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“Cooking For Love” Recipes: 3 Delicious Meals to Brighten Up Your Brunch

Chef Ronnie Woo is here to help you “woo” your dream date with three delicious recipes perfect for brunch (or any meal, really) in our “Cooking for Love” dating competition!

Check out the recipes below, and head here to see what our bachelorette Theresa thought after sampling these dishes prepared by her potential suitors!

Buttermilk Pancakes
Serves 4 to 6

Ronnie believes using buttermilk instead of whole milk makes for airier, tastier pancakes because the acid reacts with the baking soda and breaks down gluten. Who are we to argue?

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Nonstick cooking spray
Unsalted butter, for serving
Pure maple syrup, for serving

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees or lowest setiing.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined; it may be a little lumpy.

4. In a nonstick pan over medium heat, spray a thin layer of cooking spray. Using a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop, scoop batter into circles, allowing space between each, and cook until they start to bubble. Flip and cook on the other side until cooked through. Keep warm in oven while cooking remaining pancakes.

5. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

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Avocado Toast

Serves 1

Win the heart of the one you adore with the ultimate avocado toast. Ronnie recommends adding the bacon to a cold pan from the start to help it from curling.

Ingredients

2 slices bacon
2 thick slices crusty Italian bread
Mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 to 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1 lemon, quartered
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Cherry tomato halves
Chopped fresh parsley
Red chile flakes

Directions

1. In a cold nonstick skillet, add bacon. Place a second nonstick skillet over the bacon to keep from curling and cook over medium-low heat until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and let cool. Break into large pieces.

2. Coat each slice of bread with mayonnaise. In a nonstick pan over medium-high heat, toast bread until golden brown.

3. In a stainless-steel pan over medium-high heat, heat enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the egg and fry until the egg white is set but the yolk is still somewhat runny, or sunnyside up.

4. In a bowl, add avocado. Using a knife, cut into chunks. Squeeze a little lemon over the top and season with salt and pepper.

5. Scoop avocado on toasted bread. Place bacon pieces into avocado and top with tomatoes. Place the egg on top and garnish with parsley and red chile flakes.

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Shrimp and “Grits”
Serves 4

Make someone swoon with Ronnie Woo’s take on shrimp and grits in our “Cooking for Love” dating competition. Ronnie uses polenta in place of the traditional grits for this dish, and we are believers. Ronnie believes the key to smooth polenta is whisk continuously while pouring the polenta (never premade logs) into the hot milk. Polenta needs a little babying or else it will burn or clump up, but it is worth the effort.

Ingredients

4 cups whole milk
Kosher salt
1 cup dry polenta or grits
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Freshly ground black pepper
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 lemon, quartered
Fresh parsley, chopped, for serving
Hot sauce, for serving

Directions

1. In a saucepan over low heat, add milk. Season with salt and slowly bring to a boil. Slowly pour in polenta, while whisking continuously, until incorporated. Once thickened, stir in butter and parmesan. If the polenta is too thick, add a little more milk. If too watery, cook a little longer, while continuing to whisk.

2. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. In a medium skillet over low heat, cook bacon until crispy. Move bacon to the sides of the pan and add the shrimp. Sear just until opaque, flip and cook on the other side, 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. When cooked through, immediately remove from heat and add garlic. Squeeze lemon over the top.

3. Place polenta in a serving dish. Top with shrimp mixture and garnish with parsley. Drizzle with a little hot sauce and serve with lemon.

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