Monday, January 04, 2016

A Romantic Dinner for Two on Valentine’s Day

If your budget doesn’t extend to an evening out on Valentine’s Day, or you just enjoy cooking at home, I’ve got a lovely menu for you. This menu and the recipes that go with it, were in my local newspaper a few years ago around Valentine’s Day. I made the main course that year – easy and delicious. 

The recipes originated from Eric Akis, food writer at the Victoria Times Colonist. All the recipes are easy, my favorite kind!

Valentine Dinner for Two
Salad greens with apple, walnuts and brie
Sumptuous Seafood for Two
Roasted Asparagus
Deluxe Brownie Dessert

Salad Greens with Apple, Walnuts and Brie

15 ml. (1 T.) cider vinegar
45 ml. (3T.) extra virgin olive oil
5 ml. (1 tsp.)Dijon mustard
10 m. (2 tsp.) honey, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 litre (4 cups) baby salad greens, washed and dried
12 to 16 thin, half slices of red apple
30-45 ml. (2 – 3 T.) walnut pieces
75 g (2.6 oz. or ¾ c.) brie cheese, cut into small cubes

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Divide and mound the salad greens on 2 salad plates. Top with the apples, nuts and cheese. Drizzle with salad dressing and serve.

Sumptuous Seafood for Two

60 ml. (1/4 cup) white wine
30 ml. (2 T.) butter
15 ml. (1 T.) fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinches paprika, cayenne pepper and dried tarragon
1 100-115 g (3 ½ to 4 oz.) lobster tail, (thawed if frozen), split in half lengthwise
4 large scallops
4 large shrimp or prawns, peeled with tail portion intact
1 170 g (6 oz.) fish fillet, such as halibut, cod or salmon, cut in half
15 ml. (1 T.) chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 230 C. (450 F). Place the butter, wine, lemon juice, garlic, spices and tarragon in a small pot. Set over medium heat and heat 3 to 4 minutes, just until the butter is melted. Remove from heat.

Use a paper towel to pat and remove any excess moisture from the seafood. Arrange seafood, setting the lobster cut side up, in a single layer in a shallow-sided baking dish. Drizzle seafood with wine/butter mixture. Bake 11 to 13 minutes, or until the shellfish and fish are just cooked. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Note: When cooked, fish and shellfish should feel slightly firm, not hard, a sign you’ve overcooked it, and not soft, a sign it’s undercooked. When fish is cooked it will also slightly separate into flakes.

Roasted Asparagus

(The asparagus has the same cooking time as the seafood, so they can go into the oven together.)

12 – 14 asparagus spears, stems trimmed
22 ml. (l ½ T.) olive oil
15 ml. (1 T.) balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 230 C (450 F). Bring a wide skillet of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook 2 minutes, until bright green, but not quite cooked through. Drain well, cool asparagus in cold water, and then drain well again. Place the asparagus in a casserole dish just large enough to hold it in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Roast 11 to 13 minutes.

Deluxe Brownie Dessert

(This recipe uses store-bought brownies to save time. I suppose you could bake your own brownie if you wanted to, but wouldn’t you rather be spending time with your sweetie?)

8 small to medium fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries, sliced
15 ml. (1 T.) icing sugar
150 ml. (½ oz.) orange liqueur, or to taste (optional)
2 squares or wedges of brownie
2 scoops mango or other fruit sorbet
2 fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Place strawberries and icing sugar in a small bowl and toss to combine. Flavor with orange liqueur, if using. Divide and spread the strawberries on two dessert plates. Set a brownie on each plate and put a scoop of sorbet on top of each brownie. Garnish with mint, if using. 

Do you like cooking at home on romantic occasions or would you rather go out for dinner?

Chill Out
Candy Hearts Series
Jana Richards

Genre: contemporary romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date of Publication: January 4, 2016


ISBN: 978-1-5092-0370-3

Number of pages: 90
Word Count: 20,000

Cover Artist: RJ Morris

Book Description:

Renata Cabral needs to hide for the weekend. Her cousin’s Valentine’s Day wedding means she’ll face embarrassing questions from her large, extended family. Questions like “Why aren’t you married yet?”  Since the breakup of her last relationship, she’s not ready to answer that question. She invents a work-related excuse and escapes to a friend’s lakeside cottage.

Noah Brownlee has been hiding for two years. But now he’s ready to come home and mend his broken relationship with his brother. When a friend offers the use of his lakeside cottage, Noah arrives in the middle of a blizzard with his English Mastiff, only to find the place is already occupied. With her big brown eyes and quirky sense of humor, Renata stirs feelings he thought long dead.

As the blizzard rages, the candy hearts predict love. Can Valentine’s Day work its magic between them?

This is part of a multi-author series of novellas The Wild Rose Press has put together for Valentine’s Day- all can be read as standalone titles

Amazon US    Amazon UK    Amazon CA    Kobo    Chapters/Indigo  

Bookstrand    The Wild Rose Press     Kobo    BN    ARe

Indigo-The inspiration for Spike 
Excerpt 1:

The bedroom door swung open and Renata stood in the opening wearing a short robe that revealed her lovely legs. A light floral fragrance drifted to his nose—he envisioned a field of flowers. Spike brushed past her and entered the room.
“Oh! I didn’t realize you were with Spike.”
“I’m sorry. When he gets a notion, he’s pretty hard to stop. I’ll get him out.”
“No, that’s okay. I don’t mind having him in my room. Besides, I doubt you could make him leave if he doesn’t want to.”
She was probably right. “You’re sure? He snores something awful. And did I mention the drool?”
She smiled. “Yes, I discovered the delights of sleeping with Spike last night. But I have to admit, I kind of like having the big lug around.”
“You’re sure you don’t mind?”
“I’m sure.” She took a step backward into her room, holding the door between them. “I should get some sleep.”
She hesitated, as if waiting for him to speak. For a moment he thought she was going to invite him into her room. But then she swallowed and lowered her gaze.
“Goodnight, Noah. Sleep well.”
She quietly closed the door. Noah’s heart beat frantically as he stood outside. He wanted her in a way he hadn’t felt in a very long time, a deep primal urge, an overwhelming desire. Should he knock, ask to come in, ask to spend the night with her? Should he throw caution to the wind and let her know how he felt?
He raised his hand, ready to knock. What if he’d misread the way she’d responded to his kiss? Were his feelings for her simply a product of their isolation together? If she made love with him tonight, would she later regret it?

Fear slapped him in the gut. He couldn’t face another rejection. He let his hand drop to his side and walked to his room.

About the Author:

When Jana Richards read her first romance novel, she immediately knew two things: she had to commit the stories running through her head to paper, and they had to end with a happily ever after. She also knew she’d found what she was meant to do. Since then she’s never met a romance genre she didn’t like. She writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical romance set in World War Two, in lengths ranging from short story to full length novel. Just for fun, she throws in generous helpings of humor, and the occasional dash of the paranormal. Her paranormal romantic suspense “Seeing Things” was a 2008 EPPIE finalist.

In her life away from writing, Jana is an accountant/admin assistant, a mother to two grown daughters, and a wife to her husband Warren. She enjoys golf, yoga, movies, concerts, travel and reading, not necessarily in that order. She and her husband live in Western Canada with their Pug/Terrier cross Lou and several unnamed goldfish.

She loves to hear from readers.  Connect online at:

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Jana Richards said...

Thanks for having me on your blog today! By the way, the picture of the dog above is named Indigo, and she was the inspiration for Spike, the English Mastiff in CHILL OUT. Indigo comes to work most days with her human companion Michelle, and enjoys visiting with the rest of the staff at my office!

Unknown said...

AWESOME giveaway!!!! Thank you for the chance. I love meeting new authors and you are a new author to me. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!