Dinner and a Movie Date Alternative – Cooking a Meal Together for Valentine’s Day

Sometimes the same old thing can be a comfortable and relaxing thing. But sometimes it just gets even older. In truth, the dinner and a movie date is a classic, and it really never could go completely out of style – even for Valentine’s Day. It’s a great standby and a wonderful evening out – but sometimes you and your sweetheart may feel the urge to do something besides dinner and a movie. And Valentine’s Day is an excellent time to take that plunge.

Instead of heading to the cinema and a nearby restaurant for Valentine’s Day this year, why not go for a spinoff celebration of love? We’re talking about a romantic evening cooking dinner together. What’s more fun than getting a little messy in the kitchen with your loved one?

To start, the two of you could take a trip to the market and select fresh ingredients – main course, vegetables, cheese, seasonings, etc. Then, when you get home, don aprons and let the fun really begin!

Celebrity Chef Todd English has partnered with Lavalife, a leader in the singles industry, to create Valentine’s Day recipes for couples who are seeking more than just dinner and a movie this Valentine’s Day. Chef English recommends “creating some steam at home by making Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread, Spaghetti with Truffle Mascarpone, and who could forget the ultimate aphrodisiac, Oysters!”

A Romantic Dinner For Two at Home

Chef English and Lavalife recommend making delicious dishes for two, including: Baked Oysters, Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread, Spaghetti with Truffle Mascarpone, and Fallen Chocolate Cake.

“Oysters are an aphrodisiac and this dish is a great way to start the evening,” Chef English says. “I think that the Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread is a fun dish to make together. Pizza is very interactive and this recipe puts an upscale twist on a traditional favorite. The best way to end an evening is with chocolate.  The falling chocolate cake with raspberry sauce is a sexy dessert that can be shared with one spoon.”

Chef English recommends the following recipes that you and your sweetheart can cook together at home for Valentine’s Day:

Baked Oysters Recipe

Serves 2

10 Each Wellfleet oysters
Kosher salt as needed
4 oz. Mascarpone
2 TBS. Shredded Radicchio
1 TBS. Balsamic vinegar
1 Tsp. Chopped scallions
1 oz. Heavy cream

First shuck the oysters opening each one, discard the top half of the shell and keep the oysters on the half shell.  Layer the bottom of a baking pan heavily with kosher salt.  Place the oysters on the salt pressing them down so they are sturdy.  Put aside and start the stuffing.  Place the mascarpone, Radicchio, balsamic, scallions, and cream in a mixing bowl.  Mix ingredients together well.  Evenly place all of the filling on the oysters.  Bake in a 425-degree oven for about 10 minutes or until the top is brown.  Remove from the baking pan and serve immediately.

Copyright: Todd English

Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread Recipe

Flatbread dough
Makes four 8- to 10-inch flatbreads

**You can pick up fresh pizza dough at your local bakery or grocery store as an alternative to making the flatbread from scratch.

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling
2 teaspoons (¼ ounce) fresh yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 & 2/3 cups lukewarm water

Place the whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in a mixer fitted with a dough hook.  While the mixer is running, gradually add the oil and water.  Kneed on low speed until the dough is firm and smooth, about 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into four balls, about 7 & 1/2 ounces each.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Place two balls on a sheet and cover with a damp towel.  Let them rise in a warm spot until they have doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

To roll out the dough:  Dab your fingers in flour and then place 1 ball on a generously floured work surface and press down in the center with the tips of your fingers, spreading the dough with your hand.  When the dough ha s doubled in width, use a floured rolling pin and roll out until it is very thin, like flatbread.  The outer border should be a little thicker than the inner circle.  Pick the dough up with a spatula or the back of a knife, allowing it to fold up almost like an umbrella and transfer it to a paddle.  Do not worry that the dough is not round; you are looking for an 8- to 10-inch shape, a cross between an oval and a rectangle.  If you get a hole, simply pinch the edges back together.  Repeat with the remaining balls and proceed with the following recipe.

Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread  
Makes 2 servings

2 flatbreads (see above recipe)
Cornmeal for sprinkling
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 pinches kosher salt
2 pinches black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 cup Fig Jam
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled into pea-sized pieces
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1 scallion, thinly sliced lengthwise, for garnish

One hour prior to cooking, place a baking stone in the oven and preheat it to 500 degrees.

Roll out 1 flatbread dough as thinly as possible.  Place it on a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal.  Cover the surface with 1 teaspoon oil, ¼ teaspoon minced garlic, 1 pinch each salt and pepper, and ½ teaspoon chopped rosemary.  Be sure to leave an outer lip of 1 inch all the way around.
Evenly dot ¼ cup Fig Jam and 2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese on the flatbread.  Top with half the prosciutto.  Shake the paddle lightly and slide the flatbread onto the baking stone.  Bake until browned, about 6 to 7 minutes.  Transfer to a firm surface and cut into slices.
Serve immediately, garnished with half the sliced scallion.
Repeat with the remaining dough.

*A pizza or baking pan may be used instead of a baking stone.

Spaghetti with Truffle Mascarpone Recipe or Fresh Margherita Pizza Recipe

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