Valentine’s Day Menu 2019

Well, it’s that time again to celebrate that most romantic of holidays, VD. And if your Valentine’s Day is anything like ours (“ours” meaning mine and The One Who Brings Me Love, Joy, and Happiness), it usually involves smooching, exchanging of cards and gifts, an argument (or three), and dinner of some sort.

But we rarely go to restaurants these days. The sight of billing and cooing couples is the ultimate anti-aphrodisiac. (That’s why God created bedrooms, people!) On top of that, unless we remortgage the apartment to pay for dinner at a chichi, Michelin-starred, lock-jawed restro where I actually have to wear a jacket AND a tie, we end up someplace having a meal we could’ve made (better) ourselves. And that usually ignites a huge argument. So, to avoid ending up on someone’s YouTube feed having a fabulous gay catfight, and considering that we like cooking and spending time alone, we now opt to cook at home.

A terrine of country pate with one slice cut and resting on a wooden cutting board with a knife beside it
This country pâté is made by cooking pork shoulder and liver with spices, heavy cream, and a splash of brandy. Perfect for entertaining and a stunning addition to any charcuterie plate.

This year Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday, so we’ll be rushing up to our house in Roxbury, Connecticut, from our apartment in Manhattan to cook together. The menu is simple but the appetizer–Country Pâté from the upcoming Pâte, Confit, and Rillette by Brian Polcyn and Michael Ruhlman–does require a bit of planning. So we’re making it this weekend and letting it rest for several days before digging in. (Since we don’t have the recipe on the site–yet–below is an admirable substitute.)

Two chops from a roasted rack of lamb with parsley, Dijon, and chives on a white plate with a cooked zucchini and tomato mixture.
This is lovely served with a market-fresh green vegetable, including spinach, brussels sprouts, broccoli rabe, collard greens.

For those of you who might not fancy our menu’s main course of a rack of lamb, we also include below a few other options, including a sassy, indulgent, vegetarian truffled mac and cheese. Yes, truffled.

A white plate full of dry fried green beans with crumbled pork and a pair of chopsticks on the side.
Dry-fried green beans are one of Sichuan's most famous recipes. The beans are fried until slightly wrinkled. Ground pork, rice wine, and fermented Ya Cai round out the flavor.
A white casserole dish with a roasted, spiced chicken it in, flanked by a dish of avocado salad and a bowl of lime wedges.
This Peruvian roast chicken borrows its Latin American accent from a marinade of paprika, cumin, lemon, and garlic, creating an amazing Technicolor Dream Coat color and a really quite spectacular taste.
Truffled mac and cheese in four mini-casserole pans, one with a fork and a few mouthfuls missing.
Mac and cheese just went from kids' food to fancy schmancy. All you need to do is toss in a few shavings of black truffle and some truffle oil. Pricey, perhaps. But well worth it every once in a special while.

Now, while you can end your night with any of a gazillion desserts, we implore you to join us in baking our Forever and Completely Chocolate Cake. (Ok, fine. It’s the classic Hershey’s chocolate cake from the back of the tin. But I added espresso powder to the batter and fiddled with the frosting to make it extra silken and rich.)

A Hershey chocolate cake with swirled chocolate frosting on a white cake stand
This Hershey’s chocolate cake recipe with frosting is an old-fashioned classic American dessert that will never, ever disappoint. Simple and simply the best.

Because this Valentine’s night, while The One and I are sitting at our table splurging on big fat slices of our chocolate cake, we’ll be thinking of all the couples, thruples, single ladies, human-pet duos, and those who think VD is a ridiculous, commercial holiday meant to make Hallmark rich. And we’ll be hoping that they, too, are sporting chocolate-smeared smiles. Won’t you join us?


David Signature



  1. David, beautiful meals, all. How can one decide? At least there’s no thinking about the dessert–chocolate! My husband has no interest in cooking, but he’s a good helper–he’ll come in and chop stuff for me when I have too many irons in the fire!

  2. Thank you for the Valentine Day recipes. Have a very Happy Loving Valentine Day to you, David, and The One.

  3. Picked up your rotisserie duck recipe online and now look forward to receiving updates from you. Loved your VD post.

    Greetings from London


  4. What a wonderful way to start my morning, with my favorite cup of green tea and watching your wonderful/warm/funny video. TY 🙂

    Like you two, we prefer to create dinner at home. Our favorite is your posted recipe for Grilled Eggplant Parmesan by Lucinda Quinn. I have been making eggplant parmesan the traditional (and MESSY) frying way for decades. This new recipe, which I call “Eggplant Towers,” is healthier and delicious, great texture too. TY again.

    I also LOVE the pic of you two on Aquinnah 🙂 Been going to MV for decades too <3

    Wishing you two a warm and loving V-Day.

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