There’s no better day to flex your culinary skills than Valentine’s Day. It’s more intimate, and, yes, more affordable to make a meal at home. So sharpen your knives, roll up your sleeves, and let these chefs and their recipes guide you to a stellar Valentine’s Day dinner.
1 of 10
Grilled Farm Bruschetta
1 loaf rustic sourdough bread
8 oz hanger steak
1 spaghetti squash
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup grated parmesan
4 oz mushrooms, cleaned
1 clove garlic, sliced
extra virgin olive oil, to taste
sherry vinegar, to taste
Roast the spaghetti squash by splitting in half and cooking at 400°. Then sprinkle with salt and a small amount of oil. Once tender, roughly one hour, remove from oven and cool. Scoop the flesh out with a fork and reserve for later.
Split the cherry tomatoes into quarters. Mix with a small amount of olive oil, sherry vinegar, chives, and let marinate.
Lightly oil a few slices of sourdough. Grill on both sides. Meanwhile, lightly season the steak with salt and pepper. Sear on grill on all sides. Set aside to rest.
To finish, sauté the spaghetti squash, garlic, and mushrooms in olive oil until tender. Slice the meat. Assemble the ingredients on top of the grilled sourdough. Finish with salt and parmesan.
In a small pot, heat clam or chicken broth and lobster base until hot and set aside. In a larger pot, heat olive oil to a smoking point and add garlic puree. (It will foam.) Add all chopped herbs, then add broth to make the basic sauce for the dish.
Steam whole lobster for 6 minutes; chill in ice bath, then break lobster out of the shell.
Cook angel-hair pasta to al dente.
In a sauté pan, heat assorted peppers in 6 ounces of the sauce.
Add the lobster and the pasta. Toss quickly and serve sprinkled with parmesan and romano cheeses.
To make the dough, stir the yeast in room temperature water. Mix water with 1/5 of flour to create a creamy compote. Add salt to mixture. Add in the remaining flour and mix by hand for 10 minutes (or by stand mixer for 15 minutes). Let the dough rest for 20 minutes them cut into 250-gram balls (each ball makes one 12-inch pizza crust).
Let the dough balls sit in container for 4 hours, then put into refrigerator for 20 additional hours. Before using, let the dough sit in room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 500°. Separate the dough into four even dough balls. Put one dough on pizza stone(s). Spread San Marzano tomato sauce on dough and top with mozzarella cheese and extra virgin olive oil.
Cook on a pizza stone for 10 minutes or until crust is golden. Repeat with remaining dough, or freeze dough for later use.
1 lb mussels (to ensure freshness, they should all be closed. If any are open, gently tap on a hard surface, and see if it begins to close. If it closes, it is fine, if it stays open, discard.)
1 oz thinly shaved shallots
1 tbsp thinly shaved garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2-cup dry white wine
1 large sprig of thyme
1 oz butter (European-style, if available)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp fine herbs (even mix of chives, chervil, parsley, and tarragon, finely chopped)
salt, to taste
day-old bread, optional
Place a 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, olive oil, and gently sweat until they are translucent (avoid browning).
Add the mussels, white wine, and thyme. Spread the mussels evenly in the pan, and simmer.
As the wine simmers and the alcohol cooks out, the mussels will begin to crack open; this is the sign that they are cooked. When you notice that they have all begun to crack open, add the butter, and begin gently swirling the pan so the butter melts evenly and emulsifies with the wine sauce. In the time the butter fully melts and emulsifies, the mussels should have completely opened.
Finish with the lemon juice, salt, and herbs. Pour into a bowl, and enjoy. Serve with some crusty bread to soak up all the remaining sauce.
Recipe courtesy Chef Brian Lea of Le Sel in Nashville, Tennessee
Credit: Courtesy of Le Sel
5 of 10
Lobster, Corn, and Poblano Chowder
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 slices pancetta or bacon, cut into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, minced
3 ribs celery, diced
1/3 cup SIMI Winery Russian River Valley Chardonnay or chardonnay of choice
1-2 lobsters, meat removed, and cut into large pieces
Kosher salt and pepper
1/4 cup Simi Winery Russian River Valley Chardonnay or chardonnay of choice
In a large thick-bottomed pot, sauté the pancetta in olive oil until crispy. Add the garlic, onion and celery. Cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add tomatillos, potatoes, chicken stock, and thyme. Simmer until potatoes are soft.
Add the poblano, corn, scraped corn milk, salt and pepper, and cream. Simmer for 3 minutes. To serve, quickly sauté the lobster meat. Remove.
Pour out the oil in the pan and deglaze with the white wine. Add to the soup. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Divide the lobster evenly into the six bowls and ladle the hot soup into the bowls. Garnish with chopped parsley. (You should have roughly four servings of leftovers.)
Recipe courtesy Kolin Vazzoler, Executive Chef of SIMI Winery in Healdsburg, California.
Credit: Courtesy of SIMI Winery
6 of 10
Mushroom and Basil-Walnut Pesto Pasta
For the pesto:
1 large (or 2 small) bunch basil, stemmed
1/3-cup walnut halves
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
About 1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pasta:
1 pound short-cut pasta, like farfalle, penne or gemelli
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
10 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
2 oz grated or shaved parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
To make the pesto:
In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine the basil, walnuts, and garlic.
Pulse until everything is broken down into small bits.
With the motor running, stream in the lemon juice and olive oil, and puree until smooth.
Remove the blade; stir in the Parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make the pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil and butter. Once butter is melted and gently bubbling, add mushrooms. Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the mushrooms are well browned, season with pinches of salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente and set aside 1/4 cup pasta cooking water before draining. Transfer drained pasta to the skillet with mushrooms (kept over low heat) and add reserved pasta water, pesto, and cheese. Stir to combine. Taste and re-season if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature.
1 sweet potato (peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes)
pinch sea salt
2–3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 salmon filets (wild if possible, pin bones removed, skin on or off)
6 oz organic baby spinach
white balsamic vinegar
2–3 oz goat cheese
1/2 cup strawberries (hull removed and thinly sliced)
Preheat oven to 375°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Add raw pecans to one sheet and sweet potatoes to another. Drizzle one tablespoon olive oil and sea salt on sweet potatoes and use fingers to coat evenly.
Combine all ingredients for blackening seasoning in a small bowl. Lay your salmon filets side by side on a plate, skinless side up. Cover tops evenly with blackening seasoning. Set aside.
Place pecans and sweet potatoes in the oven. Roast pecans for 8–10 minutes or until fragrant. While pecans are roasting, add maple syrup and two tablespoons water to a small sauce pot. Heat and stir so liquid is warm but not bubbling.
Remove pecans from oven and add to sauce pot. Stir to coat evenly, then turn pecans onto another piece of clean parchment or a cooling rack. Set side.
Sweet potatoes will roast for 30 minutes or until soft and caramelized around the edges. While they are roasting, heat a cast-iron skillet (can sub another skillet) to medium-high heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil. When oil begins to smoke, add your salmon filets side by side, skinless side facing down. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until you can move a spatula underneath salmon. Note: If it sticks, it's not ready. Flip filets and cook the skin side, three to four minutes or until crispy. If filets are not cooked as thoroughly as you like in the middle, put the pan in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
When you are finished cooking salmon, slice your lemon in half and garnish filets with fresh lemon juice. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Assemble your salad: Toss spinach with a light coating of white balsamic vinegar. Top spinach with one salmon filet, a handful of pecans, a handful of strawberry slices, a scoop of sweet potatoes, and a few crumbles of goat cheese.
Buy your favorite pre-made 8- 9-inch graham cracker crust and pre-bake at 325° for five minutes.
In a small mixer, or in a bowl with a whisk, combine condensed milk and egg yolks. Once combined add lime juice and zest. Fill pre-baked crust with key lime mixture and bake at 250° for approximately 20 minutes. (Add additional time in 5 minute increments, if needed.)
The pie is done when, if gently jiggled, the filling moves uniformly as one and does not ripple. The filling should be a medium firmness to touch. Refrigerate and serve with whipped cream of your choice.
Credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale
9 of 10
Vanilla-Balsamic Granola with Cherries
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 cup raw buckwheat groats
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup quinoa
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup dried cherries
Strawberries, for serving
Yogurt, optional, for serving
Preheat oven to 225°.
In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.
In separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, except for cherries.
Using a rubber spatula, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Transfer onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake until golden, about one hour, stirring granola every 15-20 minutes during baking.
Toss in the cherries, and let cool. Store in an airtight container (with six cups per recipe, you should have leftovers.) Serve with fresh strawberries, over yogurt, if desired.