Valentine’s Day Dinner with The Coastal Table

This year, skip the hassle of making last-minute reservations at a crowded, overpriced restaurant for Valentine’s Day. Cooking at home with your sweetie is much more romantic—especially with this delectable three-course meal for two (complete with a cocktail!) by Karen Covey, author of The Coastal Table: Recipes Inspired by the Farmlands and Seaside of Southern New England and editor of The Coastal Table magazine.

Sparkling Cranberry Cocktail

1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup frozen cranberries
4 ounces cranberry juice
2 ounces vodka, or to taste
1 bottle sparkling rosé

1. Chill 2 champagne flutes.

2. Combine sugar, cranberries, and cranberry juice in a pitcher. Stir until sugar is dissolved (this can be made ahead of time).

3. Remove chilled glasses. Add 1 ounce of vodka to each glass. Top each with 2 ounces of cranberry mixture (including some cranberries). Top each with champagne and serve.

Oysters with Pink Peppercorn Mignonette
Photo above/left by Cassandra Birocco

1/4 medium shallot, finely minced
2 tablespoons champagne (or white wine) vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pink peppercorns
Kosher salt
1/4 cup sparkling rosé
12 freshly shucked oysters, for serving

In a small bowl, combine shallot and vinegar and let stand for 5 minutes. Add peppercorns, a pinch of salt and sparkling rosé and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

cook’s note: You can crush the peppercorns in either a mortar and pestle or pepper grinder, or place them on a cutting board and carefully press down on them with the underside of a frying pan.

Baked Scallops with Toasted Breadcrumbs
A light, flavorful dish that pairs perfectly with a simple green salad.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 small shallot, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, plus extra for garnish
Zest from 1/4 lemon
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons white wine
10 sea scallops
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
Juice from 1/4 to 1/2 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Place 2 individual 6-inch round gratin dishes on a baking sheet and set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, add butter, olive oil, garlic, shallot, parsley, and lemon zest, mix until combined, and season with salt and pepper.

4. Place 1 tablespoon wine in bottom of each gratin dish.

5. Remove any tough, crescent-shaped muscle from outside of scallops and discard. Pat scallops dry and place 5 scallops in each dish, grouping them together. Place a dollop of butter mixture on scallops. Scatter equal amounts of Parmigiano-Reggiano over each, followed by breadcrumbs. Drizzle additional oil over top of each dish and season with salt and pepper.

6. Bake until breadcrumbs are lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Finish under broiler for 1-2 minutes. Drizzle each gratin dish with lemon juice and a bit more parsley and serve warm.

Self-saucing Chocolate Cake
Photo above by Jennifer Jeanne Adams

One cake. Two spoons. Perfection.

Cake Batter

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
6 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup boiling water
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 7-inch cast iron skillet with butter and place on a baking sheet. Set aside.

2. Make cake batter. Melt butter in a small saucepan (or in a microwave). Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

4. In a measuring cup, combine milk, 1/2 of beaten egg (save extra for another use), vanilla, and cooled butter. Stir into batter until combined. Pour batter into prepared skillet, making sure batter is evenly distributed.

5. Make topping. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Sprinkle evenly over cake batter.

6. Using a teaspoon as a guide, slowly pour boiling water over topping (water must completely cover topping).

7. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until cake is cooked through and a toothpick comes out clean.

8. Cool for about 5 minutes. Top with ice cream and serve.

The Coastal Table is now available in your local Barnes & Noble and independent bookstore. You can also purchase the book through our websiteAmazon, and BN.comThe Coastal Table magazine is a visually-driven, quarterly magazine that offers a unique, thoughtful approach to a more traditional coastal-inspired publication. Each issue offers a collection of seasonally-inspired recipes, ideas for weekend projects and exploration as well as insightful narratives of amazing artisans from all over the world. To subscribe, click here or visit