Semi-off topic, but I thought I'd share a recent email:
"Condom producer LifeStyles estimates that 87 condoms are used each second in the U.S. on Valentine's Day, earning the title of the lesser known, National Condom Day. According to a nationwide survey conducted by Harris Interactive®, U.S. women were more likely to want sex than receive cards, flowers, chocolates, jewelry and lingerie on Valentine's Day."
Nonetheless, couples are still likely to have a Valentine's Day dinner. To me, there is no more enjoyable way to do that than eating at home. In contrast to dining in restaurants, at home I get to indulge in something I know I'll like and that hasn't been over-salted.
Moreover, I can have a quiet conversation without having to repeatedly ask, "What?" "Huh?" "It's so noisy, what did you say?"
For Valentine's Day I though it would be fun to plan a meal that is pink, red and white, the exception being some multi-colored candy hearts sprinkled around the table, the kind with messages like "I do" and "fax me." In addition to the hearts, try a single rose in a bud vase and a few petals scattered on the table below it.
To complete the romantic ambience, use a few votive candles (a simple way to set the mood, if not totally original).
Begin with a shaker of cosmos. Sip the cocktails while you grill steaks or sauté fish or just relax.
Try this recipe from the Internet Site, Drinks Mixer:
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz triple sec
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz cranberry juice
Shake vodka, triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice vigorously in a shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass, garnish with a lime wedge on the rim, and serve.
Appetizers: Roasted Red Peppers with Goat Cheese or Tomato Tarts
In my article 7 Easy, Elegant, Crowd-Pleasing Appetizers, you can find the details for roasting peppers and serving them with goat cheese.
Alternatively, though it's more work, consult my recipe in the same article for onion tarts and substitute very thin slices of tomato for the onions, drizzle with olive oil and use basil for garnish.
Main Courses: Mediterranean Fish, Shrimp with Linguine, Bonnie Pasta or Steak
I prefer not to feel full, so I would probably opt for fish or shrimp.
For my Mediterranean Fish recipe, see my article Four 4-ingredient Entrees . . . Quick, Easy, Delicious and Healthful and omit the olives if you want to stay with the Valentine's color scheme. Serve with Fluffy White Rice.
For Shrimp with Linguine, sauté raw shrimp and tomatoes in olive oil, taking care not to overcook the shrimp. Add al dente linguine to the sauté pan and toss with the shrimp and tomatoes. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and crusty bread.
For Bonnie Pasta, see my article Easy, Economical, Crowd-Pleasing Pasta
For Steak, I would choose filet mignon and grill or broil. Alternatively I use a recipe from allrecipes.com:
Quickly brown both sides of two 4-ounce filets in a large nonstick skillet. Salt and pepper optional. Then add 1/4 cup each of red wine and balsamic vinegar. Cover and cook on medium low for 4 minutes on each side, basting when you turn them. Serve with a tablespoon of the glaze and Creamy Mashed Potatoes.
Salads: Tuscan Bread Salad or Beet Salad
Tuscan bread salad is basically bread and tomatoes tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. For details, see my article Stock Your Kitchen to Reduce and Maintain Your Waistline.
As for beet salad, I haven't eaten beets ever since a counselor at day camp forced me to eat canned beets. But they are red and I'm sure there are countless recipes on the Internet.
Of course there are pink cupcakes, strawberry ice cream, poached pears. But my vote for topping off this meal goes to strawberries. Think about it, they're a light way to enjoy something sweet. And . . . they are red and heart-shaped.
Cut the strawberries lengthwise to get the full heart effect and serve with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.
If you'd like to add a cookie that you can bake a day or two ahead of time, see my recipe for poppyseed cookies in A Magical Used Cookbook Shop and a Divine Cookie Recipe.
Any wine fits into the color scheme; however, rosé champagne especially suits the occasion. For an added touch, drop a frozen grape (ideally red) into the glass.
You can also wow your loved one with Chateau Calon-segur's cabernet sauvignon blend, mainly because it has a heart on the label. If a wine that costs well into the double digits will blow your budget, you can find Websites that sell wine with personalized labels.
If you are planning to go out to dinner, think about share couples to share this with who might like to plan dinner at home.
What are your ideas for a romantic Valentine dinner?
FOR ROMANTIC VALENTINE'S MORNING RECIPES OR FOR THE MORNING AFTER, CHECK OUT MY ARTICLE: