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Valentine’s Day Emergency Rescue- 911!

The Valentines Day last minute emergency meal

Valentine’s Day is Sunday.

VALENTINE’S DAY IS SUNDAY!! As in THIS Sunday. As in TWO days! I have nothing! I have no plans, I have no reservations! WHAT am I going to do?

The Valentines Day last minute emergency meal

First, the one thing you do NOT want to do is panic. This is a mission for Valentine’s Day Emergency Rescue 911!

Preparing a home cooked meal for your Valentine is one of the most romantic gestures one can make for their sweetheart. The great surprise here, is gourmet doesn’t have to be difficult, or complicated. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. It can however be quick, easy, cost effective…and spectacular! It can even be made with things you have on hand or a quick trip to a market.

So where do we start? How about with a simple, yet elegant cheese tray?

The Valentines Day last minute emergency meal - Cheese Tray

Cheese & Fruit Tray with Accompaniments

There are many, many ways to craft an awesome cheese tray. Here are a couple of easy guidelines.

  1. Select the cheeses: pick three cheeses making sure you have a nice combination of hard vs. soft cheese. Throw in a blue and you’re done. Moving on.
  2. Pick two condiments and serve them on the side: Select one sweet option like a jam, fruit paste or quince, then a tangy option such as pickles or a good balsamic vinegar. Done!
  3. Add Crackers and fresh fruit: Now your tray is complete; Perfect for conversation and wine before your great entree.

The Valentines Day last minute emergency meal - Mussels

Steamed Shellfish in Saffron & Fennel Cream

  • 2 dozen mussels or other shellfish
  • 2 cups white wine or champagne
  • 1/2 stick butter or oil
  • 1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 1 bulb fennel, or onion thinly sliced
  • a pinch of Saffron threads – If you have them
  • 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg – if you have it
  • 1 piece of citrus fruit, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh herbs, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Pasta of your choice; I used Pappardelle


Cook pasta in salted water. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sliced Fennel or onion. Saute until crisp tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add wine, and allow to reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in heavy cream, Saffron, Nutmeg, salt & pepper. Continue to cook until sauce begins to thicken a bit. Add shellfish and cover. Allow to steam until the shells open. Serve with lemon slices, Fennel fronds and fresh herbs.

Note: If you want your sauce to be thicker, combine 1 tsp. cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold water and add to the sauce before adding the shellfish. Bring to a simmer while stirring. Then add shellfish.

For dessert add some fresh berries, dark chocolate and whipped cream to an attractive serving dish and enjoy! This is guaranteed to be quick, easy, inexpensive and most of all, a very nice gift for your Valentine. They’ll never know it was a rescue!

The Valentines Day last minute emergency meal - Mussels

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