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Valentine's Dinner at Home

A Charming Little Eatery Just Around the Corner From the Living Room

Salmon and Avocado Tartare on Cucumber

Makes 16-18


3/4 cup (1/4) inch cubes fresh skinless salmon fillet

4 tsp mayo

1 tbsp fresh dill plus some for garnish

1 tbsp prepared white horseradish

2 tsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp grated lime peel

1/2 large avocado, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

16-18 diagonal thin slices unpeeled cucumber.


Mix salmon, mayonnaise, chopped dill, horseradish, lime juice and lime peel in medium bowl. Fold in avocado. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill, 30 minutes to an hour. Spoon salmon mixture onto each cucumber slice. Garnish with dill sprigs.

Roasted Pancetta-Topped Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushrooms 

Makes 6 servings


Beef: 2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp thyme, chopped

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1 large shallot 

2 1/4 lb. beef tenderloin roast 

2  3-ounce packages thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon).


12 oz. Oyster mushrooms

12 oz. Shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and halved 

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup chopped shallots

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 tbsp fresh rosemary.

3/4 cup beef broth

3 tbsp brandy 

1 tbsp chilled butter 


Beef: Mix garlic, thyme, rosemary and shallot in a small bowl. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Rub herb mixture over meat. Place beef in roasting pan. Overlap pancetta slices atop beef to cover. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Mushrooms: Mix mushrooms, oil, shallots, garlic and herbs in large bowl.               

Preheat oven to 450F. Roast beef 15 minutes. Arrange mushroom mixture in pan around beef, roast 15 minutes. Stir mushrooms and continue to cook until thermometer inserted into beef from top center registers 125F to 130F for medium rare, about 10 minutes. Transfer beef to platter; surround with mushroom mixture. Let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place roasting pan between two burners. Add broth and brandy. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Remove from the heat. Whisk in cold butter. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve with beef.

Apple and Dried- Cherry Galette with Rich Caramel Sauce                   Makes 6 servings



1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 

3 tbsp ice water

Apple Filling:

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 1/2 - 1 3/4 lbs tart green apples, peeled, cored, each into 8 wedges 

5 tbsp sugar, divided

1/3 cup dried tart cherries or cranberries               

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

chilled créme fraîche (or sour cream)

caramel sauce (see recipe below)


Crust: Blend flour and salt in processor. Add butter, using on/off turns, cut in until coarse meal forms. Add 3 tbsp ice water. Blend until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather into ball then flatten into disc. Wrap and chill at least 30 minutes.

Apple Filling: Melt butter in non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add apples and sprinkle with  3 tbsp sugar. Sauté until apples are golden and beginning to soften, about 20 minutes. Stir in cherries and cinnamon. Cool.

Preheat oven to 375F. Roll out dough on lightly floured parchment paper to 12-inch round. Transfer parchment with dough to rimless baking sheet. Arrange apple filling in center 6 inches of dough, leaving 3-inch plain border. Fold border over filling, pleating gently and pinching together any cracks in dough to seal. Sprinkle filling and dough border with 2 tbsp sugar.

Bake galette until crust is golden and apples are tender, about 40 minutes. Cool galette 15 minutes on sheet. Slide long knife under galette to loosen from parchment. Slide onto platter. Serve with créme fraîche (or sour cream) and caramel sauce.

Rich Caramel Sauce

Makes 2 cups


1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

3 tbsp unsalted butter

1 cup heavy whipping cream   


Stir sugar and water in large saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is dark amber. Swirl pan occasionally, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Whisk in butter. Gradually pour in cream (mixture will bubble up). Return pan to low heat and stir until sauce is smooth. Pour into bowl and allow sauce to cool to lukewarm.