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a different V-Day tack

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Hey this list seems to be mostly about restaurants but I figure some folks here are probably also into cooking like me. I'm planning on making dinner on Valentine's Day--I used to wait tables and don't find VDays at restaurants very romantic since everywhere gets so crowded and I know you don't get the best service that night, plus I'm not rolling in cash. Anyway, for some reason I'm having a hard time coming up with a simple menu--it has to be simple since I work that day and will only have an hour or less for prep, and I've got plans tonight so I can't do anything in advnace.
So long question short: Any suggestions? I'd sort of like to steer clear of pastas and stir-frys since that's what I make all the time. Thanks for any advice. I'm just drawing a blank.

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  1. Wiener Schnitzel is easy and soooo good. It is not common here, except in German restaurants. Add some roasted potatoes, cucumber and onion salad, and a good cheap German wine. For dessert, find a bakery that has decadent chocolate pastries and you just might get lucky after dinner!

    No matter what, have fun.

    1. One of my favorite low maintenance meals is chicken marsala...very easy to make and hard to screw up. Slice a bunch of mushrooms and chop some scallion. Take boneless breasts (I usually pound them pretty thin) dip in egg, then flour, and saute in a little olive oil and butter. When they are about halfway cooked thru, add marsala wine (it HAS to be good marsala...go to an upscale market or liquor store and never buy the least expensive bottle) and mushrooms and let the alcohol cook off and the sauce thicken a bit. Throw it on a platter and sprinkle with scallions. You can serve it with roasted red-skinned potatoes and a green veggie or salad.

      1. On washingtonpost.com's Live Online, each Tuesday's there's a chat called 'What's Cooking?'. It's a great resource, with many chowhounds logging on, and most of this weeks discussion focused on what to cook for a Valentines Day dinner. Lots of recipes and great ideas, so check it out for some inspiration. Good luck.

        1. How about blackened tuna steaks and fetuccine alfredo
          with fresh baby peas and proscuitto mixed in? Add a salad and a nice fruity white Bordeaux and you're there. Bon chance, friere chien!

          1. depends what results you're after, peckish! i've always wanted to do an all-aphrodisiac menu: oysters, asparagus, chocolate (different courses, not all one dish!).

            my quick favorite is london broil, but it's got failure potential in that if it cooks too long it's terribly tough. just long enough, however, and you've got wonderful rare slices of tender beef, good with garlic mashed potatoes and steamed snow peas or other veggies of your choice. if you're interested email me and i'll give specifics on cut of meat and broiling tactics -- it cooks in about 8 minutes, so it's very quick.

            1 Reply
            1. re: trix

              When I was 16 years old and in 11th grade I paid a girl $5.00 to eat an oyster. (I'd heard many theories about that!) Anyway not only did she eat one oyster but she ate a dozen. And, when hearing that I had never had an oyster, she insisted that I match her, oyster for oyster.

              Today I love oysters but that night I didn't even get a good night kiss.

            2. If you can get by a Trader Joe's, you will be able to make a quick but impressive dinner. Buy:

              1. a rack of lamb (already trimmed and frenched and cryo-vac frozen)
              2. a bag of haricort vert (those tiny green beans), also in the freezer section (an incredibly good frozen product)
              3. fresh goat cheese (you'll only need 4 oz.)
              4. a bag-o fancy greens (mesclun)
              5. bread - a baguette if that is what looks good

              Assuming you already have potatoes, garlic, red wine, olive oil, vinegar (like sherry or red wine), chicken broth and breadcrumbs.

              First course - Cut 2 disks from the goat cheese, dip in egg and coat in breadcrumbs. Just before serving, saute quickly in olive oil until breadcrumbs are golden on both sides. Dress the greens in viniagrette dressing and serve goat cheese on top. Serve with bread.

              Main course - Season the lamb well with salt and pepper. In an ovenproof saute pan, brown well and place in a 375F oven for about 5-10 more minutes to finish cooking, depending on how you like your lamb cooked. Remove lamb from pan and return pan to top of stove. Deglaze with red wine and chicken broth, reduce to sauce consistency (add a TBL of butter at the end if you want). Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and the cooked green beans.

              Your on your own for dessert! Although that Godiva chocolate raspberry truffle ice cream would make an easy but delicious ending to the meal.

              Good luck!

              1. Tonight I am making:

                Field Greens Salad With Balsamic Vinaigrette
                Corn Crepes with Lobster and Crabmeat Cream Sauce
                Long Grain and Wild Rice
                German Green Beans
                Chocolate Crepes with Fresh Strawberries
                Champagne

                By request!
                Happy Valentine's Day!

                1. how about a "cheater" paella - prepare some yellow spanish rice from a mix, and in a separate saucepan, saute onions, tomatoes, red or green pepper, add wine and saffron, then frozen shrimp and peas until shrimp is done. then toss with your rice. serve with sauvignon blanc and a simple sorbet (orange or mango) for dessert. bon chance!

                  1. If you have the ingrediants, I'd recommend Chinese steamed fish over rice with a veggie and a nice Sauvignon Blanc (like Joseph Phelps). Very easy--(1) mix in a bowl (you can simply mix it to taste if you'd like) ginger, soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil, and black pepper; (2) take fish fillets and put it on a glass plate; (3) pour the sauce over the fish and add green onions julienned; and (4) steam for approximately 12 minutes.

                    For an exact recipe, do a search on "chinese steamed fish" or see http://busycooks.about.com/library/re...

                    Not only is it a great, easy, and healthy meal to make, the fish oil with the sauce will really make you both feel GOOD!

                    1. Hey I didn't have a chance to check this list till this morning and wow, I can't believe what delicious ideas everyone has! Thanks very much, I am printing out a bunch of these recipes to try later, or maybe tonight.

                      1. It's a bit late, but I usually make duck breasts with polenta for Valentine's Day. For one thing, it's quick (especially if you can make the polenta in a pressure cooker--no stirring!), and for another it's very elegant and also quite delicious! Serve it with a lovely Rhone wine (CdP is great!), and a nice (perhaps store-bought, unless you're a great and fast baker) dessert, and you're set.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: James G

                          I'll bet lots of readers would love to hear how we can make polenta in a pressure cooker and avoid all the stirring.

                          BTW, my V-Day secret is to have stone crabs shipped up from Florida. Serve with mustard sauce and Champagne.

                          1. re: Bill

                            My recipe is at home in my pressure cooker cookbook, and a cursory search of the net did not reveal any, though I did find several that look interesting in the microwave.

                            1. re: Bill

                              You can get those stone crabs down at the Maine avenue seafood markets. I had several over New Years for $5/lb!