When preparing a memorable romantic meal, you want to prepare appetizers that cleanse the palate and warm up your taste buds for what's to come. Try baking a thin pizza and topping it with fresh mozzarella, crimini mushrooms, arugula and a drizzle of truffle oil. Toast a few slices of sourdough bread and spread some fig jam. Top with a slice prosciutto and a sprig of mint. For a salad, toss baby spinach and arugula in salt and olive oil. Top with sliced mango and pomegranate seeds. Season it with black pepper and drizzle with fresh lemon juice.
A tip to preparing easy appetizers is to prepare ahead of time. Salads can be chopped and mixed before, but always drizzle with dressing after serving.
A romantic meal should be special, so you want to use ingredients you normally don't buy. Think filet mignon for bold exquisiteness or fresh sea scallops for a delicate approach. Sear two filet mignon cuts in a pan with olive oil for about 4 minutes on each side. In a small saucepan, melt some butter and turn off heat. Once melted, mix some crumbled blue cheese and keep to the side. Let the filet mignon rest a few minutes so its juices stay intact. Top with blue-cheese butter mixture and serve.
Another idea is seared scallops with bacon and a port reduction sauce. Mix your favorite port wine in a saucepan with sugar and some black pepper. Simmer until sugar dissolves. To take away some of the alcohol flavors just carefully ignite a match over reduction until flames die down. This might take a couple of minutes. Then you'll want to cook a few stripes of bacon until crisp. Set aside and use the same pan with bacon fat to sear the scallops until they are opaque. Remember to pat dry scallops for searing for a clean sear. Serve with bacon pieces on top and drizzle the port reduction.
A dessert for a romantic meal is your last chance to impress your date. Chocolate-drizzled strawberries alongside a champagne cocktail often works its charm.
Melt sugar in a pan until it starts to melt. Take off heat and pour some heavy cream and stir for a few minutes. Bring back to moderate heat and stir constantly until sugar is caramelized. Add some bittersweet chocolate and stir until melted. Drizzle mixture on strawberries. For the cocktail, pour a few ounces of your favorite whiskey with a splash of fresh orange juice and ice in a cocktail mixer. Strain and pour into a champagne flute glass. Leave some space in the flute for the champagne. Add some presentation by carefully peeling the rind of an orange and place inside the cocktail. Wait until the last moment to pop a bottle of bubbly champagne and top the cocktails. In place of champagne you can use sparkling wine such as prosecco.