Valentine’s Dinner at HOME!

February 10, 2014

Creating a romantic and interesting table for a special Valentine’s dinner offers so many opportunities for presenting your heart-felt feelings. With a little effort to select some key pieces to dress the table and by selecting some simple yet scrumptious delights, you will have a wonderful memory to cherish. Here are some suggestions and a couple of easy menu ideas too!

We’ve heard the truism of “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” But the same can be said in reverse as there is something irresistible about a man in control of his kitchen. Pairing the two is the ultimate love cuisine when a couple cooks together sharing the tasks, sipping cocktails and enjoying the process.

The recipe for a romantically successful Valentine’s Dinner at home is so easy. Realize that you don’t have to drive – thereby eliminating that concern after enjoying your cocktail and bottle of wine over dinner. Not to mention the after dinner sip of brandy or bubbly.

Starting with cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres, go to your favorite online foodie place for recipes for things such as stuffed ripe red cherry tomatoes – luscious and sensuous. For the carnivores, a rich and savory pate with toast points is a delectable treat. Maybe shrimp cocktail – easy cooked shrimp with a spicy valentine red cocktail sauce. It’s fun to have your appetizer someplace other than at the dinner table. If you use different places to enjoy the different phases of the evening, it will create more interest. So perhaps around a coffee table or at a bar counter-top.

Consider taking a walk after the cocktail hour before you progress into dinner. Whether freezing or mild, as long as it is not terribly windy, the temperature shouldn’t matter. Strolling under the darkness of night – perhaps moonlight – is a great way to transition through the phases of the evening.

Candles are a must. There cannot be too many. They don’t have to match. They can be tall tapers, multi-height columns, squat votives or all of the above…Obviously, on the dinner table…but don’t forget other end tables and cocktail tables, fireplace mantles, window sills, bookshelves, counter-tops, bathroom counters or shelves. Watch what’s above – or use artificial candles to avoid burning an upper shelf or art above them. Any light fixtures should be on dimmers. Avoid over-head lighting as it is generally not flattering, casting unpleasant shadows that can ruin the mood. Lighting is like a paint color – it bathes the space with ambient light and also task specific spots – getting the right balance controls the mood.

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WE LOVE New Mexico’s own Besito Caliente ! This spicy sauce of hot little kisses is great on grilled meats, drizzled over cheeses for hors d’oeuvres or a dash in a special cocktail concoction! You tell us how YOU enjoy this tasty condiment from the sunny southwest’s Land of Enchantment!

Main courses are easiest by minimizing time in the kitchen. Grilling is perhaps the least complicated. To make it special, select something that is a little different from your norm like lamb chops or bone-in rib-eye steaks. Potatoes are classic in many forms baked, twice baked, mashed with various herbs, but don’t forget something fast and festive like quinoa. It is a fabulous grain-like nutritional bead that cooks in less than 15 minutes! Vegetarians might grill a shish-kabob of goodies like zucchini, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sliced turnip…limitless possibilities – great with quinoa too! Salads fit the bill and can be varied according to your taste, sweet cranberry or strawberry laced greens or garlicky Caesars – the possibilities are endless. By putting the salad on the main dinner plate you eliminate the need for a veggie on the plate. If you prefer the more formal setting of a separate dinner salad, the veggie can also be an easy piece of the program with steamed Brussels sprouts or broccoli which take so few minutes, slathered with butter and voila!

Of course you can make the cooking more complex and complicated – but here the idea is to DO IT and not be intimidated or worried about making things too difficult to tackle! Focus evenly on a simple but romantically fun themed table dressings, menu items, and schedule for the evening and it will be easy and successful!!!

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Find fun table dressings to create your Valentine’s dinner scene.

So pick up some red plates or smaller dishes or bowls for salad or dessert to layer on your existing white ones, find some fun cocktail glasses, wine stems, clever cocktail napkins, a great serving platter for hors d’oeuvres, heart-shaped confetti or rose petals to sprinkle on the table and dare I say, between the sheets?Image

Find a great vase in which you cluster fresh flowers for the dinner table and perhaps another primary surface like the cocktail table or bar. Buy or make a great card and/or a memorable gift.

An extra thought for this holiday…Can you think of someone with whom you would not usually exchange Valentines’ but who would be cheered by your gesture? Pick out a simple token to mark the day for someone you know.

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