Cooking Up Romance for Valentine’s Day

Though restaurants are popular choice for Valentine’s Day meals, they’re always so crowded. With a little planning and know-how, you can make a restaurant-quality meal for your favorite person right at home! (Our preferred method of celebration.) Elisabeth Lane from Cooking Up Romance is guest posting today with a romantic, elegant menu that you can make for your beloved (even if that someone is you! After all, we think you’re the bee’s knees).

I’m a big believer in cocktail hour, and Valentine’s Day calls for a special concoction. This raspberry lemonade champagne smash from Willow Bird Baking is fresh, festive, tart-sweet and, best of all, red! Just one note on these — the recipe says it makes two cocktails, but using 12-ounce glasses, I found it to be more like four. So take your time with dinner preparation and sip away!

Start the meal off with a light salad featuring a champagne-honey vinaigrette. This recipe is inspired by Ruthie Knox’s book Truly, which features a beekeeping hero who is a former chef. If you pile the lettuce in the center of the plate, it will look like one of Ben’s fancy restaurant salads.

Nothing says romance like French food. Lamb in roasted-garlic Cognac sauce might seem heavy, but thanks to fancy little rib chops, it won’t ruin your appetite for dessert. Megan Mulry’s Roulette was the inspiration for this dish, which stars a sexy French playboy, but it’s been the star of my Valentine’s Day table for years, as lamb is my husband’s personal favorite.

Chocolate lava cakes are always a show-stopper and easier to make than you probably think. This recipe, which I invented for my review Anne Calhoun’s Afternoon Delight, has a spicy kick, but you could substitute cinnamon for cayenne if spicy isn’t your thing.

Or if you prefer, raspberry tarts are a lovely finish to a decadent meal and can be made ahead of time. They’re a good size to split, and you can always do what the heroine of Laura Florand’s The Chocolate Thief did — save them for breakfast the next morning.

No matter what you choose to make for your sweetheart, remember the most important thing: time spent together is the best gift of all. And don’t stress if something doesn’t turn out perfectly. Some of my best memories with my husband are of those dishes that didn’t quite work out as planned. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Elisabeth Lane

Elisabeth Lane is a romance novel-loving housewife who writes romance reviews for food lovers at her blog, Cooking Up Romance. You can also follow her cooking and reading adventures on Twitter @elisabethjlane and Facebook.

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