You've taken on the noble, romantic and highly commendable task of cooking Valentine's Day dinner for someone you love. You're going to arm your menu with aphrodisiac foods. You already know what you don't need to freak out about while cooking this meal, so while you're still in the planning stage today, let's talk about some foods to avoid on Valentine's day.
Valentine's Day, love it or hate it, is ultimately about getting quite close to another human. If that is your plan this V-Day, there are some menu choices we we would like to steer you away from.
1. Anything notoriously finicky, especially if you've never made it before. We're talking soufflés, macarons, consommé, etc. These dishes are lovely and romantic, and you're likely to pull them off if you focus and stay calm. But on a day like Valentine's Day, we strive to keep stress out of the kitchen. And no chocolate soufflé is worth a total sit-down-on-the-kitchen-floor meltdown. For dessert, especially, we like to shoot for something we can make ahead like chocolate mousse. That way, the time between dinner, dessert and whatever comes after can be short and sweet.
2. Deep-frying. We love doughnuts, fried potatoes and the like as much as the next guy. But deep frying requires both constant attention to oil temperature while cooking (when you should be chatting and sipping a cocktail) and intensive clean up afterward (when you'll likely have other things to think about). If you've got your heart set on something that is usually deep fried, see if there isn't an oven-baked variation on it.
3. Pan-seared salmon and other foods that leave a lingering aroma. Fish can be an excellent choice for Valentine's Day dinner, because it's light and can be made delicious a thousand different ways. We love the idea of a crispy bit of salmon skin atop a perfectly seared filet... in a restaurant. An unpleasant truth is that searing that bad boy in your kitchen will leave your house smelling like searing fish for hours. Not 100% romantic?
4. Beans, cabbage, other -- um -- magical fruits. Please do not make us explain this. We are all grown-ups, right? It seems obvious, but we just wanted to make sure to say that avoiding the wonderful and healthy vegetables and legumes that give our GI tracts extra homework is probably best for Valentine's Day.
5. A 20oz. Porterhouse, potato gratin, creamed spinach, fried onions, two bottles of Barolo and a cheesecake. Does that meal sound delicious? Holy yes, it does. Does it sound like a meal that I am likely to stay awake after eating? Nope. So... do the math on this one, you'll probably want to go a little lighter on this meal in favor of romance.
6. Anything your significant other does not love to eat. As you know, we are all about challenging palates, testing boundaries and enjoying as many foods as we can get into our faces. However, if your partner thinks mushrooms are weird or hates seafood? Let's all do the chivalrous thing and leave them out of the meal. Valentine's Day dinner is a time to cater to his or her every culinary whim. You can sell them on how amazing shiitakes are next week.
Any questions about your Valentine's Day menu? Let us know in the comments!