Valentine's Day is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants and is often one of the most stressful times for couples scouring the city for the perfect place to treat their sweetheart to a romantic dinner. This year, forget reservations, the crowds and the hassle of long waits! Allow the National Honey Board and Chef Ricardo Z?írate, master of fine dining and international cuisine, to guide you in preparing a gourmet Valentine's Day menu using one of the most romantic and natural ingredients: honey!
The Chef-owner of Los Angeles-based restaurants Picca and the award-winning Mo-Chica, Z?írate, began his career in London at top restaurants until making the move to the United States. Among foodies, Z?írate is best known as one of the creative minds behind the popular "Test Kitchen," an upscale late-night dining experience that offered Angelinos a gourmet food and drink experience with top chefs rotating every week. With years of experience and a passion for fusing Peruvian cuisine with the methods and flavors of other cultures, Z?írate has prepared an enticing honey-infused menu of Peruvian-inspired dishes to bring romance to your table this Valentine's Day.
Among the appetizers is the uni crostini with compote tomato and aji amarillo honey vinaigrette. Uni, or sea urchin, was introduced to Peru by the Japanese who considered it a delicacy. A hint of honey in the dressing balances the spice of the aji amarillo chili pepper, resulting in a sweet and savory ÔÇô yet easy to make - delicacy that will whet your loved one's appetite.
Want to please and impress? Try your hand at Z?írate's lamb ribs with quinoa risotto and spicy honey barbeque sauce. When marinating lamb with honey, the result is a tender meat that falls right off the bone. Z?írate was so delighted with the honey glaze that he plans to make it a staple in his new restaurant. Paired with the quinoa risotto, which can be appreciated for its creamy sauciness, this entr?®e offers a variety of textures and flavors that will leave your honey wanting more!
For a delicious finale, try the traditional Peruvian picarones (pictured). Picarones is a sweet, donut-shaped dessert made with yams and squash. The sauce requires a generous amount of honey, which blended with fruit, sweetens naturally and is a delight to even the most discriminating palate.
Now that you've prepared a gourmet dinner, get ready for an unforgettable night with your loved one. The sweetness may start with honey, but it won't end there! For Chef Z?írate's complete five-course Valentine's Day menu, detailed recipes, how-to videos and more, please visit www.mielpura.org .