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My Foodie Valentine

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Written by Peggy Fallon   
Monday, 08 February 2010

ImageContrary to what jewelry ads might lead to you believe, Valentine's Day is whatever you want it to be. For young children it's all about scoring as many Valentines as possible - with the prospect of a little chocolate thrown in for added incentive. Typical teenage fantasies require nothing less than romantic overtures from a secret crush. For some adults it's a time to paint the town red…literally. But for most of us, Valentine's Day is a welcome break from the doldrums of winter. Regardless of the weather, we are reminded of the promise of spring and all the sweet times ahead.

No self-respecting foodie can let this day pass without cooking at least something. Whether it's a single batch of brownies or a full-blown meal, it's time to spread the love. Years ago when preparing for a Valentine dinner party I would do slightly manic things like whittle away at whole carrots, forming notches so the resulting slices were heart-shaped. (Oh yes I did.) No doily was left unturned; no vase unfilled. It was the Super Bowl of Precious. Fortunately I got over this, but I still keep a few tricks up my sleeve.

When dining à deux, it's a good idea to ease off on garlic, raw onions, beans, or other foods that might trigger a less-than-romantic reaction. And unless you have been fully briefed on your lover's medical status, don't make anything with peanuts, shellfish, or other ingredients known to aggravate allergies. (Hospital emergency rooms are rarely conducive to romance.) A big platter of spaghetti may have ignited a spark for Lady and the Tramp, but unless you have the willpower to limit yourself to small portions it's best to avoid a heavy meal that will leave both of you feeling sluggish…if you catch my drift.

No special someone in your life? Quit your moping and think again. Anyone who has ever improved the quality of your everyday life - be it a best friend, librarian, or auto mechanic - deserves some sweet gratitude. Explore your inner Martha (and search Project Foodie for recipes, of course) to come up with a little something delicious to lift your spirits as well as the recipient's.

Make this day a special one, even if you're dining alone. (Consider the bright side: a flannel nightgown and fuzzy slippers are a heck of a lot more comfortable than scratchy lingerie and stilettos.) And this year's Valentine's Day coincides with the beginning of the Chinese New Year celebration; so if all else fails, order take-out. 

For those motivated to cook their little hearts out, however, here are a few menus to get those juices flowing.

Breakfast in Bed with the one you love

Rosé Champagne, sparkling wine, or fruit juice

Scrambled Eggs with Herbed Croutons - Assuming there will only be two of you in bed (!), cut this recipe in half.


Scrambled Eggs With Herbed Croutons

(Food & Wine, October, 2008)

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Grilled Ham Steak With Peppered Peach Glaze - Instead of grilling outdoors, cook the ham on a stovetop grill pan, or under the broiler, watching carefully.

Grilled Ham Steak With Peppered Peach Glaze

(Bon Appétit, August, 1996)

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Fresh Strawberries

Milk Chocolate Pudding - When it comes to chocolate I usually travel to the dark side; but I make an exception for this pudding. The secret to success is best-quality milk chocolate-don't try to make-do with a candy bar from the office vending machine. (You only need 4 ounces, so you can afford to splurge.) Make the full recipe-if things go according to plan, you'll want leftovers for later.


Milk Chocolate Pudding

(Gourmet, February, 2007)

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Brunch with Foodie Friends

Dates With Bacon - Here's one way to ensure that everyone has a date on Valentine's Day.

Dates with Bacon

(Sunset, July, 2006)

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Campari, Grapefruit & Pomegranate Cocktail

Campari, Grapefruit & Pomegranate Cocktail

(EatingWell, May/June, 2008)

Balance herbaceous Campari with the sweet-tart flavors of pomegranate and grapefruit. This dusty pink drink looks festive in a stemmed wineglass with a twist of orange zest. For a slightly sweeter drink, use orange juice instead of grapefruit. To make a nonalcoholic version, omit the Campari and add an extra 1/3 cup of each juice.
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Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Custard With Fresh Berries


Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Custard With Fresh Berries

(Food & Wine, September, 2008)

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Golden Sausages and Shallots in White Wine


Golden Sausages and Shallots in White Wine

(Food & Wine, March, 2002)

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Double-Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Glaze

Double-Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Glaze

(Food & Wine, November, 2006)

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A Romantic Dinner for Two

"Red Hot" Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Toasts  - Since you need only two servings, it makes sense to cut the recipe (and your work) in half. And do find a way to work the name of the recipe into the conversation!

"Red Hot" Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Toasts

(Food & Wine, August, 2002)

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Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb


Herb-Crusted Rack Of Lamb

(Bon Appétit, February, 2003)

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Roasted Baby Potatoes with Capers and Rosemary - This potato recipe makes more than is needed for two. (Even for an Irish person like me.) I suggest dividing the recipe into thirds, using 1 pound of potatoes, 5 teaspoons oil, 1 sprig of rosemary, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 tablespoon capers.

Roasted Baby Potatoes with Capers and Rosemary

(Bon Appétit, April, 2006)

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Prosciutto Tied Asparagus - Vegetables in bondage: a little something to amuse the cook. Cut this recipe in half, if you like, or make the full recipe and serve the leftovers cold the next day, drizzled with a light vinaigrette.


Prosciutto Tied Asparagus

(Semi-Homemade Cooking With Sandra Lee, Episode: Daffodil Parade, Season: 9)

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Chocolate Fondue with Candied Orange Peel, Raspberries, and Almond Macaroons 

Chocolate Fondue With Candied Orange Peel, Raspberries, And Almond Macaroons

(Gourmet, February, 2007)

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Disclosure: Samples of products discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or manufacturers.

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 07 February 2010 )
spm (Author) 2010-02-08 11:39:14

Thanks for putting together such yummy recipes. Depending on my mood and who I end up cooking for (kids and hubby or no kids and hubby), I've a couple of menus to work with.
alan (Publisher) 2010-02-08 22:23:22

MMMmmm.... I can't decide which to hope for; breakfast, lunch or dinner. Great menus!
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