help for a "family Valentine's" dinner menu

just decided to have a family valentine's dinner party. there will be 8-10 adults and 4-7 very young kids. One of the guests loves bolognese, so I am considering making Marcella's recipe, but there is a (fish-eating) vegetarian in the bunch. Can I start with a mussels-in-white-wine course, then make a salad, and perhaps a pomodoro version of the pasta? Or should I skip the bolognese altogether and just make some sort of more Valentinesque meal (heart-shaped pizza for the kids and who knows what else)? Thoughts???

  • Posted by: lcast
  • February 9, 2014


Bevi February 9, 2014
Maybe you can have candy hearts, red candy, and other Valentine's goodies that the kids can use to put finishing decorations on the cake.
Bevi February 9, 2014
Everyone loves a heart cake, which can be made with an 8" square cake pan and an 8" round pan. Put the square cake on a diagonal (or diamond shape), cut the round cake in half, and place the halves on the top sides of the "diamond" You can drape with fondant icing, or go easy on yourself and make a quick buttercream. Kids love cake. So do adults!
TobiT February 9, 2014
Last V day I made a simple chicken stir fry with heart-shaped red bell peppers. I cut the peppers into large pieces (quarters or thirds) and then pressed down with heart-shaped cookie cutters (inch and a half or so). It was very pretty, simple and delicious and the kids loved it. (Why will they eat veggies in heart and star shapes but not cut regularly? And who will invent a way for me to cut spinach into heart shapes?!)
LeBec F. February 9, 2014
lcast, a lot of this depends on your goals for yourself. you can take it easier or go more labor intensive. I think overkill is prob not what you want so i might suggest that you do just a few heart shaped things, including butter and dessert shapes. I think the bolognese (w/ marinara w/ canned tuna for the pescatarian)would be a great entree. A fun addition might be to make heart shaped decoration for the top of the sauce. These could be grated parm or baked parmesan tuiles. To do the former, just plate the pasta, top w/ sauce, place heart shaped cookie cutter on the sauce and spread ground parm inside to form a thin heart shape; press down the cheese and lift off the cutter. (This method does take time for each plate). The tuiles are done in advance. On silpat lined sheet pan, make the parm hearts as previously described. now bake them til the parm melts together to make a thin solid heart. let sheet cool; remove hearts and place one on each pasta before service. (Better instructions if you google 'parmesan tuile'.)

Desserts are very easy to do as heart shaped-cookie, cakes, cheesecakes cut out w/ cutter, etc. Of course, hearts are just the most obvious. Bows and arrows, love birds, etc are other options.
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