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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Romantic Dinner Ideas to Cook for Your Partner This Valentine’s Day

These dinner dishes from professional chefs will save you the stress of making a reservation and keep you in the cozy comfort of home.

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Shrimpcourtesy Project Foodie

Tomato-braised shrimp with fennel, capers, and onions

The dish, from The Meatball Shop chef Daniel Holzman’s new app Project Foodie, is loaded with flavor. The added bonus? Fennel boosts the female libido working as a natural aphrodisiac for women.


2 tbs. capers, drained

1 cup whole peeled plum tomatoes

12 Kalamata olives, pitted

1 pinch chili flakes

6 tbs. olive oil

½ bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 bulb fennel

1 red onion, cut into ½-inch pieces

20 whole shrimp


  1. Cut the fronds off fennel bulb and aside. Dice the bulb into ½-inch pieces. Add the onions and fennel bulb to a large skillet, along with pinch red pepper flakes, capers, olives, and 4 tbs. olive oil. Heat over medium and cook until the onions are soft and translucent about eight to ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Pre-heat the broiler. While the vegetables cook, peel and devein shrimp, leaving the tail on. Arrange the shrimp on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with 1 tsp. salt. Broil, about two minutes per side, until cooked.
  3. When the onions and fennel are tender, add 1 cup canned tomatoes, carefully crushing the tomatoes with your hands to break them up. Cook for two to three minutes. Add salt to taste.
  4. Sprinkle the parsley over the vegetables. Arrange the shrimp in a circle over the top of the vegetables. Press halfway into the vegetable liquid.
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Chickencourtesy Le Coq Rico

Roast chicken

Few know roast chicken better than Antoine Westermann, a three-Michelin Star chef of Le Coq Rico in New York City. His trick to make it perfectly juicy is preparing the bird in its own broth before roasting.


1 chicken, about 4½ lbs.

1 tbs. butter

1½ tbs. olive oil


Freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put half of the butter, salt, and pepper inside the chicken. Cut the other half of the butter into chunks and rub them onto the skin of the chicken. Then, brush olive oil onto the skin and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the chicken on an oven dish, one leg down. Put the dish into the oven and let it cook for 20 minutes. Then, turn the chicken onto its other leg and cook for another 20 minutes. Finally, rest the chicken flat and let it roast for 30 minutes, sprinkling it regularly with its cooking juices.
  3. Take the chicken out of the oven and wrap it in aluminum foil. Remove half of the grease from the dish and return it for the last time to the oven, at 365°F, and brown the drippings without letting them blacken.
  4. Add 3.4 oz. (100 mL) of water to the browned drippings, scrape the dish to get the bits off the bottom, and leave that in the oven while cutting the chicken. To finish, mix the cooking juice and the drippings, and put the cut chicken back in the dish.

Spice up any romantic dinner ideas with these natural aphrodisiacs proven to spark romance.

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SushiCourtesy Sushi Garage

Rosemary aioli sushi roll

Sushi brings adventure and excitement to a date, and it doesn’t have to be that complicated to make at home. Sunny Oh, executive chef at Sushi Garage in Miami, shares this recipe for eel sushi. Don’t worry, it’s cooked; no risk of giving your date food poisoning.


4 pieces Nori (dry seaweed)

⅔ cup sushi rice, cooked

4 oz. prepared unagi (freshwater eel)

1 semi-ripe Hass avocado, sliced lengthwise

Rosemary aioli, to taste (mix fresh rosemary with your favorite mayo)

Sesame seeds


  1. Spread rice on the Nori. Turn over so the rice is on the outside.
  2. Warm unagi according to package instructions. Slice into 1-inch wide pieces.
  3. Place the unagi and avocado on the Nori. Roll it up, then slice into bite-size sushi roll pieces.
  4. Top with a drizzle of rosemary aioli. Sprinkle on sesame seeds.
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Basscourtesy Juvia Miami Beach

Chilean sea bass

Chilean sea bass is the jewel of the sea. It’s the perfect dish to let your significant other know that you care without splurging too much. This mouthwatering, warm, and delicious recipe comes from Juvia in Miami.


7 oz. sea bass

1 tsp. butter

3½ oz. eggplant

1 tbs. olive oil

2 tsp. maple syrup

Ají (a spicy sauce made with cilantro, ají pepper, and onions)

1 tsp. salt

1½ oz. fresh hearts of palm, charred

1½ oz. cucumber, peeled and julienned

2 tsp. soy sauce

Fresh basil, to garnish

Toasted pine nuts, to garnish


  1. Clean and portion the fish. Pan sear the fish on one side until crispy, then flip and sear the other side. Coat with butter.
  2. Peel and cut the eggplant into large dices. Sauté in large pan with olive oil and ají over high heat. Once eggplant is lightly colored, add salt and maple syrup. Wait until it dries, then cool down on a sheet pan.
  3. Place fish on plate and top with soy sauce and basil. Garnish with pine nuts. Serve with mix of eggplant, cucumbers, and hearts of palm on the side.

If you and your partner enjoy cooking together, you should check out the most romantic cooking classes for couples.

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Caviarcourtesy David Malosh

Eggs caviar

Egg Shop’s Eggs caviar recipe is perfect with a bottle of crisp champagne. “There are only two rules,” says chef Nick Korbee, who created the recipe. “Let the garnish suit the egg-cooking technique and add the garnish at the end, not during the cooking process,”


2 eggs

1 tsp. Cognac (Korbee prefers Pierre Ferrand 1840)

2 tbs. sour cream or labneh

1 tsp. unsalted butter

1 tsp. of your favorite caviar or roe

1 slice sourdough or pumpernickel rye bread, toasted and buttered


  1. Gently whip the eggs with a fork.
  2. Heat a saucepan over medium heat, then add the Cognac and butter (they should sizzle/simmer immediately). Add the eggs and whisk constantly—working on and off the heat in order to develop the curds little by little and prevent the eggs from sticking or otherwise overcooking at the base of the pan—until the eggs begin to resemble the classic French soft scramble.
  3. Add 1 tbs. of sour cream and stir to incorporate, letting the eggs sputter and pop a few times on the heat. Barely fold in the remaining sour cream (some streaks should still be visible).
  4. Pour the eggs into a small bowl and top with caviar. Use the toast as a spoon, and enjoy.
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French-toastcourtesy Alternative Strategies

Valentine French toast

Is there anything more romantic than breakfast in bed on Valentine’s Day? Surprise your partner with a decadent plate of Valentine French toast. This recipe comes courtesy of Fig Tree Café, one of San Diego’s breakfast staples, and it doubles as a great dessert dish, too.


Homemade raspberry am

½ cup sugar

Juice of 1 lime

15 raspberries

French toast

4 egg yolks

3 tbs. brown sugar

1¼ cups heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. spiced dark rum, like Captain Morgan’s

2 slices brioche bread


6 raspberries

Store-bought white chocolate sauce


  1. To make raspberry jam: Place sugar, lime juice, and raspberries in a pot and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  2. To make French toast: In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until sugar dissolves. Mix in cream, vanilla, and rum. Dip bread in the mix, covering both sides. Cook in the griddle until both sides are golden.
  3. Spread jam onto each slice of toast, and roll or fold bread so that the filling stays inside. Place both rolls on a plate. Garnish with remaining raspberries drizzle with white chocolate sauce.

If you can master this dish, you’re ready to try these impressive romantic dinner ideas for your next date night in.

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OystersCourtesy Thomas Schauer Studio

Oysters Gelée

“People are excited by spending more money than they normally would to celebrate their relationship; think caviar, champagne, and oysters,” says Chef Galen Zamarra of his oysters with champagne gelée, marinated cucumbers, and caviar. Galen is owner and chef of Mas (farmhouse) in New York City.

Marinated cucumbers


1 cup water

½ cup sugar

1 cucumber


  1. Boil the water and pour over the sugar to dissolve. Refrigerate until cold.
  2. Slice the cucumbers thin into coins.
  3. When the syrup is cold, pour over the cucumbers and let marinate, refrigerated, for at least an hour before use.

Champagne gelée


1 tbs. gelatin powder (or 1 packet)

¼ cup water

2 cups champagne


  1. Bloom the gelatin in water.
  2. Add the bloomed gelatin and ½ cup champagne to a pot and bring to a simmer. Whisk often so it doesn’t burn.
  3. Add the mixture to 1 cup champagne. Whisk well until totally absorbed.
  4. Chill this mixture for a few hours or overnight.
  5. When ready to use, add the rest of the champagne to the firm gelée. Using a hand blender, mix until smooth.

Finished dish


12 oysters

5 teaspoons caviar/roe


  1. Shuck oysters and arrange over crushed ice.
  2. Spoon 1 tsp. champagne gelée over each oyster.
  3. Lay one cucumber slice on top of the gelée.
  4. Top with a tiny dollop of caviar in the center of each cucumber.
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Duckcourtesy Stowe Mountain Lodge

Duck two ways

“Often times by taking people just outside their comfort zone and exploring new things is the gateway to memorable experiences,” says Casey Blomgren, executive sous chef of Stowe Mountain Club at Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont. “Duck is not too far off the range and has only a hint of game in the taste profile. Be brave and explore together.”

Currant gastrique


1 shallot, peeled and minced

1 tsp. thyme leaves

3 cups black currants

1 tbs. honey

½ cup apple cider vinegar



  1. Sweat the shallot, thyme, and currants until tender in a pan with oil over medium heat.
  2. Add honey and vinegar, continuing to stir until liquid is reduced.

Butternut purée

1 butternut squash, medium size

Vegetable stock

1 oz. butter

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cut squash in half, length wise and roast.
  2. Once the squash is cooked and cooled, scoop into blender with butter and a little stock. Blend until smooth.

Confit duck


4 duck legs with thighs

About 4 cups duck fat

3 tsp. salt

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1 shallot, peeled and sliced

6 sprigs thyme

Coarsely ground black pepper


  1. Arrange the duck pieces in baking dish. Cover the duck with melted fat and other ingredients.
  2. Let the confit slowly simmer—just an occasional bubble—at 220°F in the oven for two to three hours or until the duck is tender and can be easily pulled from the bone,
  3. Shred duck meat.

Seared duck breast


8 oz. duck breast

Vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place seasoned duck fat side down in cast iron pan.
  2. On low heat, render duck breast while basting on stove top.
  3. Cook to medium-rare, until internal temperature of 125°F is reached, then let rest for 5 minutes. Slice.
  4. To serve, drizzle squash on each plate. Top with seared duck breast and shredded duck confit. Spoon currant sauce on top.

After you’ve picked which of these romantic dinner ideas you’re going to make, keep the romance going with these winter date night ideas to stay warm on a cold night.

Aly Walansky
Aly Walansky is a lifestyles writer with over a decade of experience covering beauty, health, and travel for various esteemed publications. Her blog, A Little Alytude ( was launched in 2006 and continues to be a strong voice in the lifestyles arena. Based in the ever-trendy Park Slope area of Brooklyn, she divides her time between her shih tsu Lily, her soap opera addiction, and scouting out fun new martini bars.