Nothing says "I adore you" like a homemade meal on Valentine's Day. Except maybe a surprise trip to Paris, but I'm guessing you didn't spring for that this year. No matter. A carefully planned, lovingly prepared meal dinner is also a nice treat, and perhaps even more thoughtful, since it involves you actually getting down and dirty in the kitchen. I would love you for it.
Here's a four-course dinner that's actually not that hard to put together, yet comes off as classy and totally romantic. It's sure to leave your valentine swooning with love and appreciation. You're welcome.
Appetizer: Freshly Shucked Oysters
I know what you're thinking: I can't shuck oysters. I can barely open a milk carton! Well, guess what – it's all in the wrist. Actually, that's not true at all, but shucking an oyster is easier than you think. We take you through all the steps in this past post, fittingly titled How to Shuck an Oyster. Your significant other will be totally impressed, especially when you serve up those juicy bivalves with a dollop of pomegranate mignonette (recipe in the post) and a glass of 2015 Tengo Albariño Rías Baixas.
Soup: Asparagus Leek Soup
Soup is my favorite course of any meal, so if you include it in your dinner you've won my heart, at least. This simple asparagus leek soup is creamy and brothy at the same time, great for warming the soul and putting everyone in a cozy mood. Plus, the inclusion of spring vegetables is a look ahead at the tastes and flavors soon to come – and we can all use a reminder of that in the deep of winter. Serve this lovely soup with a 2014 Ostra Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
Main Course: Roast Chicken and Vegetables
The beauty of roast chicken with vegetables is that preparing it fills your house with amazing smells, so your date becomes instantly ravenous the moment they step into your home. This recipe keeps things simple, using just the legs of the chicken, and steps up the flavors with a homemade jus and roast vegetables. Prepared just right, the chicken will come out tender and perfect – adjectives that your significant other will be using to describe you after this meal is over. Enjoy this with a fruit-forward glass or two of 2015 Lustra Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
Dessert: Chocolate and Sea Salt Covered Strawberries
And let's end on a twist to a Valentine's Day staple: chocolate covered strawberries, this version featuring a dash of sea salt for a little contrast, because you're gourmet like that. The best part about this dessert is that it can be made a day in advance, so that's one less thing to worry about on the big day. I like my chocolate covered strawberries with a little rosé, and this 2015 The Brink Monterey County Pinot Noir Rosé suits it well.
And there you have it: A Valentine's Day dinner your significant other won't soon forget. Restaurants – who needs 'em?