Love and food have been equal partners since Adam and Eve.
The old adage, 'The way to a man's heart is through their stomach' is a philosophy I take very seriously.
It's true for women, too. In fact, I met my wife Stephanie nine years ago, and our first encounter, a blind date, was completely enhanced by my lucky ability to score a table at one of the city's hottest and best restaurants.
I guarantee you that our terrific dinner there helped me solidify another date from the woman who at the time seemed unattainable to me. She later confessed that if I didn't come with the offer to eat at Nobu, it would have been "cocktails only"!
We still love a big night on the town, but as the years have gone by, some of the most romantic times we've shared have been over simple meals cooked at home.
So here are a few food ideas that can make love bigger and better in your life.
Food shopping: It might sound mundane but it's really fun, especially when you're going to prepare a meal together. Let's just say, collaboration on dinner makes for better collaboration after dinner.
Cooking together: It's instant gratification. Who cares how it actually comes out?! In fact, a failed meal has longer legs as a story that you can share for years.
Ordering dinner in: A couple's pastime that has a soothing ring to it because you know it also means a movie, some blankets on the couch, and probably your favorite Chinese dumpling or pizza. Yum!
My personal favorite, though, is cooking for my wife on Sunday. It could be anything from paella to spaghetti and meatballs, a steamed wild striped bass, to a juicy porterhouse steak.
I take my time, usually starting the prep work early in the afternoon. As I'm chopping the garlic or blanching the vegetables, my love grows for her as the hours of the day dwindle away.
But dinner time gets closer. The red wine reducing away in the saucepan and the shrimp sizzling in gorgeous olive oil fill our home with aromas that only can be thought of as a precursor to love in the air.
As my dinner deadline approaches, the pressure is on. Will I make it "Iron Chef" style with just seconds to go? I hope I do . . . because as long as there's food, I know she'll love me another day.
And if you'd like a suggestion on what to prepare, Flay offers this recipe:
Slow Roasted Salmon with Herb Vinaigrette
1 ½ medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼ -inch thick slices
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 salmon fillets, 6 ounces each
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
½ tsp finely chopped fresh sage
½ tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
6 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 400º F. Brush two 8-inch cazuelas with olive oil and arrange the potato slices in one layer in the bottom. Brush the potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden brown and slightly soft. Remove potatoes and reduce the heat of the oven to 250ºF.
Season the salmon with salt and pepper and place the fillets on top of the potatoes, skin-side up. Roast in the oven to medium doneness, about 12-14 minutes.
While the salmon is roasting, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic and herbs in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the salmon from the oven and immediately drizzle each fillet with some of the vinaigrette.
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