poaching the chicken breasts:
1 lb boneless chicken breast in halves
3 1/2 cups hearty chicken stock or broth
2 chicken bouillon
1 celery stalk in 2 pieces
1 large carrot diced
1 medium onion cut in half

Ingredients for the pie

1 lb poached chicken breasts diced in big chuncks
2 tbs butter
1 1/2 cup carrots, diced
1 cup onions, diced
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, quartered
1 cup broccoli cut in little florets
3/4 cup green sweet peas frozen
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp white pepper or 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, warmed ( or 1 can Carnation thick cream)
Store bought puff pastry unfrozen but kept in the fridge up to the time of use
1 egg white

Start by poaching the chicken:
In a medium saucepan bring the water and all the other ingredients to a boil. Add chicken, reducing heat to a simmer and poach until just cook through, about 10 min. With a slotted spoon remove chicken and set it aside. Keep the broth for the filling.

Pre heat oven to 375F. In a large sauce pot melt the butter over medium heat and then add onions, carrots and celery and sauté for 2 min. Add mushrooms and continue to cook until onions are about transparent, being careful no to brown. Add flour and gently mix well. Cook this mixture over low heat for 6 to 8 min, stirring gently so as not break up the vegetables. Keep scraping the bottom of the pan often with a wooden spoon, so that the roux doesn’t burn. Don’t worry with the scrapes, it will soon make up for a beautiful creamy sauce.
Increase the heat and add the chicken stock in 3 additions, whisking well after each to avoid lumps and returning to brief simmer each time.

Add bay leaf, salt and pepper and cook over low heat for about 10 more min. Add poached chicken and cream and stir well. Divide the filling into 6 individual ovenproof bowls.
Open the puff pastry on a floured surface (not much flour, just enough to not stick to the surface) 1/8 “.
Top with the puff pastry, making sure it overlaps on the edges. I normally wet the edges with some white wash to make sure the pastry stays in place. Do not let the pastry touch the filling, you need to allow some space for the hot air do its magic of puffing it up.
Brush dough with the white wash (egg white whisked with a bit of water) for a nice golden result.
Bake it for approximately 25 min, until golden brown on top.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by.

Other recipes with chicken:

Healthy pineapple and curry chicken
Oven baked chicken light meat balls
Coconut breaded oven baked chicken breasts

Cajun sea food vol-au-vents

Cajun sea food vol-au-vents

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Who can resist to sea food vol au vents? The crisp and delicate pastry immersed in this beautiful wine sauce? Not talking about how elegant it is and the nicest impact for your guests if you are preparing it for company.

In our case, for this recipe, my husband was the cook. Puff pastry recipes are one of our favorites, let alone adding sea food in a wine sauce. I took the pictures and of course cleaned the kitchen, but he was who has put the recipe together and prepared it for us.

We didn’t have it as an appetizer but as the main dish. It was amazing! And on a Monday, oh the joys of being retired!

He used the frozen puff pastry for vol-au-vents and baked according with the instructions, which can be done ahead of time. Actually the sauce also can be made ahead of time. Heat the sauce up and then add the unthawed pre cooked shrimp, just enough to be heated. Be careful to not over cook it.

Here is the recipe for 6 portions:

6 puff pastry frozen vol au vent* baked according with the package instructions
3/4 lb small scallops
1 lb pre-cooked shrimp, medium size
small can of crab meat
3/4 lb. of small scallops
1 lb. of pre-cooked shrimp, medium size.

For the sauce:
2 tbs butter
4 tbs flour
1 cup fish stock
1 cup cream 18%
1/2 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dry tarragon
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cajun spice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Make sure to bake the vol au vents before you start making the sauce. They will be served at room temperature with the hot seafood on top.
Melt the butter and add the flour stirring well. Add the fish stock, wine and all spices.
Do not bring the sauce to a boil. Add uncooked scallops to sauce and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. You can add the shrimp at the same time if they are frozen or, if thawed, add just before serving, allowing them to simmer for 2 minutes to get hot but not overcook.

Arrange the vol au vents in individual dishes and pour the sauce on top. Serve immediately.

written by Raquel Boyes

A “wow” entrée ready in less than 20 min! veal chops in reduced balsamic

A “wow” entrée ready in less than 20 min! veal chops in reduced balsamic

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Veal chops in reduced balsamic

It is so nice when you’re running out of time to cook dinner and find something in your freezer that turns out to be a great inspiration. All of a sudden your normal and plain meal becomes a fancy dinner. Better yet, you have it ready in less than 20 minutes! And hardly any mess in the kitchen.

It is summer, we tend to eat less on a hot day like today. I just added a salad (arugula and cherry tomatoes) to the veal chops. It was plenty and sooo tasty! The chops were tender, had a beautiful caramelized color and the reduced balsamic brought a sweet and tangy flavor to it.
It is a simple recipe that can turn into a beautiful entrée for a sophisticated dinner.

Veal chops in reduced balsamic

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sugar
2 tsp crushed peppercorns
1/3 cup beef stock
4 veal rib chops, trimmed of fat

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the balsamic and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced to 3 tbs about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the beef stock and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and peppercorns. Press the sugar mixture onto one side of each veal chop.
Heat a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add the chops, sugar sides down, and cook until caramelized underneath, about 3 minutes. Turn the chops and continue cooking until the meat is just springy when pressed with a finger for medium-rare, 2 to 3 minutes more, or until done to your liking.

Transfer the chops to a warmed platter. Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the reduced vinegar mixture and deglaze the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced to 3 tbs about 3 minutes.

Streak 4 warmed individual plates with the reduced sauce and arrange each with a veal chop.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!