We LOVE Valentine’s Day at the Serious Foodie! There is nothing sexier than good food and good wine, and it’s a day that begs for a DIY meal at home – besides, you get to pick the music instead of hearing some insipid tune from bad speakers at a crowded restaurant. This is especially true for Valentine’s Day this year, since many of our favorite restaurants are COVID closed. Here are some of our ground rules:
1. It has to be easy enough for the average home chef. If you spend all day and night fussing with your new immersion circulator, food processor, or whatever fancy kitchen gadget you got for the holidays, you’re just not going to get to the good stuff on Valentine’s day. Even the most accomplished professional chef knows that a great at-home meal starts with simplicity. As long as your level of kitchen competency isn’t “how do I make this water boil again?” these meals should be well within your cooking comfort zone.
2. It still has to feel fancy. We’re here to give you some good starting points to make your meal a bit more up-scale than a micro-waved pizza. Stretch yourself a little beyond what you’d serve on a typical weeknight, and there will be some magic happening. But still use the KISS Method: Keep it simple and sexy.
3. Too much of anything (at least food-wise) is not a good thing. There may be one exception: you can start & finish with some champagne and a box of fancy chocolates. In general, you should come away from the meal satisfied, but not “let’s binge watch all 94 episodes of Sex and the City in sweatpants” satisfied. If you want to just stick to wine & chocolate (which might be a great idea), then the right wine with the right chocolate is a beautiful thing. The Serious Foodie has a full article on the subject (click HERE).
This is THE DAY for the Serious Foodie to impress with a hand-crafted meal for the significant other(s) in our life, with matching wines, candle light, flowers, and other romantic touches. Here we offer our suggestions – some using our products, some just using fresh healthy-ish ingredients.
Let’s start with some starters…..
Crudo & Sushi
In many ways, crudo & sashimi can be scary – but also uncomplicated. If you are a bit adventurous, but haven’t yet tried to serve raw fish, then start with crudo (the Italian version of sashimi). First, make sure you specify sushi-grade fish when shopping – this is especially important when preparing raw tuna or swordfish. We’ve found a very nice fluke crudo with Meyer lemon (click HERE) – you can also use turbot or flounder.
Here’s a quick primer for crudo: (1) get some sushi-grade fresh fish (ask your fish manager – if your store does not have a fish manager, move onto the next recipe); (2) apply seasoning – as simple as salt & pepper, or use a spice rub (we suggest Serious Foodie Asian Fusion click HERE or West African rub for crudo – click HERE); (3) add an acid – lemon juice, Meyer lemon, lime, or mild vinegar. Use just enough to sprinkle on each piece; (4) add enough olive olive to cover each piece; (5) place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Serve with some garnish – lemon peel, shaved radish, shaved fennel, herb mix, etc.
How about the world’s easiest fancy finger food – crostini (or bruschetta; click HERE for an explanation about the differences). We featured a crostini recipe with brie, arugula, and Serious Foodie Fig/Orange sauce (click HERE), along with links to other websites for other crostini recipes. Check out these cool crostini recipes: Kale & White Bean (click HERE), Sweet Potato & Feta (click HERE), Radish & Miso Butter (click HERE), and Smoked Trout & Apple (click HERE).
Skewers – Fancy Finger Food
What can be better – and sexier – than food on a skewer? Whether it’s Middle Eastern, Far Eastern, or East of the Mississippi, you can find your own favorite flavor profile that is quick to prepare and easy to impress. Check out our Chicken Satay recipe, using the Serious Foodie Sri Lanka Coconut Lime Hot Sauce.
We loved the vegan suggestions at Vegan Food & Living, and we especially loved their pictures. Pictured here is their wonderful smoky vegan kebabs, using homemade seitan (a form of very meaty yeast/wheat gluten). To make this dish even easier, use store-bought seitan (Whole Foods carries it), and mix 2 tablespoons Serious Foodie Indonesian sauce with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 1/2 tsp liquid smoke for an easy, yummy dipping sauce. You’ll get a very impressive, very addicting sauce that you might want to use on other dishes.
Now for the unabashed promotion of Serious Foodie products – which, by the way, WILL IMPRESS, WILL BE FANCY and WILL BE EASY. All of these pasta recipes are vegan, just in case you swing in that direction.
Want some spicy to spice it up? One of our favorite go-to sauces right now is the Serious Foodie Calabrian Spicy Relish. We’ve been using it on everything, including pasta – which is actually the reason why we made this sauce (relish) in the first place. Pretty on the plate, easy to make with just a few ingredients, and a bit of excitement in each bite. Click HERE for the recipe.
How about a beautiful creamy, velvety, savory, and subtly sweet dish that comes together in 15 minutes? Try the roasted red pepper pasta (can be made gluten-free) from our friends at Minimalist Baker. And if vegan is not your thing, then add some bacon to this sauce – we can guarantee that you’ll be doing this recipe again sometime soon.
Paella can be one of those very scary dishes – but very sexy and impressive if you pull it off. The Serious Foodie created a “Week Night Paella” recipe that’s super simple, and pretty close to full proof. You can use our Serious Foodie Spanish kit to make it even easier, which contains rice and seasonings that will make this your new go-to Spanish comfort food meal. Click the picture above or HERE for the recipe.
You don’t have to stick to steak and lobster, but it’s pretty cool and sexy. Try the grilled surf & turf with shallot garlic butter (click HERE) which is one of our favorite quick & simple & elegant recipes. You can get very creative by adding other herbs, or some citrus, to the butter – or just keep it simple.
How about other variations:
- Grilled flank steak and shrimp;
- Filet and scallops;
- Small plates of steak tartar and smoked salmon
- Sliders – lobster salad and aged-beef hamburgers
Let us know how it worked out for you! Love & Kisses from the Serious Foodie.