Romantic Dinner for Two

Romantic Dinner for Two

John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Isn’t that true? Planning your wedding is fun and exciting but it can also absorb a lot of your precious time. Don’t forget to spend some quality time with the man you love. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of wedding planning to spend a quiet evening with your fiancé. We southern women still believe that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. These delicious recipes will ensure a great meal and a special night.

This menu offers something for everyone. Serve every course or pick and choose your favorites. Crab Cakes with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli is the appetizer course. The crab cakes can be prepared the day before and reheated just before serving. Creamy Red Pepper Soup with Croutons is the soup course. If you can’t find mascarpone cheese in your area, substitute with cream cheese. They’re both very close in flavor. I like to garnish with fresh tarragon and parsley but any fresh savory herb will work. Greek Salata is the salad course. Purchase fresh pita bread from your favorite bakery to serve on the side. I always offer Mint Yogurt Sauce with the salad course and the entree. It helps to complete the menu. Rack of Lamb with Farro Salad and Sauteed Spinach is the main course. Farro may be substituted with wild rice or even couscous. Fudge Cake with Raspberries and Cream is a quick and easy dessert. It’s not too heavy or sweet, and perfect with a few fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Raspberry Champagne Cocktail is wonderful beverage to end your meal and begin your romantic evening.

Always take the time to enjoy each other. Today, tomorrow and every day that you’re a married couple. That’s advice from someone who has been happily married for twenty-two years!

p.s. Send me your catering questions. I’ll do my best to answer your questions and address your concerns. Contact me directly through my website.

Crab Cakes with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli
Creamy Red Pepper Soup with Croutons
Greek Salata with Pita Bread
Mint Yogurt Sauce
Rack of Lamb with Farro Salad and Sauteed Spinach
Fudge Cake with Raspberries and Cream
Raspberry Champagne Cocktail

Crab Cakes with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli

Crab Cakes with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli
Make a few small crab cakes or one large crab cake per person. These are great to make ahead, freeze and thaw the morning before serving.
For the Sun-Dried Tomato Remoulade:
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place mayonnaise and sun-dried tomatoes in a mini food processor. Process on high until ingredients are combined. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the Crab Cakes:
1 tablespoon chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon chopped celery
1 tablespoon diced onion
1 teaspoon diced pimento, drained
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon fresh chopped Italian parsley
1½ teaspoons crab boil
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup dried bread crumbs
8 ounces fresh lump crabmeat
Sauté green pepper, celery, onion and pimento in melted butter in large skillet until tender. Stir in parsley, crab boil seasoning and Dijon mustard. Add egg and bread crumbs; gently stir in fresh lump crab meat. Form into patties. Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12-18 minutes, depending on the size of the crab cakes. Serve warm with remoulade. Serves 2.

Creamy Red Pepper Soup with Croutons

Creamy Red Pepper Soup with Croutons
Mascarpone cheese is an Italian double cream cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s buttery-rich, soft and delicate and has the texture of clotted cream.
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 onions, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 cups vegetable broth
1 (12-ounce) jars roasted red bell peppers preserved in water, drained
1 small red potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
¼ cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup mascarpone cheese
Crostini or croutons
Fresh chopped herbs, to garnish
Heat olive oil in a heavy, large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, garlic and thyme and saute until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, bell peppers, potato, wine and sugar. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Cool the soup slightly. Process the soup in batches in a food processor or blender. Return the soup to pot; warm through and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls. Top crostini with mascarpone cheese and place in center of each bowl or dollop a tablespoon of mascarpone in the center of each bowl and top with croutons. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs and serve. Freeze leftover soup. Serves 4.

Greek Salata with Pita Bread

Greek Salata with Pita Bread
Authentic Greek salads consist of chopped tomato, cucumber and red onion, seasoned with oregano, salt and pepper and topped with olive oil. Extras such as pepperoncini, kalamata olives, anchovies and feta cheese may or may not be included.
For the vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
For the salad:
4 cups mixed salad greens
1 small cucumber, sliced
8 to 12 grape tomatoes, halved
8 to 12 kalamata olives, pitted
1 tablespoon diced red onion
4 to 6 pepperoncini
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoons pine nuts, toasted
Dried oregano
In a small bowl, whisk vinaigrette ingredients together until well mixed; set aside. Place lettuce in a large salad bowl. Dress with vinaigrette; toss to coat. Top with cucumber, tomatoes, olives, red onion and pepperoncini. Garnish with feta cheese and pine nuts. Season to taste with dried oregano. Serve with a side of fresh pita bread. Serves 2.

Mint Yogurt Sauce
This is a simple tzatziki-like yogurt sauce flavored with fresh mint, lemon, garlic and shallot. Serve it with lamb, on-the-side of a Greek salad or with pita bread.
1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 1 cup.

Rack of Lamb with Farro Salad and Sauteed Spinach

Rack of Lamb with Farro Salad and Sauteed Spinach
Cooking rack of lamb is very simple, allowing you gourmet appeal without a lot of work. The secret is browning the rack of lamb on all sides ahead of time. Then all you need to do is brush the rack with some Dijon mustard and press on a tasty coating of seasoned breadcrumbs. The lamb can be prepared ahead in the day and then brought to room temperature before roasting. The Farro Salad needs to be made a few hours before serving. Saute the spinach just before plating. The spinach is served hot, the farro salad is served at room temperature and the lamb is served warm. Very easy!
For the Farro Salad:
1 cup whole wheat farro
3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 green onion, chopped
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 pinch dried red pepper flakes
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Prepare farro according to package directions. Add the tomatoes, parsley, onion, olive oil, vinegar, red pepper and feta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit for 4 hours to allow flavors to marry. Refrigerate any leftover salad. Serves 4.
For the spinach:
1 (9-ounce) bag baby spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
Dash nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
Wash and dry fresh spinach. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach and saute until just wilted. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Serves 2.
For the Lamb:
¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 (6 to 7 bone) frenched racks of lamb, well-trimmed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine breadcrumbs, garlic and rosemary in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside. Season lamb rack all over with salt and pepper. Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Sear lamb for 1 to 2 minutes on all sides. Set aside to cool. Brush lamb racks with the mustard. Press breadcrumb mixture evenly on the meaty side of the rack. Cover the ends of the bones with foil and place bone-side down in the skillet. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees with an instant-read thermometer. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 2.

Fudge Cake with Raspberries and Cream

Fudge Cake with Raspberries and Cream
This recipe actually serves 6 to 8 people. No worries! The leftovers won’t last for long.
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup all-purpose flour
Chocolate syrup
Powdered sugar
Sweetened whipped cream or ice cream
Fresh raspberries
Fresh mint, to garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add cocoa powder, salt and flour and stir until well-combined. Grease and 8-inch pie plate with butter. Pour mixture into pie plate. Bake for 30 minutes or until center is set. Cool for 30 minutes before serving. To serve: Drizzle dessert plates with chocolate syrup. Place a slice of cake on each plate; dust with powdered sugar and serve with a side of whipped cream or ice cream. Garnish with fresh raspberries and a sprig of fresh mint. Serves 6 to 8.

Raspberry Champagne Cocktail

Raspberry Champagne Cocktail
A festive beverage that’s a step up from the classic glass of champagne!
Raspberry sorbet
Champagne or Prosecco
Fresh raspberries
Fresh mint
Place two or three small scoops of frozen sorbet into two champagne glasses. Pour champagne over the sorbet to cover. Garnish with fresh raspberries and a sprig of fresh mint. Serves 2.

Cuisine, Food Styling and Table Design: Catering by Debbi Covington

Catering by Debbi Covington

Photography: Susan DeLoach Photography



Link to purchase Celebrate Everything!:
Link to column “Everyday Gourmet”:

BIO: Debbi Covington is a chef, caterer, cookbook author and food columnist from Beaufort, SC. She has written two cookbooks, Gold Medal winner of the 2013 Benjamin Franklin Award, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon . She also writes the food column “Everyday Gourmet” in Beaufort’s Lowcountry Weekly newspaper. Debbi has been featured as a “Master of Entertaining” in Southern Living magazine and her recipes have been published in multiple cookbooks including Southern Living’s Best Kept Secrets of the South’s Best Cooks and The Best of The Best of South Carolina. Her cuisine has been photographed for Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. She has been voted “Best Caterer” in Beaufort, SC since 2010. Debbi has a passion for cuisine and delights in creating seasonal and locally inspired menus.

Gold Medal Winner of the 2013 Benjamin Franklin Award
Celebrate Everything!

The MUST HAVE cookbook for all new brides! Great wedding gift, bridal party gift or guest book! —- Chef Debbi Covington, author of Dining Under the Carolina Moon, has written a new cookbook! Infused with high spirits and full of delicious recipes, Celebrate Everything! is a delightful book that inspires cooking and entertaining throughout the year with lots of new reasons to eat, drink and be merry! Twenty-seven menus with 190 recipes are included in the cookbook. Some celebrate holidays – with heartfelt traditions to enjoy with friends and family. Some celebrate special moments that just give us an excuse to party! All of the menus include recipes for several courses along with suggestions for appropriate wines or other beverages. The dishes all work together as a complete event, yet there’s room for your imagination. Life is full of happy surprises! Good feelings and good times are meant to be shared with others. This collection will spark your enthusiasm and you’ll look forward to each and every celebration with excitement! Celebrate Everything! is a 216 page hard cover cookbook and features 580 full color photographs by Paul Nurnberg. Signed copies are available directly from the author at