A special treat for Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is almost here again and Judy and I love doing something special for our families. Whether it is with chocolates, “I love you” cards for the hubbies or flowers for Mom and the girls, our favorite thing is a quiet meal shared together.

For breakfast we will serve up some red velvet pancakes with a cherry maple sauce. Judy’s fabulous red velvet cake is a winner with all of us for dessert so we start on that next.  Dinner will be  wonderful meal and when prepared by yourself, it is a great way to say “I love you.”

We have chosen a quick and easy meal of sauteed scallops but with a surprise ingredient. Vanilla! The vanilla in this recipe gives the dish a romantic feel for all our special loved ones!

Pure vanilla, with its exotic aromatic flavor, is the most widely used flavoring in pastries, confections, and other desserts. But most people are not aware of the luxurious essence it can give to a savory dish as well.

It is the second most expensive spice in the world and what better a time then Valentine’s Day to splurge and make our loved ones feel special. Enjoy!

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Romantic Sea Scallops
In Vanilla Cream Sauce          

sea scallops (about 3 or 4 per-person)

olive oil

salt & pepper

cracked black pepper, garnish

small leaf greens of your choice        

Place a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a sauté pan.  Season scallops with salt and pepper. When oil is hot, add the scallops. When the bottom of the scallop is golden, turn. (about 3 minutes) The scallop is finished when both sides are golden and the scallop is firm to the touch. Remove scallops and begin sauce.

Vanilla Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup white wine/sherry

1/4 chicken stock

1 cup heavy cream

salt & pepper to taste

Lightly saute the shallots in the olive oil. Add chicken stock and wine. Slowly add in the cream, salt & pepper, cook for a few minutes until the sauce is reduced by almost half. Add in the vanilla extract. Taste & re-season if needed. Return the scallops to the pan or plate scallops and drizzle sauce over fish.

Basmati  or jasmine rice is wonderful with this recipe, Enjoy!