Community shares Valentine’s Day thoughts, memories

Freedom New Mexico: Liliana Castillo Clovis High School junior Emily Wickham chops mushrooms during a practice session at the high school in the industry-standard kitchen that serves as the culinary classroom for CHS.

Freedom New Mexico

Valentine’s Day…our official celebration of love, romance and candy hearts with silly sayings.

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s coming up Monday. Not a lot of time left.

But take heart. We asked a host of local experts for advice on everything from mood setting meals to unusual date places right here in eastern New Mexico.

So take a breath and a little time for romance. Read and enjoy these smatterings of insight and advice into that uniquely human mystery called love:

Kiss the cook

Some mood-setting menus created exclusively by Clovis High School culinary arts students for that romantic Valentine’s Day meal.

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This menu is created by culinary students Zeke Rodriguez, Emily Wickham, Ryan Sena and Jasmine Mendez

• Lover’s salad — Made with watermelon, raspberries, strawberries and topped with orange juice concentrate

• Grilled Sirlion Steak — Trim steaks, brush with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until the first side of steak is lightly charred, about three minutes. Turn steaks and finish grilling on the second side another three to six minutes, depending on desired doneness.

• Rosemary potato hearts — Preheat oven to 375. Wash and peel two large Russet potatoes. Carefully slice each potatoes into fourths lengthwise. With a metal heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut as many hearts as possible out of each slice. Place on oiled baking sheet. Brush hearts with olive oil, sprinkle liberally with chopped rosemary, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning once halfway through time.

• Chocolate fondue — Ingredients: 3/4 cup half and half, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted, 1cup bittersweet, semisweet, milk or white chocolate, coarsely chopped. Combine the half and half, sugar and butter in a heavy saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Add chocolate. Let the mixture rest for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the sauce is very smooth. Select ripe but firm fruit to cut into pieces and dip into the chocolate.

This menu was created by culinary student Fernando Rivas and his team, whose names couldn’t be released.

• Appetizer — Lobster chunks and mushrooms saut