Tuesday, February 13, 2018

How to Host a Romantic Valentine Dinner Party--Part Two

Valentine's Day is a special time to show your friends and family a little love.  If you are considering staying home, follow along as I prepare a romantic dinner party for 10.

Part Four:  Food

If you missed Part I, catch it here.  The next step, and always the one that I fear the most, is the food!!  I try to do my best in the kitchen, but something always seems to go wrong.  I definitely have a vision, it's just my vision is not always reality.  

Here was the plan:  for appetizers and cocktails, I prepared ahi tuna steaks.  This really isn't a cooking blog, but since this was easy, I will explain the procedure.  I bought two thick cut fresh ahi tuna steaks from Costco.  I sprinkled both sides with onion powder and garlic powder, doused them with soy sauce, and then pressed in sesame seeds to both sides.  I used a cast iron skillet and oil (not olive oil, as the pan needs to be very hot).  Both sides were seared on very high heat for approx. two minutes per side, less if the tuna is not thick.  After letting it rest, I cut against the grain and dressed it with wasabi and teriyaki sauce.  This was delicious and turned out great.  A bit hit.  I also bought prepared spinach artichoke dip from Sam's Club and had that with scoops.  A guest brought lollipop lamb chops.  Spinach muffin squares were set out but some choose to wait and eat them with dinner.  

I prepared a signature cocktail of Cosmos.  I found a recipe I liked on Pinterest and made up a large pitcher.  When served, we dipped the martini glass in water, then red sugar, and dressed with a lime wedge.  Beer and wine were also available.

Next came the salad.  This turned out yummy as well.  Simply a salad with strawberries, red and orange peppers, glazed pecans, and feta cheese.  This was dressed with a blush wine vinaigrette.

The main entree was ok, but not as good as expected.  I used this recipe.  I am not one to prepare a new recipe for guests, so I tested this out a week or so before and it was delicious.  I thought I could tweak it a bit, as the sauce seemed a bit thin, and the chicken too thick.  I sliced the breasts in half, turning 6 into 12, and added a small amount of flour to the chicken broth to thicken the sauce.  Yea, bad idea.  The sauce, instead of being flavorful and yummy, tasted too much like the flour.  It was also hard to keep this warm and prepare in advance.  I made this in the afternoon and put it in the crock pot on warm, but by the time I put it in the serving platter with the fettuccine, and we had our salad, it was cold.  Oh well, green beans--same.  I warmed them up, which cooked them more, and they weren't as crisp as I would have liked.   

Chocolate cake was delicious.  I found the recipe here.

Part Five:  Flowers

Now on to something I can feel good about.  I bought three dozen roses from Costco.  Usually they are $19.99 for two dozen, but prices always go up this time of year.  I paid $15.99 per dozen, still not too bad because I get a lot of bang for my buck.  

Luckily, I have lots of greens in my back yard.  I cut magnolia and used my silver trophy urn, filling it with layers of magnolia leaves.  Then I added the roses.

I prepared the flowers on Thursday, and the party was on Saturday.  I used water-soaked oasis to keep the flowers fresh.

I used this arrangement on my kitchen table, using white as well as red roses.

I put the cake, dessert plates, and coffee service on the kitchen table until we were ready for it.

Next, I prepared the arrangement for my dining room table.  I used the greens that came with the flowers, as well as yew from my backyard.

I also used roses in small crystal vases for each end of the table. 

I prepared a bud vase with three red roses to use on my server.

I still had one rose left, so I used a little silver creamer pitcher, and put the rose with greens on my silver tray.  Mini lights reflected off the tray and this looked so pretty at night.

Part Six:  Finishing Touches

Next came the place settings.  I used creamy white china with gold edging.  Mirrored chargers came from Tuesday Morning.  Red napkins were purchased at World Market, and the napkin rings are some that I've had for years.  I didn't have enough place card holders that matched, so I made some using card stock and heart paper punches.

I placed a heart-shaped chocolate on each plate.  I also placed a few hearts on top of the tulle.

I used red goblets, and gold rimmed water glasses.

I hung a few hearts from my chandelier.

I used votives as well as mini lights under the tulle.

The evening was tons of fun, and I hope the guests enjoyed it.

Here are a few more pictures for you to enjoy!

Happy Valentine's Day!!