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Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day

Plan the perfect Valentine's celebration for you and your lover.

Article by: Barbara Bowman


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A Romantic Evening by the GourmetSleuth

I am one of those women that finds virtue in cooking a nice meal at home. Just like the New Years holiday, the restaurants are jam-packed and the food and service quality goes down in direct relationship to the increase in price. Don't get me wrong, I love a great restaurant as much as the next person but after an evening of romance I prefer to be comfortable in my home for the "after dinner" festivities. If you are planning a romantic night "in" this Valentines, then here are some suggestions to help make your evening a success.

It takes more effort to plan an elegant, romantic evening at home than it does to make a reservation and pick up candy and flowers at the grocery store--but the former will give you a sense of accomplishment and reward. Best of all, elegant does not have to mean expensive or too time consuming.

Romantic Meal Dining Tips

If you love to cook and have the time knock yourself out! But don’t spend so much time cooking and cleaning that you lose sight of the goal which is to have a romantic evening with your lover.

Alcohol and Beverages

If you choose to drink, keep the amount of alcohol to a minimum (a glass or 2 of wine or champagne). Excessive alcohol will make you too drowsy for the after-dinner romance. Excellent alternatives are sparking juices such as Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple or Sparkling Apple-Cranberry cider. If you are in the U.S. and have a Trader Joe's in your area you will find a delicious variety of French Sparking Fruit Juices. For before dinner drinks try GourmetSleuth's own Key Lime Spritzer.

Our Meal Suggestions

Keep the meal flavorful and not too heavy. Overeating will most likely leave you feeling sleepy rather than erotic. The portion for the salmon main course is more than ample.  Unless you have large appetites you may prefer to split one entrée between the two of you.

 

Passion Fruit Champagne Cocktails (this page)
Exotic passion fruit enhances the traditional champagne cocktail.

Salmon and Rice Wrapped in Pastry With Dill Sauce
This is an elegant and not difficult main course. The presentation is sophisticated and the dill sauce is delicate and delicious.

Fresh Asparagus With Lemon & Butter (no recipe)
Steam the asparagus lightly and serve the sauce in separate small ramekins.  This is an excellent food to feed each other.  Use your fingers, pick up the asparagus, dip it in the sauce and feed your lover.

Chocolate Espresso Pots de Creme 
Ah, the best of all worlds wrapped in one perfect dessert.  Our recipe features dark chocolate combined with espresso.  Serve this dessert in our perfect pots de creme cups.

French Press Coffee
Coffee is a natural stimulant that increases circulation and a perfect way to accent the end of your meal.  If you don't' own a French Press Coffee (Cafetiere) now is a perfect time to buy one!   The press makes a wonderful tableside (or bedside) presentation and the coffee is full bodied and extremely flavorful.

After Dinner Treats

Drinks, dinner, and dessert is just a prelude to the main event of the evening. You may want to skip the dessert course and have dessert in bed. A wonderful selection of fresh fruit cleaned and cut into bite size pieces (such as grapes, strawberries, or mango) along with freshly whipped, sweetened cream, makes a perfect "in-bed" dinner finale.

Chocolate, Oysters and Other Aphrodisiacs

There is much speculation about the affects of certain foods as a "catalyst for love". Here is some information about aphrodisiacs from a medical point of view. Read about the stimulating benefits of chocolate.

More Valentine's Day Recipe Suggestions

Browse our other recipe suggestions from delicious, playful and romantic fondue to pretty, pink and potent Cosmopolitans.
Awesome Double Chocolate Valentine´s Brownies
Recipe for Awesome Double Chocolate Valentine´s Brownies. Brownies are cut into little heart shapes.  Image from Charleston Cookie Company, makers of yummy and artfully presented cookies.
Bailey's Creme Brulee
A sweet Creme Brulee spiked with Bailey's Irish Cream and includes, egg yolks, sugar, heavy cream and vanilla
Cosmopolitan
The Cosmopolitan is made with Absolut Citron vodka, Roses lime juice, tripe sec and cranberry juice.
Cupid’s Arrow
I'm not sure if you should drink this or pour it over ice cream!  This naughty cocktail is made with Maker's Mark, Creme de Cacao, Hazelnut Liqueur, Cream and shaved chocolate.
Domaine de Canton Mimosa
Recipe features Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, Champagne and orange juice.
Grilled Bananas with Cajeta and Ice Cream
Recipe for Grilled Bananas with Cajeta and Ice Cream. Cajeta is dark syrup or paste made from caramelized sugar and milk - traditionally goat's milk.
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Recipes For Love

Romance Preparations

The wonderful thing about the "basics" of life is that you can accomplish these tasks with as little or as much money as you have to spend. Here are some simple but effective tips to light the flames of your love life.

Clean the house  A gourmet meal served in a house that looks like it was just struck by Ghengis Kahn and his men, leaves much romance to be desired. A clean and orderly "nest" allows you to focus on the beauty of each other and your surroundings rather than the clutter and distractions of your everyday life.



Just Too Busy?
  If you are simply too busy to clean treat yourself and hire a cleaning service. Check the yellow pages or those weekly coupons for a local service company. For less than the price of a moderately priced "special" dinner out you can get the house cleaned up and ready for that special evening.

 

Fresh Flowers and Candles Put fresh flowers and candles in each room you'll be using including the kitchen, dining area, bathroom and bedroom.  Flowers bring beauty, fragrance, and color.  Depending on the part of the country you live in you may be able to pick flowers or blossoms from your yard.  Simple arrangements from materials in your garden can be every bit as lovely as the florist's variety. Votive candles are a great choice for safety, just in case you get distracted and forget to put them out before you get otherwise occupied.  If your flowers are fragrant select unscented candles so you don't get conflicting scents.