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Des Moines Valentine’s Day Menus, 2012

Looking for a place to take that special person out to eat for Valentine’s Day? Touting these as Des Moines’ most romantic restaurants, the Des Moines Register’s Datebook has provided the following menus that will be served on Valentine’s Day. Catch the story in the Datebook.

Cafe di Scala

644 18th St.; 244-1353

THE DETAILS: A five-course prix fixe
dinner ($60) will be served Tuesday
evening.

MENU: Choose from the following for your
five-course dinner. Antipasto: tomato and
zucchini ragu over baked polenta cakes;
roasted Italian beef-stuffed peppers;
smoked trout mousse crostini with radish
and dill. Zuppa: puree of carrot soup with
tarragon creme fraiche; Italian wedding
soup with romano crostini. Insalata:
spinach, pine nuts, figs and ricotta salata;
roasted beets, garlic-chevre mousse, pine
nuts and orange blossom oil. Secondi:
braised pork shoulder over roasted
cannelinni and tomato ragu; seared
flounder over zucchini risotto; roasted
fennel and chevre ravioli with pinot bianco
cream sauce. Dolce: flourless chocolate
torte over caramel almond brittle; tiramisu
paired with chocolate-covered strawberry
and biscotti; chocolate panna cotta with
cherries.

Centro

1011 Locust St.; 244-7033

THE DETAILS: Centro’s features are
available Saturday through Feb. 18.MENU: Bourbon-maple glazed smoked
salmon with an apple salad and candied
walnuts, $10. Shrimp tortelloni with vodka-
tomato cream sauce and shaved Pecorino
Romano, $12. Spaghetti Rustica, braised
duck ragu with fresh sage, fresh pasta and
Pecorino Romano, $22.

Christopher’s

2816 Beaver Ave.; 274-3694

THE DETAILS: Three-course prix fixe
dinner available.

MENU: Starters include either a Caesar
salad or a roasted pear and walnut salad.
For your entree, choose between the
following: filet Oscar, an 8-ounce filet
topped with lump crab meat; a lobster tail
dinner; or filet mignon and a 6-ounce
lobster tail. Dessert is a chocolate cake
served with raspberry sauce and icecream.

Fire Creek

800 S. 50th St., West Des Moines

THE DETAILS: Specials available Saturday
through Tuesday.

MENU: Two entree specials. One, a 12-
ounce bone-in filet with a trio of sauces,
roasted baby red potatoes and baby top
carrots, $43.95, or red snapper with
lemon oil sauce, topped with crab-meat
stuffing, rice pilaf and baby top carrots,
$33.95. New York-style cheesecake with
strawberries or homemade creme brulee,
$7.50 each.

Fleming’s

150 S. Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des
Moines; 457-2916THE DETAILS: Specials available Sunday
through Tuesday. Each couple dining on
those days will get a $25 gift certificate to
use at Fleming’s at a later date.MENU: Entrees ($69.95 apiece) include
filet mignon served over portobello
mushrooms and bacon, paired with crab-
stuffed prawns; a New York strip steak
topped with butter-poached king crab,
asparagus and a champagne bearnaise
sauce; or a North Atlantic lobster tail with
drawn butter, served with lobster mac and
cheese. The dessert special is a red velvet
cake for two ($9.50), served with espresso
truffles.

Mezzodi’s

4519 Fleur Drive, 287-3333

DETAILS: Special available Sunday through
Tuesday for $59.99 per couple. Served
family style.

MENU: Pink peppercorn dinner for two.
Surf-and-turf platter for two featuring pink
peppercorn mahi mahi topped with tropical
salsa and seared flank steak topped with a
red wine-peppercorn sauce. Served with
garlic mashed potatoes, sauteed
vegetables, a bottle of house wine and
Mezzodi’s signature chocolate falling down
cake.

Mojo’s

6163 N.W. 86th St., No. 103, Johnston;
334-3699DETAILS: The Valentine’s prix fixe menu is
available Tuesday and is $40 per person
MENU: Starter choices include
Mediterranean veggie crostini; tuna tartar
in crispy wonton cups; smoked mushroom
and lentil salad or chicken and leek soup.
Entree choices include a pan-roasted
stuffed quail; lavender and pepper grilled
tuna with jasmine rice; beef bourguignon
with oven-roasted potatoes or potato and
chive pierogies. (Add a butter-poached
lobster tail to your entree for an additional
$15.) Dessert choices include a frozen
Grand Marnier souffle; chocolate hazelnut
torte or beignets with lingonberry sauce.

Sbrocco

208 Court Ave.; 282-3663

DETAILS: Valentine features are available
Friday through Tuesday.

MENU: Social plates specials: white prawn
bisque; bone-in pork belly with smoked
polenta. Entree specials: oven-roasted
Canadian lobster tail with lobster risotto;
roasted Colorado rack of lamb and a
lamb-quince demiglaze. Dessert specials:
artisan chocolates; red velvet cake with
Grand Marnier icing; creme brulee with
fresh berries; chocolate walnut torte;
assorted fresh berries with lemon sabayon
and mint syrup.

Trostel’s Greenbriar

5810 Merle Hay Road, Johnston; 253-
0124DETAILS: Chef-created specials available
Monday and Tuesday.
MENU: Appetizer special: tempura-fried
Alaskan snow crab legs, $8. Entree special:
grilled wagyu strip loin filet with a lobster
wonton, $22. Dessert special: tart cherry
dark chocolate creme caramel with
seasonal berries, $8.

Big Game Bash – Bobby Flay

I was just visiting over at the Food Network website when I laid eyes on this pizza. My mouth immediately started watering! (Bobby Flay has that effect on me too!) I knew that I had to share this with my readers. Perfect for Super Bowl Sunday!

Pizza with NY Strip, Blue Cheese and Balsamic Glaze

Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay

Prep Time:
55 min
Inactive Prep Time:
2 hr 20 min
Cook Time:
15 min

Level:
Intermediate

Serves:
4 servings

Ingredients
Balsamic Glaze:

2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Steak:

1 (12-ounce) NY strip steak
Canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pizza
1/2 recipe Pizza Dough rolled into 2 (10-inch) rounds, recipe follows or 2 store-bought pizza dough
Canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (recommended: Cabrales)
Grilled steak
1 bunch watercress, coarsely chopped
Balsamic Glaze
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions

For the glaze:

Bring vinegar to a boil in a small nonreactive saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1/2 cup. Stir in the honey and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the steak:

Heat grill to high. Brush steak on both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown and slightly charred on both sides and cooked to medium-rare doneness, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the grill to a cutting board, tent lightly with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice into 1/4-inch thick slices.

For the pizza:

Heat the grill to high.

Brush both sides of the pizzas with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the grill, divide the Monterey Jack cheese over the top of each one and then sprinkle with the blue cheese. Place back on the grill, close the cover of the grill and grill until the cheese has melted, about 1 minute. Remove to a flat surface, divide the steak between each pizza, then top with the watercress Drizzle with some of the balsamic glaze and sprinkle with some of the shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Pizza Dough:

2/3 cup lukewarm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F)
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for oiling bowl
1 3/4 to 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons coarse salt

In a large bowl stir together 1/3 cup water, yeast, and sugar and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 3/4 cups flour, cornmeal, and salt and blend until the mixture forms a dough. Knead dough on a floured surface, incorporating as much of remaining 1/4 cup flour, as necessary, to prevent dough from sticking, until smooth about 5 to 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball.

Lightly oil the sides and bottom of a large bowl with oil, add the dough, turn to coat in the oil, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Gently punch the dough down and divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece on a lightly floured surface into a 10-inch circle that is 1/8-inch thick. Brush off excess flour and transfer the dough to a baking sheet, cover each circle of dough with plastic wrap and continue stacking rolled out pieces on top of each other. Wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to grill.

Curtis Stone Does Des Moines

I went to Iowa’s Premier Wine & Food Expo today with high hopes. Some of my expectations were met… some were underwhelmed. I think that my expectation was that this would be a sort of meet-and-greet between local food vendors, restaurants, chefs and foodies. It was that… somewhat. But for $21 per person admission I got a little of what I had hoped for, and a lot of what was a foodies’ version of the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fair. Meh. Not sure what the truck was all about, but it was pretty and shiny so I photographed it!

Highlights for me were chocolate samples from Chocolaterie Stam, Havarti and Bleu Cheese samples from Maytag, super yummy Spicy Red Pepper pasta sauce from Sorrisos Sauce, homemade tortilla chips and green salsa from Dos Rios, and taking a look at a selection of kitchen tools, gadgets, etc. from Hockenbergs (Foodservice Equipment & Supply).

Low points… a proliferation of “stuff.” Not to name any, because I’m not grumpy enough to hurt any of the vendors’ feelings, but there was a lot of unrelated paraphernalia and/or accessories. Enough said about that.

HOWEVER!… my outlaw sister and I did get to take in Curtis Stone‘s cooking demonstration, which was high in entertainment value, and a definite high point of the Expo for me.

Stone started out by making a drink he called Emerald Eyes… a mixture of Tanqueray, Midori melon liquer, pineapple juice and ice. Stone shook the drink… not very successfully, but was a great sport about it. The third time was a charm. He topped the drink off with a touch of champagne. Wish I had written down the recipe, because I can’t find it on the web!

Stone talked about what an important role food plays in everyone’s life. To demonstrate, he chose a single female, Alicia; and a single male, Scott out of the audience. It so happened that Scott is a culinary student, and Stone put them to work making homemade tagliatelle pasta. He then had the two sit down at a table while he prepared the tagliatell with crab and red pepper. A fairly simple, uncomplicated dish… Stone highly recommended throwing in a generous amount of butter. He quickly had the dish plated up and served to the young, newly-introduced pair.

Stone shook things up even more by inviting a couple, Jan and Chuck, married for 48 years, up to the stage. Jan was immediately given a glass of champagne, a fluffy robe, and was escorted to a cushy bed set up on stage. Stone then put her husband, Chuck to work making her breakfast in bed. Dripping with innuendo, Stone had the audience laughing throughout the demonstration. That was one recipe I did manage to find on the web (see below). Okay. I was too cheap to buy the book. Yes I know I will regret it laater because when I *do* buy it, it won’t be personally autographed by Chef Stone. C’est la vie.

Stone ended the show with a question and answer session. My outlaw sister, Carol,  managed to get in the last word with her question. Not about food. Not about being a celebrity chef. “Is Bobby Flay as hot in person as he is on TV?” I thought it was awesome. Chef Stone (a little) flustered, show over. Time to go home. Our work here is done.

Curtis Stone’s recipe for Homemade Waffles with Caramelized Apples and Vanilla Ice Cream

Curtis Stone's recipe for homemade waffles

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
To caramelize the apples:
3/4 cup/168 g sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 cup (1 stick)/113 g unsalted butter
6 Pink Lady apples (about 2 1/2 pounds/1.1 kg), cored and each cut into eight 1-inch-wide wedges
½ cup/65 g raisins
1/4 cup/55 g heavy whipping cream
For the waffles:
1 1/2 cups/245 g all purpose flour
3 tablespoons/42 g sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons/about 5 g baking powder
3/4 teaspoon/about 3 g baking soda
3/4 teaspoon/about 4 g salt
1 1/2 cups/360 ml whole milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons (1/4 stick)/40 g melted unsalted butter
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 pints/710 ml vanilla ice cream

Method:
To caramelize the apples and raisins:

Place a large heavy frying pan over medium heat. Add the sugar. Using a small sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the sugar and add the bean. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the butter. Add the apples and toss to coat.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the apples begin to soften and release their juice  Stir in the raisins. Continue to cook, gently tossing the apples occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the apples are tender but still hold their shape and the caramel sauce forms.  Stir in the cream.

To make the waffles:

Meanwhile, preheat the Belgian waffle iron. Preheat the oven to 200°F/93°C. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl.  In a separated bowl, whisk the milk, egg and melted butter to blend. Add the milk mixture into the dry ingredients, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.

Ladle about 1/2 cup/105 ml of the waffle batter onto each of the two 4 1/2-inch-/11-cm-square grids or about 3/4 cup/155 ml over a 7-inch-/18-cm-diameter grid on the waffle iron. Cover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on your iron (most new irons have a timer), or until the waffle is golden and crisp on the outside and cooked through. Transfer the waffles to the oven tray and keep them warm in the oven, while cooking the remaining waffles.

To serve:

Cut the square waffles diagonally in half or cut the round waffles into 4 wedges. Place two hot waffles triangles or wedges on each plate. Spoon the caramelized apple mixture over the waffles. Scoop the ice cream atop and serve immediately.

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