Valentine's Day Ideas

Valentine’s Day Food Ideas

I hadn't given a ton of thought to Valentine's Day food posts this year…. 

For one thing, I don't really think you should heap that much pressure on yourself to come up with The Perfect Meal.  Do that and you practically guarantee burnt sauces and overdone meat and wilted salads and accidentally-used-salt-instead-of-sugar desserts.  I'm not saying that'll happen to everyone, but still, pressure to be perfect can up the odds.

I think, well, at least for me, in my own little world, it's much more fun to cook the meal together.  Just pick some fun dishes that appeal to you, and go for it.  Just hanging out in the kitchen, chopping stuff, elbowing each other out of the way, doing each others' prepwork dishes, tasting sauces and deciding if something needs salt – it's a nice way to spend an evening, or an afternoon, or whatever time of day works for you.

Back before we had kids, we used to cook together a LOT.  In our tiny little rental cottage kitchen (which was carpeted, I kid you not.  Indoor/outdoor carpeting through the whole little house.), with the weirdly textured faded goldenrod-colored counters.  We had a blast.  We did a lot of Asian cooking in those days, and lest you think I'm lumping all Asian cuisines together into one big pile, I'm not.  We cooked Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Chinese, Indian, and who knows what else.  It was a great learning period, and we had some incredibly memorable meals.  We threw little parties with tons of food, and drove ourselves happily crazy with all the prepwork and planning and timing and WHERE DO WE PUT EVERYTHING?  It was great fun.

Anyway, if you enjoy cooking, and if you've got someone who enjoys cooking, too, then that might be the thing to do this year. 

One year we actually made a reservation at our favorite restaurant and went OUT to eat for Valentine's Day.  As did everyone else on the planet.  Our cozy, homey, lovely, 11-table Italian husband-and-wife-run restaurant was packed, and it just was NOT the same experience at all. 

So stay home.  Avoid the crowds.  Cook your own food.  Get rid of the pressure.  It's only a day, like any other day.  And…that being said…rather than treating Valentine's Day like the One and Only Romantic Special Day in the Year, tone that down, and distribute the feeling throughout the year.  Cook together every weekend.  Or every other weekend.  Make regular old non-hyped days special. 

That said, I went back to February 2008 in this blog, a year when I'd decided to do a whole series of Valentine's Day food ideas, from February 1 to February 13.  I really cranked them out in those two weeks.  Some dinner or lunch…some dessert.  I don't remember right now if I'd put a breakfast in there or not.  Guess I'll find out in a minute when I start adding the links.

Anyway, in case you're interested, I've got links to all those posts conveniently gathered below, and then I might throw in a few other links to foods that seem special (to me, anyway) and worthy of torturing yourself with cooking for someone else.  Or cooking WITH someone else.

Ready?  I've babbled on enough, I'm sure.  Here we go, then.  In order of appearance.

Img_6333 Crème brûlée – February 1, 2008

Img_6459_1 Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Tomato Soup – February 2, 2008 Yes, really.

Img_6957 Baby Buffalo Ball Sandwiches – February 3, 2008 (I'm not sure if this was part of the series, but they're yummy, so why not?  Or you could make them for Superbowl Sunday, if you prefer.)

Img_6471 Cannoli – February 3, 2008

Img_6718 Roast Chicken with Onion Mushroom Gravy – February 4, 2008

Img_6305 Chocolate Hearts with Raspberry Coulis and Crème Anglaise – February 5, 2008 For which you will need to refer to the following accompanying posts: 

Img_6336_1 Boca Negra – February 5, 2008 

Img_6289 Raspberry Coulis – February 5, 2008

Img_6272 Crème Anglaise – February 5, 2008

Img_6255 Florentines (Almond Lace Cookies) – February 5, 2008

Img_7102_1 Grilled Sockeye Salmon with Asparagus and Wild Rice – February 6, 2008

Img_6491 Warm Honey-Mustard Tofu Salad – February 7, 2008

(I didn't post anything for a couple of days, but then I got caught up again)

Img_7118 Steak and Potatoes – February 10, 2008

Img_7387 Littlenecks and Lobsters – February 11, 2008

Img_7408 Bananas Foster Napoleons – February 11, 2008

Img_7607_2 Duck Breast with a Port, Shallot and Fig Reduction – February 11, 2008

Img_6316_1 Poached Pears with Syrup and Crème Anglaise – February 12, 2008

Img_7796 Chocolate Tiramisu – February 13, 2008  

That's the end of the 2008 roundup.  Now here are a few other recipes to help fill in any gaps….

Like breakfast…

Img_8794 Corned Beef Hash 

IMG_0397_1 Lobster and Goat Cheese Omelet

IMG_2314 Crullers with Cinnamon-Honey Glaze 

Or, if that's too early in the day for you…

IMG_6608 My Favorite Pizza Dough – the toppings are up to you.

 IMG_2688_1  Pastry-Wrapped Brie with Caramelized Onions (which, incidentally, was recently featured by in their Best of the Web series, which means I am now listed among their "Sites We Love", and that just continues to amaze me. In a good way.

IMG_7242 Scallion and Red Onion Pancakes with Ginger Dipping Sauce

IMG_1473 Curry Ginger Carrot Bisque


Split Pea Soup (because nothing says "I Love You" like legumes and a ham hock!)

Img_6375 Chiles Rellenos

IMG_3770 Risotto with Really Wild Mushrooms (or you could just make pretty much ANY kind of risotto.  Yum.)

Img_8245 Sweet Potato Gnocchi 


Herb-Layered Ravioli Filled with Goat Cheese, Garlic Scallions, and Wilted Spinach

Img_2805_1 Lobster Three Ways

IMG_3605_1 Green Thai Shrimp Curry

IMG_2104  Pork Loin Medallions with Apples, Onions and Herbs

Img_2422_1 Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

Img_9502_1 Bittersweet Chocolate and Ginger-Lemon Poached Pear Tart

Lemon_sponge_tart_with_chocolate_cr Lemon Sponge Pie with Chocolate Pastry Crust

Oh, you get the idea.

And yes, those are just recipes you can find on my li'l ol' site here.  I know there are TONS of other great ideas out there, so, if you're planning to cook or bake, but you don't know WHAT yet, then you've got your work cut out for you, with all the choices there are.

Good luck!

And now, back to normal posting.


8 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Food Ideas

  1. Okay, I love Valentine’s Day and usually create a themed meal. Chicken pot pie in a heart shaped pan. Mashed potatoes dyed pink with juice from a can of sliced beets. Said sliced beets cut into heart shapes using a very tiny cookie cutter. Heart shaped brownies. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit I do this, but I really love the annual event.

  2. Honestly, Garry and I aren’t huge fans of Valentine’s Day. Last year we bought a bunch of junk food, some beer and wine, and ate, drank and watched horror movies all day. There was no pressure on either of us to do something “special.” I kind of like the day off from cooking and spending all day just eating stuff we normally don’t allow ourselves to eat makes it a little naughty, in a fun way! Plus, the horror movies? A good excuse to snuggle on the couch without watching ooey-gooey romantic movies.

    Call me weird, but I think we’re just happy spending the day together, knowing that we don’t have any plans to do anything else other than be together. Although this year we might be installing our new kitchen! Nothing says “I love you” like staining a base cabinets!

  3. Oh, Im with you! For our anniversary last summer, our exciting shopping trip/purchase was for a new toilet for one of the bathrooms. When youve been together as long as we have, you move from kitchen cabinets to toilets. Something for you to look forward to. 🙂

  4. Its funny, I did all those original Valentines Day posts as sort of a challenge to myself – create all these things and post them in a relatively short amount of time. All the other recipes I added are dishes that either Bill or I have cooked for the other, or that weve cooked together, or that are just yummy. I think Valentines Day is WAY out of control, in that so much pressure is heaped on consumers to spend 8 billion dollars on chocolates and roses and romantic getaways…but…if everyone else is doing the same thing…then its no longer special. I also dont think people should be forced to show their love for each other on any particular day. It lacks spontenaity (I think I spelled that wrong). Theres enough stress and pressure out there about how
    we should look and think and feel without telling us when to say I Love You and how to prove you really mean it. My husband got me really warm, waterproof gloves for Christmas. THAT is love.

    All that said, if you (the generic you, not you in particular) like Valentines day, then thats great for you. Enjoy it! Go crazy with it!

    Im sort of in the middle…my daughters got a Valentines day party next week in class, and shes looking forward to that (pink and purple and hearts – whats not to love when youre five?) so well be making cards this weekend for her classmates. I dont think my sons class is doing anything, but maybe Ill get that notification today. And my husband…though its not always out on his sleeve, he has a romantic heart. One year, for Valentines Day, he gave me a 14 All-Clad Saute Pan (with a lid). Inside, the pan was full of Godiva chocolates. Romance AND practicality. I like that combination best.

    Anyway, all these recipes are there for use any time. I just had fun going through all my archives and picking out the ones that were special to me.

    And yes – try the brie. Im sure it will go perfectly with horror movies! ATTACK OF THE MELTY CHEESE!

  5. Here’s something to look forward to when you’ve been married 28 years…. you got to the nearest drug store and stand in the isle of cards together and read the cards out loud to each other, comment on 3 or 4 and then go home, empty handed to make pizza. Oh yeah, nobody can call us unromantic.

  6. I totally understand. Garry bought me a washing machine for my birthday last year. We live in a third floor apartment and we had to carry the 50lb plastic rubbermaid bin down three flights of rickety stairs, to the car, then drive to the laundromat (there wasn’t a washer or dryer in the building). I have bad knees (from random sports injuries over the years) so laundry was always the most hated and difficult chore for me. It was definitely one of the best presents ever.

    For me, any kind of dish can be special so long as it’s prepared with that intent. We have a Ramen Noodle night every week and watch cartoons. It’s just ramen… (okay, I fancy it up a bit) but it’s not any more “special” that anything else I make. But, at the same time it is, because that intent is there.

    Also – I have Monday off of work, so we don’t have to worry about going to bed early!

    (Sorry if that doesn’t make much sense, I’m going on only a few hours of sleep today…)

  7. i’m glad to see you’ve provided a complete list of foods you will be preparing when you and your family come for a visit with me this coming sunday: i look forward to the bounty! (grin) can’t wait to see you guys!!!

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