Leap Year

Well, ladies, here it is—the day when the tables are turned and we females can pop the question or at least do the inviting to romance the men.  This calls for great celebration and drastic action.  If you were disappointed with Valentine’s Day—and your sweetie didn’t come through exactly—why not show him how it’s done?    This dinner is perfect and could easily be the exact prescription for a positively romantic evening for two.

A delicious meal and bound to set a romantic scene.  It may be a little fussy, but it might be worth it.  When he finishes off the last crumb of the red velvet cake, you can drop on one knee (or not) and pop the question.  He won’t be able to say no.

The menu:
Beef Wellington for Two
Hearts of Romaine salad with love apples (tomatoes), artichoke hearts and a dressing with just a hint of sweetness
Love knot rolls
Hazelnut topped asparagus
Heart-shaped red velvet cake with chocolate frosting

Beef Wellington for Two:

 1 lb fillet of beef
1 sheet puff pastry
chicken liver pate  (can purchase or make from scratch)
1 Tbsp melted butter

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Season beef with salt and pepper
Lightly flour a flat surface, and using a floured rolling pin, roll out the puff pastry to thin rectangle. Spread the pate on the pastry, set the beef in the middle, and wrap the beef totally within the pastry, cutting off any extra wrapping.

Place seam side down on foil covered baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Bake in oven until thermometer inserted into the beef reads at least 140 degrees (rare,) or 150 (med.) let sit 5-10 min.

For a romantic touch, cut heart shapes out of remaining pastry and place on top of the wrapped beef before it goes into the oven.

Hearts of Romaine Salad with Sweetness dressing
Arrange the inner leaves of crisp Romaine lettuce on a chilled salad plate.  Cut tomatoes through the stem into wedges that look like hearts.  Arrange them on the romaine.  Arrange drained marinated artichoke hearts on plates and drizzle with sweetness dressing

Sweetness dressing
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
½ chopped onion
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper.
1 cup salad oil

Blend in a blender until well chopped.  With blender running, pour oil through opening in blender cover very gradually until dressing is well emulsified.

Love Knot Rolls

 1 cup regular oats
½ cup honey
2 Tbsp. butter
1 ½ tsp. salt
2  cups boiling water
1 pkg dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
¼ cup flaxseed meal
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups white flour
Cooking spray
1 tsp. water
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. regular oats
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds

Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl and add 2 cups boiling water, stirring until well blended.  Cool.  Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water in small bowl; let stand 5 minutes.  Add yeast mixture to oats mixture; stir well.  Stir in flaxseed meal.  Measure flours and add all the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the white flour to oats mixture; stir until a soft dough forms.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining flour to prevent dough from sticking to hands.  Place dough in large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top.  Cover and let rise until double.  Divide dough in half; cut each half into 12 equal portions.  Shape each portion into an 8-inch rope.  Tie each rope into a single knot; tuck top end of rope under bottom edge of roll.  Place each roll on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Cover with plastic wrap coated with cooking spray; let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.  Preheat oven to 400.  Combine 1 tsp. water and egg in small bowl; brush egg mixture over rolls.  Combine oats, poppy seeds and sesame seeds; sprinkle evenly over rolls.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes until golden.  (Adapted from Cooking Light January/February 2008.

Hazelnut topped Asparagus

1 lb asparagus, trimmed
one third cups chopped hazelnuts, toasted in oven
one half cup sliced roasted red peppers
one half tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp butter

Bring lightly salted water to a boil in a sauce pan. Add the asparagus and cook about 2 or 3 min. drain.  In skillet, melt butter, add asparagus and remaining ingredients. Toss until heated through and arrange on a serving platter.

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