Date night -- Dating bucket list

Valentine's Day is that one day each year that couples go all out, plan big dates, buy flowers -- the works. Why not use this Valentine's Day to create an entire year of fabulous dates instead of just one?

Date night dishes… Dating Bucket List

A dating bucket list is a fun way to get creative and force yourselves to plan interesting dates. Having your dates written down and placed in an area that you can see them often will likely increase the chances of completing each item on the list.

We're being romantic here not morbid, so unlike most bucket lists, set your end date as next Valentine's Day and strive to add at least 12 unique dates to your list. The date ideas can be crazy like skydiving together, to romantic like taking a weekend getaway, to simple like having a picnic in your local park. Just making the list will be a fun activity for the two of you and will leave you feeling excited for the year to come. Long after your roses wilt and the wine is gone, you'll have a series of dates to keep the romance alive.

Start by spoiling yourselves to a fancy dinner at home, complete with multiple varieties of wine. Dress up just as you would if you were going out. The recipes below are courtesy of VOGA Wines. The salad and cake can be made in advance so you can enjoy the evening without spending the whole time in the kitchen.

Chilled lobster salad recipe

Lobster is a staple when you are trying to spoil yourself, but instead of serving it with dinner, try this salad option to get the meal started. This course would pair perfectly with a crisp sparkling wine like VOGA Sparkling Pinot Grigio.

Chilled lobster salad with steamed asparagus

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked, flaked lobster
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Lemon zest
  • Dash pepper
  • 1 bunch asparagus

Green salad dressing:

  • 6 chopped scallions
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup creme fraiche
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

Directions:

  1. For green salad dressing, combine ingredients in a food processor. Puree until all ingredients are combined and the dressing is smooth. Place in the refrigerator to cool.
  2. Steam asparagus in a double boiler until it is tender but still slightly crisp.
  3. Sprinkle lobster with lemon juice. Add celery, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
  4. Gently stir in mayonnaise and chill thoroughly.
  5. Arrange lobster salad atop green salad dressing.

Grilled pepper steak recipe

For the main course, indulge in a grilled pepper steak with honey braised onions. The savory meat pairs perfectly with a robust red wine like VOGA Merlot.

Grilled pepper steak with honey braised onions

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cracked peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 beef T-bone or rib eye steaks, 3/4- to 1-inch thick
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

  1. Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.
  2. Mix all spices in a small bowl. Lightly brush oil on both sides of beef. Press spice mixture onto both sides of beef. Let stand 15 minutes.
  3. Lightly brush remaining oil on onion slices.
  4. Cover and grill beef and onions four to five inches from medium-high heat 10 to 12 minutes, turning once, until beef is cooked to medium. Alter cooking times based on preference.
  5. Brush honey on onions and serve with the steak.

German chocolate cake recipe

Don't stop drinking wine just because the meal is complete. Most people think of coffee or some other rich beverage when considering after-dinner drinks, but when coupled with dessert, it can be too much. With chocolates, try a sweet, muscat-based wine like VOGA Moscato to enhance your dessert and provide the perfect ending to a delicious meal.

German chocolate cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 (1 ounce) squares German sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1-1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon shortening
  • 1 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) round pans.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat water and four ounces chocolate until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, cream one cup butter and two cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in four egg yolks one at a time. Blend in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, mixing just until incorporated.
  5. In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, and then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain.
  6. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan; then turn out onto wire rack.
  7. To make the filling: In a saucepan, combine one cup sugar, evaporated milk, 1/2 cup butter and three egg yolks. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut, pecans and vanilla. Cool until thick enough to spread.
  8. Spread filling between layers and on top of cake. In a small saucepan, melt shortening and one ounce of chocolate. Stir until smooth and drizzle down the sides of the cake.

More Date Night Dishes >>

More Valentine's Day recipes

Classic tiramisu recipe
Three romantic chocolate recipes for Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day martini menu

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