Delish Preps for a Romantic Valentine Night

The day of the hearts is fast approaching and people, especially the men, are already going gaga over preparing for the ultimate Valentines date with their loved ones. Being one of the people who want to express love and happiness to their better halves as extravagant as often as it is possible, having the traditional date during the Valentine’s Day is more like a responsibility rather than a spur-of-the- moment event.

The problem with setting up the best Valentine’s Day date is the competition and the law of supply and demand. It may sound very technical but sadly, that is the truth. First, whatever you’re planning for “the” best date, a quite number of people out there are also planning the same exact date and all of you are out to find, buy, and reserve the same things. The competition alone will result to frustrations and exhaustion. Next, is the law of supply and demand. To simply put it, since flower and chocolate shops know that there products are going to be sought after more than the usual days, they tend to increase the prices to unimaginable heights. Since all of us need to buy the usual paraphernalia for “the” Valentines date, we do not have any other choice but to spend more.

This year, a change of the usual habit may not be a bad thing. In fact, being different may spell excitement and thoughtfulness in another level. What I am suggesting is the option of having your Valentine’s Day romantic event at home. Of course, preparation is still expected but since you guys are doing everything yourselves, competition and spending are eliminated in the process.

Check out the complete dinner menu below which you guys can prepare for your private yet so romantic home date with your loved ones.

Appetizer: Balsamic Drizzled Fresh Peach Crostini with Whipped Honey Feta

*makes 18 crostini
• 1/2 regular baguette
• 2 peaches
• virgin olive oil
• 1 cup balsamic vinegar
• 4oz feta cheese
• 2oz cream cheese
• 2 tbsp honey
• salt
• pepper
For the Crostini:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Slice baguettes into 1/4″ thick portions.
3. Brush all sides with virgin olive oil.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Placed seasoned baguettes onto a baking sheet. Bake for 5-7 minutes.
6. Let it cool completely.
For the Balsamic Drizzle:
Boil the balsamic vinegar in a saucepan. Lower heat to medium and simmer the vinegar for about 15 minutes until you reach the desired consistency.
For the Whipped Honey Feta Cream:
Combine cream cheese, honey and feta cheese in a food processor. Then mix until very smooth.
Final Touch:
1. Topped the cooled crostini with peach slice.
2. Smear whipped honey feta on top of the peaches.
3. Drizzled the balsamic sauce then serve,

Side Dish: Pasta Puttanesca

*makes 8 servings
• 16 ounces penne pasta
• 1 finely chopped medium carrot
• 3 anchovy fillets
• 1/4 cup chopped Greek olives
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
• 5 minced garlic cloves
• 2 tsp dried oregano
• 2 tsp dried thyme
• 2 tbsp capers
• 2 tsp crushed fennel seed
• 1 can diced tomatoes
• 1 to 1-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• ½ tsp sugar
• 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
• 6 thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1. Cook the penne pasta.
2. Saute carrot and anchovy fillets in oil. Wait until carrot is supple.
3. In the same pan, mix in the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olives, oregano, capers, fennel, thyme and pepper flakes. Cook for a minute.
4. Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and sugar.
5. Let it boil. Then reduce heat and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened.
6. Drain pasta.
7. Add the penne pasta and basil to the sauce and evenly mix it.
8. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Main Course: French Onion Roasted Chicken

• 1 4-5 pounds whole chicken
• kosher salt
• ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon fresh herbs (finely chopped thyme, rosemary, tarragon or parsley)
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Pat dry the chicken.
3. Season the chicken with 1 ½ tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
4. Slice the onion in half, and then cut it crosswise and thinly.
5. Place the onion on the roasting pan and toss it evenly with ¼ teaspoon salt.
6. Put the chicken on a breast side up position on the onions. Then roast for 45-60 minutes,
7. After roasting, check the thigh temperature of the chicken. If it registers 165°F, transfer the roasted chicken to a carving board.
8. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
9. Slice the chicken then serve with onions.

Dessert: Red Velvet Cheesecake

*makes 20 servings
• 1 pound chopped milk chocolate
• 1 9 – ounce chocolate wafer cookies
• ½ cup butter
• ½ cup melted butter
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 1 cup almonds
• 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
• 1 8 – ounce carton sour cream
• 4 8 – ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
• 1/3 cup buttermilk
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 2 tablespoon red food coloring
• 4 eggs
• 2 egg yolks
• powdered sugar (optional)
• chocolate leaves (optional)
• unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
• fresh raspberries (optional)
• strawberries (optional)
For the crumbs:
1. Over low heat, melt the chocolate and ½ cup butter in a medium-sized saucepan.
2. Pour the mixture to a bowl and let it cool completely.
3. In a large food processor, place the chocolate chips, almonds, wafer cookies and brown sugar. Process until finely ground.
4. When achieved the desired texture, add the ½ cup of melted butter and process until well mixed.
5. In a 10×3 inch spring form pan, transfer the combined mixture.
6. Press the mixture onto the bottom and up sides of the spring form pan. Leave at least ½ inch gap at the top of the pan. Set aside.
For the filling:
1. Using an electric mixer in a medium to high speed, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, buttermilk, chocolate mixture, and red food coloring.
2. Add the 2 egg yolks and 4 eggs all at once. Beat on a low speed until well mixed.
3. Transfer filling into crumb-crust lined spring form pan.
For the cheesecake:
1. On the oven rack, put spring form pan in a shallow baking pan. Bake for about 1 hour in 350°F.
2. Remove spring form pan. Let it cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack.
3. Use a metal spatula to loosen cheesecake and cool for another 30 minutes.
4. Cover and chill for 4 hours.
For serving:
Sprinkle the cake with sifted powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Garnish the center with raspberries, strawberries and chocolate leaves. Make sure to clean knife between each cut.

There you go fellas! Make sure to serve these scrumptious meals with wine (and candles too if you’re up for a romantic experience at home).