3 Easy Valentine’s Recipes with International Flavor

crema catalanaValentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love. So often, that celebration is highlighted by a routine date night to a restaurant of choice, surrounded by other couples and distractions, making for a less than memorable night. Switch up your plans this year by preparing a romantic meal at home with candles and cooking. This is a great bonding activity, with privacy, fun and a great way to spend Valentine’s Day. Plus, cooking together is proven to be a relationship builder. You can go an extra step by making a Valentine’s Day meal that has international flavor and flare.

To help you spice things up this Valentine’s Day, here are three great ethnic recipes you can prepare with your special someone.

Ceviche de Camarónes

This treat is a twist on traditional shrimp cocktail and will work great as an appetizer at a dinner for two. This makes for a great taste straight out of the refrigerator, served great with a chardonnay.

  • 3 lbs. small raw shrimp, cleaned
  • 4 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 6 limes, juiced
  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 Serrano chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 of a cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons tomato sauce

Put the shrimp out in a glass baking dish, then pour lemon and lime juice over top and refrigerate for three hours. After thoroughly cooled, toss the remaining ingredients with the shrimp and let refrigerate for another hour. Once finished, you’ll have a great treat for two that can be enjoyed with tortilla chips or as toppings for different protein.

Souvlaki

This Greek specialty is a great dinner recipe with tender meat cuts marinated in a mixture of olive oil and lemon. This is served great with a rice pilaf or Greek salad and a rose wine.

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Skewers

Mix together lemon juice, olive oil, soy sauce, oregano and garlic in a large bowl. Then add pork, green peppers and onions to stir. Cover the bowl and then refrigerate for two to three hours. After preheating the grill for medium-high heat, place the pork, peppers and onions onto skewers. Cook skewers for 10 to 15 minutes or to desired level, while turning frequently for even cooking throughout.

Crema Catalana

This Spanish version of a French desert is a perfect way to finish a Valentine’s Day meal and served great with sherry wines. It does require a few hours of refrigeration before serving so it’s a great idea to work on ahead of time.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups milk

Beat together egg yolks in a pot, along with ¾ cup of sugar until blended and frothy. Add a grated lemon rind and cinnamon stick, and then pour in milk and cornstarch. Heat the mixture slowly, while stirring until thickened. Remove the pot from heat once thickened.

Take out the cinnamon stick and ladle the mixture into 4-6 ramekins. Allow to cool, by refrigerating for two to three hours. Once cooled, preheat a broiler, and remove the ramekins. Sprinkle sugar over each ramekin, and then place each of them under the broiler to allow the sugar to caramelize and golden. This will usually take about 10 minutes before it’s ready to serve.

Now that you have some recipe options to spice up your Valentine’s Day, choose one and start preparing for a great night. For many of these ingredients, visit International Food Club online or in person!

Recipes at:

http://www.food.com/recipe/ceviche-de-camarones-ecuadorean-shrimp-cocktail-199094

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/souvlaki/detail.aspx

http://spanishfood.about.com/od/dessertssweets/r/cremacatalanar.htm

photo from boo_licious

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