Valentine's Day is quickly approaching and if you're anything like me, you're feeling the ever-building pressure to devise a grand, romantic gesture for your loved one. But don't let the stress of the holiday get you down. We've got a simple strategy to help you keep calm and feel the love. And yes, it involves a food. A lot of food.
Here's the plan: Skip the crowded restaurant, open a bottle of bubbly and celebrate the season with a romantic, multi-course meal. Whether you're cooking for yourself or your sweetheart, a home-cooked dinner is a gesture that will set the mood and warm the heart. Yup, we said it. Warm the heart.
Feel like embracing the Valentine's Day color scheme? Before heading to the liquor store, check out a few of our favorite pink sparkling wines. Just be sure to brush up on your technique before popping the cork! We've got a how-to, plus more sparkling wine tips right this way.
Whether or not you believe there's a connection between oysters and, er, romance, you should believe in their innate deliciousness. Topped with breadcrumbs and broiled, this dish has a crisp, golden crust that gives way to a salty sweet combination of oysters, spinach, and cream. Use a larger, briny oyster for this recipe, like Wellfleets or Island Creeks. Or if you'd prefer to kick things off with something a little less rich, give our Irish Stout Granita with Raw Oysters a shot!
Creamy Chanterelle Mushroom Soup
"Chanterelle." It even sounds romantic, doesn't it? The mild sweetness of shallots combines with the naturally earthy—dare I say musky?—aroma of mushrooms in this slow-simmered creamy soup. We're certainly wooed by its buttery richness and smooth texture, but if you're not a mushroom fan, we recommend heating things up with a Spicy Carrot and Ginger Soup With Harissa, instead.
Breaded Chicken Cutlets with Tomatoes and Arugula
Ripe cherry tomatoes add a pop of bright red to breaded chicken cutlets and peppery arugula in this surprisingly quick and simple dish (we're talking 45 minutes max). And did I mention it's pretty? For more entrée inspiration, check out our full Valentine's Day guide, with recipes like Herb Ricotta Gnocchi, and Mussels in Chorizo and Tomato Broth.
Valentine's Day White Chocolate Soufflé
The grand finale's all in the dessert. Festive red and white soufflés are an airy and delicate ending to a big Valentine's Day meal. Don't let soufflés scare you; they're a simple combination of a chocolate base folded with whipped egg whites. But if you're too intimidated, go for the tried-and-true basics like these Brownie Bites or a scoop of Pear, Riesling, and Ginger Sorbet.
About the author: Marissa Sertich Velie is an intern at Serious Eats and a New York based pastry chef. She documents her adventures of baking and eating her way through the nutty underbelly of the American pie. She is currently earning her Master's degree in Food Studies at NYU