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Valentines dinner for two: Salad greens, seafood, saffron rice, deluxe brownies

Salad Greens with Apples, Walnuts and Brie Start a romantic meal with this palate-awakening salad topped with crisp apple, creamy cheese and nuts.

Salad Greens with Apples, Walnuts and Brie

Start a romantic meal with this palate-awakening salad topped with crisp apple, creamy cheese and nuts.

Preparation time:

10 minutes

Cooking time: None

Makes: 2 servings

1 Tbsp cider vinegar

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp honey, or taste

*salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 cups baby salad greens, washed and dried

12 to 16 thin, half slices of red apple

2 to 3 Tbsp walnut pieces

75 grams Brie cheese, cut into small cubes

Combine the first four ingredients in a small bowl. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Divide and mound the salad greens on two salad plates. Top with the apples, nuts and cheese. Drizzle with salad dressing and serve.

Sumptuous Seafood for Two

Here's an easy-to-make mix of delicious seafood that serves two. Seafood is naturally salty, so I've not added any salt in this recipe.

Preparation time:

15 minutes

Cooking time:

11 to 13 minutes

Makes: 2 servings

1/4 cup white wine

2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

* pinches paprika, cayenne pepper and dried tarragon

1 (3 1/2 to 4 oz.) lobster tail (thawed if frozen), split in half lengthwise

4 large scallops

4 large shrimp or prawns, peeled with tail portion intact

1 (6 oz.) fish fillet, such as halibut, cod or salmon, cut in half

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to

450 F. Place the butter, wine, lemon juice, garlic, spices and tarragon in a small pot. Set over medium heat and heat 3 to 4 minutes, just until the butter is melted. Remove pot from heat. Use a paper towel to pat and remove any excess moisture on the seafood. Arrange seafood, setting the lobster cut-side up, in a single layer in a shallow-sided baking dish (my round dish was 10 inches wide). Drizzle seafood with wine/butter mixture. Bake 11 to 13 minutes, or until the shellfish and fish are just cooked (see Note). Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Note: When cooked, fish and shellfish should feel slightly firm, not hard and not soft. The flesh will also lose its translucency and become opaque. Fish will also slightly separate into flakes when it's cooked. With some oily fish, such as salmon, white deposits of fat will seep out between the flakes when it's cooked.

Saffron Rice

Golden rice to serve with the seafood.

Preparation time: 2 minutes, plus steeping time

Cooking time: About 18 minutes

Makes: 2 servings

1/2 tsp saffron threads (see Note)

2 Tbsp very hot water

1 Tbsp olive oil

3/4 cup long grain white rice

1 1/4 cups cold water

*salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Crumble the saffron into a small bowl. Pour in the hot water. Let saffron steep 10 minutes. Heat the oil in a small pot set over medium-high heat. Add the rice and cook and stir 1 minute.

Add saffron and its liquid, 1 1/4 cups cold water and salt and pepper. Bring the rice to a boil. Now cover, reduce heat to its lowest setting and cook 15 minutes, or until rice is tender. Fluff rice with a fork and serve.

Note: Saffron threads are sold in small bottles or containers in the herb and spice aisle of most supermarkets.

You'll also find it at fine-food stores. Keep leftover saffron stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark and dry place. It will keep for many months.

Roasted Asparagus

Once in the oven, the asparagus has the same cooking time as the seafood, so you can start cooking both at the same time.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 11 to 13 minutes

Makes: 2 servings

12 to 14 asparagus spears, stems trimmed

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

*salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Bring a wide skillet of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook 2 minutes, until bright green, but not quite cooked through. Drain well, cool asparagus in cold water, and then drain well again. Place the asparagus in a casserole dish just large enough to hold it in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Roast 11 to 13 minutes, or until hot and delicious.

Deluxe Brownie Dessert

This easy-to-make deluxe dessert sees store-bought brownies plated and adorned with sweetened strawberries and sorbet.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: None

Makes: 2 servings

8 small to medium fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries, sliced

1 Tbsp icing sugar

1/2 oz. orange liqueur, or to taste (optional)

2 squares or wedges of brownie

2 scoops mango or other fruit sorbet

2 fresh mint sprigs

Place strawberries and icing sugar in a small bowl and toss to combine. Flavour with orange liqueur, if using. Divide and spread the strawberries on two dessert plates. Set a brownie on each plate. Set a scoop of sorbet on top of each brownie. Garnish each plate with a mint sprig and enjoy.