Send some love to friends this Valentine’s Day via a simple but gorgeous gathering with a very feminine vibe and a dreamy mix of fragrant blooms with a wildflower feel. Serve blush pink, Sex in the City-inspired cosmos, spiked chocolate truffles, and grilled Thai prawn gem lettuce cups! Cue up a little Corrine Bailey Rae ‘Put Your Records On,’ and let’s get this all-girl soiree started! XOXO, Monica
Set the Scene
I filled a big woven basket with mood-lifting wildflowers. Next, I invited my guests, Marilyn and Lisa from Old Bellevue’s Hedge & Vine, to pick their fave flowers.
Create a cocktail table with pretty paper runners and white pitchers of dreamy, fragrant blooms, like narcissus, gerberas, fancy tulips,
Set out pink, glittered, and jeweled picture frames filled with greeting
Serve pink bubbles!
Send them home with pretty glassware brimming with Champagne bears, fine chocolates, kisses, and hearts.
Grilled Thai Basil and Cilantro Prawns in Lettuce Cups
This is a crazy, flavorful, and fresh dish you can totally prep ahead. I love the presentation in the round bowl. The wasabi mayo is legit, and the sesame oil and ginger dressing has just the right zing. Serve with pickled fresh ginger, and give the prawns a squeeze of fresh lime just before serving. The steps and assembly seem lengthy, but it is easy and worth it.
40 jumbo prawns
Juice and zest of half a lemon
Juice and zest of half a lime
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger,
1 tablespoon sliced Thai basil
1 tablespoon rough-chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon sea salt
Sprinkling of 4 to 6 dried crushed chili pepper flakes
Remove the tails from the prawns. Whisk together the marinade ingredients. Pour over the raw prawns, and toss. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes. Thread 4 to 5 prawns onto each skewer. (Soak the skewers in water for several hours prior to using.) Grill approximately 3 minutes per each side until the exterior is pink and the flesh is slightly opaque.
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sweet rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon cracked ground pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons agave syrup
1/4 cup lemon lime juice, freshly squeezed. (Roughly, the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1 small lime)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Combine the ingredients — up to the oils — in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil and sesame oil. Pour into a small pitcher for serving.
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
2 teaspoons wasabi powder
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Whisk together the ingredients in a bowl until light and fluffy. Spoon into a serving bowl.
Lettuce Cup Assembly
2 heads of living gem lettuce, rinsed and patted dry
2 bunches Thai basil, washed and thinly sliced
2 bunches cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
6 ounces bean sprouts, rinsed
2 limes, cut into wedges
*Purchased Jasmine rice
Place the container of wasabi mayo in the center of a large, low-profile bowl. Arrange the prawns, lettuce, basil, cilantro, sprouts, and lime around the mayo. Set out additional lettuce leaves in a heart-shaped basket. Add the pitcher of dressing and a bowl of pickled ginger. Invite guests to assemble their own grilled prawn lettuce cups, using toppings of choice! *Time saving TIP: Serve alongside purchased Jasmine rice.
Makes 1 cocktail
Cosmo, you had me at blush pink! Toast the ladies this Valentine’s Day with a citrusy, iconic Cosmopolitan cocktail. Oh, we shouldn’t have, but we did. Serve it up ice-cold and dolled up with fresh lime and leaves, decorative ice, and pink jeweled frames.
2 ounces Citron vodka
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce cranberry juice (sweetened)
½ ounce split of fresh lemon and fresh lime juice
Decorative ice cubes
Wedges of fresh lime and organic lime leaves
Chill glassware in the freezer. Place the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, along with a few ice cubes. Shake well until the container is frosty, and strain into chilled glasses. Top with decorative ice cubes. Garnish with lime wedges and leaves.
Spiked Chocolate Truffles
Makes approximately 28 truffles
This Valentine’s Day, create a dainty and delicious tray of handmade chocolate truffles, pretty toppings, pearls, and blooms. Like most truffle recipes, this one calls for an even split of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate and cream. After that, add a tipsy note with Kahlua and Cognac. The coffee liqueur brings out the chocolate flavors, and add Cognac, well, just because. Roll some of the truffles ahead in an assortment of toppings. Leave a few plain, and invite guests to roll their own.
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Kahlua
1 tablespoon Cognac
Pinch of salt
Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. In a stovetop pan, bring the cream to just a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, and slowly pour the cream over the chocolate. Whisk together until the mixture becomes glossy. Add the Kahlua, Cognac, and salt, and whisk until combined. Allow the mixture to cool and set up on the counter for an hour and a half or so. Once the chocolate has set up, use a small cookie dough scoop to create the truffle balls. Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll some of the truffles in small bowls of sprinkles and Himalayan Pink sea salt. The truffles will keep in the refrigerator for several days. Bring to room temperature, and enjoy. Happy Valentine’s Day, ladies!
Get the Look
White pitchers, Champagne flutes and glass cups, rice bowl, frames, paper runner, pearl heart napkin rings, cards, and lipstick bag, Hedge & Vine in Bellevue.