How to Cook the Perfect Valentine’s Dinner for Two

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Spark some romance with the perfect meal
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The most romantic setting for a special dinner for two is one where you won’t have to make a reservation, wait for a table, or feel pressured to leave. If want to give your valentine the perfect dining experience, stay home and cook.

How to Cook the Perfect Valentine’s Dinner for Two

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The most romantic setting for a special dinner for two is one where you won’t have to make a reservation, wait for a table, or feel pressured to leave. If want to give your valentine the perfect dining experience, stay home and cook.

Easy Appetizer: Salad

This simple and delicious crab and avocado salad from chef Walter Pisano of Tulio Ristorante in Seattle is an elegant way to start a meal. The key to this salad is a stunning presentation; rather than cubing the avocado, try cutting it into slices and fanning them out on a plate, alternating with the orange segments. Click here for the recipe.
 

Easy Entrée: Rustic Fish in Parchment Paper

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The great thing about cooking fish in parchment paper (aside from it being easy) is that you can use just about any fish, seasonings, and vegetables you’d like. When the fish is done cooking, leave it in the parchment paper — cutting the parchment paper pouches open at the table will release a delicious aroma and give the dinner a nice, rustic feel. Click here for more about cooking fish in parchment paper.

 

Easy Dessert: Chocolate Fondue

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Everything is better dipped in chocolate. Including dessert. Click here for the recipe.

Quick Appetizer: Crostini

Crostini come together quickly and can easily be modified according to your taste. Don’t like beets? Try roasted sweet potatoes instead. Or, skip the vegetables altogether and top the cheese spread with the nuts and a drizzle of honey. The options are near-endless. Click here for the recipe.
 

Quick Entrée: Grilled Steak

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Perfectly cooked steaks only take a few minutes on the grill (or in a cast-iron grill pan on your stovetop) and pair nicely with an equally quick-to-prepare arugula salad. Give these steaks a gourmet twist by serving them with a homemade herbed butter. Simply allow butter to come to room temperature, mix it with fresh, chopped herbs, roll it into a log with plastic wrap, and then refrigerate it until firm. When it comes time to serve your steak, slice a round of herbed butter or two for each steak. Click here for the steak recipe.

Quick Dessert: Chocolate Soufflés

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An ultra-impressive chocolate dessert is just five ingredients and 15 minutes away. For an extra Valentine’s Day twist, cut a small heart out of a piece of paper, placing the paper on top of the finished soufflé, and then dust the dessert with powdered sugar. When you remove the piece of paper, the sugar heart will remain. Click here for the recipe.
 

Expert Appetizer: Oysters Rockefeller

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Oysters are one of the most famous of aphrodisiac foods, making them the perfect start to a Valentine’s Day meal. If you don’t have an outdoor grill (or don’t live in an area where it’s warm enough to grill on Valentine’s Day), preheat your oven to 450 degrees and cook the oysters indoors. Click here for the recipe.
 

Expert Entrée: Chicken and Seafood Paella

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This aromatic dish of chicken, seafood, and saffron rice requires a bit of work, but it is well worth the effort. And, since it’s served family-style in a rustic Dutch oven, you’ll have a good excuse for cozying up next to your valentine while you dish out scoops of this traditional Spanish dish. Click here for the recipe.
 

Expert Dessert: Winter Berry Pavlova

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Whipped cream — a Valentine’s Day dessert must-have — gets a sophisticated makeover when it’s spread on top of a crisp meringue shell and garnished with a fresh berry salad. Click here for the recipe.