Set the mood for romance this Valentine’s Day or on any special occasion by cooking up a little sexy fun in your own kitchen
1 of 16Erin Kunkel
Blushing Cheese Dip
As you dip the roasted beets into this delicate fondue, it will gradually turn pink. The cheese stays molten and creamy for a long time—a fondue breakthrough, as far as we’re concerned! When the fondue cools, it has the texture of cream cheese; post–Valentine’s Day, spread it on toast as a delicious snack.
Sichuan Peppercorn Filet Mignon with Crisp Mushrooms and Kale Slaw
Seattle chef Rachel Yang reinvents the classic peppercorn steak with a not-too-hot Sichuan peppercorn rub that produces a pleasant tingly sensation in the mouth. With the zesty kale slaw, it adds zaps of excitement to a romantic dinner.
Many consider rib-eye to be the tastiest steak anyone can buy. We also love it because it cooks so quickly. Miso butter brings umami to this beautiful cut of meat. If you’re not in the mood to fire up the grill, you can easily cook this indoors in a hot cast-iron skillet.
If any ocean creature can be said to have a cult following, it’s sea urchin (uni). Its roe, the edible part, has a briny, sweet taste. When mixed with hot pasta, the roe melts and creates a luscious sauce, as in this recipe based on one from sea-urchin diver Peter Halmay. California produces most of the American sea-urchin supply; look for the top grade, called California Gold, or B-grade California Premium, which has a slightly softer texture. The roe is extremely perishable, so use it as soon as possible.
Legend has it that Cleopatra considered saffron an aphrodisiac and bathed in it before her encounters with men. We prefer to use this exotic spice in cooking because it brings color and flavor to dishes like this one. The couscous comes together quickly and is great served along side grilled or roasted chicken or beef. You can also top it with any combination of oven-roasted vegetables and serve as a vegetarian main dish.
If you’re looking for a light ending to your romantic meal, look no further than this simple sherbet recipe. With only three ingredients, it can be easily made any time you have a craving for something sweet and chocolatey.