The Mantry Guide To Cooking Valentine’s Day Dinner

Mediocre advice at best, but we tried.

1. Invest in Wine Glasses

That $14 Malbec might as well be from Francis Mallmann’s personal cellar when served in a sleek, crystal glass. Your friends can drink out of mason jars when they come over, but for special occasions, it’s nice to have two nice glasses.

2. Cold Open

If you can assemble Ikea Furniture, you can assemble a salad. It’s not so much cooking as it is placing ingredients on a plate. Take the pressure off yourself and start cold.

Say what you will about Jamie Oliver, but this is about as good of a round up of creative, easy and fun salads as we have ever seen. Make one of those or go with our simple bruschetta.

Photo: Jamie Oliver

BRUSCHETTA WITH BALSAMIC NECTAR RECIPE HERE

3. Candles + Music = Good Vibes

Candlelight and a chill music will make food taste better. You know what songs she likes, but we like going foreign or live. Don’t overlook throwing on a full live album, jazz or whatever Van Morrison does is nice. Or try someone like Federico Aubele, a talented singer-songwriter from Argentina. Sometimes not understanding the words is relaxing and creates flow. Or ignore the above and just play tunes from her Spotify, even better…

Van Morrison — A Night In San Francisco (Live)

Federico Aubele

3. Make The Main Course Together

The less she is standing there watching you cook, probably the better. So build your own personal flatbreads or pizza. Just buy a bunch of cured meats, some good mozzarella and fresh greens. It’s more fun and interactive. If you feel like that’s too lazy, just make the homemade pesto or sauce beforehand.

Prosciutto, Pesto & Arugula Pizza Recipe Here

4. Let’s Not Do Dinner

She might still want a nice dinner out, but a brunch or breakfast is a nice gesture from scratch.

5. Cook Something With A Story

If you don’t know what to serve for the main event, serve something personal. Your Mom’s Goulash, the Larb recipe you learned backpacking in Northern Thailand, the bolognese you stole from Uncle Tony, nobody will refute your logic and it makes dinner more interesting.

6. The Most Crowd-Pleasing Dessert We Know

Maybe it’s because it stirs up notions of adolescent nights around the campfire or because it’s cozy as hell or because it’s a big mug of liquid chocolate but fresh hot chocolate made with real chocolate is a winner. Make sure you go to a specialty shop in your area and get artisan (yes fancy fancy) marshmallows. It’s fun, it’s delicious and nobody has ever said “Ahhhh really hot chocolate? I hate hot chocolate.”

Need nice mallows? Wondermade.

Irish Hot Chocolate w/ Guinness Marshmallows Recipe Here

7. Burn The Roast

She will appreciate it, regardless. Understand the theory of burning the roast.

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You might like Mantry as a Valentine’s Day gift for him because guys like food usually.

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