I was recently asked to do a Valentine’s Segment for “The Marie Show” on the Hallmark Channel. I had an overload of romantic meal ideas..but I eventually narrowed down a mix of the best, for an amorous Breakfast in Bed, A Picnic Lunch and a Romantic Dinner. Create a sensual ambiance and an aphrodisiac menu to stimulate all the senses… Remember it’s about the small attention to details that counts. Be cute, Be Fun, Be Creative!
There’s nothing that says “I love you” more than….
Breakfast in Bed
Coconut Raspberry Smoothie
For the coconut layer: Blend 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, 1/4 cup greek yogurt, 6 oconut water cubes. Add to glass and rinse blender. Next, blend 1 cup raspberries, 1 banana and 1/4 cup greek yogurt, a pinch of cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of agave. Blend! Add to glass. Garnish with coconut flakes. If you want to get really fancy, I would make the glass pretty with a dark chocolate rim- Melt down some dark chocolate, press the rim of the glass onto it, let it cool it the fridge! Oh la la!
For a little something stronger to start the day….
Blood Orange Bellini
I love the rich Valentines’ colors of this drinks…and Bubbles for Breakfast in always a treat.
- Champagne flutes
- 1 bottle prosecco
- 1 ½ cups of fresh Blood Orange Juice
- 2 Tablespoons of Grand Marnier
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
Chill bottle of Prosecco. Combine fresh blood orange juice with sugar and Grand Marnier in a large measuring cup and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. To serve, pour into the bottom of Champagne glasses and slowly top-off with ice-cold Prosecco. Add a slice of blood orange on the glass rim for decor.
Cute Yoghurt Parfait
Make the breakfast tray beautiful by creating laters of Greek Yoghurt, Berries and Granola in cute Glass Bell Jars or Wine Glasses. Stick some sprigs of mint and chunks of Dark chocolate for extra pleasure points with the beau.
If you have time, I love this indulgent Breakfast Recipe to warm up to with your lover on a cold Valentine’s morning.
Polenta with Maple Syrup & Mascaropone (serve with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries)
1/2 Cup Polenta
1/2 cup Milk
1-2 Cups of Water
1/2 Cup Mascarpone
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
Large Pinch of Salt
(Toasted walnuts/pecans, dark choc chips, berries for serving)
1. Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large heavy saucepan.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the polenta and milk.
3. Once the water is boiling, slowly add the polenta/milk mixture to the water.
4. Return the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently for a couple minutes.
5. Reduce heat to low, stirring frequently, for about 25 mins, adding more water if the mixture gets too sticky.
7. Serve the Polenta with warm maple syrup, mascarpone, nuts, berries and other toppings you like.
Heart Shaped Eggs
Buy a cute heart shaped cutter, crack an egg into it in a hot sautee pan. Serve on toast and with asparagus and (bacon!)
A Picnic Lunch
If you live in a warmer climate, head to your nearest park with a beautiful hamper filled with a throw, flowers, a few candles, cute napkins and a polaroid pic of you and your loved one! Stick to finger food, keep it light, fresh and easy enough to feed each other.
Buy some heart shaped plates, and serve up some finger foods on a black slate cheeseboard where you can write little Valentine’s messages with chalk.
If you live somewhere cold you can replicate a picnic in front of the fireplace in your living room. Throw a blanket down, light some candles, and dont forget the Rose Champagne!
A few little other ideas to decorate your picnic:
Carnation Cones- Place a few ice-cream cones in glasses, and pop some pink carnations in there.
Inspired by my favorite latin restaurant in New York, ‘Rayuela’, make this crisp, fresh and adorable “Coming up Roses” Cocktail. (You can buy organic Roses from the Farmers Markets which are edible. Also, if you can’t find Rose syrup use Simple syrup with a few drops of Rose Water.)
5 rose petals
1/2 oz rose syrup
2 oz cava
2 oz Bacardi Razz
Muddle the roses with the limes. Add all other ingredients, shake and serve!
Asparagus Wrapped Smoked Salmon (or Prosciutto)- whatever you prefer! Great finger food to feed to each other.
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed (about 20 spears)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon (1 slice per asparagus spear)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Lay the asparagus on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Roast until cooked and starting to brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to another baking sheet to cool.
Once the asparagus have cooled, wrap each spear in a slice of smoked salmon. Arrange on a serving platter and serve at room temperature.
1 slice around each asparagus. (or prosciutto)- still want slightly crunch asparagus, but tender, and light golden.
Baked Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with Ricotta
(It’s a little early in the year but if you are lucky your Local Farmer’s market will hopefully carry a few Zucchini Flowers)
8 Zucchini Flowers
1/4 cup Olive oil
2/3 cups Ricotta
Small bunch of basil, chopped very finely
2 tablespoons of Honey
Few drops of Balsamic Vinegar
Pinch of salt and ground nutmeg
You’ll need a pastry bag with a medium tip, and a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the ricotta, honey, salt, nutmeg, chopped basil in a bowl. Place in a piping bag, and squeeze into open zucchini flowers. Bake until filling is hot, about 15 mins. Sprinkle with a few drops of good quality balsamic. Et voila!
Lobster and Crab Guacamole with Red Beet Chips
Not only are avocados the ultimate aphrodisiac food, the colorful red beet chips make it very fitting for Valentine’s Day. Plus they are delicious!
2 ripe avocados, 1 plum tomato seeded and finely chopped, 1.4 cup red onion finely chopped, 1 serrano pepper seeded and finely chopped, handful of fresh cilantro leaves, 1 line juiced, salt and pepper, (I like to top it with pumpkin seeds and chilli powder too!)
Mash the avocados leaving them a little chunky, and mix in the other ingredients. Top with fresh lobster meat, jumbo crab, pumpkin seeds and a dash of chilli pepper.
3-5 medium-large sized beets, washed with stems cut off and sliced thinly on a mandoline
Canola Oil (enough to fill cast iron skillet to inches deep)
Put the oil in a Pot or pan, (cast iron preferably) and heat to 325-250 degrees. Fry the beet slices in small batches to ensure even cooking. When they are ready they will turn a lighter color, and will begin to brown. Drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.
Strawberry, Goats Cheese, Walnut Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing
I love this salad, you get all the textures, and the flavors compliment each other perfectly. Serve in a heart shaped red bowl.
6 Cups of Baby Spinach
1 ounce of Goats cheese – crumbled with fingers
4 Large Strawberries- sliced
2 tablespoons of Walnuts
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Balsamin Vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Honey
For the Dressing: Mix last 4 ingredients in a glass jar with lid on. Shake well! Lay Spinach, Goats Cheese and walnuts in a bowl, drizzle dressing over spinach strawberry salad.
Mozarella Tomato Basil Skewers
Quick and easy- great for feeding each other
Stick one marinated mozzarella ball, a small leaf of basil folded in half, and a cherry tomato onto a medium sized skewer. Repeat with remaning mozarella and tomatoes. C’est tout!
Warm Figs with Goats Cheese, Almond and Honey
Almonds induce passion in a woman. Figs are a sexual stimulant. Honey enhances testosterone. Enough said.
6 Fresh Figs
1 ounce of Goats Cheese
6 Toasted Almonds
1-2 tablespoons Honey
1-2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
Slice figs to form a slit, insert ½ teaspoon of goat cheese, place one almond on each, broil in oven for 2-3 mins until cheese is soft and almonds are dark brown. Drizzle with honey and balsamic vinegar.
For dessert make some Heart Shaped Brownies and stick these cupid arrows through them! – Get a couple red and white straws, and glue onto them red card which you’ve cut into arrow shapes. (You can find a stencil online) Such a sweet touch.
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon best-quality cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
- 3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light-brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (4 1/2 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a heart shaped baking pan, or small heart shaped moulds. Butter sides and bottom of baking pan hearts well.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside
- In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine butter and espresso. Place over low heat and stir until butter has melted. Add chocolate, and stir constantly until mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in both sugars until well combined.
- Add eggs and vanilla and continue stirring until well incorporated and mixture no longer appears grainy. Sift flour mixture over batter, and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips, if using.
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan; smooth top with the back of a wooden spoon or a spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 28 to 30 minutes. Be sure not to over bake. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into 9 brownies.
Throw in some colorful macarons, and chocolate covered strawberries too!
Make your dinner table look the most beautiful it’s ever been. They key is Flowers and Candlelight! Red Roses in beautiful glass vases is a must. You can even scatter some red rose petals on the table too. Add candles galore! You can never have too many! Drink Red Wine to relax.
Fresh Oysters in Passion Fruit Vinaigrette
Rich in zinc, oysters can help boost testosterone levels and libido. Best way to start the night!
1 tbsp julienned green apple
1 tbsp julienned cilantro
Melt chocolate together. Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating between additions. Add flour, cocoa powder and mix until just combined. Using a rubber spatula add melted chocolate, using quick, bowl circling strokes.