A T-Man’s Tips for Staying Out of the Doghouse on Valentine’s Day… or Any Other Day!

Valentine-2012

A true T-Man, the guy who possesses an air of confidence and passion to cook all year long, may view Valentine’s Day as a commercialized occasion, but trust me if you skip doing something extra special on this day you’ll find yourself in the dog house. So, seize the opportunity, get cooking, and you’ll be reaping the rewards of your kindness for days.

Many of these simple tips and recipes for valentine’s day success can be found in Chapter 3, “Dinner, Darling” of my cookbook, tastosterone: the best cookbook for men.

1. Rise and shine. Set the alarm to wake before your wife and make her a cup of her favorite coffee. Pick up some fresh baked bread and prepare a plate of her favorite cheeses and a bowl of mixed berries and yogurt. Sometimes a simple morning surprise is all you need to put a smile on her face. Works for you, doesn’t it?

2. Layer on the love. Surprise the wife and kids with dinner at home. Create a T-Man lasagna by purchasing a dozen raviolis (any flavor or filling) and layer them with sauce and mozzarella cheese in a baking dish to create a shortcut lasagna. Add sauce and cheese to your liking. There are no wrong or right directions. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, covered at 350 degrees. I prefer using homemade raviolis that can be found in the refrigerated section of your market or Italian delicatessen.  Chop up a simple salad of arugula or mixed greens, sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese and add your wife’s favorite dressing. Serve on the side. You’ll have dinner for your darlings prepared in no time.

3. Make those reservations. Couples who cook together often prefer to dine out for the night. Consider eating at a restaurant that you both love because Valentine’s Day is not the night to experiment for fear of ruining the evening with a disappointing meal. Before you leave home for the evening, set the romantic tone with a cheese plate and grapes. End the night, back at home, with berries and cream and a bottle of bubbly.

4. Warm up the heart. Nothing says romance like Swiss Fondue. In Switzerland, there are no fancy fondues with mixings of salsa and cheddar cheese; instead, they use only the best Gruyère and bread available to make this simple meal. However, the Swiss do have terms and conditions for eating this amazing dish; don’t drop your bread into the fondue or you will end up in the nearby lake and don’t drink water or anything carbonated while eating fondue. One should drink a white wine such as Fendant or hot tea, otherwise you’ll end up with cheese balls wreaking havoc in your stomach, ending your romantic Valentine’s Day dinner on very sour note.

5. Get popping! For the single dads, whip up some scrambled eggs or any light bite, then curl up with the kids and watch your favorite movies together. Sweeten the kids evening with a special treat of chocolate covered popcorn. Microwave ½ cup of chocolate chips (I prefer milk chocolate) for 30 seconds. Cook for additional 10-second intervals, as needed, until fully melted. Let chocolate cool, but not harden, about 5-7 minutes and mix with popcorn. Serve and enjoy.

6.  Butter her up. For those of you planning the 50th Valentine’s surprise for your wife, how about trying something different this year? Melted, warm panini sandwiches make great early dinners. Spread some love (aka butter) on the inside and outside of your bread slices then press your sandwich together in your Panini maker or in a frying pan over medium heat. I prefer a sandwich of shredded Gruyère and sliced tomato, salt and heavy on the pepper. You could even use a giant heart shaped cookie cutter to cut your sandwiches into heart shapes.

7. Give and get. Look for cooking classes that you both could take together this spring. You’ll both have something to look forward to and she’ll appreciate the thought and time. Couples cooking classes that won’t break you budget are popping up across the country. They’re a win, win because you’ll learn how to cook and also enjoy a delicious dinner.

8. Get cracking. No cooking required on Valentine’s Day with Florida Stone Crab. You’ll just need a great fishmonger, a mallet, mustard, mayo and a crisp chardonnay.
 Crack the shells with your mallet and use a small fork to remove and enjoy every bit of this scrumptious meat. Serve chilled with my mustard sauce. Stone crab claw season runs from October 15th till May 15th. Only stone crab claws do not require cooking. They are cooked when
 harvested.

MUSTARD SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
    (For the mustard fan, add more if needed.)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Mix together mayonnaise and mustard for dressing.
  2. Place the chilled crab claws on a large serving plate.
  3. Serve with mustard sauce, lobster crackers and small forks.

Servings: 2
Preparation Time: 5 minutes

9. Knock her socks off. So, you’re desperate to impress or please the new wife. Prepare a dinner to knock her socks off. Make sure to find out her favorite foods, and do your best to try prepare them at home. Your efforts won’t go unnoticed. These are just a few of my ideas for a romantic meal at home: Start with some soup and shrimp cocktail then present her with a nice steak or filet of fish served with roasted potatoes and vegetables. End the evening with cheesecake or some chocolate mouse.

10. Take the pressure off. You missed going out together on the weekend before Valentine’s Day and you’re working late on the big day. Well, why not keep it simple? Too tired to cook? Don’t put the pressure on either of you; prepare a pot of my Steakhouse Onion Soup on Sunday so you have it prepared for Valentine’s Day. Like garlic, the ancients ate onions regularly. In addition to their perceived therapeutic benefits, onions were believed to be an aphrodisiac, which may just be the kick you’ll need to enjoy a romantic late night together.

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About Debbie

Influenced by my passion for cooking and entertaining, I wrote TASTOSTERONE: The Best Cookbook for Men to provide men with a road map of supplies, tips and recipes for navigating around the kitchen. Guys... get cooking!

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