This Valentine’s Day, Treat Yourself.

It’s happened. You’re showing all of the signs. You’ve been caught telling all your friends and family, “this one’s special…perfect for me, actually.” And just thinking about it causes your heart to race. You convinced yourself that you could easily spend every waking second in each other’s presence.  You got it bad. That’s right, you’re lovesick. And this is not just any kind of love bug. You’ve fallen for a Miller & Smith home. You would use any excuse to spend more time at home enjoying the open floorplan, the well-designed layout and the gourmet kitchen. Well, here’s the perfect date idea. This Valentine’s Day, spend the evening with the one you love and treat yourself to this special meal for two prepared lovingly in your very own Top Chef kitchen.

Double Stuffed Baked Shrimp:

Recipe Courtesy of Legal Seafoods Cookbook

Ingredients:

16 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 – 4 ounce package Ritz Crackers

4 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup chopped scallions, both white and green parts

½ cup diced celery

2 to 3 teaspoons minced garlic

1 to 2 tablespoons dry white wine

1/8 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 to 2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 large egg, beaten

8 ounces backfin crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the crackers in a plastic bag and crumble with a rolling pin. Put them in a large mixing and set aside. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat and cook the scallions, celery and garlic for 5 minutes or cooked through but still slightly translucent. Toss with the crackers. Stir in the wine, Old Bay, lemon juice, parsley and crabmeat. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in the egg. Place the shrimp in a large buttered cookie sheet. Cover each shrimp with about 3 tablespoons of the crabmeat. Dot the crabmeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake for 15 minutes or until the shrimp and crabmeat are cooked through. Serve immediately. 

 

Roasted Asparagus:

Recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten

Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh asparagus

Good olive oil

Kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Break off the tough ends of the asparagus and, if they’re thick, peel them. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, then toss to coat the asparagus completely. Spread the asparagus in a single layer and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 25 minutes, until tender but still crisp.  

 

Chocolate Pots de Crème:

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Ingredients:

9 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

6 large egg yolks

5 tablespoons granulated sugar (add an extra tablespoon if using bitter chocolate)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Place the chocolate in a blender. Whisk the milk, 1 cup cream, egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula and almost boiling, 5 to 6 minutes. 

Immediately pour the milk mixture over the chocolate in the blender. Cover and hold the lid with a thick kitchen towel; blend until combined and smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. Divide the chocolate mixture among ramekins or small cups and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

Whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream and the confectioners’ sugar with a mixer or in the blender until soft peaks form. Top the chilled pots de creme with whipped cream.

 

 

Party On. 2015 Is Your Year.

M&S_GalleryPark_JAN2015SV_5You just bought a new home. You know what that means, don’t you? The inevitable house party. Maybe that’s an intimidating thought for many homeowners, but not when you own a Miller & Smith home. Oh, no. These homes were designed with entertaining in mind. 

No matter what your home looks and lives like, the central meeting place in any abode is the kitchen. With a Miller & Smith Top Chef kitchen as your backdrop, you’re party is immediately off to a great start. With plenty of infinity island counter space and an open, airy floorplan, there’s ample room for a generous food spread and plenty of room for gathering and conversation. But if your goal in 2015 is to spend even more time entertaining family and friends in your new home, here are some tips for making your pad party perfect.

Plan Ahead. Make sure to create your “to do” list in advance including the menu, drinks and list of chores. When planning your menu, be sure not to choose foods that need to be heated right before serving to avoid being attached to the oven all night. 

Keep Your Home Neat & Tidy. Focus on the public areas of your house on the day of the party. Make sure to keep the powder room well stocked with hand towels, tissue, etc. If you’re using a bedroom as the makeshift coat closet, make sure it too is picked up and presentable. Any room that is off limits to guests can be signaled by keeping the doors closed and the lights off.

Make a “to-do” list for the main event. This is a quick an easy way to remember the timing for bringing out your food at the perfect temperature.

Sit Back, Relax and Let the guests help themselves. A dinner party is much more comfortable and fun to attend when it’s buffet style. People can mix and mingle on their own time. Also, keep bartending simple, and choose drinks that guests can pour or mix themselves.