Party For Two

Party For Two

First Course: Blini and Caviar

Recipe courtesy Alexandre Petrossian, co-owner of Petrossian Restaurants

Caviar is the tried and true way to kickstart any romantic dinner in style, according to Alexandre Petrossian. These deliciously light yet flavorful blinis are the perfect base for delectable caviar.

For the Blini
2 eggs
1 tablespoon white sugar
⅓ teaspoon salt
½ cup all purpose flour
2½ cups milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter, softened

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and salt. Sift the flour into the bowl and add the milk, and stir. Mix it until well blended and the batter is thin.

Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Lightly oil the pan or spray with it with cooking spray. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the batter into the pan and tilt the pan to spread the batter evenly. When the edges are crisp and the center appears dry, about 1 minute, slide a spatula carefully under the blini and flip. Cook the other side for another minute.

Place the blini onto a plate. Spread a small amount of butter on top of each one and continue to stack the blini until finished. Top with caviar or caviar spread. Serves 2–4.

Wine Pairing: Petrossian calls for Champagne with caviar. Its bright citrus and apple notes, and its clean acidity are a nice foil for the caviar’s nutty, salty nature. He suggests popping either Krug Grande Cuvee NV or Moet & Chandon Imperial NV.

Second Course: Truffle Chicken Breasts with Pickled Beets and Celery Root Remoulade

Recipe courtesy Josh Thomsen, chef at Agricola, New Jersey

Chef Thomsen recipe won’t have you running all over town trying to find vegetables more suited to summer. If you start the sides just after you’ve come through the door, you can take a few minutes to make your main course just before serving.

For chicken breasts
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 8-ounce boneless organic chicken breasts, skin on
2 tablespoons black truffle butter
4 sprigs of fresh thyme

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of oil olive to a medium sauté pan set over high heat and add the chicken. Sauté for 3–4 minutes on until the breasts are golden brown, then flip them over and repeat. Add the truffle butter and thyme to the pan to glaze the chicken. Flip the breasts over to coat, then remove them from the pan and let rest for 5 minutes. Once ready, plate the chicken breasts and spoon the excess pan juices over each.

For pickled beets
8 small beets, mixed red, golden, candy striped
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
¼ cup Champagne vinegar

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Trim and wash the beets, season with salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil and thyme, then wrap them in foil.  Bake them for 45 minutes, or until they can bet easily pierced with a fork. Allow them to cool, then peel and cut them into quarters.

Place them in a bowl and toss them with vinegar and oil. Let sit for 1 hour before serving.

For celery root remoulade
1 large celery root, peeled and julienned
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Kosher salt, to taste
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon truffle-infused oil
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a mixing bowl, combine the celery root, lemon juice and salt and mix well. Next, add the mayonnaise, mustard, truffle-infused oil and capers. Toss again to combine thoroughly. Let set for 20 minutes before serving. Serves 2–4.

Wine Pairing: Chef Thomsen prefers to pair Arista’s 2010 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir with the earthy tones of truffle and winter vegetables in this dish. The zesty fruit flavors and acidity also stand up to the bright notes that Champagne vinegar.

Third Course: Peanut Butter Mousse with Dried Strawberry Red-Wine Sauce

Recipe courtesy Tanya Holland, executive chef and owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen and B-Side BBQ, California

The best thing about this finger licking-good dessert is that you can make it up to two days in advance, leaving more time for other romantic festivals.

For the mousse
1 cup creamy peanut butter
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup raw cane sugar, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 large egg yolks
4 large egg whites

In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and cream cheese and set aside and mix until well combined. Add water into a pot to reach about ½ inch from the bottom of the pot. Heat to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Place a bowl over the pot that doesn’t touch the water, but is close enough to become heated. Pour the cream, ¼ cup sugar and vanilla in the bowl. When the cream is warm to the touch, whisk in the egg yolks and mix. Remove the bowl from the heat and allow to it cool. Slowly beat the peanut butter mixture into the egg yolk mixture and set aside.

Using a mixer, whisk egg whites and ¼ cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the peanut butter mixture. Pour the mousse into individual ramekins or a large ceramic dish, cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

For the strawberry red-wine sauce
1 cup dried strawberries
½ cup raw cane sugar
1½ cups red wine

Place ingredients in a small pot over medium high-heat. Cook it until the wine is reduced by half and forms a consistency of maple syrup. Let cool.

To assemble
Pour a spoonful of the strawberry red-wine sauce over the mousse and serve. Serves 2–4.

Wine Pairing: Chef Holland opts to pair this dessert with Inniskillin Vidal’s 2007 Gold Ice Wine. It’s perfectly sweet enough to stand up to this rich dish.

Published on February 14, 2013
Topics: Valentine's Day Recipes
About the Author
Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen
Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors

Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen are Wine Enthusiast's Entertaining and Lifestyle Editors. DeSimone tastes wine from Israel and the Mediterranean Basin, while Jenssen tastes wine from Eastern Europe, including the former the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Both co-authored Wines of California, Wines of the Southern Hemisphere, and The Fire Island Cookbook. Wine educators and presenters, both gentlemen serve as frequent guests on national and local television. Email:

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