A romantic dinner for two - at home | Food

Come Valentine’s Day, many of us head out to our favorite restaurant to treat ourselves and our loved ones to a special meal.

And though I’m all for treating myself and my love to a great restaurant meal, sometimes a quiet, romantic evening at home is more fitting — either to our mood or our budget.

While Valentine’s is seen by many as a time to splurge, sometimes the bank account advises moderation. The good news is that you can eat at home and still splurge, but spending far less than it would cost to eat out.

I put together the following Valentine’s menu with that in mind. It’s full of high-ticket items — including beef tenderloin and tuna — that will show your loved one you care enough to give the best. But the price tag will come in at a modest amount compared to dinner at any white-tablecloth restaurant in town.

Below are two entrees that would be right at home on most restaurant menus. You may be surprised at how easy they are to reproduce at home. I chose these recipes in case you don’t have an experienced cook to pull them off.

Beef tenderloin with crabmeat and tarragon cream sauce doesn’t involve much more than flipping a steak. The sauce is virtually foolproof and comes together in less than 5 minutes. You cook a little shallot or onion, then simmer wine, tarragon and cream until it’s thick. Then pour it over the steaks topped with crabmeat.

Seared tuna with balsamic reduction is similar. A nice tuna steak is better the less it’s cooked. This recipe requires only about a minute of cooking on each side. Then balsamic vinegar and lemon juice are boiled in the same pan — again, a process that takes less than 5 minutes — before being poured over the steaks.

To accompany both recipes, I suggest roasted potatoes and roasted asparagus. Most people enjoy roasted potatoes, and there’s a reason asparagus is called the “king of vegetables.”

Using the oven for the vegetables makes quick work of the side dishes. Roasting also makes it harder to mess them up.

For dessert, it has to be chocolate. I suggest chocolate pots de crème because they offer a lot of elegant flavor with little effort or skill.

If you can heat cream, stir in rum, chocolate, eggs and butter, you can make chocolate pots de crème. And, boy, does it taste good.

Like the rest of the menu, the dessert is deceptively simple.

This is cooking 101, but it’ll look like cooking 401.

Recipe from Michael Hastings

Recipe from Michael Hastings

Recipe from Michael Hastings

Recipe from Michael Hastings

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