Valentines Menu Contest Thread


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Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001 Valentine's Menu Contest

Between now and Valentines day (February 14th 2011) is looking for the most romantic menu you can come up with in honor of Valentine's day. All you need to do is post your menu to this discussion thread. Your menu can also include details about ambiance (flowers on the table, music playing, etc).

What really makes this contest exciting is that the winners will be chosen by the community. Any registered community member can cast a vote on the particular menu posted by another user. To vote for your favorite menu just click on the "Thumbs Up" icon   (this is located at the bottom right of each post. Be sure to vote for your favorite menu/s! Contestants can see how many votes they have by the following icon 

The community member with the most thumbs up votes will receive a $100.00 Williams Sonoma Gift Card. The community member with the second highest thumbs up votes will receive a $50.00 Williams Sonoma Gift Card. There will be three runners up who will receive ChefTalk Mugs!

Official Rules:
  • Contest is open to all ChefTalk community members (except me (Nicko)).
  • Post your valentines menu in this thread.
  • Only one menu posting per user.
  • Winners will be chosen based on how many votes (thumbs up) \ they receive from the community.
  • Menu must be your own writing (another words original).
  • This contest is only open to US residents (sorry to all of our friends outside the U.S.).

Please post any questions you have here: Contest Questions
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Joined Aug 11, 2000
Riedel crystal, linen tableclothes, tiny bouquet of mix flowers on the table, sliver and china....formal but not stuffy.

Champagne (or Cava) Brut.....armagnac french prunes with foie gras mousse, rich unctious and totally sensual...lots of candles, no overhead lighting....good if there's snow outside to make inside much more inviting.

Appetizer....mussels on the half shell with shallot cream sauce, sauvignon blanc...crispy warm bagette with eurobutter or amish butter and little pots of pink salt on the table, small pepper grinder.   

Citrus Salad, bib lettuce with cara cara oranges, red grapefruit, blood oranges...shallot tarragon dressing...paper thin crostini with maytag blue mixed with mascarpone spread....the blue and citrus playing off each other.  Pale green glass plates make the colors pop.

Boneless Quail roasted and served on a bed of popcorn rice cooked with thyme, shallots, and morels....very large morels are stuffed with makers mark morel duxelle are "garnish".....Michigan dried cherry demi glaze naps the quail....pinot noir

70% single estate Patric chocolate souffle, Grand Marnier Whipped cream and candied orange peel garnish, decaf coffee

Cheese plate, perfectly ripened ooozy cheese,Baetje farms bloomsdale....wheat biscuits, port

tiny precious candy fluer de sel caramels, truffles, fruit pates, tiny macaroons...
Joined Feb 8, 2009

We have a mountain home in the Blue Mountains of Oregon, my wife and I would snowmobile up to 6000 ft  to a place called tower mountain. I would make a camp fire on the ridge over looking the mountain range   I would put a grill over the fire to grill the bread for the Bruschetta and serve with an Italian chopped tomato and basil herb salsa while sipping on a Columbia valley Chardonnay. I would then take out my one burner butane stove and saute some garlic shrimp that have been marinating for a few hours and serve over a roasted tomato and basil pesto linguine that was made earlier and heated in a skillet over the camp fire. The Shrimp Scampi over Roasted tomato and basil pesto linguine served with home made herb bread sticks, sitting by the camp fire enjoying the view. We would then take the trip back down the mountain to a hot springs down the country road from our home and have Chocolate dipped strawberries and Champagne while soaking in the 104 degree natural hot springs water     when we were done soaking, I would take my bride of 30 years back to the cabin, get into our terry robes that were being warmed by the log fire, and finish our Champagne. We will then retire to our King size Montana log bed, I will leave the rest to your imagination.................ChefBillyB.......P.S. I hope you guys have a good imagination, this should work out real well, unless we fall off the cliff on the way up the mountain, that could put a damper on dinner.
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Joined Oct 28, 1999
We are sitting on a blanket, spread upon the hood of the car, two mugs full of really rich hot chocolate in hand and a plate of extra thick chocolate chip cookies wait to be tackled. A few feet from the Jeep's bumper, a fire crackles and laps at the cascading snow flakes as we shake off the chill. Dave Matthews' Crush is the muffled hum from the speakers safe on the inside in the warmth, shielded from our outside dining room. The backdrop is the infrequent twinkle of the stars making their way through the snowy curtain falling about. The hot chocolate is warm and velvety and the whipped cream on top pokes fun at the pillowy softness that the piles of snow surrounding the fire look to mimic. 

Joined Apr 3, 2008
At the table, a red table cloth topped with a white lace tablecloth.

Centerpiece is a simple clear crystal vase with a rose of each color, white, red and salmon.

A red cloth napkin pulled through an ivory colored napkin ring is centered between your silverware

Presented before ordering is a simple basket of warm crusty sliced baguette and small bottles of Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil with side plates for pouring , mixing and dabbing

Apps- Half dozen oysters on the half shell separated by cooked and chilled prawns on a bed of Red Leaf lettuce and rock salt with ramekins of cocktail sauce, garlic butter and slices of lemon centered in the platter

Salad- A small Cesar made with whole leaf baby romaine with fried capers sprinkled along top

Main- Your choice of a Bacon wrapped Filet Mignon with Monterey Bay Blue Cheese and butter melted on top accompanied with Rosemary roasted Red Potatoes and a shredded Carrot salad with a citrus and olive oil dressing  or Blackend Salmon with Rosemary Roasted Red potatoes and steamed Spinach with a Hollandaise sauce on the side    
Dessert- Your choice of either a Brandy Apple Flambe Crepe with Cinnamon and Cream or Bananas Fosters   
Each course is accompanied with a 2oz. pour of your choice of our fine wines
Joined Feb 26, 2007
Sorry, Nicko, but I don't think it's a good thing for a community to have contests that are only open to some of the members.  It's a bad message.  If there are reasons you can't send a prize abroad then it would be better to make a contest without a prize at all.  
Excellent point Siduri.  If it weren't for your post I would have made an entry into the competition, and I mean that in a complimentary way to you..  I was thinking of all sorts of nice summery things, given I'm half a world away.  Dinner at the beach at sunset, bbq'd food on a portable bbq, things from the Eski, etc etc etc.  Oh, and lots of mosquito repellant!

Why not just do it for the fun and participation?  See what other people may be doing and enjoy it just for that.  It may stir up some notions for those that hadn't thought of doing this or that titillating thing and make more romance in the world /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
Joined Feb 5, 2011
I think serving crabs would be especially appropriate for valentines day. 

With the great André Kientzler, Pinot Gris seamlessly paired with each component, a wonderful start to a wonderfully romantic evening.  Is anyone familiar with this pinot gris?
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Joined Oct 2, 2010
Shroomgirl, please invite me. You scored on champagne, my favorites the mussels, quail, the chocolate souflée, the truffles and the macarons.

I have severe doughts on the citrussalad unless you turn that into a citrus sorbet, but you lost me completely on the decaf coffee! I thought the menu was just an interludium, you don't expect me to go asleep after dinner?  
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Keep It Simple Yet Elegant

                                                White Cloth with a Red Satin Heart Cutout as a place mat

                  The Nicest            Crystal ,Flatware and China that you have

                                                 3 Red Roses with Flickering Tea Lites on Assorted height Glass Blocks   Soft  background music , lights down

                                                                                  A Napkin folded like a Heart Change of Napkin With Dessert Course

  For The  First Course ..   Wild Mushroom and Sauteed Baby Shrimp Strudel with A Zifindel Sauce and Spiced  Baby Spinach

 The Second  ..      A Warm Puree of Winter Vegetables with Creme Frache and Ground  Pistachio Served in  an Accorn Squash

  And Third ..          Individual  Filet of Beef Wellington in a Heart Shaped Pastry Crust, With A Truffle Infused Pergoudine Drizzle

                               Parissienne  White Turnip,  Carrot Vichy with The Stem,  Haricot Verte Au Buerre Tied with White of Leek in a Bow

The Finale..       Hazelnut Scented Creme Brulee served in a Dark Chocolate Candy Box Surrounded by Chocolate Dipped Strawberries and Milk  Choco and    White Choco Truffles  

                                                              Cafe Au Lait, Expresso and Blue Mountain Coffee

                                                                 An Assortment of Domestic and Imported Cheese and English Water Wafers

I tried to do this keeping in mind availability of products ,skill levels and things you had available as well as a medium budget . ENJOY EdB
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justin abare hoyt

White table clothe sprinkled with rose petals. A single red rose in the center circled by four wide candles of varing hight. Dimmed lights, and a mix of love songs playing on low (such as Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Bryan Adams, Kenny Rogers)

1st course- Kumamoto oysters on the half shell with minced basil, shallot, a small slice of candied fig and a few pieces of honey caviar sprinkled with a little pink sea salt.

(glass of prosecco)

2nd course- Fire roasted butternut squash bisque with a maple cream heart piped on the top, applewood smoked bacon garnish.

3rd course- Nicoise salad with Espresso chili rubbed seared blue fin tuna, pickled shallots, nicoise olives, grilled green beans, a poached quail egg, confit tomato, and a wasabi ginger vinaigrette over baby butter crunch lettuce greens.

4th course- Seared venison tenderloin with pink peppercorn, over Stilton and fingerling potato puree, with a champagne and champagne grape gastrique and shaved white truffle

5th course- White chocolate and raspberry creme brulee with a heart shaped caramel, fresh raspberries and white chocolate cigarette garnish.

(with a Dom Perignon toast)
Joined Nov 20, 2000
Dry Martinis with a twist (I forgot to say Gin preferably)

Warm Brie with toasted almonds and pita crisps.

First course: Duck Confit/Wild Green salad with Granny Smith Apple/Green Peppercorn Jus  

Second course: Cream of baby sugar pumpkin soup with Alaskan King Crab  

Sorbet: Strawberry Riesling

Entree: pan roasted Halibut with Roasted Beet Vinaigrette

Wilted spinach with sesame seeds and White Truffle essence

Dessert: Crepe Suzette

Chocolate Truffles with B&B and a NY State Late Harvest Riesling.

Bon Apetit
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Joined May 2, 2003
Wow!  So many of these sound great I feel like mine won't compare.  But here is what I made last year:

To start off the dinner, I opened a bottle of Proseco from Zefiro winery.  

On the table, I set out, fresh Homemade French Bread with imported butter, picholine olives, on the side; and a small plate of Amadeus cheese.

For our appetizer, I made Baked Brie in a very flaky, homemade pastry with sliced green apples on the side.

At this point we were already starting to hit the wall, but then we got our second wind when I brought out our entree: crab stuffed filet mignon, with bearnaise.  Sides were twiced cooked baked potatoes with plenty of bacon, and sauteed asparagus.  To drink with that, we had a simple bottle of Louis Martini Cabernet. 

With just enough room for dessert, I made a Valrhona chocolate souffle with vanilla bean ice cream (I think the ice cream was Bryers.)  A small glass of Baileys on ice was just potent enough to compliment the souffle. 

Definitely a filling evening!
Joined Jan 25, 2011
Valentine's Day in front of a blazing fireplace, romantic classical music playing soft in the background.  Red linen tablecloth, white china, nicest silver and crystal.  Crystal vase in middle of table holds the winter red and white Casablanca Lillies.  Nice Reisling Wine and Prosecco Sparkling Italian Wine options.

Appetizer:  All-Crustecean Canapes, Garnished with Deep Fried Capers. (buttery shrimp, lobster and crab)

First Course:  Baked Oysters in Spinach Jackets with Bacon Cognac Butter...served on the half shell on a plate of coarse salt, side of bacon cognac butter and parsley, dill crostini's.

Second:  Velout de Tompinambours with jerusalem artichokes and sweet potatoes...served with a grainy baguette. 

Entree:  Cocoa Rubbed Pork Shoulder (cooked low and slow in the smoker 4- 6 hours with hickory chips) accompanied by Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes and Sage: assorted Southern Greens (collards, kale, mustard, turnip) flavored with hamhocks and crushed red pepper.  Served with Fatback Cracklin' Cornbread.

Finale:  French Cheeseboard with Camembert, Brie, Goats Milk, Roquefort, Cooked Cheese, and Fromage Fraise.  Served with Baguette and Bordeaux Red Wine.

Chocolate Fondue served with Candied Orange Peels, Raspberries, Fresh Figs, Cayenne Candied Bacon and Heart Shaped Cherry Scones.

White Bean Cappuccino
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Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Know your audience. This meal is all about what my wife likes without being heavy so you're still in the mood later on.

Watermelon Jarritos

A bread and cheese platter that will be worked through out the meal. Fresh focaccia, a crusty loaf, a crackery flat bread. Aged Gouda, Smoked Red Dorset, an herbed Boursin.

Seared scallops to get started

A winter vegetable minestra style soup.

The main course is a mesclun based salad. I know this will sound weird to many but it's about knowing your audience. This is topped with a sort of solid dressing. hot smoked salmon, cubed avocado and pomegranate arils providing a seasoned punch, fatty texture and fruity tartness. 

Dessert vanilla bean creme brulee.
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Joined Jul 30, 2007
a small but perfect crescent shaped, palm fringed, totally isolated beach (yes folks, they do exist). sugar white sand and water unmistakably caribbean blue. hammock swaying in the soft breeze. set up two for cooking, one for warming us and gazing into. nice long stroll on the beach to take in the the sun sinks below the horizon, we slip into the water to refresh. fires lit, wrapped in big fluffy towel blankets, sitting on a very large soft blanket, we start our little feast with oysters florentine and prosecco. then stone crab claws with mustard sauce, followed by a small antipasto plate of papaya spears, avacado, mango and chevre in lettuce cups with tangerine/opal basil dipping sauce. next, grilled caribbean lobster, pulled apart and set on a platter with small bowls holding a chile-lime butter and a roasted garlic aioli for dipping. grilled asparagus as well. lots of lemons and limes for squeezing on food and fingers. wonderful warm artisan a bottle of sonoma cutrer 'the cutrer'.(chardonnay)....dessert.....something small, chocolatety and fun..smore's!, while watching the moonrise over the water. music? sound of a crackling fire, palm fronds rustling in the soft breeze and waves softly lapping. maybe a wee bit of tuaca, maybe not...another stroll on the beach in the moonlight? another dip in the water? they can wait til morning

this is really a reenactment..some of the food and wine have been changed to protect the innocent! same concept though....NO SILVERWARE! eating with ones fingers is very romantic and  very sensual...


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Joined Jul 18, 2002
Cosy Bedroom setting, blazing fireplace, snow lightly falling outside a big picture window

sweetheart table with crushed velvet linens and napkins,

white roses and cala lily bouqet grace the table

banana leaf charger

Veuve Clicquot Champagne


..peanut butter captain crunch coated

crab cakes with spicy peanut sauce 

..doll sized crispy potato samosas with citrus lime sweetheart chili jam 

served atop a bed of coconut on a hand carved Balinese Mirror

pasta and seafood course

maine lobster mac n cheese with spicy pepato cheese 

served in a fantasy champagne saucer 

plump juicy ruby red grapefruit

and warm panko crusted herbed goats cheese

perfectly complimented the wild arugula,

baby organic spinach, fresh mint + Vermont bacon

presented on a retro 1040's rectangular glass plate

Since both Russell and Savi love lamb

and especially meats that are on the bone,

rosemary infused baby lamb chops

with pomegranate glaze was perfect!

nestled on a bed of heart shaped

Israel cous-cous primavera,

accompanied by grilled asparagus bundles,

and roasted veggies,

deliciously sweet jerusalem artichokes

(neither from Jerusalem nor an artichoke)

roasted whole shallots

+ cumin scented roasted cauliflower.

Starfruit, commonly used in Trinidad,

where Savi hails from

made a delicious and beautiful garnish.

The stars are aligned for this fantastic couple!

Originally for dessert the Valentines menu
included desserts that centered around chocolate

- however, that was the only
request that Russell had

"As far as dessert
I'm more of a vanilla,lemon, citrus, creamy, crunchy type. "

in that mode we created the following delectable dessert...

Not Your Mama's Baked Alaska Finale

Grilled Pineapple +

Rosemary Brown Sugar Shortbread Base

with Vanilla Bean Speckled Ice Cream

and Meyer Lemon Meringue

Flambeed Tableside with Meyers Rum

bellies full with delicious food and bubbly champers

the couple dance in each others arms

and slip away while the caterers cleanup 

and leave them on  their own 

slipping hazelnut champagne truffles in a heart shaped box 

atop their pillow before closing the door quietly

and driving back to the kitchen.

P.S. this was a real event that we catered last year for a special Valentine's 40th Birthday Celebration for two very special clients.

Please vote for us!!
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
So I decided not to enter the contest.  I was trying to come up with a menu that reflected our honeymoon 4 years ago which fell around Valentine's Day.  I wanted to compile a menu of dishes that we ate while we were in Paris and London but the idea fell through and is too difficult to make happen on a weekday.  Anyway, I have my reservations about the contest mainly because I would rather see a contest about a menu we executed rather than wrote, I'm a cook not a writer.  And seeing as Valentine's is today I won't be able to document the meal I'm creating in time to enter the contest.  So good luck to all those who entered the contest, I hope what you wrote is indeed what you'll be serving tonight.  I will post my menu tomorrow.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
I hope what you wrote is indeed what you'll be serving tonight. 

In my case it is, Koukouvagia. Made one slight change, in the stuffing. In addition to the shiitake duxelle flanking the pheasant on one side I flanked the other with a roasted red pepper coulis for additional color.

I would imagine that most of the menu components have been made by their respective cooks, at one time or another. Just weren't necessarily grouped together. That certainly was my approach; and I feel confident it was taken by all the front-runners as well.
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
I'm not making any accusations, I'm sure everyone has made or will make these menus either today or some other time.  I'm just having a hard time connecting to the challenge because a contest imo should be about something we have done, not something we may do.  I'd feel terrible if I had posted a menu that indicated that I was going to make bananas foster and then couldn't find any good bananas for that menu, I'd have to swtich the plan.  Anyway, like I said I enjoyed reading the menus.
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