Sometimes dinner at home can be just as romantic as dinner at your favorite restaurant. Dim the lights, set the table with your best table linens, light some candles and cook up something you wouldn’t normally make at home. That’s all it takes to create the perfect romantic evening at home. This dinner is beautifully sophisticated for a date night in, while being simple enough for you have plenty of time to enjoy each other’s company. The lamb and sweet potatoes will do just fine to stay warm in the oven for a few minutes while you handle any clean up before dinner. Then all that’s left to do, after you scrape the last bit of mousse from your dish, is to relax with your favorite person.
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Herb and Pecan Crusted Lamb Chops
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 teaspoon fresh mint, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon pecan meal or finely crushed pecans
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 lamb rib chops
Finely mince the fresh herbs together. In a small bowl, whisk together the cumin, kosher salt, black pepper, brown sugar and pecan meal together. Stir in the herbs until evenly distributed. Lay the chops out on a board lined with paper towels. Pat the chops dry. Rub the seasoning mixture on all sides of each chop. In a large, heavy skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Sautee the chops over medium heat about 2 to 3 minutes per side depending on thickness. Cook until the meat reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit for medium doneness. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve warm. Serves two to four.
Whipped Rosemary Sweet Potatoes
4 medium sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into large chunks. Place in a pot of boiling water and boil for 10 to 15 minutes or until fork tender. Meanwhile, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Set whipped cream aside. Drain the sweet potatoes and reserve the broth if needed later. Add the butter and minced rosemary to the sweet potatoes and whip in a mixer until fluffy. If the potatoes seem too dry, add some of the reserved broth a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. Spoon in the whipped cream and fold into the sweet potatoes in batches with a spatula. Work slowly so that the whipped cream doesn’t collapse completely, but is evenly mixed in the potatoes. Serve warm. Serves two to four.
Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse
6 ounces dark chocolate morsels
3 tablespoons butter
3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 teaspoon hazelnut extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Heat water in the bottom pot of a double boiler to simmering. In the top pot of the double boiler, or a heat-proof bowl that will fit on your bottom pot, place the dark chocolate morsels and butter. Cook, stirring constantly until melted. Stir in egg yolks one at a time until blended. Stir in hazelnut extract. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. While the chocolate cools, beat the egg whites and salt at medium high speed until stiff peaks form. Beat in sugar. Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the cooled chocolate mixture. Pour into ramekins or small glass jars. Cover or seal with a lid and chill for 3 hours up to overnight. Serve chilled. Yields two ramekins or three small jars.