It's date night at your place tonight — so what's cooking for dinner?
Before you ransack your kitchen pantry in desperation ... or worse: resort to your go-to (read: boring) chicken alfredo pasta, there are plenty of easy-to-whip-up dishes perfect for a relaxing, romantic at-home dinner for two. There's no need to make dinner reservations at an expensive restaurant.
We think staying in is the new sexy. That's why we're kicking off our Dinner For Two series by serving up a mouthwatering menu that's sure to impress your date — sneakily flavored with aphrodisiac ingredients, like these Thai salmon sliders.
Most people don't know that salmon is considered an aphrodisiac. The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon keep sex-hormone production at its peak. The recipe calls for using your hands to form the salmon patties so feel free to get a bit messy together, sexy and provocative while preparing them in your kitchen. Plus, the sandwiches are bite sized, so you can feed them to each another. Pair this dish with a crisp, skinny cocktail, a healthier version of French fries (cut sweet potato cooked in coconut oil, and sprinkled with sea salt and tasty herbs), a batch of zesty lemon and ginger bars, and you've got yourselves one sexy meal!
The Drink: Ginger Pear Sangria
by Camille Styles
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup pear-flavored vodka
- 1 bottle prosecco (or other sparkling wine)
- 1/4 cup thinly-sliced candied ginger, plus a few pieces reserved for garnish
- 1 bartlett pear, sliced
- Fill a pitcher 1/3 full with ice. Add apple juice, ginger and pear vodka; stir.
- Add pear slices to pitcher, reserving a few for garnish. Let sit in refrigerator for a few hours so all the flavors marinate.
- When ready to serve, fill remainder of pitcher with prosecco and serve. Serve in tall glasses, and garnish with small picks threaded with reserved candied ginger and pear slices.
The Main Dish: Thai Salmon Sliders
by Tina Ruggiero of The Truly Healthy Family Cookbook
- 24 oz. Atlantic salmon, cubed
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 tbsp. red curry paste
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/2 cup scallions
- 2 tbsp. + 1 1/2 tsp. fish sauce, divided
- 6 oz. thinly sliced cucumber, preferably hothouse
- 3/4 tsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 12 silver dollar rolls or dinner rolls or mini hamburger buns
- Place the salmon, coriander and red curry paste in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until well-combined then add the cilantro, scallions and two tbsp. of the fish sauce. Pulse to incorporate. Form the mixture into 12 sliders, approximately 2 1/2" in diameter. Sliders can be frozen at this point. Remove to the refrigerator to defrost before proceeding.
- Toss the cucumber with the rice vinegar and remaining 1 1/2 tsp. fish sauce. Reserve.
- Heat oven to 200ºF. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Brush with a little of the vegetable oil. Place as many of the sliders in the oven as will fit in the pan. Cook until browned on one side, about two minutes, then repeat on the second side. Cook all sliders. Place them on a baking tray in the oven. Toast burger buns or rolls, if desired. Place bottoms on a work surface and top with the cucumbers. Top each with a slider. Drizzle the juices from the cucumber on the top half of each bun before closing.
The Side: Baked Sweet Potato Fries
by Sarah O'Toole and Peter Hagstrom of Cooking With CSA
- 2 orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
- 1/3 cup hemp seeds
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp. dried basil
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 dash of sea salt
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- Pre-heat oven to 375ºF.
- Wash sweet potatoes, then cut in half length wise.
- Next, cut into thin fry-like strips. Place cut fries into a large bowl.
- Next, peel and chop garlic, add that to a large bowl.
- Next, add hemp seeds, basil, oregano, sea salt and coconut oil into bowl.
- Using your hands, mix and massage everything together.
- On two baking sheets lay out flat sweet potatoes, not too close together.
- Sprinkle remaining mixture that did not stick to fries back over the top.
- Bake for 35 minutes.
The Dessert: Lemon & Ginger Bars
by Nick Malgieri of Bake!
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. ground ginger (more if you like)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted after measuring
- 3 tbsp. lemon juice, strained before measuring
- One 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan lined with buttered foil
- Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
- Mix the flour, sugar, ground ginger, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
- Melt the butter over medium heat and immediately add to the dry ingredients; use a large rubber spatula to stir to a smooth, shiny dough. Add the egg, crystallized ginger, honey and lemon zest and beat vigorously to make a smooth dough.
- Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and use the floured palm of your hand to evenly press it over the bottom of the pan. Don't be concerned if the dough looks greasy after pressing it onto the pan — the butter will be reabsorbed while baking.
- Bake the bars until well risen, firm, and lightly golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- While the bars are baking, use a small rubber spatula to beat the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice together. Add water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, if it's too thick to spread.
- As soon as the bars are baked, place a cutting board on the pan and use oven mitts to invert the hot bars to the board. Remove the pan and foil. Immediately use a small offset spatula to evenly spread the lemon glaze on the bars. It will set as the bars cool.
- Use a ruler and a sharp knife to mark, then cut, 2-inch squares.
- Store the squares in a tightly-covered tin or plastic container between sheets of wax paper.
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