This One’s for the Gal’s

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,
and ranunculus.   

Set out pink, glittered, and jeweled picture frames filled with greeting
card sentiments.

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

6 servings

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.

Prawns (Marinade) 

Ingredients 

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,
finely chopped

1 tablespoon sliced Thai basil

1 tablespoon rough-chopped cilantro 

1 teaspoon sea salt

Sprinkling of 4 to 6 dried crushed chili pepper flakes

Method

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.

Dressing 

Ingredients

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.

Wasabi Mayo

Ingredients

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

Method

Whisk together the ingredients in a bowl until light and fluffy. Spoon into a serving bowl.

Lettuce Cup Assembly

Ingredients

Grilled prawns

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

Pickled ginger

*Purchased Jasmine rice

Method

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.

Cosmopolitan Cocktail

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. 

Ingredients

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
for garnish

Method

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. 

Ingredients

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

Method

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.  

 

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