It's the age-old question: Go out for Valentine's Day dinner and possibly experience sub-par and over-priced eats or stay home and have to work hard to create a wonderful dinner. I get it...I like to be treated to a wonderful dinner, too! But, I know that going out is never going to give me the romantic experience I truly want.
I realize that if I invest a bit of time in the planning a week or so ahead, I can pull off a stress-free elegant dinner that is entirely of my choosing! Candlelit, casual, sexy music or rock & roll...makes no difference because it's all yours. You get to decide what feel you want and exactly what you want to eat. My kinda party! So let's get started...
Cheddar Cheese Crackers, Mixed Olives & Champagne
I like to start about a week in advance with the planning. That means figuring out the menu, writing out a time-line and getting all my equipment and products ahead of time.
My golf buddy, Katie, commented wistfully how amazing it would be if someone would just give her a menu, tell her what to buy so she could order all of her groceries ahead of time, and just come home and knock it out. Well, Katie, this one's for you!
The menu that I chose is as follows (click on the underlined items to take you to the recipe):
Cheddar Cheese Crackers/Mixed Olives/Champagne
Dinner: Baby Vegetable Composed Salad
Baby Vegetable Composed Salad
Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Tuscan Veal Chops with Roasted Asparagus & Garlic Roasted Potatoes
It's important to write down the timeline: When do you need to start prepping, what can you do in advance, when should your groceries be purchased? I even get as granular as when the oven or grill should be preheated! Answering all of these questions can help avoid timely mistakes.
One week Prior: Make Cheddar Crackers
Purchase any non-perishable items
Two Days Prior: Purchase all remaining groceries
If making Fresh Raspberry Tart, bake shell and make the pastry cream and store according to the recipe.
Day Prior: Marinate the Veal Chops
If making the Chocolate Tarts, make recipe without the glaze and store according to recipe.
Day of (assume a serving time of 7:30 pm):
3:30 pm Finish Raspberry Tart or glaze Chocolate Tarts
4:30 pm Roast baby vegetables for salad, cool, then plate
Make salad dressing
6:30 Preheat oven for potatoes
6:40 pm Roast potatoes
7:00 pm Heat grill
7:10 pm Grill Veal Chops, remove, cover with foil and keep warm in low oven
7:30 pm Roast asparagus in same oven as potatoes
7:40 pm Serve dinner with dessert to follow
Fresh Raspberry Tart
Chocolate-Glazed Chocolate Tarts
The most important point to remember when you decide to make a special meal like this is that you get to have fun, too! So, pick up that glass of Champagne, toast that you made it through another year (I'm kidding...toast love, happiness and world peace!), put on some great music and dance while you're cooking. Bring your honey into the process...they can be your sous chef: chopping, cleaning, refilling your Champagne flute. Whatever you do, don't stress this...even if it doesn't turn out perfect, your honey still loves you!
Happy Valentine's Day!!!