Romantic Dinners for Two

Think K-I-S-S That’s “Keep it simple . . . but sumptuous.” Sharing a special repast with the one you love shouldn’t mean spending hours over a hot stove. After all, stressing out over a labor-intensive, complicated meal is hardly conducive to romance. Instead, focus on elegant simplicity. Toss a tablecloth on a card table in front of your fireplace, place one perfect rose in a Japanese ikebana, add candlelight and music, and you’re halfway there. Whether you’re a couple just beginning to feather your nest or retirees enjoying an empty nest, you’ll find tempting recipes here for that special dinner. Think about creating a romantic mood, and focus on the five senses—soft lighting, mood music, maybe a scented candle, and cloth napkins, accompanied, of course, by a delicious dinner. Whole Foods for Health When it comes to a menu, start with fresh, seasonal foods for your locale. Choosing the best natural and organic ingredients helps you keep preparation time to a minimum and still put a fabulous dinner on the table. Lightly steam fresh vegetables, or toss together a simple salad with an extraspecial dressing. Consider an unusual appetizer just for two, and of course, nothing says romance this month like dark chocolate. Melt a little in the top of a double boiler or fondue pan and dip your favorite fruit. Here are a couple of our favorite recipes we recommend for a delicious, romantic dinner: Chateaubriand of Tuna with Baked Tomatoes From Two for Tonight: Pure Romance from L’Auberge Chez François by Jacques E. Haeringer 30 minutes prep time, plus chilling overnight | Serves 2 For Fish: 1 16 to 18 oz center cut of yellowfin tuna 1 tsp cracked black peppercorns Olive oil Sea salt For Baked Tomatoes: 2 ripe medium tomatoes Sea salt Freshly ground black pepper Olive oil For Herb Bread Crumbs: 2 Tbsp butter 1 tsp garlic, finely minced 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs 1/2 tsp sea salt Pinch of freshly ground black pepper 1/2 tsp of combined ground rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf or Herbes de Provence 1 Tbsp fresh parsley Trim any silver skin or blood line from tuna. Season fish with cracked peppercorns, coat with olive oil, and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Remove tuna from marinade and season with sea salt. Sear tuna on all sides in a skillet and bake in an oven preheated to 425°, about 12 minutes for medium rare. Wash and dry tomatoes. Remove stems with a small knife and cut each tomato in half crosswise. Brush lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place in a baking pan. Bake the tomatoes in an oven preheated to 400° for 6 to 8 minutes or until heated thoroughly (cooking time will vary depending on ripeness of tomatoes). Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add garlic and cook 5 seconds. Mix in bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and herbs. Blend ingredients and remove from heat. Increase oven temperature to broil. Sprinkle tomato halves generously with Herb Bread Crumbs. Brown lightly under broiler and serve. Variation: Grill tuna, allowing 6 to 8 minutes per side for medium rare. Baked Sweet Potato Fries From Kissing in the Kitchen: Cooking with Passion by Kevin T. Roberts 20 minutes prep time | Serves 2 2 sweet potatoes, peeled 2 to 3 Tbsp vegetable oil Sea salt Freshly ground pepper to taste Preheat oven to 350° or fire up the barbecue. Cut sweet potatoes into long, uniform pieces. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together sweet potatoes, oil, salt, and pepper until the potatoes are well coated. Arrange a single layer of potatoes in a shallow baking dish. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until nice and crispy. Citrus Salad with Ginger From Two for Tonight: Pure Romance from L’Auberge Chez François by Jacques E. Haeringer 30 minutes prep time | Serves 2 2 oranges 2 small grapefruit 1 banana 1 kiwi 1 tsp ginger, finely chopped 2 Tbsp sugar or honey Mint leaves (optional) Using a sharp knife, cut away outer rind and white membrane from oranges and grapefruit. Section the citrus by cutting along the longitudinal membranes. Peel and slice banana and kiwi into 1/4 inch rounds. Place prepared fruit in a bowl. Add ginger and sweetener. Allow to marinate at least 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with mint leaves, if desired.