Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest nights of the year for restaurants. If you manage to get a reservation, restaurants are often overbooked, overcrowded, understaffed, and charging more for a meal that you can make for less money at home! They say the way to the heart is through food, and there’s no better way to say “I love you” on Valentine’s Day than with a special dinner cooked by a loved one.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and you might be wondering what to do for that special someone in your life. Skip the fancy expensive restaurant this year and give the gift of love in the form of food. That’s right, a delicious, healthy, romantic dinner prepared by you right in the comfort of your own home!
Don’t be intimidated. We have recipes that are easy to prepare with fresh, flavorful ingredients. Cooking doesn’t have to be difficult. If you approach it as following a set of instructions and taste everything as you go along, you should be able to pull this off! It doesn’t matter if everything isn’t perfect, your loved one will appreciate the effort you put into putting together a multi-course meal for them.
FIRST COURSE: APPETIZER
If there’s one thing people often make the mistake of doing when you’re putting together a nice home-cooked dinner for Valentine’s Day, is jumping straight into the main course. A great appetizer can build the ambiance and start the night off on the right foot. You’ll want to build momentum for the full meal.
Our friend Amber from @a_toastedcrumb created this recipe for Cucumber Shrimp Cocktail that would be perfect to serve before your main course. It’s a light appetizer that is full of incredible flavors. It only takes 15 minutes to prepare and then 30 minutes to marinate, so it’s perfect to make ahead of time, and then you can dress it up nicely when you’re ready to serve.
First you’ll combine a pound of chopped up medium-sized cooked shrimp, lemon juice, garlic salt, and chili powder in a large bowl. Then dice up our Mini Cucumbers and Roma Tomatoes and add those to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors blend together.
When you’re ready to serve, scoop the cocktail mix into a shot glass or a small single serve bowl and garnish with a chili lime tortilla chip, a whole shrimp, and a wedge of lime. Simple, elegant and delicious!
MAIN COURSE: YOU HAVE OPTIONS!
Sushi is one of the most popular dinner options people pick for Valentine’s Day. Now, before you start to fret about making sushi from scratch, that’s not where this is headed. But there is a way to have all the delicious flavors of sushi for a main course without being a professional sushi chef. Our friend Heather from @fitmamarealfood created this Salmon Sushi Bowl recipe that is essentially a deconstructed sushi roll.
First you will cook the salmon fillets. Brush the fish with avocado oil, drizzle them with coconut aminos, and season with salt and garlic. Bake them at 450° F for 12 to 14 minutes until the salmon is just cooked through.
While the salmon is cooking, mix the mayonnaise and sriracha together in a small bowl. Chop up a pound of our Mini Cucumbers, shred some carrots, slice up the avocado and onions, and cook your jasmine rice.
To assemble the bowls, divide up the rice, then top with cucumber, carrots, onion, avocado, nori and salmon, then drizzle the sriracha mayo and serve.
Pretty easy, right?
If you’re feeling more adventurous and you are confident in your cooking skills, you might want to attempt a more complicated dish. Our friend Chef Sergio Howland from @sergiohowland created this elegant Grilled Sea Bass with Tomatoes recipe that will win your way into the affections of your loved one. The sea bass is served on a bed of mashed cauliflower and roasted tomatoes, then drizzled with a lemony vinaigrette.
Start off by roasting the tomatoes. You will need a pound of our Organic Luna® Sweets Cocktail Tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cut the tomatoes into quarters before seasoning them, and slow roast them in the oven for 30 minutes at 250° F.
While the tomatoes are roasting, place your cauliflower florets in a pot with some garlic and heavy cream, then bring it to a simmer. Cook until the cauliflower is soft, about 15 minutes. Strain the cauliflower, but reserve the cream, and put it in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding some of the reserved cream to create the desired consistency. You’ll want it to be smooth like mashed potatoes but be careful not to turn it into a paste.
While the cauliflower is cooking, lightly oil your grill, and place the sea bass on there for 7 minutes. Resist the urge to flip it too early! When you’re turning the fish over, drizzle it with melted butter and cook the other side for another 7 minutes, or until the fish is easily flaked with a fork.
Next, mix the vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl, or a glass jar with a tight-fitting top. Make sure you taste it and adjust the seasonings to your liking.
Now you are ready to assemble the main course! Place a spoonful of mashed cauliflower in the center of a plate. Add the sea bass on top and arrange the roasted tomatoes around it. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the entire dish and garnish with some micro greens.
THE BIG FINALE: DESSERT
When it comes to desserts, there are so many to choose from. Typically, Valentine’s Day is synonymous with everything chocolate, but you just made two stellar courses with fresh veggies, why not make a third?
You didn’t misread that. Yes, we’re suggesting veggies for dessert. Hear us out… We’ve developed a super sweet tomato that is perfect for dessert. Our Cloud 9® Bite-Sized Fruity Tomatoes pair well with peaches in this decadent Tomato Peach Cobbler recipe. It’s unique, fruity, and delicious.
Combine the peaches and tomatoes in a large bowl with white and brown sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, then strain the accumulated juices into a small saucepan. Boil over medium-high heat until it reduces by half, about 8 to 10 minutes. It will now be the consistency of syrup, which you will pour back into the fruit to combine.
To prepare the crust, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Then, in a separate bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and oil until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla, then continue mixing until it’s incorporated. Slowly add the flour mixture until it’s just combined, then wrap the dough in plastic and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
To assemble, pour the filling into a baking dish. Divide the crust into 6 equal portions and shape each one into a half-inch thick disk and place them over the filling. Bake at 350° F until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly – about 1 hour. Let it cool slightly but serve it warm with ice cream or whip cream.
MAKING THE DAY SPECIAL
Be sure to think ahead when preparing your menu for your special dinner! Plan out how your table will be set – candles, flowers, and the good dishes you’ve been keeping for special occasions. Make a playlist of romantic music to play softly in the background as you’re dining. Play with lighting beforehand so that you can set the right mood. Not too dark that you can’t see what you’re eating, but not too bright. These little touches can make a good meal even better.
Cooking for someone is a true act of love. The time and effort that goes into preparing a special meal is worth it – especially on a day devoted entirely to professing your love for another person. If you’re still uncertain about your cooking skills, you could always invite that person to cook together with you, which adds up to more time spent together. Isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about?
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