All you need is love... and champagne

Here's the thing - we almost NEVER go out on Valentine's Day. Our very first Valentine's Day together, Jason made me a beautiful dinner BEFORE we went out to party with friends. We've always thought of it as "amateur night" for restaurant goers. I remember one boyfriendless Vday in college, when a group of girlfriends and I went someplace "fancy" like Red Lobster to drown our relationshipless sorrows in all you can eat crab legs dipped in butter, and I remember seeing old married couples there, dressed up and waiting for 45 minutes for a table. AT RED LOBSTER. On Valentine's Day. 

Pretty much, Valentine's Dinner out is like amateur night. It's like going to an Irish bar on March 17th - it's for people who desperately need an excuse to go out to dinner. We love eating out. We don't need a special occasion to enjoy a good meal out - so why bother to do it on the ONE night that everyone else feels the need to and fight the crowds?

ESPECIALLY when my husband is SUCH a good cook? And we all know there 'aint nothing sexier than a man who can cook...

Last week the nice people over at BevMo sent me an email reminding me of one of my favorite champagnes, Schramsberg. 

Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine is one of the best sparkling wines on the market. It has rich and honeyed flavors of orange, sweet limes, Meyer lemons, vanilla and toasty bread. It is perfect served with fresh oysters and caviar, or aged Gouda and other hard cheeses.

Know what else it pairs nice with? Just a glass. :)

But if you are at a loss of what to prepare tomorrow night, never fear - they also offered the perfect suggestion. Scallops!

So just because you don't have a babysitter doesn't mean the night can't be special. Get some cheese, a (few) bottles of wine and/or champagne and make it a special night at home. 


Seared Sea Scallops with Braised Leeks, and Caviar Sabayon

Submitted by Chef Cyril Frechier Rover's, Seattle, WA


  • 4 leeks trimmed, white part only
  • 4 large diver Sea Scallops
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs or Brut Napa Valley
  • 1/2 oz. caviar
  • 8 oz. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Walnut oil
  • Sea salt
  • White pepper


1. Braised Leeks - Trim and clean leeks. Lay in a shallow casserole, cover with water up to 2/3. Add 1/4-cup butter and one teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, partially covered. Cook over moderate heat until whites are soft, about 30 minutes. Keep warm in the cooking water.


2. Sabayon - Beat the egg yolks and place in a small saucepan. Over low heat, add the Blanc de Blancs a small amount at a time, whisking constantly until thickened. Do not bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add 4 ounces softened butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


3. Scallops - In a sauté pan on high heat add olive oil. When hot, sear scallops until golden brown on the outside and still moist in the center, about one minute per side. Lightly season with sea salt.


4. To assemble - Remove leeks from cooking liquid and slice lengthwise. Toss in a small bowl with walnut oil. Season with sea salt and pepper. Divide onto four plates. Place sea scallop on top of leeks. Gently mix caviar into sabayon and spoon over scallops. Serve immediately.