1 clove garlic, minced

2 tsp. water

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Dust scallops on one side only with flour. Shake off excess.

Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place scallops, floured side down, in skillet, and cook uncovered for 3 minutes, until a crust forms on the bottom. Cover and continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes until cooked through. Remove to a plate and cover with a sheet of foil to keep warm.

Pour off any leftover butter from skillet, keeping as many of the little flour "bits" as possible. Add olive oil and garlic and heat over medium heat until hot. Add cabbage and water and cook 2 or 3 minutes, just until cabbage is wilted. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and stir well.

Serve with scallops atop a mound of cabbage in the center of the plate. Await compliments.

Dessert

Now, this is where we can run into a bit of trouble. This may well be the most important course, but it's also the most personal. Does your significant other like dark, milk or white chocolate? Fruit? Cake? Pie?

If you choose the "safe" route and purchase your dessert item from a bakery, and I'm not for a moment faulting you for doing so, be sure and personalize the presentation with some chopped mint scattered on the plate, an artistic drizzle of chocolate or caramel, and perhaps some fresh fruit such as strawberries or grapes.

If you're feeling adventurous and would like to try your own hand at dessert, check out the Valentine's section of this site. We'll be bringing you some delicious dessert options of many types.

For a real home run, Paulette Mitchell has two that will mark you as not just a gourmet, but a true artiste in the world of chocolate. Her Triple Chocolate-Cassis Brownies may just be the apex of the brownie art, and the Chocolate-Cherry Bread Pudding With Sherry Cream is ... well let's just say you might end up carrying the dish to another location to finish dessert. And both of these are simple enough for even the most rookie cooks to create!