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A Valentine’s Day Use-Your-Hands Dinner

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Asian-inspired finger foods are the basis of this sexy Valentine's Day menu.

Who needs knives and forks? Create a seductive mood with this light menu of Asian-inspired small bites, starting with soy-ginger marinated scallops. Next, turn lettuce wraps into a complete main course by wrapping up hoisin-grilled chicken with steamed jasmine rice. By the time you get to the crispy molten chocolate-filled wontons, you’ll have your lover eating out of your hand.

Menu Timeline

Two hours ahead:

  • Assemble the chocolate wontons and refrigerate.
  • Make the dipping sauce for the wontons.

One hour ahead:

  • Marinate the scallops.
  • Cook the rice and keep warm.
  • Assemble the bacon-wrapped scallops.
  • Prep the lettuce leaves and garnishes for the chicken.
  • Heat the oven and grill.

20 minutes ahead:

  • Grill the chicken.
  • Bake the scallops.
  • Chop up the chicken and mix it with its sauce.
  • Serve the chicken with the rice to roll up in the lettuce wrappers.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 1 large head Boston lettuce
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 fresh jalapeño or other small hot chile (optional)
  • 1 small piece fresh ginger

Meat, Eggs & Dairy

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1-1/2 lb.)
  • 6 very large “dry” sea scallops (8 to 10 oz. total)
  • 12 slices bacon
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Other Groceries:

  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts
  • 3/4 cup salted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup thawed orange juice concentrate
  • 24 wonton wrappers, preferably square
  • 1 13-oz. jar Nutella (or other chocolate-hazelnut spread)
  • 2 tsp. Grand Marnier

Pantry Staples:

  • 3 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbs. dark brown sugar
  • 4 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Kosher salt

The Menu


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