Valentine's Day Dinner 101

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Hi all! This is my first article on the blog since I joined this amazing project called lasfelix.com :) I am particularly excited about it because my husband and I love cooking for each other. Every Saturday we try having a date in our living room, we put on fancy clothes, play nice music and we set the ambiance for our romantic date.


Today I’m going to share some tips for Valentine’s day, the perfect day to spend with our loved one a nice moment either at home or at a restaurant.

From experience, my husband and I know that it can be a little bit hard to find a table on Valentine’s day. We live in Amsterdam and even though the city has tons of restaurants all of them are always crowded, plus on top of that we have a 6 months-old baby, so I really think this year we’re spending Valentine's day at home.

But, fear not, sweet ladies! No matter where we choose to spend Valentine’s day, what really matters is to enjoy yourselves and pamper each other.

If you are the kind of girl who loves cooking, congrats! If you’re not very skilled in the kitchen, this is the perfect occasion for you and your partner to cook together.

But, where do we start?

Well, I’m going to be honest with you. I do love cooking and when I was a vegetarian I experimented with every recipe I found, but now I am a mom, I work 8 hours shifts 5 days a week and the mere idea of spending hours in the kitchen is not particularly appealing. That’s why I suggest something easy, yummy and that really can’t go wrong.

APÉRITIF

You can start your romantic dinner with a classic appetizer like olives, dry fruits, a cheese plate and charcuterie, all of this paired with a good white wine, preferably dry and light (think of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Blanc). These type of wines are perfect to start our dinner and even relax a little. I love the simplicity of this moment, no matter for how long we’ve been together, the apéritif will always set the tone and we even flirt with each other like when we were single.

MAIN COURSE
A rule of thumb to lay our main course is to always keep in mind these three elements: a protein, a carb, and a vegetable.
I really don’t want to sound like a nutritionist (which I’m not), but if you lay your dish this way, you’ll have a well-balanced meal.
A mushroom spinach risotto with baked salmon and steamed green beans can be a good idea. You can find the recipe at the end of this post. You can also play with different kinds of meat that you don’t eat often such as duck or lobster.

Just remember to pair your dish with the right type of wine. Appetizers go well with white light wines, main course can be paired with young or aged red wines, white wines as well, it all depends on the meat you’re eating, and you always finish with sweet white wines.

DESSERT

My favorite course! The only rule for dessert is, that if it’s a somewhat complicated recipe, you might want to prepare it ahead of time, a day early for example.
I have nothing against strawberries dipped in chocolate, except that… perhaps the idea has lost its charm. Valentine’s day can be a good day to take risks and experiment with new recipes, like baking chocolate eclairs! So fancy and yummy!

Did you know that the same batter you use for churros is the same batter you can use for eclairs? The only difference is that you’ll bake the latter. We gladly share with you the recipe we used for ours at the end of the entry.

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DECORATION

A little goes a long way, darlings, a simple touch will always look more elegant.
I would recommend a jar with fresh flowers, if your table is pretty as it is without needing a tablecloth, just add a couple of dining table mats, a couple of candles and let the set of china and cutlery be the main attraction.

The whole idea is to be comfortable with each other, cook for each other and to enjoy your dinner, who knows! You might even skip dessert ;) Happy Valentine’s day!

RECIPES

MUSHROOM SPINACH RISOTTO WITH BAKED SALMON

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  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

  • 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade, divided

  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 cup frozen peas

  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes chopped.

Place the rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a pot. Cover and cook for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente. Remove from the stove, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, wine, butter, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Add the peas and stir until heated through. Serve hot.
 

BAKED SALMON

  • 2 salmon fillets (180 gr each)
  • 3 teaspoons of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • aluminum foil

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celcius. 

Season salmon with salt and pepper. Place salmon, skin side down, on a non-stick baking sheet or on a piece of aluminum foil with the 3 teaspoons of olive oil.. Bake until salmon is cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. 

 

CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS

Find the full receipe at our YouTube channel, yes, we already have a YouTube channel!!