Well, if you don’t have a Valentine’s Day reservation by now, you’re probably screwed. No fear. An intimate candle-lit dinner at home beats a cliché night out any day. Avoid the over-priced menus and awkward PDAs and cozy up to a romantic meal made with love. No one will care if you play footsie in your own living room.
Here are some red/pink/aphrodisiac-laden menu ideas that’ll help set the mood:
Highlands Oyster Mignonette. That silky texture, salty sea taste. There is simply nothing sexier than slurping down raw oysters. This recipe gets a bubbly kick from prosecco and champagne vinegar migonette. A sprinkle of pink peppercorns heat it up. If your’e lookging for something a little more dramatic, try this recipe for Tantra Oyster Sliders. This tantalizing play on temperature and flavor transforms a Tabasco spiked mignonette into a frozen granita.
Blood Orange Salad with Olives. Fragrant blood oranges and mandarins dotted with torn pieces of buttery green olives, topped with a sprinkle of piment d’espelette or cayenne and good olive oil make for a beautiful, simple, fresh plate.
Tuna Tartare Napoleon. The sensual, smooth texture of sashimi-grade ahi tuna and creamy avocado in this dish are offset by layers of crispy fried wonton wrappers. Wasabi crÃ¨me fraiche adds that extra sommething special. And, the towering colorful presentation will be sure to impress. (Tip: chill the tuna in the freezer before cutting it up so. It will be easier to get a fine dice.)
Peppers Stuffed with Feta. You can choose the peppers as you wish based on how much heat you enjoy. Sweet Florina peppers are used in this traditional Macedonian dish, but you can substitute them with Fresno chiles if you like it hot, or Anaheim chiles (if you prefer a medium heat).
Roasted Beet Pasta with Brown Butter & Walnuts. This striking ruby red pasta should be the poster child for Valentine’s Day dinner. The roasted beets give this pasta its lurid color and earthy, clean flavor. Paired with a spoonful of herby Boursin cheese or tangy goat cheese, this dish is luxurious, elegant, and daring, all at once.
Scallops with Polenta & Wild Mushroom. Anything with quivering scallops deserves a place on my V-Day menu. Be careful not to overcook the scallops – rough and rubbery scallops are not sexy. The wild mushroons absorb all those great flavors of butter, cream, thyme, and sherry. Top with a sprinkle of truffle salt or truffle oil and you have one decadent meal.
White and Dark Hearted Brownies. Domestic goddess Deb from Smitten Kitchen has done it again. These painfully cute white and dark chocolate brownies will melt the heart of even the most cynical Cupid hater.
Heart-Shaped Meringues Filled with Passion Fruit Curd. If you’re not into chocolate (*gasp*), this may be just the thing for you. Airy vanilla meringues paired with a fruity, exotic passon fruit curd and some plump raspberries, this is one dessert that won’t leave you feeling too weighed down and lethargic (*nudge nudge, wink wink*).
Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies. A fun twist on the cupcake, this version takes my favorite red velvet combo and turns it into a whoopie-pie like dessert. It’s a Paula Deen recipe, so of course, it involves a pound of cream cheese and two sticks of butter, but hey y’all…I fatten you because I love you.
Milk Chocolate Cremoso with Espresso Parfait. This dessert combines satiny rich chocolate pudding/ganache, frozen espresso cream parfait, hazelnuts, extra-virign olive oil, and sea salt for a seductive combination that will surely close your Valentine’s Day with happy ending.