Recipe for a Delicious Valentine's Day at Home

   By ChefErin  Feb 11, 2010

My husband and I have a little romantic ritual.  Each year for Valentine’s Day, instead of going out, paying high prices, and getting mediocre service at a restaurant, we stay home.  Doesn’t sound romantic yet?  Just wait.

We dress up as though we’re headed to a fancy restaurant.  We light candles, play our favorite music, open a nice bottle of wine, and have a romantic dinner at home.  With a little planning you can have the same experience.  I promise it will be stress-free.  

Here’s a sample menu for your romantic Valentine’s Dinner in.

Shrimp Cocktail a la Gazpacho or Mushroom Toasts (see recipe in my previous article, Savor the Season)

Mixed Green or Iceberg Wedge Salad (with my fool-proof vinaigrette dressing recipe)

Steak with Blue Cheese Butter & Baked Potato

Something Chocolate

Everything I am suggesting can be done ahead of time so you can enjoy your evening.  Here’s how it breaks down:

Shrimp Cocktail a la Gazpacho

Here’s little twist on a classic.  Buy 8 to 10 jumbo, cooked, peeled shrimp (or uncooked, if you prefer to steam them yourself), a hot-house cucumber, cocktail sauce and lemon.  Wash and finely dice about half of the cucumber.  Spoon the diced cucumber into martini glasses or wine glasses, top with a couple tablespoons of cocktail sauce, and hang the shrimp off the rim of the glass.  Garnish with a lemon slice or lemon twist and refrigerate until dinner.

Mixed Green Salad or Iceberg Wedge Salad

If you are making a simple mixed green salad, try your own vinaigrette (see recipe under Special Edition - Guiltless Gourmet) or just purchase a favorite.  Place a handful of mixed baby greens onto two salad plates, garnish with tomato if you wish, and place the salads (without dressing) in the refrigerator until dinner. 

If you would prefer the iceberg wedge salad, purchase a small firm head of iceberg lettuce and cut it in half vertically through the core.  Create a wedge by cutting one half vertically again.  Trim away the sliver of the core.  Place each wedge onto a salad plate, garnish with your choice of crumbled bacon, chopped hard-boiled eggs, sliced green onions and tomatoes. Refrigerate without the dressing until dinner, then serve with a good quality bottled or homemade bleu cheese dressing.

Steak with Blue Cheese Butter & Baked Potato

If you haven’t made a compound butter before, you’ll be surprised how easy it is. You can create all kinds of flavors and they can be stored in your freezer for months wrapped in plastic.  This particular butter is wonderful on green beans and baked potatoes, as well as steak. 

Combine 4 ounces (1 stick) of room temperature butter with 4 ounce of crumbled blue cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons minced shallots, and cracked black pepper to taste.  Blend until relatively smooth, however some blue cheese chunks are good.  Spoon onto waxed or parchment paper and roll snuggly into a cylinder shape.  Refrigerate until firm.

Now, all you have left is to wash and prepare your potato for baking and season your steaks.  Put your potato in the oven a half an hour before you plan to start your shrimp cocktail that way it will have been in the oven for a full hour by the time you are ready for your main dish.


Dinner is Served

Here’s how the evening will go.  You will come into the kitchen looking beautiful.  Your significant other will hand you a drink and a kiss.  Together you’ll bring the Shrimp Cocktail to the table.  Perhaps your significant other will clear the table and bring out the salad?  Together you’ll cook your steaks, top them with a pat of the amazing Blue Cheese Butter you made earlier and enjoy them with your baked potatoes.

Dinner will end with something chocolate - your choice!  Maybe a hot fudge sundae or a fancy dessert from the gourmet market?  In the end, you have had a romantic evening for a lot less than you would have paid at your local restaurant.  So when the mood strikes you, head upstairs! 

Are you ready to try Valentine’s Day at home?

Make a Comment

pjclayton57 by pjclayton57 | Oceanport, NJ
Feb 11, 2010

I think that is a fantastic idea; especially given the state of the economy. This may be a bit more challenging for those with small children but they can either send them to grandma's house or wait till the kiddies are nicely tucked into bed! Besides, you don't need to go out to have romance and dinner; some of the finer things in life are free!