Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. One of the best ways to reward your significant other for putting up with you is a home-cooked meal. While cooking can be time consuming, the extra effort will show your special someone that you care, and it will mean more than dropping big bucks at a local restaurant.
Here’s a sample meal with three courses – baby greens salad, risotto with mushrooms and chocolate chip cookies – that you can easily prepare in a college apartment. Prepare your ingredients, invest in a fat chunk of quality parmesan – not the cheap kind –ß and get your culinary weapons ready.
Baby Greens Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette
– 2 cups baby greens (we used a mix of
baby spinach and baby kale)
– 3 thick bacon strips, cut into small strips
– 1/3 cup almonds, roughly chopped
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (roasted
garlic variety is best)
– Parmesan shavings
– torn basil leaves
– salt and pepper
Fry bacon over medium heat until crispy and reserve rendered fat.
In a bowl, mix vinegar, oil and bacon fat.
Mix arugula with torn basil leaves and bacon bits.
Dress with bacon-fat vinaigrette and top with shaved parmesan and almonds.
– 1 pack of oyster mushrooms, torn
– 1 pack shiitake mushrooms, sliced
– 1 stick butter (garlic and herb butter is better, plain is still good)
– 1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus some shaved for garnish
– 4 cups chicken stock
– 1 cup water
– 2 shallots
– 1/4 cup Mascarpone
– Truffle oil (optional)
Bring the chicken stock and water to a boil.
In a separate pot, cook the shallots in butter until translucent, aromatic and tender.
Add the mushrooms and lightly brown them.
Add the rice, season with salt and pepper and stir. Cook without adding liquid for a minute or two.
One ladle at a time, add the stock and stir constantly. As the rice absorbs the stock, add more. Every couple of ladles, taste your rice for salt and tenderness.
Once you’ve used up all your stock and the rice is tender (should still be a touch soupy, if not add a bit more water), stir in the mascarpone and the parmesan.
Serve on a deep plate or shallow bowl, garnished with shaved Parmesan and truffle oil.
– 2 cups of chocolate chunks or chips (we
used Ghirardelli semi-sweet)
– 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus some to
– 2 eggs
– 3 cups flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 2
teaspoons hot water
– 1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
– 1 cup white sugar
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cream sugar and butter together until smooth using a hand mixer at medium speed.
Add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.
Add dissolved baking soda and vanilla extract.
With the mixer running on low speed, gradually incorporate flour.
Finally incorporate the chocolate chips until well-mixed.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and, using an ice-cream scooper, spoon the batter onto the sheet in portions that are two inches apart. Don’t press them down; the cookies will do that on their own as they bake.
Sprinkle with salt and bake 10 minutes until golden brown.