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Cooking Planit's simple Valentine's Day meal

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Emily Wilson, executive culinary director at Cooking Planit, shows us how to simplify the process when cooking for Valentine's Day.

Wilson's dinner includes:
Beet Carpaccio with Blue Cheese Mousse
Frisee Salad with Mango and Pomegranate
Seafood Stew (see recipe below)
Parmesan Couscous

Carrots (1/2 Cup)
Celery (1/2 Cup)
Fresh Parsley (2 Tablespoons)
Fresh Thyme (2 Sprigs)
Leeks (1 Cup)
Russet Or Baking Potatoes (1 Cup)

Meat & Seafood
Cod (10 Ounces)
Sea Scallops (10 Ounces)
Shrimp, 16-20, Peeled And Deveined (10 Ounces)

Dairy & Eggs
Butter, Unsalted (1 Tablespoon)
Heavy Cream (1 Cup)

Canned Goods, Soups & Mixes
Fish Stock, Low Sodium (4 Cups)

Spice & Baking
Black Pepper
Dried Bay Leaves (2)
Flour (2 Tablespoons)
Kosher Salt

Condiments, Oils & Dressings
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (3 Tablespoons)

Dry White Wine (1/2 Cup)

Prep steps:

- Cut the green top and root end off the leek, leaving just the white and pale green section. - Peel off any loose outer layers. Cut in quarters lengthwise, then slice thinly to measure the indicated amount.

- Place the cut leeks in a large mixing bowl and fill with cold water. Agitate the water to help release any dirt. Soak the leeks as you prep other ingredients.

- Peel carrots and cut into 1/4 inch pieces to measure the indicated amount.

- Cut celery into 1/4 inch dice to measure the indicated amount. Add to the carrots.

- Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch cubes to measure the indicated amount. Place in a bowl of cold water to keep from browning.
Trim parsley leaves from the stems and finely chop to measure the indicated amount.

- Gently lift the leeks out of the bowl of water and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. - Dry thoroughly. Do not dump the leeks out of the bowl, or you will capture all the dirt that settled in the bottom.

Cook steps:

  • Gently rinse the scallops under cold water. As you rinse, remove the side muscle or "foot" and discard. The foot is about 1 inch long and is naturally separated from the body of the scallop. Often, it has already fallen off or been removed, so not every scallop will have one.
  • Remove the tails from the shrimp, if applicable.
  • Dry the shrimp and scallops, then season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter.
  • Once butter is melted and oil is hot, add the shrimp and the scallops. Oil should sizzle when you add the seafood. Make sure each piece lays flat on the bottom of the pot. If not, work in batches.
  • Sear each piece until nicely caramelized, about 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook until the other side is nicely caramelized, another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a clean plate. Reserve the pot.
  • Place the seafood pot back over medium heat. There should still be enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot. If not, add a little more olive oil and warm.
  • Once oil is warm, add the leeks and saute about 2-3 minutes until softened and bright green.
  • Once the leeks are softened, add the carrots, celery, sprigs of thyme and dried bay leaves. Cook another 3-5 minutes until carrots and celery are softened and slightly starting to caramelize. Stir often.
  • Strain the potatoes and add to the pot of leeks, celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes to remove the raw flour taste. Stir continuously.
  • Whisk in the white wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until wine has reduced by half, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Pour the fish stock into the pot of leeks and potatoes. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil.
  • Once fish stock is boiling, lower heat and simmer for [10-15 minutes] until potatoes are tender.
  • Cut the cod into 1/2-3/4 inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cut the seared shrimp and scallops into the same-sized pieces as the cod.
  • Once potatoes are tender, stir in the heavy cream, raise heat to high and bring to a boil again.
  • Once soup is boiling, stir in the cod, shrimp and scallops. Lower heat and simmer gently for another [15 minutes]. Stir often.
  • Remove the sprigs of thyme and the dried bay leaves from the soup. Stir in the chopped parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  • Ladle the seafood stew into bowls, being sure to capture each kind of seafood in every serving. Ready to eat!
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