Tired of the same Valentine’s Day routine Time After Time? Flowers? Check. Candy? Check. Dinner reservation at a crowded restaurant? Sigh. Think outside the box of chocolates this year and plan a Valentine’s Day dinner that will make your special someone Crazy For You. These recipes are simple enough for a beginner but tasty enough to serve to your Funny Valentine in your own kitchen. Don’t worry, it won’t take you All Night Long to cook my Honey Mustard Salmon with Grilled Asparagus & Tomatoes and decadent Toasted Coconut Chocolate Fondue because my tips, tools and techniques will keep you from getting All Shook Up before your big dinner date.
So, Let’s Get It On the table this Valentine’s Day and after this meal your special someone will be Lovin’ You.
1. Yes, you can do it all but don’t try to do it all at the same time. If shopping AND cooking in the same day hurl you into an abyss of overwhelm, don’t do it! Print your shopping list and pick up your grocery items the day before so you’re fresh, rested and ready for action on the big day.
2. Use my nifty tools list (below) to make sure you have all the gear you need to get this simple dinner on the table.
3. Read your recipes from start to finish before you start to cook so you can familiarize yourself with the ingredients and tools you’ll need (see Tip 2) and the steps you’ll take to prepare your meal. You can get my helpful recipe reading tips here.
4. Set the table early. Whether it’s the night before or the morning of, setting the table ahead of time will save you from the where-does-the-fork-go last minute panic. (The fork goes on the left, by the way. Remember, the silverware had a fight. The knife and spoon were right and the fork left.)
1. Baking Dish or Sheet Tray
2. Aluminum Foil
3. Small Bowl
5. Grill or Grill Pan
7. Small Saute Pan
8. Wooden Spoon or Spatula
9. Medium Pot
10. Fondue Pot
11. Metal Skewers (for dipping)
- 2 6-8 ounce salmon fillets
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Asparagus & Tomatoes
- ½ pound asparagus spears, trimmed
- ½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1½ teaspoons olive oil
- pinch each of salt and pepper
- Prepare Salmon:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking dish with foil and place salmon in dish.
- Stir honey, mustard, salt and pepper together in a small bowl then pour it evenly over the salmon. Bake salmon until fish is flaky but still moist, 10-12 minutes.
- Prepare Asparagus & Tomatoes:
- Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat.
- Place asparagus and tomatoes in a medium bowl. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and toss until vegetables are evenly coated. Arrange vegetables on grill or grill pan and cook until vegetables begin to brown, 4-5 minutes per side.
- 1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 1 1/2 cups Cream of Coconut
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 12-oz bag (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon Amaretto
- Fresh Strawberries, rinsed and patted dry
- Large Marshmallows
- Pound Cake, cut into cubes
- Biscotti or Shortbread Cookies
- Place coconut flakes in a small saute pan or skillet on medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until coconut begins to brown, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Stir the Cream of Coconut and heavy cream together in a medium pot over medium high heat, just until the cream begins to bubble. Add chocolate chips and stir constantly until chocolate melts and fondue is smooth and creamy. Remove from heat and stir in Amaretto.
- Pour fondue into fondue pot and sprinkle with half the toasted coconut. Place the remaining coconut on a plate for sprinkling over dipped foods. Serve with strawberries, marshmallows, cake, cookies and other dippables.