3 Course Valentine's Day Menu

Caprese Salad with Balsamic, Shallot & Black Garlic Drizzle

8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
2 whole, ripe tomatoes
fresh basil leaves
olive oil
salt & pepper for seasoning
Bellisari's Balsamic, Shallot & Black Garlic Spread

Optional: Heart shaped cookie cutter

Slice fresh mozzarella cheese into thick slices. Slice tomatoes into thick slices.

Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to make the mozzarella slices into heart shapes.

Assemble tomatoes, basil leaves, and mozzarella slices on plate. Drizzle with olive oil and Bellisari's Balsamic, Shallot & Black Garlic Spread. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste.


Goat Cheese Ravioli with Roasted Pears, Chili-Garlic Roasted Broccoli, and Fillet in a Rosemary and Fennel Red Wine Sauce

Roasted Pears
Yield: 4 side dish servings

4 semi-ripe Bosc pears
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup of dry white wine like Riesling
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch sea salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Quarter and core the pears, then dust the cut sides of pears with powdered sugar. Melt butter in an oven-safe Dutch oven over moderately high heat. When the butter is melted, add pears, cut side down, to the butter and cook. Move the pears around so the cut sides become caramelized and browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Flip pears so that they are skin side up. Pour in the wine and drop in the star anise, cinnamon stick, and a small pinch of salt. Place the pan, uncovered into oven and roast until the pears are tender and the wine has reduced into a thin syrup, 15 to 20 minutes.

Balsamic Honey Glaze
Yield: 1 cup

2 1/4 cups balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon honey (optional)
Pinch of coarse salt

Bring vinegar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan; reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened and syrupy; about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in honey (if desired) and salt. Let cool completely before serving (glaze will thicken slightly as it cools).

Cook's Notes:
Glaze can be refrigerated in an airtight container, up to 1 week.

Goat Cheese Ravioli
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sliced basil leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped baby spinach leaves
8 ounces soft goat cheese
1 package wonton wrappers
1 bag of arugula

In a small skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the shallots and the garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the basil and spinach and cook just until wilted. Remove from the heat.

Stir in the goat cheese, season with salt and pepper and let cool. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a plain 1/2-inch tip or a plastic bowl.

Lay 4 or 5 wonton wrappers on a work surface; keep the rest covered with a damp towel. Lightly brush the edges of the wrappers with water. Spoon or pipe a scant teaspoon of the goat cheese mixture onto the center of each wrapper. Fold the wrappers to form triangles. Press out any air bubbles, then press the edges to seal.

Transfer the ravioli to a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap and repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling to make about 48 ravioli; layer them between sheets of plastic wrap.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the ravioli until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain the ravioli, gently shaking off the excess water.

In a large skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the ravioli, pears and fennel. Heat through and remove. Lay the ravioli on the plate, then the pear, roasted fennel, arugula and drizzle balsamic glaze for a garnish.

Cook’s Notes:
Tangy goat cheese brings out the vibrancy of a French rosé.

Chili-Garlic Roasted Broccoli
Yield: 4 servings

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, eyeball it
5 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend (recommended:Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick Grill Mates)
1 large head broccoli, cut into thin, long spears

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, chili powder and grill seasoning in the bottom of a large bowl and add the broccoli spears. Toss to coat broccoli evenly then transfer to a large nonstick baking sheet.

Roast the broccoli until ends are crisp and brown and stalks are tender, 17 to 20 minutes.

Filet in a Rosemary and Fennel Red Wine Sauce
Yields: 4 servings

1 lb uncooked fennel bulb(s)
4 filet mignons
2-3 tablespoons of butter
1¼ tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp extra-virgin, olive oil, divided
1 small red onion, chopped
1/4 cup (or 2 fl oz) red wine or white wine
 2 tsp minced garlic
14½ oz canned beef broth
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 415 degrees. Trim stalk from fennel. Quarter bulb lengthwise and then slice crosswise into small pieces; reserve fronds for garnish (you will have about 3 cups fennel).

Put filet on a plate and sprinkle with rosemary and salt and pepper. Place the butter in the cast iron skillet and sear the filet on med-high heat for two minutes. Immediately transfer to the preheated oven. I usually cook it for 5-6 minutes for medium rare.

In a separate skillet, over medium-high heat, heat remaining 2 tsp oil. Add fennel and onion; sauté until lightly browned and almost tender, about 7 minutes. Add wine and garlic; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring bottom of pan to scrape up browned bits, until most of wine has evaporated, about 1 minute.

In a small bowl, stir together broth with 1 tsp flour; stir into skillet. Add salt and pepper; increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 minute. Pour over slice filet and garnish with fronds.



Chocolate avocado mousse with bourbon soaked cherries
and fig whipped cream
Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Yields 2 servings
1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Small pinch of salt
2 tablespoons milk
Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh and put into a small blender or food processor. Add the agave or honey, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, and milk. Blend until very smooth. Taste and adjust for desired sweetness. 
Pour mixture into a beautiful mug and chill until ready. Serve with Fig whipped cream and chopped bourbon soaked cherries.
Bourbon Cherries
1 cup bourbon
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup (4 ounces) dried (no oil added) cherries
Bring bourbon and sugar to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan over low heat. (Watch carefully, since bourbon may ignite.) Simmer, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Pour bourbon syrup over cherries in a 12-ounce glass jar. Let stand overnight to macerate.
Fig Whipped Cream
Yields 4 servings
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Cup of Heavy Cream
Beat cream and sugar with and the tablespoon of Bellisari’s Blistered Jalapeno & Fig Spread with an electric mixer until it holds soft peaks.