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Not going out? Make a Valentines at home special
Food-Valentines Day B Boae
Easy-to-make Valentine’s Day Bark can be sprinkled with various toppings.

Not planning to go out for Valentine’s Day? Time to start planning a special menu for a romantic night in.

This dish is warm and comforting, and rich with flavors that say "you’re special." It cooks up in a gratin dish, so you can assemble it ahead of time, then when you’re ready to eat, just pop it in the oven.

While the gratin bakes, assemble the salad and serve everything together with a crusty baguette.

Enjoy an easy-to-make dessert and skip the usual box of chocolates.

Simple, special and perfect for an evening in.

 

Crab and Hearts of Palm Gratin

Start to finish: 45 minutes

Servings: 2

14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained

14-ounce can hearts of palm, drained

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup grated fontina cheese

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

12 ounces lump crab meat

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Heat the oven to 375 F. Place 2 shallow individual-sized casserole or gratin dishes on a baking sheet.

Chop the artichoke hearts and hearts of palm into 1/2-inch pieces. In a medium bowl, gently stir together the artichokes and hearts of palm with the thyme, lemon zest, cream, fontina, white pepper and crab. Spoon the mixture into the gratin dishes.

In a small bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, paprika, salt and melted butter. Sprinkle over the gratins. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbling and golden.

While the gratins bake, make the salad.

 

Arugula and Cherry Salad

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon maple syrup

2 cups baby arugula

1/4 cup fresh or dried cherries

2 tablespoons toasted almonds (optional)

Sea salt and ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and maple syrup. Add the arugula, cherries and almonds and gently toss to coat. Serve topped with sea salt and black pepper.

 

Valentine’s Day Bark

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 12

1 pound dark, milk or white chocolate

Start by lining a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Have all your bark toppings ready before melting the chocolate.

If your chocolate is in bars or large, thick pieces, use a knife to carefully chop it up into small bits. Transfer the chocolate to a large glass measuring cup or bowl, then heat in the microwave on medium, stopping to stir every 20 to 30 seconds, until completely melted.

Pour the chocolate onto the prepared pan, then tap the pan on the counter to level the melted chocolate. Immediately sprinkle your choice of toppings over the surface of the chocolate. Allow to cool completely and set up, then break into pieces.

Topping suggestions:

Large-flake coconut, toasted sliced almonds, cocoa nibs

Chopped dried cherries, shelled pistachios, chopped chocolate wafer cookies, large flake sea salt

Honey roasted peanuts, chopped extra-crispy cooked bacon, ground black pepper

Crushed toffee pieces, toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped dried apricots

Chopped candied ginger, chopped macadamia nuts, toasted coconut

Broken salted pretzel sticks, cut up mini marshmallows, caramel popcorn

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