Jamie Oliver created this romantic, man-friendly menu for two. It's so easy, you'll have time to whip it up and work your magic.
PAN-BAKED PORK CHOPS
"This isn't fussy restaurant food--it's a down-home, delicious meal," says Oliver. "It's supersimple. You put it all--meat, veggies, potatoes--in one roasting pan, so there's only one thing to wash."
* To make marinade: Halve, juice, and squash 2 lemons, mix in 3 crushed garlic cloves and a handful of pounded fresh rosemary, and add 5 glugs of olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.
* Massage 4 large pork chops with the rosemary marinade.
* Refrigerate for 1 to 6 hours.
* Preheat the oven to 425 [degrees] F.
* Slice 2 parsnips and core and quarter 2 pears (Cosmo suggests substituting carrots for parsnips and mild sweet apples for pears, if you prefer).
* Cut 3/4 pounds of potatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices.
* Put pork chops, potatoes, pears (or apples), and parsnips (or carrots) into a large roasting pan with the rest of the marinade, tossing lightly to coat.
* Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the chops.
WATERCRESS, PEAR, AND PARMESAN SALAD
"The secret here is to both slice and grate the pear," says Oliver. "By grating some of it, you're almost juicing it, so you create a sort of pear vinaigrette when it mixes with the drizzle of olive oil."
* Wash, peel, and core a firm sweet pear, and cut it into slices.
* Set a few slices aside, and place the rest in a bowl with 4 handfuls of watercress and 4 handfuls of arugula.
* Then grate or finely chop the remaining pear slices and add to the salad.
* Drizzle on some extra-virgin olive oil, add a squeeze of fresh lemon, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
* Toss the salad, then shave Parmesan cheese and crumble walnuts over it.
"This dessert is so rich, you need only a small serving. I put it in espresso cups, which are the perfect size, with a few simple cookies on the side," says Oliver.
* Heat 1/2; cup light cream in a small saucepan until it's nearly boiling.
* Remove it from the heat and wait one minute, then add 3-1/2 ounces of chopped quality chocolate (it can be semisweet or bittersweet but should be labeled as made of 70 percent cocoa solids).
* Stir until the chocolate is melted, then beat in 1 large egg yolk and 1-1/2 tablespoons brandy and stir until smooth.
* Let the mixture cool slightly, then stir in 1/2 tablespoon plus I teaspoon of butter.
* Pour the chocolate into individual serving pots and refrigerate.
Fab Finishing Touches
THE PERFECT WINE:
For a white that will match your meat, pick a light-bodied Pinot Grigio such as Ecco Domani. Prefer a red? Go with a Rioja, a dry Spanish wine that's slightly fruity. Try Marques de Caceres.
THE BREWS TO CHOOSE:
It you'd rather drink beer. go for slightly upscale brews such as Pilsner Urquell (if you favor light crisp beer) or Samuel Adams Boston Ale (our pick for those who crave a richer dark flavor).
For a sexy vibe: World Outside My Window, by Glenn Lewis. If you want more toe-tapping tunes: the 0 Brother, Where Art Thou? sound track, a popular mix of bluegrass, country, and gospel.
Thanks to Marrie Clarie