Last Minute Valentine's Menus

February 14, 2011

It's not too late to cancel those dinner reservations! Here are five quick Valentine's Day menus to mix and match, with tips to help you pull them off with enough time to enjoy the rest of the night. 

Menu #1

Boston Greens with Tarragon Buttermilk Dressing, Red Pears, and Toasted Hazelnuts by Jennifer Ann

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Boston Greens with Tarragon Buttermilk Dressing, Red Pears, and Toasted Hazelnuts

Mussels for One (or Two) by lastnightsdinner

Aunt Mariah's Lemon Sponge Cups by ENunn


  • • Be sure to double the mussels recipe for two, and have plenty of great crusty bread on hand for sopping up the broth.
  • • The sponge cups are way more forgiving than a souffle -- you can bake them before dinner and they won't deflate (you won't want to fuss with whipping egg whites after dinner, will you?).


Menu #2

Grilled (or Broiled) Oysters with a Sriracha Lime Butter by melissav

• Get the lamb into the marinade first thing -- you can leave it at room temperature for a speedier marination.
• Next, get the fro-yo and the granita in the freezer, so dessert is ready for scooping and scraping by the time dinner's over.
• Now you have plenty of time to make your soup and shuck your oysters.
• Hint: Both the oysters and the lamb can be broiled if your grill is chilling under a foot of snow.
Menu #3
Arugula, Pear and Goat Cheese Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Autumn Celeriac (Celery root) Puree
• Be sure to buy a day-old baguette for the bread pudding (or use whatever stale crusty bread you have at home). In a pinch, cube fresh bread and toast it in the oven to dry it out.
• Get the bread soaking in its bourbony bath while you prep everything else, so you can pop it in the oven when you sit down to eat.
Menu #4
• Get home, turn the oven to 350 first -- the cake mixes up in 15 minutes flat. Pop it in the oven while you prep everything else.
• If the cauliflower needs to share the oven with the cake, so be it. If the florets aren't getting caramelized enough at the lower temperature, crank up the heat for the last 5 minutes or run it under the broiler (just take the cake out first!).
Menu #5
• Make your mousse first: After melting the chocolate, cool over an ice bath to hustle it along.
• Once the mousse is setting up in the fridge, you can turn your attention toward the scallop dish, and pouring yourself a glass of wine.
• Hint: The lemon creme fraiche drizzle is delicious with the scallops and couscous, but your date won't know if you skip it.
Happy Valentine's Day!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Waverly
  • mrslarkin
  • Susan Axelrod/Spoon & Shutter
    Susan Axelrod/Spoon & Shutter
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


Waverly February 15, 2011
Valentines Day has come and gone, but these menus are all fantastic. Keepers - all of them!
mrslarkin February 14, 2011
Wow! These sound great! I'm loving all the helpful TIPS! But I'd still be perfectly happy with JUST the chocolate mousse. :)
Susan A. February 14, 2011
Another elegant, easier-than-you-might-think ending. Julia Child's hot chocolate souffle: