Chef Bill Scepansky shows us how to woo your loved one with a cooked-from-the-heart V-day meal, that's not only memorable, but also heart healthy and affordable!


Valencia, Cara Cara and Blood Orange Salad With Toasted Almonds, Baby Arugula and Champagne Vinaigrette 
Serves 4 - To make for two, simply halve or eat double!

If you know how to slice an orange, then try this incredibly tasty and visually stunning salad that will blow your guests away, without taking all day to prepare.

4 ea. Oranges, Navels, Bloods, Cara Caras or some of each, skinned, sliced
1 Tb. Champagne or White Wine Vinegar
2 Tb. Olive Oil, Extra Virgin, good and fruity, plus extra for drizzling over plate
1 tsp. Honey
To Taste Sea Salt, preferably Sel de Gris or Fleur de Sel
To Taste Black Pepper, freshly ground
2 C. Baby Arugula
¼ C. Almonds, slivered, lightly toasted
1 Tb. Chives, fresh, minced

To serve, simply overlap the slices, in an attractive manner, on individual plates or a platter. Season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and honey. Add baby arugula, toasted almonds, chives and a touch of salt and toss well to coat.

Place a mound of the salad over the oranges. Drizzle a touch of olive oil around the plate and serve.



"Heart and Sole" en Papillotte
Sole Baked in Parchment with Lemon, Artichokes, Capers, Fennel and Shrimp
Serves 4

En Papillote is one of the easiest and most pure techniques of cooking fish. Fresh fish and some choice aromatics are wrapped up and sealed in parchment and then baked.

The fish steams in the parchment pouch, infusing with the flavor and aroma of these aromatics.

Any juice that comes from the cooking fish is trapped, mixing with a little butter or olive oil, forming the lightest yet most concentrated of sauces.

4 ea. Parchment paper sheets, cut square, folded in half to form rectangles
2 Tb. Olive oil, Extra Virgin, plus additional for moistening parchment
1 ea. Fennel Bulb, sliced thinly
1 ea. Shallot, thinly sliced
1 ea. Garlic Clove, fresh, minced
6-8 ea. Sole filets,(The idea is to have roughly 6 oz. of fish per person)
½ C. Artichoke Hearts, thinly sliced
½ C. Shrimp, fresh, small, peeled and deveined
1 Tb. Capers, rinsed
½ tsp. Thyme, fresh, chopped
1 ea. Lemon, peeled, very thinly sliced
1 Tb. Parsley
To Taste Kosher or Sea Salt and Black Pepper, freshly ground
4 Tb. Butter

Preheat oven with a sheet pan set in the center of the oven, to 400 degrees F.

In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil, followed by the fennel, and cook until the fennel becomes soft, 10 minutes. Add the garlic and shallot and continue to cook over medium heat until aromatic. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, using a pair of scissors, cut the folded parchment sheets into half of a heart shape, so that when they are opened, they create a "full heart." Spoon some of the sautéed fennel into the center of half of each heart. Place the fish over the fennel. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Shingle a few lemon slices over the fish. Spoon on the artichokes, capers and shrimp. Top each with 1 Tb. Butter. Sprinkle with parsley. Carefully and thoroughly enclose and crimp the outside edge of each of the half heart shaped parcels and brush each with enough oil to lightly coat.

To cook and serve, place the papillotes onto the preheated sheet pan and bake until fully inflated. Carefully remove to individual warmed serving plates and take to table. Using a pair of scissors or sharp knife, slit the top in front of your guest(s), so they can enjoy the aroma that first escapes from the packages. Be careful of the hot steam. Enjoy with any light, crisp white wine!


Macerated Strawberries (almost melted. Stir well and spoon over the ice cream!) W/ Warm Lemon Muffins, Vanilla Ice Cream and Crème Anglaise
Serves 4 – Again, it’s a no-brainer to make more or less!

Bake off a box of your favorite, easy-to-bake muffin mix, serve hot out of the oven with some sliced strawberries that have taken a bath in whatever dessert wine you may like, and serve with Vanilla Ice Cream, two ways (one melted and warm), for a stupid simple yet spectacular way to finish your Valentines dinner. Save the chocolate for later!

1 box Lemon Muffins (or blueberry, chocolate chip, banana) small, bake them all…you’ll love having them for breakfast
1 Pt-Qt. Strawberries, fresh, washed, topped and sliced
As needed Sugar, granulated, enough to lightly coat strawberries
2 Tb. Dessert wine – Can be anything from a Semi sweet white wine to Marsala, Madeira, Ice
Wine, Ruby Port, etc. – Can be entirely omitted, too!
4 ea. Vanilla Ice Cream, scoops, plus a, extra scoop to melt in the microwave
4 ea. Mint Sprigs (optional garnish)

Up to one day in advance, toss the sliced strawberries with the sugar and the wine.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Bake off muffins according to instructions on box. This can be done ahead but if you time them to come out of the oven just before dessert, even better. Otherwise, simply microwave them for 10-15 seconds to warm them through.

To serve, using a spoon, make a depression in the center of each muffin and place in the center of individual wide-rimmed bowls. Spoon some of the strawberries and their flavorful juice around the muffins. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream into the center of each muffin. Melt the extra bit of ice cream in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, until

This hot meets cold ice cream thing will cascade down over the berries. Yum!