So you're planning a romantic dinner at home for Valentine's Day. Whether this is your first time cooking for someone new, or you've celebrated with the same person for years, this is one meal you probably (hopefully) want to be special.
I've combed through our recipe database to find 43 great recipes perfect for two. From colorful first courses and salads to elegant main dishes — including beef, fish, poultry and even vegan options — the list covers everything to cater to a wide variety of tastes and diets. And no, I didn't forget dessert. (Even if you've bought a chocolate growler for your beloved — good for you — you still might want a dessert course.)
And check out the video above for some general tips and tricks when you're tackling your dinner at home. I shot the video with Valentine's Day in mind, but many of these tips will work for other occasions, whether you're entertaining a small gathering or a large holiday crowd. Here are probably the two biggest things to consider:
Planning is key.
Plot out your menu -- start to finish -- and think about production. Can you do enough in advance so you can actually spend most of the evening at the dinner table with your date, and not in the kitchen over the stove?
Cook within your comfort zone. A romantic date -- or any dinner at which you're trying to impress -- is not the time to be trying a recipe for the first time. Practice a new dish or technique ahead of time so you're familiar with it when it counts.
Cooking is fun — at least it should be. No matter how long you've been in the kitchen, there's always something new to learn, whether it's a simple twist on an old technique, or a handy tip to save time and energy. In this series of short videos, I demonstrate a variety of kitchen tips, ranging from how to hold a chef's knife for maximum control to using a spoon to peel fresh ginger. If you have any gadgets, kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment or shoot me an email at noelle.carter@latimes.