Valentine's Day Menus:
Setting the Mood with Food
by Kate Heyhoe
What recipe better symbolizes relationships than Sweet 'n' Sour Sauce? Even the most compatible couples have moments of friction, tension or chilliness. But overall, loved ones remain together by seeking balance in their relationships. As the Chinese well know, all things in life require an equal measure of yin and yang — one quality is never better than the other; they simply need each other to achieve harmony. And one of the most irresistible examples of this yin-yang balance in Chinese food is the ubiquitous Sweet 'n' Sour Sauce.
This Valentine's Day, serve an appetizer or light dish that truly reflects love's delicate balance—in more ways than one. Prepare a bowl of red, gingery Sweet 'n' Sour Sauce, then surround it with finger foods for dipping. Crunchy hand-made Heart-Shaped Wontons make the dish festive, but you can also just fry up unstuffed wonton skins for crisp, chip-like treats. For variety, add other dippable foods such as slivered red bell pepper strips, cooked shrimp, fresh pineapple chunks, roasted chicken drummettes, cucumber spears, carrot sticks, or kiwi fruit.
Other Romantic Menu Themes
Perhaps your vision of a seductive meal swings in another direction: West. Instead of dinner, you may want to lasso your love with a "Wild, Wild West breakfast." Round up your favorite buckaroo for a romantic rodeo of big ol' Cowboy Biscuits, spicy Chorizo Sausage, and a sweet 'n' dreamy Cowboy Coffee Crème Brûlée. These rugged recipes by Red Sage chef Mark Miller put a whole new spin on being home on the range.
For urbanites seeking an uptown, upscale meal at home, but one that doesn't crash their lean cuisine lifestyle, consider a light and easy menu redolent with romance. Author Laurie Burrows Grad kicks off the affair with a Malibu Mary cocktail, followed by the alluring flavors of spicy mustard, raspberry, and chocolate in a captivating meal of chilled artichokes, Cornish Hens, vegetable pasta, and a decadent-tasting but light as an angel raspberry-chocolate dessert. For an enchantingly bewitching mood, add candles — lots of them — music, and a few whispers of woo to fire up the flames.
Valentine Theme Menus
- Kate's Sweet 'n' Sour Finger Foods
- Cowboy Breakfast, from Red Sage
- Big Cowboy Biscuits
- Red Sage's Chicken and Pork Chorizo
- Roasted Brined Pork Tenderloin Rolled in Toasted Pecans
- Cowboy Coffee Crème Brûlée
- Uptown Dinner, from Entertaining Light and Easy
- Malibu Mary
- Chilled Artichokes with Spicy Mustard Sauce
- Roast Rock Cornish Game Hens with Raspberry Flavor
- Chocolate Angel Food Cake with Raspberry Sauce
Kate's Global Kitchen for February, 2000:
2/05/00 Asian New Year: Honoring the Kitchen God
2/12/00 Valentine Theme Dinners: Setting the Mood with Food
2/19/00 Vietnamese Meals in Minutes
2/26/00 What Food Writers Read: The Oxford Companions
Copyright © 2000, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.