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The Perfect Dinner Date at Home

This Valentine’s Day, Create a Romantic Cooking Experience With Help From Soul Child’s Victoria Murray

While going to a restaurant is luxurious, cooking as a couple can be a sensual experience, says Victoria Murray, owner of Soul Child, a holistic wellness program that incorporates nutritional cooking, meditation and yoga.

“Food is such an expression of love, and the kitchen is at the heart of the home. Cooking is a great way for couples to connect. You learn who is more off-the-cuff and who is by the book. I think it’s really cool that my boyfriend knows I like my steak medium-rare,” she says. 

Victoria, a California girl who now calls Jersey home, offers cooking classes both virtually and in homes and also cooks for small parties. Her tag line: Nourish your body; nurture your mind.

“What we put into our bodies mentally and physically affects us,” she says.

Her selected meal is an easy, classic play on surf and turf: New York strip steak and scallops, paired with asparagus and followed by a berry-topped chocolate mousse.

“The entrée is simultaneously hearty and light, with complementary flavors,” she says. “It’s elegant but easy to create.”

She advises people to be present as they cook. “Become immersed in the smells. Sample as you go,” she says. “Food just tastes better when you enjoy creating it.”

For the best flavor, Victoria recommends choosing a fatty cut of meat and the freshest seafood available. “Ask your local fishmonger about when the fish came in and where it came from,” she says. “I’m a stickler for wild-caught fish.”

Adding nutmeg and lemon to asparagus brings a bright citrus note to help cut through the richness of the other ingredients, she says. 

Simple chocolate mousse — light in texture, but decadent — topped with fresh berries finishes the meal. Victoria suggests serving a beverage with bubbles, such as a sparking Champagne or mineral water or Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé, to help cleanse your palate. “The bubbles make you want to come back for more,” she says.

Interested in cooking with Victoria or having her cook for you? Visit soulchild.life. She even has gift cards available, which make a great Valentine's Day gift for the one you love.

Simple & Romantic Perfectly Seared Steak With Scallops & Asparagus

2 10 –12 oz Boneless New York strip steaks, about 1 inch thick

Salt

Pepper 

3 tablespoons avocado oil 

1 large frying pan, cast iron is great here

Instant read thermometer

Remove steaks from the refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking, and season with salt and pepper. Place steaks apart from each other in the pan then turn on to high heat and let cook on both sides for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to flip meat and cook on either side for 2 minutes per side, you should hear a sizzle in the pan, if not, slightly turn up the heat. Once a crust develops, check the internal temperature of the steak,125° for medium-rare. Once the desired temperature is met, remove steak from the pan and let rest on the cutting board for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. 

Carefully wipe out the pan and use to prepare the asparagus.

1 bunch of asparagus, washed and dried, bottoms trimmed off about 1 ½ - 2 inches

1 tablespoon lemon juice, ½ lemon zested

1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

Micro plane for zesting  

In a skillet on medium heat add olive oil and butter, allow butter to melt then add asparagus and season with salt and pepper then add nutmeg. Toss asparagus in butter and oil and cook for about 5 minutes, asparagus will turn a vibrant green color. Finish asparagus with lemon juice and lemon zest and serve.

This same pan can be used to prepare the scallops.

4 to 6 sea scallops per person

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Salt

Pepper

Chives chopped finely

Place scallops on a paper towel-lined plate and pat dry, this will ensure a nice sear on scallops. Season with salt and pepper then turn over and pat dry other side before seasoning. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat then add butter. Place scallops in making sure not to overcrowd and let sear for 2 – 3 minutes before flipping to the other side. Sear an additional 3 minutes then remove from the pan. Top with chives and serve.

Chocolate Mousse with berries

1 cup of heavy cream

¼ cup heavy cream heated in the microwave for 1 minute

3 tablespoons of sugar 

2 oz of chocolate, either dark or milk chocolate, cut into small pieces

1 cup raspberries or strawberries

1 large bowl

1 small bowl 

Electric mixer

Spatula

2 small glasses

In a bowl combine 1 cup heavy cream with sugar and using an electric mixer, mix until stiff peaks form and whipped cream is made, set aside ½ cup of whipped cream to top off chocolate mousse. Then combine ¼ cup heated heavy cream to chocolate pieces and mix until smooth. Add Chocolate sauce to whipped cream and using a spatula gently fold the chocolate into the whipped cream until there are no white streaks. Place chocolate mousse into 2 glasses and let chill in the refrigerator. When ready to serve add berries and a dollop of whipped cream to the top.

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