This February 14 ditch the restaurant reservation and cook up some love in the kitchen with your partner instead. Psychologists confirm that doing activities together help partners connect and bring them closer together. Imagine the fun experimenting with various ingredients and the exchange of creativity, good conversation, and witty jokes.
Communication is vital for the sustainment of a healthy relationship. And cooking offers that. Deciding on the menu and choosing the food items to create something delicious from the scratch gives two partners ample time to talk, share, and rekindle the passion. Here are four Valentine’s Day food ideas to try. These Valentine’s Day recipes are delicious and will definitely bring the spark back into your relationship.
1. Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad Recipe
- 1 bulb fennel, halved and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
- 5 slices pancetta
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¹⁄8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 ounces (about 6 to 7 cups) mixed salad greens
Red wine vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¹⁄8 teaspoon freshly, ground black pepper
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Before you start with the recipe, preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Now, mix together fennel, pancetta, garlic, brown sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Place a nice single layer of the mixed ingredients on the baking sheet and cook the mixture for 20 minutes, until the pancetta is crispy and the fennel is caramelized. When done, take it out of the oven and let it cool.
To prepare the red wine vinaigrette, combine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. Mix in the olive oil and season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
Next, put the salad greens in a large bowl. Top it with crumbled pancetta, and finish off with the caramelized fennel. Drizzle some red wine vinaigrette before serving. Mix well.
2. Linguine with Shrimp Scampi Recipe
- Vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 ½ teaspoons
- ¾ pound linguine
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 ½ tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
- 1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¹⁄3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- ½ lemon, zest grated
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
- ¼ lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
- ¹⁄8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
In a large sauce pot, bring some water to boil. Add a few drops of oil, one tablespoon of salt, and the linguine. Cook it for at least 10 minutes.
While the linguine boils, melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Keep the heat medium-low. Sauté some garlic in it for about a minute, be careful not burn the garlic. Add the shrimps with one tablespoon of salt, and a sprinkle of pepper. Saute until the shrimps look deliciously pink, about five minutes. When done, transfer the sautéed shrimps to a bowl, add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes and mix nicely to combine well.
Next, check the pasta. When it’s tender, drain it out. Transfer the linguine to another pot, add the shrimps with sauce. Combine well and enjoy it with white wine.
3. Garlic Roasted Baby Potatoes Recipe
- 1 pound baby potatoes, cut in half
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh sage
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 2 small cloves garlic, left unpeeled
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 500°F. Grease the baking sheet with vegetable oil.
Add the baby potatoes, rosemary, sage, thyme, and garlic in a medium-sized bowl. Also, add a sprinkle of olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper. Toss to combine well.
Lay out the seasoned baby potatoes on the baking sheet. Reduce the temperature to 425°F and cook them in the oven. Roast them for 15 to 18 minutes. The potatoes must be crispy on the outside and slightly tender inside.
4. Southern Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 ¹⁄3 cups vegetable oil
- ¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons red food coloring
- 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
- ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
Cream cheese frosting:
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Set the oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt together in a bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla extract together in a mixing cup.
Next, whisk eggs and oil in another bowl. Gradually add the dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture to the egg mixture. If you want a deeper red color, add more cocoa powder. Mix the batter well.
Now, fill up cupcake liners with the batter. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 of the way. Put it in the oven and bake for 13 minutes if they are mini sized, or 22 minutes for regular sized ones.
To prepare the cream cheese frosting, put sugar, cream cheese, butter, salt, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Whisk thoroughly and let it sit for two minutes.
So, there you have it, folks. A complete Valentine’s Day food menu for your special day. Have a great time preparing these delicious recipes with your partner and enjoy your meal. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Laurentiis, G., “Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad,” Food Network web site; http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/caramelized-pancetta-and-fennel-salad-recipe, last accessed February 8, 2017
Garten, I., “Linguine with Shrimp Scampi,“ Food Network web site; http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/linguine-with-shrimp-scampi-recipe3, last accessed February 8, 2017
Ljungblad, T., “Couples cooking: Six recipes for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner,” The Kansas City Star web site, February 17, 2017; http://www.kansascity.com/living/food-drink/article131196494.html, last accessed February 8, 2017
Grammer-Ybarra, R., “Southern Red Velvet Cupcakes,” Food Network web site; http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/southern-red-velvet-cupcakes-recipe, last accessed February 8, 2017