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HomeEatA Savory-Sweet Valentine: Unconventional Pairings for Your Special Evening

A Savory-Sweet Valentine: Unconventional Pairings for Your Special Evening

You know you want it...

Mocka Jumbies and Rum...

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Valentine’s Day is synonymous with sweetness, but not everyone has a penchant for the sugary side of the spectrum. Mixing a bit of sweet with savory can be the trick to a memorable Valentine’s dinner. Inviting a special someone for a home-cooked meal could be the sweetest gesture you can offer. Serve up a simple Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo with a green salad, or a Rib Eye Steak with a Balsamic Reduction and all the trimmings. Dim the lights, tune into some soft music, and enjoy the evening.

For a unique starter, try these unexpected chocolate and cheese pairings:

  • White chocolate paired with Stilton, Roquefort or other intense blue cheeses.
  • Bittersweet chocolates alongside triple-cream and Brie-style cheeses.
  • Milk chocolate complemented by goat cheese.
  • Dark chocolate infused with smoky chilies (a timeless combination) to accentuate the nuttiness of hard cheeses like Parmesan and Manchego.

Shrimp with Fettuccine Alfredo

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2


  • 4 oz fettuccine
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 10 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (or Gruyere) cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Stir in the fettuccine and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shrimp, seasoning with garlic and black pepper; cook and stir until shrimp turn pink, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Lower the heat and stir in the cream. Add 3/4 cup of Parmesan or Gruyere and stir continuously until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens.
  4. Transfer the pasta to a warmed serving dish, and smother with the shrimp Alfredo sauce. Toss to coat thoroughly with the sauce and top with more grated Parmesan. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.


Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2

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1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
2 (3/4-inch thick) boneless rib-eye steaks (about 3/4lb each)
1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Sea salt to taste

Coarsely grind peppercorns with a mortar and pestle. Pat steaks dry and coat both sides with peppercorns, pressing to adhere. Season with salt. Heat oil with 1/2 Tbsp butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Reduce heat to moderate and cook steaks, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to a warmed platter, and let sit a good 5 minutes. Add vinegar to skillet and deglaze by boiling over high heat, scraping up brown bits. Simmer vinegar until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 1/2 Tbsp butter until melted. Season sauce with salt and drizzle over steaks. Serve immediately.


Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2

1 red, yellow or white onion, peeled and sliced
1 pear, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp butter
Sea salt
1 tsp sugar
4 medium size potatoes
1/3 cup cream
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Use a wide, thick-bottomed sauté pan for maximum pan contact with the onions. Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil, or a mixture of olive oil and butter. Heat the pan on medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion and pear slices and stir to coat both with the oil. Spread the onion and pear out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally. After about 10 minutes sprinkle a little salt over and a little sugar to help caramelize. To keep the onion and pear from drying out you can use a little water. Turn heat down and cook until caramelized about 20 minutes. At the end of the cooking process you might want to add a little balsamic vinegar or wine to help deglaze the pan and bring some additional flavor to the onions.

Peel potatoes (if you like) and cut. Place in saucepan, cover with cold salted water and cook over medium high heat for 20 minutes or until soft. Mash potatoes, add cream, pear and onion mixture, salt and pepper.


Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2

8 green asparagus
8 white asparagus
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil

Brush asparagus with lemon juice and olive oil and grill until just tender, turning frequently. Or sauté in pan until tender.


Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: none
Serves: 2

1 ripe avocado
1/2 box fresh strawberries
Sugar, to taste
1 cup champagne

Clean the strawberries and cut in quarters. Halve the avocado and scoop out pulp with a teaspoon. Put strawberries and avocado in decorative serving size glasses or bowls. Sprinkle with sugar and pour champagne over top. Serve immediately.

Capt. Jan Robinson holds certificates from the Culinary Institute of America, The Ritz Cooking School, and the Cordon Bleu. Her Ship to Shore Cookbook Collection is available at your local marine or bookstore. Or visit www.shiptoshoreINC.com, email CapJan@aol.com or call 1-800-338-6072 and mention All at Sea to receive a discount.

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Capt. Jan Robinson
Capt. Jan Robinsonhttp://www.shiptoshoreinc.com/
Capt. Jan Robinson’s Ship to Shore Cookbook Collection is available at your local marine or bookstore. Visit www.shiptoshoreINC.com email CapJan@aol.com Tel: 704-277-6521. Don’t miss the new cookbook added to Jan’s collection: DINING ON DECK

So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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