Are you cooking at home for Valentine's Day? As a Chef's wife I have gotten used to not celebrating Valentine's Day on the actual day. Instead, Le Chef and I enjoy cooking a romantic meal together at home the day before or after Valentine's. We plan ahead for a restaurant-worthy meal that will feel special. There is something charming about cooking together at home. Yes, we have cooked MANY meals in our kitchen over the past year but yet dressing up, setting out special ingredients for a delicious menu, opening a bottle of wine and taking the time to cook together truly feels like a date - even if there are small children underfoot! Here is how we celebrate Valentine's Day with a Romantic French Menu for two.
This is the menu that Le Chef and I will prepare this year. Simple, easy to prepare and yet the choice of ingredients makes it a real treat. Welcome to our Bistro chez nous!
Set out a little Cutting board on the kitchen counter with nibbles. Some olives, a few slices of cheese, perhaps some saucisson. Simply the act of laying out the Apéro board elevates the experience and opens the appetite. For more on the French art of the Appéro you can read the blog post I wrote on the subject here.
To make a Kir Royal, its bright red hue feels very St Valentin, add a half ounce of Creme de Cassis to a glass of dry crisp sparkling wine or champagne. C'est tout! The Cookful blog has a simple recipe and helpful tips for how to pronounce the drink too!
Appetizer: Noix de St. Jacques Poêlées & Sifflés de Poireaux au vin blanc - Seared Diver Scallops & Leek Rounds with white wine
Pan Seared Diver Scallops and Leeks in White Wine make for a delicious and elegant French-inspired appetizer. The sweet, buttery taste of the scallops pairs beautifully with the slight tang of leeks. This dish is super simple to make and yet is impressive to serve. Le Chef had this dish on his menu in the South of France years ago and I was so happy to learn to make it with him at home.
Scallops can be intimidating but they are much easier to cook than you think. This recipe takes 5 minutes to prepare and literally 16 minutes to cook. If the fish counter at your local fine grocery carries fresh scallops, c'est magnifique! If not, frozen scallops can work just as well. Look out for the diver scallops - they are generally the biggest, choicest pieces.
PLAT - Filet Mignon et Purée de Pomme de Terre : Filet Mignon and Mashed Potatoes
It is hard to go wrong with a Filet Mignon Steak. One of the most tender cuts of steak and when cooked properly at home feels very luxurious.
We enjoy serving steak at home because, like the scallops in the appetizer, the star of the show is the product. There are no fussy cooking techniques, no long list of ingredients - just simple, good steak. Less dishes to clean up afterwards and more enjoyment in the cooking process.
Filet Mignon is an expensive cut of meat so you want to make sure you are cooking it properly. When done right it is so satisfying! You can have a restaurant quality meal at home for a fraction of the cost and without the babysitter. The full recipe with Le Chef's tips for cooking a Filet Mignon are found here: How to cook Filet Mignon like a Chef.
Mashed Potatoes are a delicious side to the Filet: the full recipe is found here: Le Chef's Mashed Potatoes
Dessert - Le Chef's Moelleux au Chocolat
Last, and certainly not least, I know you will fall in love with Le Chef's Moelleux au Chocolat Recipe.
Moelleux au chocolat (translation: soft chocolate) is also known as a chocolate lava cake or as a mi-cuit au chocolat. This recipe makes for a cake that is rich on the outside and decadently gooey on the inside – positively oozing with dark chocolate.
Le Chef served this exact recipe for Moelleux au Chocolat on one of our first dates over 15 years ago and well, the rest is history!
Le Chef's Wife's Tips:
When preparing a menu like this one - a key to success is planning in which order you will cook what item. Always read all of your recipes fully before beginning. For example: the Moelleux au Chocolat batter requires an hour of chill time. Better to start with that than discover it at the end of your meal!
My suggested order of preparation:
- Prep the Moelleux Batter and place in the fridge to chill.
- Enjoy your Apéro as you prepare the scallops and set out the ingredients for the Filet Mignon and your chosen side dish. If you are preparing the mashed potatoes this is the perfect time to boil the potatoes.
- Sit down to enjoy the Scallops
- Sear the Filet Mignon and enjoy.
- Once dinner is done - put the Moelleux to cook in the oven while you enjoy a last glass of wine staying close to the oven and keeping an eye an your cakes. There is something romantic about eating a hot chocolate lava cake in your kitchen, fresh out of the oven, don't you think?
I hope this menu inspires you to have delicious date night at home - any time of the year! Comment below and let me know what you are cooking.
Le Chef's Wife