If crowded restaurants with mile-long wait list aren’t for you, a romantic dinner for two in the comfort of your own home may be the perfect Valentine’s Day date. Showing off your skills in the kitchen is the perfect way to demonstrate how much you care, and it’s a creative way to personalize the night. Whether you want to make a full meal or bring your date home for a tasty dessert, these recipes are sure to spark the romance.
Originating in Provence, this appetizer will whisk you and your date to the South of France. It combines sweet and savory elements with the richness of cream cheese, and is light enough not to spoil dinner. Serve it with some artisan bread and a nice sauvignon blanc to start the evening.
Fig and Olive Tapenade (adapted from Allrecipes.com)
Place water and figs into a large saucepan over medium heat, and cook until the figs are soft and the liquid has reduced. Next, stir in the olive oil, vinegar, rosemary, and cayenne pepper. Once these ingredients are combined, add the olives and the garlic and stir until they are thoroughly incorporated. Pour into a dish, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. When the tapenade is sufficiently cooled, sprinkle with walnuts and pour over the cream cheese.
Nothing screams romance like lobster tails. These decadent sea creatures make for a succulent, rich meal that will score you some major brownie points. (That is, of course, unless your date is allergic to shellfish or doesn’t eat them. Make sure he or she is OK with seafood to avoid the kind of scenario Will Smith faces in the romantic comedy “Hitch.”)
Steamed Lobster Tails and Fingerling Potatoes
For this recipe, you’ll need a large roasting pan with a rack. First, use kitchen shears to cut the shell down to the base, and then use a knife to split the meat, making sure not to cut all the way through. Brush the meat with butter. Add 1 cup of water to the roasting pan, and place the tails on the rack. Cover the pan with foil and put it into a 400 degree oven for about 14 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches about 140 degrees. Garnish with lemon.
Combine rosemary and olive oil in a small bowl. Wash the potatoes, blot dry and coat in the herb and oil mixture until generously coated. Place in a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt. Put the pan in a 425 degree oven and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Flip them over every 10 minutes.
Perhaps the most important part of the meal, this dessert will provide the perfect cap to your romantic evening. Since chocolate is a Valentine’s Day staple, a chocolate molten cake with strawberries is a great alternative to that boring box of candy.
Molten Lava Cake (adapted from BettyCrocker.com)
Grease two custard cups and dust with cocoa (you can substitute with ramekins if necessary). Melt chocolate chips and butter in a 2 oz. saucepan stirring until melted. In a large bowl, combine the eggs and the egg whites and beat until blended. Add powdered sugar, flour and melted chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Pour the batter evenly into the two custard cups, and place them on a shallow sheet tray. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 12-14 minutes, or until the sides are cooked through. Let the cakes cool for about 3 minutes and run a knife alongside the cups to loosen them. Placing a plate on top of the cups, flip upside down. Garnish with additional powdered sugar and strawberries.
From start to finish, this dinner is made for romance. Add some rose petals to the table with a red rose centerpiece. For ambience without the fire danger, add some flameless candles to the table. If your dining room has lights with a dimmer switch, turn them down halfway. You’ll still want to be able to see your date, and candlelight isn’t always enough. Make sure you’ve cleaned the house and put shiny gold linens on the table for an elegant touch.
While you’d need to get decked to the nines to go out to dinner, you can rock your slippers when you take the date to your place.