Food & Drink

Valentine's Day Dinner

Start to finish: 45 minutes Serves: 2


For the cakes:

1 small frozen pound cake

2 teaspoons strawberry jam

1 cup prepared vanilla, chocolate or strawberry frosting

1 vanilla, chocolate or strawberry icing pen

(choose a contrasting color to the frosting)

For the asparagus:

1 bunch asparagus, thick bottoms trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salmon:

2 tablespoons white miso

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 tablespoons water

1 pound salmon fillet

For the salad:

3 cups baby arugula

½ cup shredded carrots

¼ cup dried cranberries

2 tablespoons slivered almonds

Balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing


Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.

Make the cakes: Cut four 1-inch slices from the pound cake. Use a 1- to 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut a heart of cake from each of the four slices, discarding the excess cake. Spoon 1 teaspoon of jam over the tops of two of the hearts. Place a second heart on top of the jam. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack. Set aside.

Place the frosting in a microwave-safe measuring cup and microwave on high in 15-second bursts, stirring in between, until the frosting is melted, smooth and pours easily. Place the wire rack with the cakes over paper towels or newspapers. Pour the frosting over the two cakes. It should leave a thick, smooth coat of frosting. The excess frosting will drip through the rack.

Let the cake set up for five minutes, then use the icing pen to make decorative marks on top, if desired. Use a spatula to carefully transfer them to serving plates and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Make the mains: In a medium bowl or large plastic bag, place the asparagus, salt and pepper. Toss or shake to coat, then arrange the asparagus in a single layer on one side of the prepared baking sheet.

To make the salmon glaze, use a blender or whisk to combine the miso, maple syrup, lime juice and water until smooth.

Cut the salmon fillet into two pieces and place them on the other half of the baking sheet. Drizzle each piece with the miso-lime glaze, then place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for five minutes. Increase the oven to broil. Watch the salmon carefully; the top should caramelize slightly. Move the pan around under the broiler if needed to ensure even cooking. Broil for six minutes, or until the salmon flakes easily.

While the salmon cooks, divide the greens between two serving plates. Top each serving with half of the carrots, cranberries and almonds.

When the salmon is cooked, use a spatula to transfer one serving to each plate, nestling it next to the salad. Divide the roasted asparagus between the plates, then serve with balsamic vinaigrette for the salads.