Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Sips and Sweets for your Sweetheart


Well of course I’ve got a big ‘ol grin on my face– I’m surrounded by the most decadent of decadent Valentine’s Day treats!  Alon’s has become an iconic bakery in the Atlanta area, and every year, they sell thousands of individual desserts.  I love this concept because you can pick and choose, mix and match whatever your taste buds tell you to!  Among my favorites— chocolate covered caramels with maldon salt, the chocolate and raspberry mini macaroon tower, the flourless chocolate cake heart with raspberry cream, hand rolled truffles (including a scrumptious Single Malted Scotch truffle that will sweeten the day of any Valentine’s Day suitor!  (Dudes, I’m talking to YOU guys.)

Alon’s has so much to choose from if you want to build a gift basket as well– from their signature 9 piece Chocolate Boxes to wine, champagne and accessories!  This year, they’re offering a 7 course Romantic Dinner for 2 available for pickup at both of Alon’s Locations!  Here’s a sneak peek at the menu:

  • Amuse Bouche
    Salmon and Tuna Tartare with Avocado Glaze on Brioche Toast
  • Soup
    She-crab soup with lump crab meat
  • Choice of Entrée
    Seared Bay of Fundy Salmon in Carrot Harissa Broth with caramelized root vegetables
    Grilled Tenderloin with fingerling potatoes and brussel sprouts served with a balsamic reduction and blue cheese compound butter
  • Salad
    Kale with granny smith apples, celery and a lemon agave vinaigrette
  • Cheese
    Green Hill (Thomasville GA), Perorino with Chamomile, Marcona Almonds and Orange cranberry Marmalade
  • Dessert
    Flourless Chocolate Cake with hazelnut cream and raspberry coulis
  • Chocolate
    Assorted Chocolate Bon Bons and Cookies           
Seared Bay of Fundy Salmon in Carrot Harissa Broth with caramelized root vegetables

Seared Bay of Fundy Salmon in Carrot Harissa Broth with caramelized root vegetables

Grilled Tenderloin with fingerling potatoes and brussel sprouts served with a balsamic reduction and blue cheese compound butter

Grilled Tenderloin with fingerling potatoes and brussel sprouts served with a balsamic reduction and blue cheese compound butter

If you tag “Alon’s Romantic Dinner for 2” photo on Facebook, you have a chance to win a $100 gift card!  Check out their locations: 


4505 Ashford Dunwoody Road

Mon-Fri: 7a-9p

Sat: 8a-9p Sun:9a-7p


1394 North Highland Avenue

Mon-Fri: 7a-8p

Sat: 8a-8p Sun: 9a-4p


Moving on to cocktails….You can make a romantic toast this Valentine’s Day with some of my favorite brands…


Amarula Cream is the second largest cream liqueur in the world.  It has such a luxurious finish with exotic tangy notes of citrus and nuts with a rich, velvety texture.  It comes from the fruit of the wild marula tree, indigenous to South Africa– more commonly known as the “marriage tree!”  How romantic is that?  Enjoy it neat or over ice…

My man likes to call himself a Rum Connoisseur– and Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva is now our GO-TO Rum.  You don’t even need a cocktail mixer– this is an award winning sipping rum from Venezuela, crafted from the purest of sugar cane honeys. The aromatics are amazing– you can smell (and taste) the distinctive notes of maple syrup, orange peel, brown sugar and licorice.  The finish is a toffee fudge– the perfect rum to pair with a decadent dessert— from chocolate to cheesecake!

Prosecco is the most famous Italian sparkling wine in the world– but believe it or not, similar to how champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region of France, true Prosecco can only be produced in a very small area of Italy’s Veneto and Fruili-Venezia Giulia regions.  Bisol is a family owned company– they’ve been managing all phases of the winemaking process since 1542.

The grapes used to make Prosecco DOC are mainly Glera, which has been around since Roman times.  The result is a stunning yellow wine with fine, consistent perlage and aromas of white flowers, apple and pear.  It’s perfect for a Valentine’s Day brunch!

Click here for the video on Atlanta & Company!


A Romantic Valentine’s Day Surf & Turf


Heart Pastry with perfect mid-rare filet inside!

Heart Pastry with perfect mid-rare filet inside!

What a perfect occasion to create the kind of meal my man says, “OMG, Parker, this might be the best dinner you’ve EVER cooked.”  Ever??  “EVER.”  Well, then.  It’s no surprise, because he’s a steak and potato lover and this takes them both to the next level of DELISH.

I partnered with the Georgia Beef Board and the Idaho Potato Commission to create a signature meal and I promise, it’s easier than it looks!  Let’s start with the beef….I chose tenderloin because it’s so lean and because it’s such a high quality cut, it doesn’t need much by way of seasoning or marinating.  A 3oz portion of tenderloin has 24 grams of protein packed in!  Portion control is always the way to go– it’s such a decadent cut that you don’t need a massive steak– plus, the pastry around the meat adds texture and will fill you up!

I wanted to do a spin off of my favorite Beef Wellington which involves a caramelized mushroom puree and puff pastry.  I was initially worried that the beef would be overdone, but it came out perfectly– mid-rare is always best for flavor and juiciness!  Adding to the flavor finale for the beef is a marsala glaze that I served on the side so the pastry wouldn’t get soggy.  Wow.  It is sublime!

For my Idaho Potato, I thought I would combine the best parts of a crab cake with the smooth, creamy and cheesy texture of a twice baked tater.  Hello, decadent!  One Idaho Potato is loaded (no pun intended!) with potassium– almost twice the amount of potassium in one banana, believe it or not!  This is important because potassium lowers blood pressure and a whopping 97% of people don’t get their minimum daily intake!  Idaho potatoes are also cholesterol free, gluten free, sodium free and fat free!  I love that they can take on the flavor of whatever you serve them with (or stuff them with!)  It’s Potato Lovers Month and Heart Month, so let’s celebrate with some scrumptious!

On set!

On set!

Table set for 2

Table set for 2

So here’s the yum factor, ready to rock and roll…Click here for the video! 

Valentine's Day Surf & Turf
Pastry wrapped Beef Filet and Crab Cake Stuffed Idaho Potato
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For the Filets
  1. 4 filet mignons
  2. 2 Tb butter
  3. 1 box puff pastry dough brought to room temperature
  4. 1 pound of mushrooms (diced small or chopped in the food processor)
  5. 2 shallots diced
  6. 1/4 cup cream
  7. 1/4 cup sherry
  8. egg wash
  9. kosher salt to season steaks
For the Marsala Glaze
  1. 2 Tb shallots
  2. 1 Tb butter + 2 Tb butter
  3. 1 cup Marsala wine
  4. 1 Tb fresh thyme
  5. 1 cup beef broth
  6. salt and pepper to taste
For the Crab Cake Stuffed Idaho Potato
  1. 4 Idaho Potatoes
  2. 6 Tb butter
  3. 1/2 cup cream
  4. 8 oz fresh or canned crab
  5. 1 Tb worcestershire
  6. 1/2 small sweet onion diced
  7. 1 celery stalk diced
  8. 1/4 cup pimientos
  9. 1 Tb dijon mustard
  10. 3 Tb full fat mayo
  11. 1/2 cup panko
  12. grated parmesan
  13. salt and pepper to taste
For the filets
  1. Dry off filets with paper towel and season with kosher salt.
  2. Melt butter in frying pan and when hot and bubbly, put filets in-- sear for 1 minute on each side.
  3. Remove and let cool completely.
  4. In the same skillet, add shallots and mushrooms and saute on medium heat until water is cooked out of mushrooms, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add sherry to mushroom mixture and cook off alcohol, about 5 minutes. Add cream and bring to a simmer to thicken. Once cream thickens and reduces some, remove mushrooms from heat.
  6. Lay out puff pastry and place one filet in center. Scoop mushroom mixture on top and wrap in pastry, cutting off any excess pastry. You can cut out little hearts from the extra pastry and put them on the top of the "pastry filet package." Brush with egg wash and bake in an oven at 450 for 20 minutes until cooked through. If filets are thick, you may need to bake longer.
For the Marsala Glaze
  1. Saute shallots in butter until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add marsala wine and thyme and bring to a simmer. Reduce until liquid is only about 1/3 a cup. Add beef broth and whisk in 2 Tb butter until melted.
  3. Serve with beef.
For the crab cake stuffed Idaho Potatoes
  1. Bake Idaho Potatoes on 400 for 45 minutes until cooked through. (Poke them with a fork and wrap in tin foil before you put in oven.) Let cool and then scoop potato out of skins. Mash with 6 Tb butter and 1/2 cup cream. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Saute onion, celery and pimientos in butter until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Take off heat and add crab, panko, worcestershire, mustard and mayo.
  4. Combine crab mixture with mashed potato mixture. Stuff into potato skins and top with parmesan. Bake at 400 until heated through and cheese melts, about 10 minutes.
  1. This goes very well with a simple arugula salad. Squeeze 1/2 a lemon into 1/2 a cup of olive oil with a pinch of kosher salt. Shake and drizzle on arugula.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/