Expert Tips: Make A Romantic Dinner At Home

GREENSBORO, NC -- Time's up. It's Valentine's Day!

If you still haven't nailed down your plans, keep in mind, a special dinner at home can be just as thoughtful and romantic as taking your sweetie out to eat.

WFMY News 2's Lauren Melvin got a step-by-step menu from Chef Michael Harkenreader, of Undercurrent Restaurant. The meal is chock full of mood foods. Here are his recipes:

Appetizer - Oysters 2 Ways

Raw Oysters with a Strawberry Mignonette

6 ea. Raw Oysters Shucked

Strawberry Mignonette

¼ cup Strawberries, small dice

2 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar

2 Tbsp. Shallot, minced

1 tsp. Honey

1 tsp. Thyme

Salt and Pepper – to taste

– Combine all ingredients and check seasoning

Lusty Monk Roasted Oysters with Spinach and Bacon

6 ea. Oysters Shucked

3 ea. Garlic Cloves, minced

3 ea. Applewood Bacon Strips, small diced

2 cups Baby Spinach, chopped

1 Tbsp. Lusty Monk original Mustard

¼ cup Panko Bread Crumbs

Salt and Pepper – to taste

- Preheat oven to 450°F

- Cook the bacon until it is almost crisp. Strain off some of the extra bacon grease.

- Add garlic and sweat briefly. Then add the spinach. Once the spinach is wilted, remove the pan from the heat.

- Add the mustard and panko bread crumbs.

- Roast in 450 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the topping is browned. Serve hot.


Sautéed Shrimp, Capellini, Asparagus Tips, Pumpkin Seeds, Pomegranate Glaze, Avocado Salsa
½# Jumbo Shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tsp. Lusty Monk Mustard
½# Asparagus, cut on a bias
½# Capellini Pasta
¼ cup Pumpkin Seeds, roasted
¼ cup Pomegranate Molasses
4 Tbsp. Butter
½ cup White Wine
Salt and Pepper – to taste
Season the shrimp with oil, salt, pepper and mustard
- With a large sauté pan with medium heat add a 2 tablespoons of oil, a tablespoon butter and let them melt.
- Add the shrimp and the asparagus.
- Once the shrimp have a light sear on one side, turn them over.
- Then add the white wine and pasta, reduce by half.
- Add the pumpkin seeds and butter and stir continuously until the butter is melted.
- Plate the pasta in a bowl.
- Drizzle pomegranate glaze over pasta and around the plate
- Garnish with avocado salsa.

Avocado Salsa
1 ea. Avocado, medium dice
¼ cup Red Onion, small dice
3 ea. Tomatillo
1 ea. Orange zest and juice
1 ea. Lime zest and juice
¼ cup Cilantro, chopped
¼ cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper – to taste
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl and check seasoning.


Chocolate Dipped Strawberries and Bananas
- Melt chocolate over a double boiler.
- Clean the strawberries and slice the banana into bite sized pieces.
- Place strawberries and bananas over a wire rack. Drizzle chocolate over the fruit. Let cool. Apply a second layer if desired.
- Take the fruit out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving.

Chocolate-Chile Truffles
1 cup heavy Cream
1 Dried New Mexico Chile
10 oz. Dark Chocolate
½ tsp. Cinnamon.
Cocoa Powder or Chocolate for coating
- Remove the seeds and stem from the pepper.
- Add the cream and dried chile to a pot. Bring to a simmer then let steep for 20 minutes.
- Puree in blender then strain.
- Put the cinnamon and cream in the pot and bring to a simmer. Add the chocolate and remove from the heat. Stir the chocolate until it is smooth. If there are still lumps of chocolate that are not melted, warm it gently and keep stirring until it is smooth.
- Place the chocolate in a container and chill until it is firm.
- Once firm, roll into balls and coat with cocoa powder or melted chocolate.


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