Planning a romantic meal for your S.O. can be a daunting task. Not only do you want everything to be perfect and for the evening to run smoothly, but you also want the meal to taste good too. We know that planning a formal dinner party (even if it is only for two) can be a stressful affair, and that's why we want to help. At MyDomaine HQ, we love any excuse to throw a stylish soirée, especially when it's in honor of our favorite person. And to really dial up the saccharine meter, we asked each of our editors to share their favorite meal to create a super-romantic Valentine's Day menu your loved one will cherish forever. From the cocktail to the cheese platter, this is the ultimate menu for the occasion.
Cocktail: Hadley Mendelsohn, editorial assistant
>"My mom's a commercial real estate broker in San Francisco, so she knows a lot about food trends. She works closely with chefs and artisans. For example, she opened up Bon Appétit's Restaurant of the Year (2012), State Bird Provisions. Whenever she visits, I get to try some amazing new spots. There have been some failures, too… Like unknowingly trying squab when I have a phobia of pigeons (a quirk that only a mother could love) and getting violently ill while hosting her (another quality only a mother could love).
>"Anyway, she visited me when I was a miserably homesick freshman in college, and she took me to Sqirl, when it first opened in 2012. The vanilla bean lemonade always makes me think of her, and now that I live in the area, I often brave the line to treat myself to this do-gooder. She knows I love it, so she came up with a cocktail that tastes just like it and made it for me when I was home for the holidays. Naturally, she's my Valentine."
Orange slice (0.5 inches thick)
1/2 oz. vanilla bean syrup (recipe below)
1.5 oz. vodka
2 oz. club soda
Drizzle of triple sec
Muddle raspberries with the slice of orange. Add vanilla bean syrup. Stir in vodka and club soda. Mix and pour over crushed ice.
Drizzle with triple sec. Garnish with two to three raspberries on a toothpick.
>Ingredients for Vanilla Bean Syrup
style="padding-left: 30px; text-align: left;">1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup of water
1/2 vanilla bean
>Directions for Vanilla Bean Syrup
>Add the sugar and water to a small pot, and then bring it to the boil. First it should be grainy, and then it becomes cloudy. You know it's ready when the syrup is clear.
>Turn the heat to low, and then add 1/2 a vanilla bean, split and scraped (for more flavor, you can put in the pod).
>Let it simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take it off the stove. Once it's cool, strain into a jar.
Starter: Sacha Strebe, MyDomaine managing editor
"My husband is an amazing cook. In fact, he prepares more meals than me now, but it wasn't always that way. In the early days of our engagement, he was a novice in the kitchen, but his keenness to learn mixed with a fierce passion to create in the kitchen turned him into a star chef. Now he's better than I am (true story). This appetizer is one of my favorites. It's super delicious and simple to prepare too (double bonus). My husband first made this delicious meal, also known as sung choi bao, after I'd been working all day, and it was the best thing I'd ever tasted. Besides, there's something sensual about eating something your significant other has made by hand with your hands. Say no more."
style="padding-left: 30px;">1 tbsp. of sesame oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp. ginger, finely chopped
1 block of organic tofu, cubed very finely
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp. ginger, finely chopped
4 green shallots, finely chopped
2 tbsp. organic soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
10 iceberg lettuce leaves, washed, dried
>Heat up a pan and add the sesame oil. Add garlic and ginger; sauté for a few seconds. Don't cook too long or the garlic will go bitter.
>Add cubed tofu, and cook until golden brown. Add mushrooms and green shallots, and then stir.
>Pour over the soy sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Add chili flakes or cayenne pepper here too if you like it hot and spicy. Stir until fragrant and the liquid has soaked into the tofu.
>Pour mixture into a bowl, and serve alongside the iceberg lettuce leaves. Add tofu mixture into the lettuce leaves and serve.
Main: Kelsey Clarke, lifestyle news editor
"At the tender age of 17, I experienced one of my first Valentine's Days with a significant other. Not one for lovey-dovey cards or corny Valentine's Day gimmicks, I wasn't expecting much—especially considering that my boyfriend was a freshman in college and had a lot on his plate. So imagine my surprise when I was greeted with a candlelit table set for two, a homemade dinner of lasagna, breadsticks, and salad, and my first love dressed in a crisp button-down shirt. It wasn't anything fancy, but it was perfect."
style="padding-left: 30px;">1 large onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped and sautéed
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground beef (or turkey)
1 tsp. garlic
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. oregano
1 32 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 cup of red wine
1/2 cup water
1 egg, beaten
1 box lasagna noodles
1 container of ricotta
1 bag of mozzarella
1 bag of Parmesan (you won't need the whole bag)
Salt and pepper to taste
Add chopped onions and green pepper into a pot with the olive oil and sauté till golden brown.
Add ground beef (or seitan for vegetarian version), and sauté until meat is cooked through; then drain any excess water.
In a separate pot, mix the can of tomato sauce, red wine, and water. Stir in the garlic, Italian seasoning, parsley, and oregano with a little salt and pepper to taste.
Add one beaten egg to the sauce (it will help to set the lasagna once it's cooked).
Once the sauce is ready, stir in the meat. Cook and simmer until the sauce is fragrant and the water has reduced to a medium, smooth consistency.
Get out your lasagna tray, and layer it up. Start by adding a thin layer of sauce along the bottom of the tray, followed by noodles, meat sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, a little parmesan, and then layer again, for a total of three layers.
Bake at 350°F for 30 to 40 minutes covered and then uncovered for 10.
Use a fork to test when it's ready. It should go through smoothly if done. Take it out of the oven, and let it set for 10 minutes before serving.
Dessert: Sophie Miura, lifestyle editor
"This is my great-great-grandmother's recipe. It's been in our family for generations and is such a foolproof dessert recipe—it's almost impossible to go wrong! When I was young, this was one of the first dishes I learned to cook, so it became my go-to whenever I wanted to make something a little bit fancy (read: not packet pasta) for my boyfriend. Eight years later, and he still loves it!"
>Ingredients for the pudding
style="padding-left: 30px;">1 cup self-rising flour
2 tbsp. cocoa
3/4 cup of sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup walnuts
>Ingredients for the topping
style="padding-left: 30px;">1 3/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup cocoa
3/4 cup brown sugar
Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add the milk and melted butter, and stir to combine. Pour into a baking dish.
In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa and brown sugar for the topping. Sprinkle this on top of the mixture in the baking dish. Finally, take a spoon and hold it upside down over the baking dish. Pour hot water over the upside down spoon so that it gently covers the baking dish in a layer of water, without denting the mixture.
Bake in the oven at 350°F for 40 to 50 minutes until the top of the pudding springs back to the touch and the inside is gooey. Serve with vanilla ice cream and sprinkle with walnuts.
Cheese Platter: Gabrielle Savoie, home décor editor
"Entertaining is a challenge in a studio apartment, so in lieu of a three-course meal, I sometimes opt for the more space-friendly cheese platter—no cooking required. Simply pick the best ingredients you can find, and pair them with a great bottle of wine (or two)."
style="padding-left: 30px;">3–4 cheeses: one soft, one semi-hard, one hard aged, and one goat (optional)
Salami (2–3 kinds, not the precut type)
Sundried Kalamata olives
Figs, dried apricots, or cranberries (for color)
Breadsticks and crackers
Start by arranging the cheeses on a board, leaving plenty of space between each. Add a cheese knife next to each.
Work your way through arranging the other items, starting from big to small: cold meats, grapes, crackers, olives, and nuts. Fill the board until it can fit no more, taking care to arrange colors throughout.
Chef's note: Drizzle with honey. Serve. Pair with great wine.
Want your S.O. to feel special on Valentine's Day? Make the holiday one to cherish forever by preparing our romantic meal plan complete with the MyDomaine menu (below) to add the finishing touch.