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Valentine's Dinner at Home

Enjoy a romantic Valentine's Day dinner in the comfort of your own home
Enjoy a romantic Valentine's Day dinner in the comfort of your own home
Digital Designer Ambro /

Are you hoping to sweep your lady off her feet with a romantic dinner for Valentine’s Day, but you want to avoid the bustle of the restaurant scene this weekend? Fear not, Romeo, this Examiner will give you the menu and wine pairings you need to successfully execute a dinner at home that will impress.

Sexy Cheese Plate for Snacking –suggestions courtesy of Devin Lamma

  • Campo de Montalban (a blend of cow, goat, and sheep milk) – Spain
  • Robiola de Bosina (a blend of cow and sheep milk) – Italy
  • Cherry Blossom Honey with Marcona Almonds
  • La Tur (a blend of cow, goat, and sheep milk) – Italy *this Examiner’s new fave!
  • Dulce de Pera Casero (pear paste) – Spain
  • Unflavored crackers, if desired

Wine Pairing: Martini & Rossi Prosecco

Lobster Mac & Cheese – recipe courtesy of Gavin Pinto

1 lobster tail

1 ½ C heavy cream

8 oz mascarpone

½ package dried pasta (preferably not spaghetti/linguini/fettuccini)

2T fresh chopped tarragon

Salt and pepper

Bring 4 qts of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 6-8 minutes. Pasta should be slightly raw so that it absorbs some of the sauce later. Reserve some of the pasta water.

Note: If you normally oil your pasta at this point, don’t, as the sauce won’t stick to it.

Bring 2 qts of salted water to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Poach lobster tail for about 10 minutes. Lobster meat should pull away from the shell, but not fully cooked. Cut tail in half lengthwise, reserve shell, and chop meat coarsely,

Bring cream to a simmer in a small pan with lobster shell; add a couple tablespoons of reserved pasta water. When cream has reduced, remove shell and gradually whisk in mascarpone over medium-low heat until all has melted into sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add al dente pasta and chopped lobster meat. Stir continuously for a couple of minutes until pasta has absorbed some sauce and lobster is cooked through. If sauce appears too thick, add more pasta water. Add chopped tarragon and serve. Shell can be rinsed and used for a serving vessel.

Pan Fried Rib eye with Chasseur Sauce – recipe courtesy of Gavin Pinto

2 medium or 1 large rib eye steak

¼ cup white wine (not oak aged)

1 small shallot, minced

6 mushrooms sliced (crimini, porcini, chanterelles, etc.)

4 oz demi glace

Salt and pepper

Season steak with salt and pepper, and allow to sit at room temp for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400. Sear steak(s) on each side for about 3 minutes, or until a nice crust forms. Put in oven for 5 minutes, and then rest for 5 minutes.

As soon as steaks are removed, add minced shallot and sliced mushrooms to pan and season with salt and pepper. If there is not enough beef fat in pan to sauté aromatics, add a small amount of oil.

Add white wine and demi to pan, and reduce by about half.

Slice rib eye and spoon sauce over meat.

Wine Pairing for Lobster Mac & Rib eye: Denver’s Balistreri 2006 Colorado Syrah

Bananas Foster –recipe courtesy of Gavin Pinto

2 Bananas, cut lengthwise and in half

½ C brown sugar

Juice of ½ lemon

2 oz dark rum (Examiner recommends Bacardi Select)

2 oz banana liqueur or Cointreau

1 cinnamon stick

¼ stick butter

Ice cream (French Vanilla, Cinnamon, or Crème Brulee are great flavors)

Melt butter in a skillet and add lemon juice, brown sugar, and the cinnamon stick. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

Add bananas and cook until tender, flipping once.

Remove from heat and add banana liqueur and rum.

For fire effects: Tip pan slightly over burner and allow to flame and let flames subside (once alcohol vapors are burned off).

Note: Examiner not responsible for negative consequences that result from your attempt to do this.

Spoon over a scoop or two of ice cream.

Wine Pairing: Evergreen’s Creekside Cellars Lakehaus 10 Year Tawny Port or Moscato Arancio (for those with aversions to port)

These recipes were provided with permission from Whole Foods in Cherry Creek and are the culinary genius of their employees, as presented in their Valentine’s Day Dinner cooking classes this past week.

The hosts for this class were Devin Lamma of the Specialty department and Gavin Pinto of the Meat department. Please ask these experts (or their peers) any questions you might have about meats, cheeses, and specialty products. They are a wealth of knowledge.

The classes at Whole Foods are complimentary, and include a demo, samples of the menu items made, and a special gift for those in attendance. Check the website for a calendar of classes and events. Advanced registration is required as space is limited.


In addition, this Monday, Valentine’s Day, Whole Foods will be featuring a fantastic deal on Fair Trade certified roses – 1 dozen for $19.99!

Pairings were made by this Examiner, who is a wine and spirits specialist by day.

Photos of the recipe cards are included in the slideshow for easier printing if you want a specific recipe, or want to include in your personal recipe box.


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