It is that time of year where couples rush to find that perfect gift for someone special in their lives. A box of chocolate? Flowers? A romantic dinner?
Why not stay in and celebrate Valentine’s Day the “Star Wars Menu” way?
Our talented and creative CHEF/Star Wars Reporter Writer, Astrid Tuttle-Winegar, has created some Valentine’s dinner ideas to share with that special someone on this day of “LOVE”.
“Uncle Owen’s Burning Love”
6 cups water
2 teaspoons salt, divided
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
⅓ cup soft salted butter
⅓ cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon white pepper, divided
1 pound premium thick-cut bacon, cut into ½” pieces
1 pound onions, cut into ¼” slivers
1 pound mushrooms, cut into ¼” slices
1 teaspoon allspice
About 1 cup fresh parsley, minced
Combine the water, 1 teaspoon salt, and the potatoes in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cook on a rather high heat (a rolling boil), uncovered, 20 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup cooking liquid, then drain well using the saucepan lid. Add the butter, buttermilk, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon white pepper, and the reserved cooking liquid. Mash smoothly either by hand or with a hand mixer; cover and let stand.
Meanwhile, fry the bacon in a 5-quart deep skillet for about 12 minutes on rather high heat. Stir frequently. Remove to paper toweling with a slotted spoon. You want the bacon to end up crispy/chewy, but not burnt. Reserve grease in the pan.
Sauté the onions, mushrooms, and all remaining seasonings on rather high heat for 10 minutes. Stir often, scraping up any brown bits. Mix in the parsley and bacon well. Divide the mashed potatoes on plates, then top with the bacon mixture. Cover and chill leftovers. Serves 4-6.
“Ménage à Millennium”
Part One (Leia):
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
A large seedless English cucumber
Combine everything but the cucumber in a large bowl with a whisk. Peel the cucumber, cut off the stems, and cut it into 2″ long julienned strips. Add to the vinegar mixture and combine well. Let it stand.
Part Two (Luke):
6 ounces chow mein stir-fry noodles (chuka soba—spaghetti will work as well)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Prepare the noodles in a 4-quart pot as directed. Drain and place back in the pot. Combine with the oil and soy sauce; cover and set aside.
Part Three (Han):
½ pound ground pork
1 cup chopped scallions
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon aji-mirin (sweet rice wine)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon crushed ginger
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
Coat a medium skillet with cooking spray. Fry the pork and scallions over high heat until the pink is gone. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a 1-cup glass measure well. Add to the meat and boil 1 minute, mixing till well combined.
Divide the pasta between 3 bowls or plates. Top with the meat mixture. Stir the cucumber mixture and add to the plate. For an optional garnish, you can sprinkle it all with some black sesame seeds (1 tablespoon should do it) and serve. Cover and chill leftovers. Serves 3.
“Ackbar’s Little Darlings”
4 ounces light cream cheese
¼ cup light sour cream
6 grinds of fresh pepper
¼ teaspoon dry chervil
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon sugar
⅛ teaspoon dry dill weed
24 savory crackers (2″ round or square; I’ve used Triscuits in the photo)
About ¼ cup finely minced red onion
About ¼ cup black or red tiny lumpfish caviar (a 2-ounce jar is more than enough)
Combine the cream cheese through dill weed in a medium bowl. Beat well with a hand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Spread evenly over all the crackers. Place about ½ teaspoon red onion on one half of each cracker. Place about ½ teaspoon caviar on the other half of each cracker. Chill about 30 minutes before serving. Cover and chill leftovers, but consume quickly since your crackers might get a bit soggy. Makes 24.
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