IF THE WAY TO YOUR sweetie’s heart is through his/her stomach, why not charm your special somebody this Valentine’s with a mouthwatering meal? Settings on the Dock of the Bay, the Tabasco Community Cookbook Awards Southwest Regional Winner in 2000, offers a five-star selection of delectable dishes guaranteed to coax the most discerning palate. Compiled by the Assistance League of the Bay Area, or ALBA, the vast collection of coastal recipes like Shrimp Ratatouille and Roquefort Filets Mignons with Brandy, is organized into chapters dedicated to selected Bay Area communities; each region offering a suggested menu with several locally inspired options for any culinary occasion. Informational sidebars with tasty food tidbits like the history of pesto or a list of the Bay Area’s hottest peppers and a chapter devoted to wine descriptions are relevant and well-done accompaniment to the recipes.

The dishes are far from heart-healthy, so the cardiovascular-challenged or anyone trying to shed those holiday pounds should proceed with caution. Settings on the Dock of the Bay was compiled in 1996 with the goal of donating the proceeds to ALBA’s philanthropic projects such as Operation School Bell which provides new school clothes to children in need and scholarships for elementary and intermediate school-aged children for the summer enrichment courses at University of Houston-Clear Lake. ALBA’s Settings on the Dock of the Bay enables that generosity, and provides a culinary and visual glimpse of the culturally rich Bay Area.

Some recipe suggestions:

Seabrook Flats

Mango and Pepper Salsa
Goat Cheese with Basil Pesto
Beef and Gorgonzola Meatballs Wrapped in Prosciutto

South Shore Harbor Marina and Lighthouse

Shrimp Bisque
Mallorca’s Gazpacho Andalucian

Kemah Water Front

Grilled Salmon Rolls with Capers and Cucumbers
Sesame-Crusted Chilean Sea Bass with Watermelon Salsa
Southern Favorite Crab Cakes

Houston Yacht Club

Green Beans with Roquefort Cheese and Walnuts
Sweet Potato Balls
Grits Soufflé with Caramelized Onions

University of Houston-Clear Lake

Rack of Lamb with Herb Crust
Marinated Beef Tenderloin with Tarragon Burgundy Wine Sauce
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Garlic Mustard Sauce
Grand Marnier Soufflé