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Valentine's Recipes from The Art Institutes

Image: couple dinner Strawberries Romanoff with Orange Dust from Chef Frank Lima, The New York Restaurant School

Hull one pint of strawberries; wash and pat dry. Whip one pint of cream to stiff peaks. While cream is at the soft peak stage, gradually add 1/4 cup superfine sugar and one teaspoon vanilla extract and whip until stiff peaks form. Keep on ice or well chilled. Before serving, fold 2 teaspoons of Grand Marnier into whipped cream. Place 4 to 6 strawberries in a glass bowl, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with orange dust.

Orange Dust
With a sharp vegetable peeler, peel the zest of two bright oranges. Slice the zest into 1/8-inch sticks (julienne). Place the julienned zest in a two-quart saucepan with 1/4cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil and then simmer, 20 minutes or until tender. Remove zest with a fork and place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment. Roll zest in one cup sugar until cool. Do not remove from sheet pan and place in a 250-degree oven until sugar crystallizes. Remove from oven; let cool. Place crystallized zest in a food processor with one cup sugar. Pulverize. Store in dry container.

All recipes that follow are from Chefs Peter and Pamela Babcock, The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale

Cream of Carrot Soup with Ginger
3 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
4 ounces whole butter
4 teaspoons of sugar
1/2 cup rice, jasmine or basmati preferred
2 1/2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
2 teaspoons fresh ginger
1 cup heavy cream, scalded

Cook the carrots with butter, sugar and rice over medium heat until carrots begin to soften. Add broth and bring to a simmer. When rice is tender, add the fresh ginger and let simmer five more minutes. Puree the solids using a food mill, hand blender or food processor. Whisk the hot cream into the soup, and bring the soup back to a simmer. Keep the soup hot in a bain marie, covered with a lid. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, julienne of candied ginger and carrot.

Mixed Baby Greens with Poached pears and Stilton Crostini
4 pears (your choice), peeled and halved
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup burgundy
1 cup port (ruby)
1/2 pound brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cloves
1 star anise
3 white peppercorns

Bring liquid to a boil. Add pears and simmer gently, covered, until tender. Let cool in liquid. Pour into clean container. Cut long and thin from stem to blossom. Press down onto plate to fan out.

Stilton Crostini
1/2 cup stilton, room temperature (any bleu cheese is okay)
2 tablespoons soft sweet butter

Combine these two ingredients until spreadable. Spread on thinly sliced and toasted French bread. Serves two with salad.

Broiled Salmon Steaks with Chardonnay Sauce
Salmon Steaks Salt, pepper, lemon juice, all to season the fish
Enough olive oil to brush on the fish before broiling

Preheat the broiler. Season the fish with fresh lemon juice (just a little squeeze for each filet), then sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Place fish onto broiler pan. Brush lightly with olive oil and place under broiler until fish is golden brown and cooked through (about six minutes each side). Serve with fresh vegetables (asparagus or broccoli) and a rice pilaf or couscous.

Chardonnay Sauce
1/2 cup chardonnay
2 shallots, finely minced
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 pound soft whole butter

Reduce wine, shallots and vinegar by half. Add in cream and reduce by 1/2 again. Mixture should be rather thick. Let cool slightly. Using a whisk, add the soft butter so that it incorporates. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with a little lemon zest and some snipped chives.

Banana Pineapple Strudel
4 sheets phyllo dough
melted butter
cinnamon sugar
bread crumbs (plain)
4 bananas
3 oz. chopped pineapple

Place first sheet of phyllo on work surface. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Place second layer of phyllo on top, brush with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Pat down. Follow same procedure for third and fourth layers. Sprinkle bread crumbs and cinnamon sugar on the end quarter of the dough sheets. Place bananas on top. Arrange chopped pineapples in between spaces. Dust with more bread crumbs and sugar. Roll the strudel as tightly as you can, making sure to fold in the edges. Brush outside with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Score into eighths, and bake in a moderate oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

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