Friday, January 29, 2010

Got Candlelight?
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner I hope to inspire some advance “out of the box” thinking about how you approach this holiday. All too often this day sneaks up on us and we end up picking up a cute card, the ubiquitous boxed chocolates and a dozen roses at the last minute. This is better than nothing, but with a little forethought this Valentine’s Day you can create a more memorable experience.

Why not plan on a romantic dinner at home? Restaurants typically overbook on Valentine’s Day where your servers and the kitchen are stressed and may not provide the quality of service you are paying for. With minimal effort on your part you can enjoy a restaurant quality meal in the privacy of your own home.

The advantages to dining at home include:

*Economics, the cost of cooking at home or purchasing a meal to warm at home will be considerably less than if you go to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day. You can also afford to purchase a better bottle of wine or champagne for less than you would be paying if you went out.

*Avoiding the crowded restaurants allows for more intimacy with that special someone in a private setting.

*No need for a designated driver. Both of you can enjoy a glass of wine or champagne.

*Atmosphere, you can control the romantic setting at home. Make this evening special with table linens, flowers, candles and music. Some suggested artists, Chet Baker, Michael Buble or Diana Krall.

It is said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and this adage holds true for women as well. Creating a romantic “home” cooked meal will show your sweetheart how much you care. This meal doesn’t have to be complicated and I would encourage simple preparations that can be presented elegantly. For instance, Shrimp Cocktail, this old standby can be given a new twist by placing the cocktail sauce in a Martini glass and hanging the succulent shrimp on the edge of the glass, tail out. Garnish with a lemon wedge and something green, either a frill of curly leaf lettuce peeking out of the sauce or a simple sprig of flat leaf parsley.

For those who are culinary challenged, consider dinners for two prepared for takeout. These offerings are designed to impress with minimal effort on your part.

Don’t forget dessert! Although chocolate is regarded as the ultimate Valentine’s Day dessert, my tastes favor non chocolate desserts. At CarteWheels, we are offering a variety of sweets for takeout to include Red Velvet Cake Pops, Caramel Ganache Tartlets w/ Fleur De Sel, Chocolate Dipped Stemmed Strawberries, Decorated Sugar Cookies and Red Velvet Cupcakes.