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:
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
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.
2 pounds fresh asparagus
Good olive oil
Kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling
Freshly ground black pepper
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:
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
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.