With Valentine’s Day just 48 hours away, there’s still time to put together a menu for a lovely home-cooked meal {and avoid those horribly marked up restaurant prices!}.

As you may have caught last week, I brought together a group of dear friends to enjoy a cooking lesson with Kitchit, that turned into an equally lovely meal, no coupling required! This week, we’re sharing Chef Jed’s mouth watering recipes! Even if you shun the lovers holiday {like we do} you’re going to want to take notes.

Here is our seemingly fancy and yet entirely simple menu:

Starter: Hand stretched mozzarella with nigella,  artichokes, black olives and watercress

Main: Chicken al mattone with wild mushrooms, kale , farro and gremolata

Cocktail: Champagne with pomegranate seeds


Mozzarella with nigella, artichokes, olives and watercress

To prepare the artichokes, simply chop off the tops and then peel the stems until you get close to the white center {the good part}. Cook the artichokes with enough water to cover plus 1 cup white wine,  1 splash white wine vinegar, 1 meyer lemon sliced, 1 stalk of green garlic, pinch of whole black peppercorns, pinch of whole fennel seed, 2 bay leaves, couple of sprigs of thyme and salt. Simply simmer until the artichokes are tender {and delicious!}.

Making fresh mozzarella was also easier than you might think. You simply want to start with really great ingredients, mainly a good fresh curd.  Boil a pot of water and douse a handful of curd in a separate bowl. Baring in mind the risk to your fingers {this is hot people}, begin balling the cheese onto itself, pushing it up through the middle and drawing down over the top to make a neat ball. Midway through pulling, we sprinkled ours with nigella seeds, a spice common in Indian and Egyptian cooking. They added a nice texture and subtle flavor to the otherwise mild mozzarella. Once you’ve created a smooth service on your mozzarella,  simply drop in a bowl of cool water to set. A week later and I’m still enjoying it!

To serve we simply sliced the mozzarella and topped with the artichokes, good black olives, watercress and a drizzle of our best olive oil!

Chicken al mattone with wild mushrooms, kale , farro and gremolata
whole chicken leg boned out, seasoned heavily with salt
1 cup Umbrian farro
1 bunch lacinato kale
1 pound wild mushroom(hedgehog and black trumpet)

Gremolata: 1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley picked, zest of 1 lemon, 2 stalks of green garlic, chopped fine

Making Chicken al Mattone was surprising simple. I’d never de-boned, let alone really handled a lot of raw chicken, but taking the bone out of a chicken leg required little leg work {ha ha}. Deboning the leg was a great way to create a really flavorful and affordable dish! A few simple cuts and you were ready to place the newly minted “fillet” in a hot cast iron skillet, readied with olive oil. You want to weigh the leg, skin side down, with another pan, this renders out all the fat, making it much more health conscious! A quick cook, 10 minutes or less and the chicken is ready!

The chicken was paired with farro, sautéed wild mushrooms & kale and topped with gremolata. Farro can be cooked just like pasta – a pot of very salted {like the sea says Chef Jed!} water until tender. The mushrooms & kale were simple sautéed in a pan with little more than olive oil and more salt! The gremolata is another fancy term for finally chopped herbs, but my goodness does it make a world of difference when it comes to flavor.


Go easy on yourself. Buy a good champagne. Chill, open. Garnish with pomegranate seeds. Call yourself a genius.


And voila! There you have a seriously impressive Valentine’s Day dinner. Whether you celebrating with your besties or you beloved this week, I think anyone can benefit from a stellar meal!

Thanks again to Chef Jed for imparting his know-how and serious passion for food. It was contagious!

If you’d like to learn to cook from an expert, be sure to check out Kitchit. They’re in multiple major metropolitan areas and I fear, highly addictive.

You can check out the outtakes from our cooking lesson on Facebook here.

original photography by colin price for apartment 34

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  1. Not only do these fit the romantic theme..They also look pretty delicious! I could see myself eating some of this every week. Not just valentine’s day week.

  2. “Call yourself a genius” – exactly how I feel after making what is usually a fairly simple cocktail! Will be following your menu advice this year – thanks for making it an easy choice.

  3. This looks so simple, I love it. My favorite celebratory meals are elegant comfort foods, so this seems absolutely perfect for Valentine’s.

  4. This is definitely elevated comfort food Lo. I’m craving it pretty much every night now!

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