"Bachelorette" cooks up some romance

February 13, 2008 6:11:39 PM PST
You may know Meredith Phillips from ABC's "The Bachelor", Season Four, and later as "The Bachelorette." Well, now, she's found true love and she wants to show other busy couples how to ignite their romantic spark, starting in the kitchen. She has a romantic recipe from her "The Date Night Cookbook."

To purchase Meredith's cookbook: www.amazon.com

From Meredith Phillips' "The Date Night Cookbook: Romantic Recipes for The Busy Couple"

Asian Ground Turkey Lettuce Cups

    There is something very intimate about eating with your hands, isn't there? For this cool, refreshing appetizer, simply tear off pieces of lettuce and fill them with the turkey mixture, as you would a soft taco. The recipe calls for a lot of ingredients, but after you've purchased them the first time, you'll have your Asian pantry pretty well stocked. We make this dish once a week and never tire of it. Serve this meal with any long-grain white rice. I prefer Basmati.

    Prep time: 20 minutes
    Cooking time: 15 minutes
    Yields: 4 servings

    2 tablespoons canola oil
    1 medium-size white onion, diced
    3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
    2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
    1 1/2 cups diced button mushrooms
    1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and diced
    1 pound ground turkey
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    1 tablespoon sesame oil
    2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
    1 teaspoon fish sauce
    1 teaspoon soy sauce
    1 tablespoon hot mustard
    1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
    1 tablespoon black bean sauce
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon sriracha
    1 teaspoon sesame seeds
    1 bunch cilantro, minced
    1 green onion, sliced
    1 head of romaine or butter lettuce, washed and dried

    Substitute ground pork or chicken for the turkey, and basil or flat-leaf parsley for the cilantro.

    To make the turkey filling, set a large, heavy sauté pan or wok over medium heat. Add the canola oil. Add the onion, and sauté for 2 minutes until translucent. Add the ginger and garlic, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and water chestnuts, and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the turkey, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until the turkey is cooked through.

    Add the sesame oil, rice vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, hot mustard, hoisin, black bean sauce, Worcestershire, sriracha, and sesame seeds. Stir thoroughly to distribute flavors, sautéing for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the cilantro and green onion.

    Serve with lettuce leaves to use as serving "cups" or wrappers.

Red Wine-poached Pears

    This elegant dessert is deceptively simple. Serve the pears chilled in a small pool of chilled Whipped Cream or warm Marsala Zabaglione for a luscious yet light finale. In wintry months, skip the pears altogether and serve the warmed poaching liquid as mulled wine.

    Prep & cooking time: 1 hour
    Chilling: overnight
    Yields: 4 servings

    4 firm but ripe Bosc or Anjou pears
    1 (750-ml) bottle Merlot
    1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
    1 cup water
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 stick cinnamon
    4 whole cloves

    Use white wine and add cherries, or try using a sweet white dessert wine and elimating half the sugar. Garnish with toasted or candied chopped pecans.

    Peel the pears, leaving a bit of skin and the stem intact at the top.

    Combine the wine, 1 cup of the sugar, the water, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves in large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves.

    Add the pears, reduce the heat, and cover. Simmer until the pears are tender when pierced with knife, but not too soft-about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the pears to cool completely in the wine mixture.

    Cover and chill the pears in the liquid overnight.

    Remove the pears from the liquid and keep chilled until ready to serve. Remove the cloves and cinnamon stick and discard. Return the liquid to the stovetop and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Let boil until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool at least 30 to 45 minutes before serving.

    Serve the chilled pears with the syrup and some creamy sweetened mascarpone, Whipped Cream, or Marsala Zabaglione.