Valentine’s Dinner Menu

My last post detailed how i set the scene for a romantic Valentine’s dinner…now onto the menu. In thinking what i wanted to prepare, the famously Spanish “paella” kept coming to mind. I’ve never made it, but have been intrigued by the flavors, the colors and the plethora of different ingredients that could be used. I also liked the idea of making a one dish dinner!

I looked long and hard for a paella recipe that appealed to me…and found one by Jamie Oliver that not only looked divine, but had fantastic reviews…so here’s my take on paella:

Fresh clams and mussels, scrubbed clean and left to soak in salt water (to get rid of any extra grit)

Sauteed chicken... be prepared to use multiple saute pans for this dish!

Sauteed chorizo sausage and pancetta...these were a standout, flavor-wise,  in the dish!

Infusing the chicken broth with the saffron... yes, saffron is quite expensive, but the flavor and color that it imparts are hard to duplicate. The smoked paprika is also essential in paella.

Specific varieties of paella rice can be difficult to find, but after researching it, many suggested using Arborio rice. i think it worked great! And can be found at most any grocery store

The finished product!! Scott is a protein lover, so i chose to add chicken, chorizo sausage, pancetta, clams, mussels, scallops and prawns. Paella ready to serve is a beautiful dish!

Served with fresh sourdough and a rosemary olive oil, the paella doesn’t require any other sides…this is a full, robust and flavorful meal! We also paired a Spanish wine with the was recommended by a friend, Debra, a number of years ago and we love it! Menguante, a dry Spanish red.

For dessert, i had to get creative….Scott is not a “sweets” guy, but, really, you can’t have a Valentine’s meal without chocolate, can you? I decided to do a take on s’mores…indoor, of course!

The S’more elements: freshly baked Peanut Butter Cookies, bittersweet chocolate, marshmallows and caramel sauce. Easy, yes?

I plated the warm cookies, bittersweet chocolate shavings, marshmallows and warmed caramel sauce..

For fire?? Had to become resourceful and used the bottom of my fondue pot!

Messy, but delicious!

The kids couldn't help themselves...a pretty yummy bedtime snack!

We had a simply wonderful evening…far more enjoyable than a fancy night on the town. A dinner with food made from the heart and wonderful company is a treasure! And we decided, it’s good for our kids to see their mom and dad taking time to be with one another…though there were many giggles and random flashing lights (as they tried to sneak pictures), i think they were secretly delighted.  I can’t wait to see some of your ideas and pics!! Do share..