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Detail of Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes

Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes

A great dish for dessert or breakfast, these filled crepes are quick and easy to make, full of wonderful flavor, and make any occasion special.

A Culinary Poem: Suggestions for a Perfect Romantic Dinner
by The Art Institutes

The chefs from The Art Institutes Culinary Arts programs offer up romance and tasty recipes that make for a perfect romantic dinner.

A Culinary Poem: Suggestions for a Perfect Romantic Dinner

(ARA) - While you may not be expecting diamonds, roses or Chanel No. 5 just any day of the week, there's no reason you can't cook-up a little culinary romance any time. According to the chef instructors for The Art Institutes Culinary Arts programs, with a little thought, creative ambiance and a few make-ahead preparations, a romantic dinner for two can be yours.

For Chef Frank Lima, an instructor with the New York Restaurant School of The Art Institutes, food is poetry and poetry is food. Chef Lima is not only a former White House assistant chef during the Kennedy Administration, but a first runner-up for Poet Laureate of Queens, New York. As Chef Lima explains it, "Poetry and cooking are so similar -- they're both about feeling and aesthetics." The two are so intertwined, in fact, that Chef Lima named his cream of roasted red pepper soup Creme Kukhla Moo ("my doll" in Greek).

In addition to soup, which Chef Lima garnishes with crumbled feta cheese and fresh dill, he also likes ceviche with Champagne salsa -- lobster, shrimp and sea scallops marinated in fresh lime juice -- and garnished with cilantro and capers. Both the soup and ceviche can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.

As a main course, it's salmon Vera Cruz, a roasted salmon filet with jalapeno and mole chocolate sauce. Dessert is the poetic high point of this romantic menu: Strawberries romanoff with orange dust.

For Chef Francis Jacquinet, a chef instructor with The Art Institute of Houston, ambiance and menu are equally important to achieve a perfect romantic meal. He suggests serving dinner "by the fireplace, or candle lit. Adorn the table with a single or bouquet of red roses. Take your phone off the hook, and play your companion's favorite music."

Chef Jacquinet starts with a spring green salad with red wine vinaigrette. Follow that with a retro favorite -- Swiss cheese fondue. Shallots, garlic, white wine and cherry brandy can be purchased ahead of time, along with a French baguette and a lovely, sparkling chilled wine. To finish, dip a few long-stemmed strawberries in melted chocolate.

Married but still Valentines, chef instructors Peter and Pamela Babcock of The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, take a duet approach to their ideal dinner for two. Having successfully combined marriage and culinary careers for 10 years, the chefs complement each other perfectly when designing a romantic meal.

"We both like a lot of color, texture and flavor so for this menu, we've combined some of our favorites," says Chef Pamela Babcock. They begin with a cream of carrot soup, followed by baby greens with poached pears and stilton crostini. For the main course, broiled salmon steak with chardonnay sauce. Finally, for dessert the chefs recommend banana pineapple strudel. For a perfect accompaniment, the chefs recommend a Veuve Clicquot.

According to Chef Peter Babcock, the key to enjoying a romantic meal is to create a simple, delicious dinner that lets you spend as much time as possible with your loved one. "No matter how wonderful the food, you don't want to spend the evening waving from the kitchen. You want to be where your heart is -- that's where the romance comes in," he says.

Many of these recipes can be found on The Art Institutes' Web site at

The Art Institutes' system of 24 education institutions is located nationwide, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals. The Art Institutes system of schools has provided career-oriented academic programs for 40 years, with more than 125,000 graduates. For more information, call (888) 328-7900 or visit The Art Institutes Web site at

Courtesy of ARA Content

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