Recipes for Valentine's Day!

The recipes I’ve chosen are all super easy to prepare and also extremely tasty. They are quick and don’t require any special ingredients!

(photo credit: MALKI ADLER)
 Valentine’s Day, which falls on February 14, originated as a Christian feast day. Today, however, it is a widely celebrated holiday in which candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones. Normally, I like to focus on Tu Be’av, which is the Jewish holiday of love, but after seeing how much Valentine’s Day has become commercialized here in Israel, I guess I’m finally giving in to peer pressure. And so, this week, I am offering you a number of romantic recipes to prepare for your loved ones. 
The recipes I’ve chosen are all super easy to prepare and also extremely tasty. They are quick and don’t require any special ingredients.
The first one I’ve chosen is a salad made with fruits and nuts (I’ve listed specific fruits, but you can substitute with any others you prefer).
The second recipe is for a couscous salad, which can be served in fancy glass bowls if you want your meal to feel more elegant. 
The next dish is a light mushroom soup that will keep you and your loved ones cozy and warm.
For dessert, I’m bringing you a recipe for delectably sweet white chocolate and cheese mousse balls. 
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!
I learned this recipe from Malchi Adler.
Makes 30 balls. 
White chocolate and cheese mousse: 
50 gr. white chocolate
250 gr. sweet cream 38%
5 gr. gelatin dissolved in 25 ml. water
250 gr. cream cheese or 9% cheese
50 gr. (½ packet) powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract or ¼ tsp. vanilla paste
1 jar (400 gr.) lotus cream or chocolate ganache
To prepare the mousse, heat 25 ml. of the sweet cream with the white chocolate. Mix well. 
In a separate bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the water by heating a few seconds at a time in the microwave. Add the gelatin to the mousse and mix well. Add the cream cheese and mix again. 
Using an electric mixer, whip the sweet cream with the powdered sugar and then fold in the vanilla. Fill a semi sphere silicone baking tray with mousse and put in the freezer for two hours. 
Push out the half balls and stick them together to form a full ball. 
Put a latex glove on and smooth the seam where the two halves touch so that the halves do not fall apart. Put 
back in the freezer for a few more minutes. 
To prepare the coating, melt the lotus cream for 20 seconds in the microwave (or over a bain-marie). 
Alternatively, prepare chocolate ganache. Stick a toothpick in each ball and then dip them in the lotus cream or the chocolate ganache. Place the balls on baking paper and put them back in the freezer for a few more minutes. Store in the fridge until serving. 
If you don’t have a semi sphere silicone baking tray, you can freeze mousse in a square tray and then cut into small cubes after it freezes. Then, dip cubes into lotus or chocolate cream. 
If you’d rather not use gelatin, use three tablespoons of instant pudding instead.
To prepare chocolate ganache, you’ll need 2 packages (200 gr.) of bittersweet chocolate and 200 gr. of sweet whipping cream. 
Add the chocolate and cream to a glass bowl and heat in the microwave for a few seconds at a time. Stir until smooth. 
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 30 minutes.
Status: Dairy.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
4 ripe pears or guavas, halved and then sliced
½ bag (3 large handfuls) of young beet greens, rinsed and dried
1 zucchini, rinsed and sliced thinly with a vegetable peeler
½ cup roasted peanuts or cashews
100 gr. Sainte-Maure goat cheese (if salad will be served with a meat meal, leave out cheese)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Salad dressing: 
Make a large amount of salad dressing so you can use it for a few meals.
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. honey
Mix all the ingredients except for the cheese. Add the cheese on top and pour on salad dressing.
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 30 minutes.
Status: Dairy.
Makes 4 to 6 servings. 
1 cup whole couscous
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 red onion, chopped finely
¾ cup cranberries
1 green pepper, chopped finely (optional)
¾ cup scallions, chopped finely
¾ cup ground nuts
¼ cup chopped mint
½ cup chopped parsley 
¼ cup chopped basil
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice from ½ lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Prepare the couscous according to the directions on the packaging. 
Heat three tablespoons of oil in a pan and sauté onions until they turn translucent. Add the cranberries and sauté another three to four minutes. Add the couscous. Sauté for another three to four minutes. 
Remove from flame and transfer to a large serving bowl. 
Add the pepper, scallions, nuts, herbs, two more tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix. Taste and adjust seasoning. You can also serve the salad in small fancy glass decorative bowls. 
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 20-30 minutes.
Status: Pareve.
I learned this dietetic recipe from Neta Livneh.
Makes 4-5 servings.
100 gr. dried shiitake mushrooms
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
1 large carrot, chopped
800 gr. champagne mushrooms, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. dried thyme
2 Tbsp. corn flour or potato starch 
500 ml. water
1 can (400 ml.) coconut milk
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
Soak the dried mushrooms in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Drain mushrooms, keeping the water for later. 
Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for three minutes or until it softens slightly. 
Add the carrots and champagne mushrooms and sauté for four to five minutes. Add the garlic, soy and thyme. 
Cook for another five minutes. 
In a separate bowl, pour in half of the water and the corn flour or potato starch. Mix together and then pour into the pot while stirring constantly. Add the rest of the water, plus the leftover water from the mushrooms that you put aside. Mix and bring to a boil. Continue stirring until soup thickens. Add the coconut milk, salt and pepper and continue cooking another five minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. 
Serve with garlic bread made with olive oil, garlic powder and salt. Grill bread for a few minutes and then 
serve with hot soup. 
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 30 minutes.
Status: Pareve.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
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