We showed you how to get crafty in our Refinery29 photo feature on throwing a Do-It-Yourself Valentine’s Day dinner party. Now learn how to replicate the same spectacular buffet dishes you saw in the story with our recipes below! Even though Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, it’s totally manageable to execute this menu for the big night: the ingredients are seasonal and the recipes are scaled to be prepared in a home kitchen. Make DIY a new Valentine’s tradition with this simple yet stunning home-made meal.
Because we threw a dinner party, these recipes serve roughly 6–8 guests.
Winter Citrus & White Wine Sangria
2 blood oranges, sliced thin and seeds removed
2 oranges, sliced thin and seeds removed
1/2 cup kumquats, sliced into thin rounds
1 bunch mint, leaves picked from the stems
2 bottles sauvignon blanc
4 cups ice
1) Combine all ingredients in large punch bowl then let sit in fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.
2) Add ice to taste and serve.
Green Goddess Avocado Dip for Crudités
Gluten-Free, substitute pureed tofu to make Vegan and Dairy-Free
1 shallot, diced small
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup herbs, chopped (parsley, chives, chervil, and/or tarragon)
Zest and Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
1) In a medium bowl, combine diced shallots, lemon juice and zest, and a pinch of salt.
2) Add the remaining ingredients and mash with a whisk for a chunky consistency, or add all ingredients into a blender and lightly blend if you prefer a smoother texture.
3) Season to taste with salt and additional lemon juice if necessary.
Gluten-Free, remove bacon jam to make Vegetarian
2 dates, cut in half lengthwise and pit removed
4 oz Gorgonzola cheese
6 strips bacon, chopped into small ‘bits’
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 tbsp thyme, chopped
2 celery stalks (including the leaves)
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1) Make the bacon jam: Add chopped bacon to a medium pan and cook over low heat until all of the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy. Remove cooked bacon bits from the pan and set aside on a paper-towel lined plate, then drain the bacon fat from the pan into a small bowl and set aside.
2) Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat back into the pan over medium-low until heat. Add the onion and cook until it is deeply caramelized, about 30–45 minutes. Then add bacon bits, chopped thyme, cider vinegar and brown sugar. Cook for an additional 10 minutes until thick and sticky. Set aside to cool.
2) Prep the celery garnish: Pick the celery leaves from the celery stalks and set aside. Slice the celery stalk on the bias (basically at a 45 degree angle, just not straight across) into 1/4 inch strips.
3) Assemble the dates: Spoon a tiny dollop of bacon jam into the date. Top with a crumble of blue cheese, a slice of celery, and a celery leaf.
Quinoa Salad with Arugula & Roasted Grapes
Gluten-Free, serve nuts and goat cheese on the side for other allergen sensitivities
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups arugula, washed
1/2 cup pistachios, toasted and chopped
1 cup red grapes, de-vined
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Roughly 1/2 cup olive oil, (for divided use)
Salt to taste
1) Cook the quinoa: Rinse quinoa well in a strainer — this will prevent it from tasting grassy. Then combine rinsed quinoa in a pot with 1 and 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15–20 minutes until the quinoa is tender. The length of cooking time will depend on the color of quinoa you are cooking (white cooks faster than red) and the exact shape of your pot/heat of your stove. When quinoa is cooked, dump out onto a sheet tray to cool and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
2) Roast the grapes: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the grapes on a sheet tray with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pinch of pepper. Roast for 5–8 minutes until the grapes darken in color but still have some texture.
3) Make the vinaigrette: In the bowl that you will assemble the salad, combine minced shallot and sherry vinegar with a pinch of salt. Let sit for 5–10 minutes, then whisk in the remaining olive oil.
4) Add the quinoa, toasted pistachios, roasted grapes, and arugula to the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Taste, then season with more salt, oil, or vinegar as necessary.
5) Add crumbled goat cheese last and gently toss to prevent over crumbling.
Vegan and Gluten-Free, serve nuts on the side for other allergen sensitivities
2 heads of cauliflower (look for colors like purple, green and yellow ‘cheddar,’ but white cauliflower is fine too)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
1) Cut the cauliflower into ‘steaks’ that are about 1 and 1/2 inches thick. You will only get about 2 ‘steaks’ per head of cauliflower, so reserve florets that do not stay in tact in a bowl and set aside.
2) Preheat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add 2 ‘steaks’ of cauliflower at a time. Cook for about 10 minutes per side, carefully monitoring the temperature so that the cauliflower will cook through and caramelize but does not burn. Continue working in batches until all ‘steaks’ are cooked.
3) Roast the reserved florets in the same manner as above until tender and golden brown.
4) Platter the florets first then place ‘steaks’ across the top. Garnish with lemon zest, chopped parsley, chopped hazelnuts, and finishing salt.
Are you cooking at home this Valentine’s Day? What dishes are you making for your loved ones? Tell us in the comments below!