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Category: Valentine’s Day Recipes

A Romantic Dinner on Valentine’s Day

We hope you are not among the skeptics who think Valentine’s Day is a headache. If you are the kind who wants to surprise your beloved with a little yet lovely romantic idea, then here are some foolproof suggestions for you. You may arrange a dinner in a nice restaurant. This one is especially for the hubbies. You people may greet your spouse with self-cooked dinner on a specially adorned table. This will be certainly welcomed by her after a hectic day. Do not forget to tell her that you did not seek the help of a concierge. Here is the idea.

Adorning the Table with Nice Food

You can arrange to play at the table a little mimicry game with your valentine trying to convey to her your thoughts by moving your eyeballs. But, for that, your table needs to be appropriately decorated to gel with the valentine mood. Cover the table with paper goods cut out in heart shape and red and white roses. You may dangle a balloon on the chandelier over the table. This will add to your preparations and impress the beloved. Try something new other than serving chili peppers and oatmeal cookies. A nice fiesta will add grace to your romantic idea and you will come up to the expectations of your valentine.

The menu must consist of pink and white food along with heart shaped cakes and cookies. What about heart shaped pizzas with salami on top? To add a pinch of red color to stimulate the atmosphere, you can have raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries blended in yoghurt. We know you are cherishing the mouthwatering dishes already. Any dinner without desserts is lifeless and your dinner will miss that vital ingredient. Do not worry about your dessert. As you would be celebrating Valentine’s Day with your beloved, you may ensure that the whole mood is submerged in delight. Get some bowls and fill them with strawberry ice cream and red or pink sweets.

Creating the Atmosphere

This is your romantic dinner that you have organized in honor of your beloved. Do you not think that you are forgetting something important? So, you catch the point. It is setting the mood with nice and soft music, and candles. Try to have the ones with pink, red and white in color. In spite of candles, you may dim the lights too. It will render the same effect. However, in case you are planning to have candle light dinner then be sure to enlighten the aura with taper candles.

The next romantic idea asks you to adorn the ceiling. Red cardboard cupids and hearts will work for you. Some people tend to replace the traditional norm of hearts and cupids. If you are also among such people, then try to have pictures of love birds in frames. Another off beaten idea is to have cardboard cooing doves in a birdcage. If you do not have the time or the inclination to go to such lengths, then you may search out the market on the eve. The market swarms with love pieces on Valentine’s Day.

Presenting a Gift to the One You Love So

You might not be a poet but can be one. After all, you can do that much for your precious one. Read out a self-written poem in your valentine’s honor appreciating her beauty and describing your love for her. Lastly, present the gift that you have planned. Be ready to be embraced and cherish the most memorable moment of your life.

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List of Aphrodisiac foods

Aphrodisiac foods are foods which act on the mind and cause the arousal of the mood of sexual desire. Whether some foods are aphrodisiac may not be a proven scientific fact but our polls show that most women swear by some of them. Here’s a handy list for you to try including in your meals and recipes:

1. Oysters

2. Chocolate

3. Artichokes

4. Avocados

5. Honey

6. Asparagus

7. Strawberries

8. Caviar

9. Truffles

10. Cappuccino

11. Radishes

12. Tomatoes

13. Grapes

14. Garlic

15. Onions

16. Vanilla

17. Basil

18. Wine

19. Potatoes

20. Pine Nuts

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Planning a Romantic Valentine’s Day Meal

Even stale bread seems tasty enough when you are have your beloved to share it. But you have got to admit that even the best of traditional and modern lavish holiday dinners do not seem at all romantic when compared to chocolate dipped strawberries and oysters. Here are some tips that will help you plan an irresistibly romantic fare for your Valentine:

1. Include Aphrodisiac foods in your meals to add instant sex appeal. Use chocolate and berries in your dessert and garlic in all dishes that require sautéing. Avocados and Artichoke hearts can be used to make sides and dips. Here is a List of Aphrodisiac foods which will come handy.

2. Try to make dishes with a smooth, creamy and silken texture. For example a White Chocolate Mousse or a Strawberry Soufflé Omelet.

3. Keep the dishes light to avoid feeling lethargic after the meal.

4. Avoid any oily finger foods as you will find your oily hands a hindrance when holding hands between the meal.

5. Go for dishes that have a soft and mellow taste as opposed to strong and pungent flavors.

6. A word of caution when using chocolate. Chocolate has to be included in the dessert (except if you or your partner really do not like it) but too much of chocolate or too bitter a chocolate can cause difficulties. Choose a softer variety and keep the portions small. Let your own judgment and individual tastes guide you when using chocolate.

7. Add some easy to eat finger foods which you can feed each other.

8. This is one dinner that doesn’t need to be too lavish. What is really needed here is your own enjoyment of it. So, instead of planning an elaborate menu, choose a total of 4 or 5 dishes and ensure that you don’t get overworked.

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A Guide to Storing Wine

Wine is a natural food product which is perishable in nature. All types of wines including red, white, sparkling and fortified can get spoiled if they are exposed to light, vibration, heat or changes in temperature and humidity. You can maintain the quality and improve the flavor, complexity, and aroma when you store the wines properly.

Aging makes a wine delicious and highly qualified. Aged wine offers typical aromas and flavors. The process works only if the wine is kept in perfect condition. The aging depends mainly on how the bottle is maintained.

What is the optimal temperature required for wine storage?

High temperature and exposure to light is the principal cause of damage of the wine. The ideal temperature of wine cellar is between 7-13 degrees Celsius. The key factor is to maintain constant temperature. If all other factors are optimal, you can store your wine at much higher temperature if it is a constant temperature. Frequent temperature fluctuations will damage your wine. But up to 10 degree changes in between seasons will not harm.

Will light and humidity affect the wine?

Natural and artificial light will do a lot of damage to the wine. If your wine storage area is not a dark place like a closet, basement or under a staircase then try to cover your wines with a blanket or block that area with a curtain. Humidity is also another factor which can cause damage to the wine. The minimum humidity required for wine storage must be at least 55%. The ideal range of humidity is between 70-75%. The lack of humidity may result in the oxidation of wine.

Too much movement or vibration may affect the quality of wine. If you need to transport your wine or if it’s just been delivered from your merchant then it is important to give the wine a few days of rest. If your house is close to railway tracks or airports, then try to keep your wine in an area that is least affected.

How to prevent the oxygen from entering in to the wine bottle?

If you are storing a wine bottle for only few years, you have to consider only two factors those are darkness and constancy of temperature which is not too high. This can be achieved by storing the wine in a closet, basement or under a staircase. Ultraviolet radiation can increase the rate of deterioration to your wine. Fluctuations in temperature, particularly raise in temperature can cause the contents of the cylinder to expand, pushing against the cap. If the cork breaks the seal, oxygen which enters in to the bottle will quickly spoil the wine. If you are going to store the wine for more than a month, try to keep the bottles horizontal so that the cork remains moist.

Why do you need wine cellar?

The best way to keep the wine is to purchase a wine cellar. A wine cellar can be in the size of a small refrigerator, with enough space for 24 bottles. A large wine cellar is enough to occupy more than 2500 bottles.

If you want the wine bottles to be stored for a long-term, they should be cellared. Cellaring means storing the wine in the bottle and giving time to improve. This can be done in a cool, dry basement or any other place where the temperature and humidity can be controlled. The ideal temperature should be fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit.

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A Guide to Serving Wine

What is suitable temperature to serve wine?

The temperature at which wine is served has an immense impact on its taste and smell. Serving wine at a warmer temperature allows the wine to express its characteristics, best in the case of an older or more expensive wine.

A wine bottle in the refrigerator will cool at a rate of 2 ° C for every ten minutes, and also warm at the same rate when it is removed from the refrigerator and left at room temperature. If you want to chill a wine bottle quickly, keeping it in the freezer for 35 minutes. Another method to cool a wine bottle is to keep it in cold water.

How to open a wine bottle?

With the help of a knife try to remove the metal foil and make sure that no bits of metal foil remain on the pouring surface which can cause unwanted dribble. Most modern Corkscrews are effective but always a weak or old cork can break or disintegrate. If it seems to be difficult to open then try to push it in to the bottle and pour the wine in to a jar. If there are bits of cork in the wine, filter it by using a coffee filter. Try to be careful while opening a Champagne and Sparkling Wine as the cork can eject with a force and can cause injury. Always open these bottles with a distance from you.

Do you know how to aerate the wine?

Aeration can make young wines smoother and balanced. Most wine lovers use a decanter, a glass pitcher with a large opening. The larger surface area allows faster aeration. Swirling the wine in the glass also helps to aerate. The key for aeration is timing. A younger, tannic, intense red wine should be kept open for at least 2 hours. One hour is enough for a matured, rich, complex red wine to aerate. In the case of aged wines, do not aerate for more than a few minutes as they are very volatile.

How to pour the wine in to the glass?

Never fill the glass. You can pour the wine as the people requires. It allows the recipient to swirl the wine and enjoy the aroma. It is a common rule that white should be served before red, young before old and keep the good wine until last.

Normal wines should be decanted towards the center of the glass whereas sparkling wines should be decanted against the side of the wine glass to keep the bubbles under control. Serve the wine first to the women and elderly people then the men and finally end with your own glass.

What type of wine glasses should be used?

The type of wine glasses in which the wines are served is also important. The shape of a wine glass has a greater impact on the taste of wine, because of this reason, different varieties of wines are served in various glasses. Plain and thin glasses are the best wine glasses. It is difficult to see the wine properly in a heavy-cut glass. A tulip shaped wine glasses will be suitable. A long stemmed wine glass allows easy swirling and helps to enjoy the flavors. Holding the glass by the stem helps to minimize the variations in temperature.

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Pairing Food and Wine

Pairing food and wine is like an art. Process of matching food and wine is subjective. The old principle is to match red wine with red meat and white wine with fish. The possibilities are infinite with pairing food and wine. There is an opportunity to experiment and express one’s personality through the pairing of food and wine. Wine, enhances the flavor of food by acting on it when drunk with food.

What are the rules to be followed while pairing food and wine?

The following rules are to be followed while pairing food and wine.

• The wine should not dominate the food; the food should not overpower the wine.

• Balance the intensity of the flavor. Pair light wines with light food and rich wines with rich foods.

• Delicate wines are usually paired with delicately flavored foods.

• Opposites can be matched. Sweet desert wines are hot and you can pair with spicy food.

• Food and wines that have the same region of origin can be matched.

• The taste of food can be adjusted according to taste of wine

• Light and heavy foods can be matched with light and heavy wines respectively. Delicate meals are also paired with light wine.

• Wine should complement the food rather than dominate.

How to pair varieties of wines and food items?

The light meals, soups and salads are often paired with light white wines.

Light and fresh flavored wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre, Pouilly Fume, Bordeaux Blanc, Muscadet Sur – Lie-and Chablis, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigi, Riesling and Pinot Noir are paired with fish.

Steak and Beef are matched with wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
Lamb goes well with Rioja and Bordeaux while Ragouts and stews go well with Cetes Rhone, Zinfandel and Syrah.

Pork can go well with both white and red wine. Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, red Merlot and Chardonnay are the various types of wines preferred with pork. Wines like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Bordeaux red, Cabernets and Merlots can be paired with Poultry.

Pizza goes well with red Chianti and Valpolicella while pastas go well with Chardonnay, Pinot Grigionet, Zinfandel and Syrah. Green vegetables can be paired with white Chardonnay.

How to pair desserts?

Fruit Desserts can be best paired with Late Harvest Riesling and Try Sauternes.
Chocolate desserts pair well with Merlot while Heavy Desserts match well with a refreshing glass of Champagne.

What are the food items can be paired with white wine?

The food items that pair well with white wines like chardonnay, Rieslings, Gewόrztraminers, pinot grigio etc areas follows.

Chardonnay pairs well with chicken, fish and seafood where as Sauvignon Blanc goes well with seafood, poultry, salads and cheese. Rieslings go particularly well with, fish, chicken, pork and spicy foods while Gewurztraminers go well with spicy dishes and sausages. Pinot Grigio is best paired with salmon and seafood.

How to pair red wine with food items?

Cabernet Sauvignon is the best wine to serve along with red meats. Merlot will be best with grilled meats and poultry, but it also goes well with most of the foods.

Pinot Noir is best when served with roast beef, grilled salmon, duck, lamb and mushrooms. Sangiovese will go particularly well with Italian foods like pasta.

Tomato based dishes are perfect when served with Barbera. Venison, duck, beef and steak is great when eaten with syrah. Zinfandel is superb with grilled meats, steaks and meals made from tomato.

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Rose Valentine Cupcakes

The most beautiful Valentine’s Day cupcakes ever – topped with an icing rose! Place a batch on your table or pack them off in a cupcake box for a lovely Valentine’s Day homemade gift idea. The following video will teach you an easy way to pipe out icing to form a rose on your cupcake.

Video: How to Pipe a Rose on to a Cupcake

 

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Rose Cupcake Bouquet

The most endearing Valentine’s Day cupcake creation of all – a Rose Cupcake Bouquet! Whether you are giving it as a gift to your Valentine or propping the ‘edible bouquet’ on your table top, you are guaranteed to get admiring looks.

Video: How to Make a Cupcake Bouquet

Some Tips for a Great Rose Cupcake Bouquet

  1. Use buttercream icing tinted a rose-pink

  2. Use dark green cupcake liners to give the effect of leaves and stems

  3. You can add fondant leaves in between the flowers

  4. As with everything else, try making it in advance.

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Purple Icing Rose Cupcake

Pre-made icing decorations are a fuss-free way of decorating beautiful looking cupcakes for Valentine’s Day. Ready to use icing roses are available in many colors. Top your favorite frosting or icing with your choice of store-bought icing roses and leaves.

 

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Pears Poached in Barolo Wine

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour (500 mL)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (150 mL)
1 1/4 tsp baking soda (6 mL)
1/4 tsp baking powder (1 mL)
3 eggs (3)
1 2/3 cup sugar (400 mL)
1 tsp vanilla (5 mL)
1 cup Hellmann’s Real (250 mL) Mayonnaise
1 1/3 cup water (325 mL)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C). Grease and flour 2 x 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pans. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl; set aside. In another large bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla on high speed for 3 minutes or until creamy. Reduce speed of mixer to low and beat in mayonnaise until smooth. Next add flour mixture in 4 equal parts, alternating with water and ending with flour mixture.
Pour into prepared cake pans; bake for 30-35 minutes or until centre springs back when touched. Cool on rack 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely. Fill and frost as desired.

– News Canada

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Warm Chocolate Silk Soufflés

Ingredients:

4 ounces bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 unsalted sticks of butter
1/2 c + tbsp sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 c + 2 tsp all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
Sweeten whipped cream (optional)
Shaved chocolate or chopped pecans for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Melt chocolates in top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Add butter and sugar and stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves.

Transfer to a large bowl. Add eggs and next 3 ingredients and beat until mixture thickens to a mousse consistency, about 8 mins. Divide mixture into 6 lightly buttered 1 cup soufflé dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze about 3 hours.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove plastic wrap from frozen soufflés and bake for 11 mins or until edges are set but centers are moist and shiny–DO NOT OVER BAKE!!

Remove from Oven and cool 10 mins. Serve topped with sweeten whipped cream and garnish w/ the shavings or pecans–add a cherry for that special touch.

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Heart-shaped Linzer Cookies for Valentine’s Day

Ingredients:

1 cup Imperial Hard Margarine, room
temperature (250 mL)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (175 mL)
1 egg (1)
1 tsp vanilla (5 mL)
2 cups all-purpose flour (500 mL)
1/2 tsp baking powder (2 mL)
1/2 tsp salt (2 mL)
3/4 cup ground hazelnuts (175 mL)
2/3 cup peach or raspberry jam  (150 mL)
2 tbsp icing sugar (30 mL)

In a large bowl, cream together margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In another large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in hazelnuts. Mix dry ingredients into creamed margarine. Roll dough between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness. Refrigerate rolled dough in parchment paper for at least 2 hours or until firm enough to work with.

Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C). Cut dough into 2-inch heart-shaped cookies. Use a 1-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut a hole in the centre of half the rounds. Place the 2-inch whole cookies on one parchment lined cookie sheet, and the cookies with cut-out centres on a separate parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 17-22 minutes or until golden. Cookies with their centres cut out will cook faster. Transfer cookies to cookie racks to cool. When cool, place 3/4 tsp jam in centre of each whole cookie, then place one cut-out round over each jam covered cookie and press gently to secure. Makes 20 cookies.

Dozens more cake, cookie and sweet temptations are available online at homebasics.ca.

– News Canada

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Raspberry Cheesecake Tartlets

Tiny, bite-sized raspberry cheesecakes to serve at a Valentine’s Day party!

Ingredients:

Zwieback Crust

1 1/2 cups Crushed Zwieback
3 tbsp Sugar
4 tbsp Butter, melted

Filling

32 oz Cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups Sugar
1 tbsp All-purpose flour
3 tbsp Raspberry liqueur
2 tsp Finely shredded orange peel
1 tsp Vanilla
4 larhe Eggs
1 1/2 cups Raspberries

Directions:

Crust: Mix crushed zwieback, sugar and butter. Press into a cupcake pan patting at the bottom and up the sides and bake for 5 minutes at 350 F.

Filling: Beat cream cheese until light. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add flour, liqueur and peel and beat. Add eggs and beat well. Divide between baked crust shells. Bake at 350 F until filling seems to be partially set. Press in a raspberry into each center and bake for another 5 minutes.

Serve in pretty paper cases.

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