There is no escaping it -- Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and those chalky candy hearts staring at you in the drug store are proof of it. In this world of mass-produced love, it can often be hard to find that feeling of authentic romance. This year, instead of packing yourself into an overstuffed restaurant filled with irritated wait staff sloppily handing out sandbagged entrees -- take control of cupid's arrow and aim for a table for two a little closer to home.
Creating a romantic menu can be a bit tricky so I have added some easy tips to keep your mojo moving and make it a meal you can savor.
(1) Don't over-shoot. This is Valentine's Day, not a last meal, so keep it elegant and light. No one wants second dessert after a heavy stew or a reminder of Mom's homemade meals. Seafood is by far my choice ingredient -- simple, different and with a bit of sex appeal. Try out a tuna tartar or some simple chilled shrimp cocktail. Keep in mind that if you're doing a three-course menu, which I hope you are, you can play with temperatures and textures; if you're having a warm entrée start with a cold appetizer.
(2) Heat it up. Choosing products that can handle high heat will speed up your cooking process and get you out of the kitchen and enjoying your menu before you know it. For example, choosing an entrée like lamb chops or filet mignon are excellent options because they require a short cooking time and are succulent. Pair them with couscous, another time saver, and you're headed to dessert before you can lick your fingers.
(3) It takes two to tango. The kitchen should be an area where both of you are doing work and enjoying the spoils. For dessert I suggest fondue. It's simple and elegant and it takes a light touch -- get him on chopping duty while you master the chocolate stirring.
With just a little rhythm in the kitchen you can make this Valentine's Day the juiciest and most tender ever.