Date Night Recipes

By McKenna Larson

Appetizer:

A charcuterie board is a fun and delicious customizable appetizer for you and your valentine to enjoy. Here are some recommendations for delicious boards that can be customized to any diet:

Cured meats like salamis, prosciutto, smoked salmon. This can be substituted for vegan meat alternatives like vegan chorizo or whatever your favorite is

Sharp cheeses like cheddar, blue cheese to add a kick

A soft cheese (or dairy free cheese spread) like Brie or goat cheese which can be mixed with sweet and savory components of the board 

A simple fruit like grapes, strawberries, apricot, or any dried fruits 

Crackers of any kind including gluten free or flavored, or nuts like pistachios, almonds, or walnuts to add a salty element that can be easily combined with the meat and cheese

Some kind of fruit or onion jam to add a sweet spread to the mix 

Something smooth and savory like olives, artichoke hearts, or even hummus 

The keys to a good charcuterie board are to find elements that taste good in different combinations with each other, to experiment with different flavors, and ultimately to create something everyone at the table can enjoy so have fun with it!

Entrée: 

For a vegan entrée, this black pepper tofu with asparagus from BonAppettit will make a warm and delicious date night meal.

Ingredients:

A block of firm tofu 

Tablespoon of whole black peppercorns (I love pepper so I would add more but it is up to you to adjust as you like)

2 cloves of garlic (again, add more if you really love garlic)

Peeled fresh ginger-abt 1 ½ size piece 

Salt to taste 

Tablespoon of cornstarch 

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound of fresh asparagus cut to about 2 inch pieces

1/3 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

Rice vinegar to taste

A cooked starch such as rice (white, brown, or wild), quinoa, couscous, or cooked potatoes based on your taste 

Directions:

Drain the tofu and wrap in a kitchen towel or paper towels. Place something heavy on top of the covered tofu like a skillet or a textbook to press out excess water. Let sit for at least 30 minutes 

While tofu sits prepare seasonings. Crush peppercorns and set aside in a bowl.  Finely grate garlic and ginger and Set aside in their own bowl

Cut the prepared tofu into cubes. Place in a bowl and coat with the cornstarch and salt 

Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the tofu and cook until all sides are golden brown, about 6 minutes

Once the tofu is cooked removed from the pan and set aside on a plate. Keep the pan on medium heat

Add the peppercorns to the pan and cook until fragrant. Add the asparagus to the same pan and stir often until they turn bright green. Next add the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute until fragrant 

Return the tofu to the pan and mix in with the asparagus

Add soy sauce and sugar to the pan. Cook on high to medium heat until the sauce thickens. 

Turn off the heat and add vinegar. Taste at this point and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar if needed

Put on a serving dish with the starch base of your choice and enjoy!

Original recipe: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/black-pepper-tofu-and-asparagus 

For meat lovers, a smooth and hearty chicken piccata. This is a fried chicken cutlet smothered in a buttery lemon and white wine sauce which is deceptively simple to make. This recipe is from Insanely Good Recipes. Enjoy alone or pair with a side of pasta, salad, rice, or potatoes—This chicken recipe goes well with nearly everything!

Ingredients:

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in half crosswise 

1 cup flour (gluten free if needed) 

Salt to taste

Ground black Pepper to taste

½ cup butter (salted or unsalted depending on preference)

¾ cup white wine (note, if you use cooking wine it can make the dish saltier. Also, all alcohol will get cooked off and is just to keep the dish moist and flavorful)

The juice from 1 lemon (for more lemon flavor add the zest as well)

Capers to taste (around one teaspoon if unsure)

Fresh parsley (garnish. Can be left off or substituted with a preferred herb)

Directions:

Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Coat each piece of chicken in the flour and set aside 

In a frying pan melt the butter on medium heat. Once melted, cook the chicken thoroughly on each side until no longer pink in the middle. About ten minutes total

Remove the cooked chicken and set aside between two plates to keep warm

In the pan the chicken was cooked in, combine white wine and lemon. Cook on low heat while stirring frequently until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes

Add capers and chicken to the pan and fully coat the chicken in the sauce 

Move chicken and all sauce into a serving dish. Garnish with herbs and enjoy!

Original recipe: https://insanelygoodrecipes.com/chicken-piccata/ 

Dessert: 

For a simple allergen free dessert,  Leanne your pallet with tart cherry and mint sorbet from Love and Lemons. This recipe is vegan, gluten free, and nut free.

Ingredients:

2 cups frozen tart cherries

½ cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons lemon juice 

¼ cup mint leaves

¼ cup coconut milk

¼ cup water

1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions: 

Combine all ingredients in a blender and slowly blend. Increase blender speed gradually until mixture is smooth

Taste and add more maple syrup, mint, or lemon as desired 

Enjoy now as a soft serve or put in the freezer until firm 

Original recipe: https://www.loveandlemons.com/tart-cherry-mint-sorbet/ 



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