Sure, you’ve heard the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. There may be some truth to that. Preparing a meal for your significant other can be every bit as romantic as picking up a pen and composing an ode. Romance can come from bringing together attractive flavors and textures. “It’s very sensual,” says Kathy Brown, chef and owner of Latitude 41n. “You can pair up food — different savory or sweet options — that express delight, happiness and love.” But don’t worry if you’re not a top chef — remember it’s the thought that counts. So whether you’re whipping up a personalized pizza, elaborate roast or even a simple sundae, put on your chef’s apron and give it a try. “When you go to the trouble of melding flavors and presenting a meal that makes your significant other smile to the heavens,” Brown says, “it’s just going to do the trick for the perfect ‘I love you.’ ”
Breakfast: Steak and Eggs with Roasted Redskin Breakfast Potatoes
Make sure to keep the flavorful skins intact while you cook and cool the potatoes, says Kathy Brown, chef and owner of Latitude 41n. It will result in a soft, delicious potato on the inside. Plus, also think of the other ingredients you use. “The fresher the rosemary, the better quality the olive oil, the better taste and finish,” she says.
Preheat oven and a large sheet pan to 425 degree. Wash and cube 5 redskin potatoes. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with enough extra virgin olive oil to coat, fresh rosemary to taste, and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Arrange potatoes in single layer on hot sheet pan. Roast 20 minutes. Do not disturb potatoes or flip them. After 20 minutes, rotate tray and cook another 10 minutes for a total of 30 minutes. Remove tray and let cool on tray rack. Do not disturb potatoes until cool. Once potatoes have cooled, remove them with a metal spatula.
Lunch: Cauliflower Salad
Valentine’s Day is on a Tuesday. So for many of us, lunch will happen at the office. But you can add some pizazz to your significant other’s lunch by packing a cauliflower salad with roasted cauliflower, faro, arugula, Kalamata olives, red onion and feta. “It’s a very healthy choice,” says Joe Lang, chef de cuisine at Flour. “You can add steak, lobster or shrimp.”
Pick 1 head of cauliflower (cut it in half and, using your hands, pick out large florets before roasting). Season with salt and pepper and toss in extra virgin olive oil. Roast in oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, boil 2 cups of farro. Strain and cool. For the lemon vinaigrette: combine 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1 clove garlic, chopped, 1 tablespoon Dijon and 1 teaspoon honey. Emulsify with 2 cups corn oil. Season with salt and pepper. In a separate mixing bowl, combine 4 ounces of arugula, 2 cups roasted cauliflower, 1/2 cup cooked farro, 1/4 cup sliced red onion, and 1/4 cup Kalamata olives. Toss and dress with vinaigrette. Plate salad in bowl and garnish with crumbled feta cheese.
Dinner: Chicken Paprikash
Impress with a meal that’s near and dear to your loved one’s heart such as that chicken paprikash recipe grandmother used to make. “Do some investigating,” says Brandt Evans, chef and owner of Pura Vida and Blue Canyon Kitchen & Tavern. “Even if it comes out bad, it was so thoughtful that they’ll love the meal.”
In slow cooker, stir together 2 medium onions, thinly sliced, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 tablespoon sweet paprika. Spread mixture evenly over bottom of your slow cooker. Rub 2 peeled garlic halves over 3 pounds of chicken legs, then sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and another 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. In medium saucepan over moderately high heat, heat 1-1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter and 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add chicken pieces and brown, turning occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker (do not clean pan), layering chicken on top of onion mixture. In same saucepan over high heat, bring 1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth to simmer, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Pour over chicken in slow cooker, cover, and cook on low until chicken is tender but not falling off bone, 5 to 6 hours. Stir 1/4 cup sour cream into sauce. Garnish with dill and serve.