Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cuddle up this Valentine's Day

I think most people who use food to woo and wow their sweethearts on Valentine's Day either 1. Go for chocolate or 2. Go out for a fancy dinner. Maybe both.

But I'm going to suggest that you stay home for Valentine's Day, and avoid all the crowds. Instead, make a meal at home for your beloved, set the mood with candles and music, start a fire going, and have a much more enjoyable time.

Maybe it's my Italian Grandmother gene getting the best of me again, but there's nothing like a home-made meal to make people feel loved. If you're the one who does the cooking in the house, you already know this. Also, the quality tends to be better when you make it at home--better food for the same, or less money.

Now, normally I'm all about uber fancy meals and setups and plannings. But not for Valentine's Day. You want to do something tasty, but simple, so you have more time for, you know, canoodling.

So, if you are cooking the Valentine's Day meal this year, first think of your beloved, and what he or she would like. If you think crab legs are sexy but your spouse hates seafood, then crab legs with clarified butter 'aint the way to go. If they really love chocolate, then a creme brulee isn't going to impress them (unless it's a CHOCOLATE creme brulee!)

I've put together a list of amorous menu options for those who need ideas. I've included some basic instructions for some of the suggestions--not really recipes, but something to show you how easy it really is and to get you started.

Appetizers
Oysters - if you really like them. I don't. Otherwise, go for something like smoked salmon or shrimp.
Sliced french bread, topped with something tasty and savory - sauteed onions, roasted garlic, or goat cheese, or cream cheese. Even something pre-made out of a jar becomes special when it's spread on a toasted baguette slice.

Main Courses
Steamed crab legs with clarified butter - to clarify butter: melt a stick of butter in a saucepan over low heat until it's completely melted. Use the smallest saucepan you have. Either a. spoon out the white solids, or b. pour the clarified butter into a bowl, leaving the solids in the pan. If some solids sneak by, don't fret.
Steak - season with salt and pepper. Put over flaming hot grill for a few minutes per side. enjoy
Chicken in foil packets - add some diced veggies, some wine or chicken broth, bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Side dishes
Salad
Baked/roasted potatoes
steamed vegetables
dinner rolls
rice

Beverages
White wine, red wine - The gold standard. But what if your honey likes mead? or Beer? Go with it. There's nothing wrong with an IPA with a Valentine's Day meal.

Desserts
Creme brulee - seriously, this is really super easy to make. The gourmets will say "use a vanilla bean," but you can ignore them and just use real vanilla extract.
Cheater's chocolate lava cakes - make a batch of from-the-box brownies, but bake the batter in muffin tins instead of a brownie pan. Make sure to grease the tins, but do not line them. Check them about 10 minutes before the minimum cooking time on the box. You want them a little bit undercooked. Serve as-is or with a sauce.
Dessert wines - Wines like sweet, flavorful ice wine or strong, smooth port can be desserts in and of themselves.
Chocolate-covered strawberries - Melt chocolate in microwave. Stir every 20 seconds or so. Dip strawberries. Put on waxed paper in fridge for at least an hour. Heaven.

I'd love to hear from readers what they're doing for Valentine's Day, and what their favorite Valentine's Day menus are--fancy or simple.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! As Kaylee from Firefly would say "Have good sex!"

1 comment:

Cmaaarrr!!! said...

"honey likes mead"

hah! Punny! :)