History of Valentine's Day
Although observed worldwide on February 14th, the history of Valentine’s Day is a mystery. A widely believed origin story is the legend of Saint Valentine, a priest who served under Emperor Claudius II during the third century of ancient Rome. The Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men whom he saw as potential soldiers. He feared that young married men were not as willing soldiers as single young men. Defiant, Saint Valentine continued to perform secret marriages for young couples in love. When Claudius discovered what Saint Valentine had been doing, he sentenced him to death. While awaiting his execution, Valentine fell in love with a young jailer's daughter. Prior to his death, Saint Valentine wrote this young woman a letter in which he signed "from your Valentine." Valentine was allegedly put to death on February 14th. Legend or not, this romantic story has been immortalized by the exchanging of cards and tokens of affection for centuries.
We at Bellisari’s feel the best gift is for your loved one’s appetite, and because of that we have created a romantic dinner for two that you both will enjoy and will not take much time to prepare.
The menu will consist of Bellisari’s Blue Cheese, Honey & Shallot Scalloped Potatoes with Asparagus, Braciole for two with Bellisari’s Calabrian & Sweet Tomato Fennel Spread, Candied Walnut and Pear Salad with Fig Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing.
CANDIED WALNUT & PEAR SALAD WITH FIG & LEMON POPPY SEED DRESSING
1 cup candied walnuts
1 small bag of baby spinach
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup gorgonzola cheese (or Feta)
1 large avocado
1 can of sliced pears
Lemon Fig Dressing:
1 Tbsp. Bellisari’s Blistered Jalapeno & Fig Spread
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
4 Tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. of onion powder
¼ tsp. of salt
3 Tbsp. of white sugar
½ Tbsp. of poppy seeds
Combine the Belllisari's Blistered Jalapeno & Fig Spread, mustard, lemon juice, onion powder, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse until completely smooth. Gradually add the vegetable oil and continue to pulse. Stir in the poppy seeds.
Wash and dry spinach and drain the pears. Add the candied walnuts and dried cranberries to the greens and pears and dice the avocado after removing the skin and pit. Toss all of the ingredients and cheese together with the dressing right before serving. If you need to make salad ahead wait until right before serving to put on dressing.
Adapted from a recipe from therecipecritc.com
BLUE CHEESE HONEY & SHALLOT SCALLOPED POTATOES WITH ASPARAGUS SPEARS
2 ½ pounds Russet potatoes
2 cups of al dente, small, chopped asparagus spears
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. ground rosemary
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
½ cup sour cream
1 cup cream
½ cup Bellisari’s Blue Cheese Honey & Shallot Spread
Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9"x13" glass baking dish. Peel and slice the potatoes into ¼ inch slices. Toss them in a large bowl with the salt, pepper and rosemary. In a small bowl, toss together the parmesan cheese and the Bellisari’s Blue Cheese, Honey & Shallot Spread. Layer half the potatoes in the buttered baking dish with one cup of the asparagus. Sprinkle with half the cheese mixture and top with remaining potatoes and asparagus.
In a bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients and pour over potatoes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture. Bake potatoes for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until browned and completely tender all the way through when poked with a knife. Serve immediately.
BRACIOLE WITH CALABRIAN & SWEET TOMATO FENNEL SPREAD
2 ¼ flank steak
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp. Italian parsley
1 jar Bellisari’s Calabrian & Sweet Tomato Fennel Spread
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. pepper
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup grated provolone cheese
1 cup of white wine
4 Tbsp. of olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Place the garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, parmesan, provolone in a medium bowl to blend. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.
Lay the flank steak flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the steak to cover the top evenly. Starting at 1 short end, roll up the steak to enclose the filling completely. Using butcher's twine, tie the steak roll to secure, creating the braciole. Sprinkle the braciole with salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the braciole and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in the Bellisari’s Calabrian and Sweet Tomato Fennel Spread. Cover partially with foil and bake until the meat is almost tender, turning the braciole and basting with the sauce every 30 minutes. After 1 hour, uncover and continue baking until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes longer. The total cooking time should be about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the braciole from the sauce. Using a large sharp knife, cut the braciole crosswise and diagonally into ½-inch-thick slices. Transfer the slices to plates. Spoon the sauce over the slices and serve.