For those that have fun Valentine’s Day, there are usually two faculties of favor: the cutesy and the eleganza. If heart-shaped every thing and a candy-pink palette isn’t your jam, contemplate a classy—however not essentially fussy—dinner or dessert (or each) impressed by valuable gems.
Taking your culinary cues from the wealthy colours and shiny luster of jewels is definitely extra wallet-friendly than shopping for costly baubles, however there’s nothing low cost concerning the look or style of those delicacies. And you don’t have to go literal and make exhausting sweet gems, both. Once you start to take a look at produce and preserves and the remainder of the meals world with an eye to hanging gold (or rubies, or emeralds…), you begin to see an infinite array of lovely prospects.
Your grocery retailer is a treasure trove: beets, each garnet and golden; ruby-veined radicchio and treviso; deep emerald spinach; vibrant peridot-green pistachios; glistening carnelian beads of salmon roe; shiny pink Amarena cherries; shining citrus, particularly pink grapefruit and beautiful blood oranges; ruby pips of pomegranate seeds; rainbow chard; sure dried fruits like cranberries and golden raisins; deep purple potatoes; sunstone-colored membrillo (quince paste, good with salty cheese); softly luminous thinly shaved cured meats like prosciutto and Serrano ham, or smoked salmon (bonus factors for beet-cured gravlax); glowing topaz honey or apricot jam—these are all excellent elements in and of themselves that require minimal or no processing to deliver out their greatest gem-like qualities.
Make them the star of a dish by setting them amongst easy, extra impartial accompaniments; assume restrained salads, cheese-topped toasts or crostini, and minimalist cocktails. This makes it potential to spotlight a single lovely ingredient or to jumble a number of collectively for a jewellery field impact—a salad composed of a single sort of leaf, scattered with supremed citrus segments, pistachios, and roasted beets, or reserved however beautiful little toasts with brie and golden mounds of kumquat marmalade.
Shining, Shimmering, Splendid
Some of the components talked about above undoubtedly fall into this class too, however take into consideration what methods you’ll be able to apply to extra ho-hum tidbits to actually make them shine. Glaze fruit in a easy syrup—it makes for a stunning glistening facet, and has the bonus of creating pallid winter strawberries and different out-of-season fruits style a lot better; add further flavorings to your syrup if you would like, like vanilla beans or cardamom. Along the identical strains, you should use superfine sugar to frost recent fruit, from cranberries to blackberries to grapes. Gelatin can seize shiny but translucent colours with excessive shine. (If you instinctively recoil on the considered Jell-O, keep in mind that the inherently fancy French have been doing aspic and gelée ceaselessly.) Unflavored gelatin also can offer you spectacular mirror glaze outcomes on mousse desserts, in any gemstone shade you want, from ruby purple to sapphire blue. Candy kumquats they usually flip to polished citrine. Make purple wine poached pears they usually glow.
On the savory aspect, go for sticky, shiny glazes in your major protein, whether or not meat, poultry, or seafood (or veggies, tofu, and so on. for that matter), produced from purple wine and/or cherries, blueberries, redcurrant jelly, or blackberry preserves, or go golden with honey and apricots. Luminous mixed-fruit chutney additionally works superbly with numerous proteins. Or make a shiny emerald-green oil-and-herb sauce (pesto or chimichurri) to spark shrimp, steak, roasted greens, or no matter else you want. Consider serving your principal course over rice, quinoa, or couscous pilaf studded with dried fruit and nuts, or vibrant steamed greens with pops of contrasting colour from pomegranate seeds or golden beet slivers scattered about.
Twenty-four karat meals comes most clearly within the type of edible gold leaf, which you’ll be able to sprinkle or clean on actually the whole lot for a contact of gourmand glitz—or attempt luster mud, for turning fudge into tiny gold bricks for example. But you may also pay homage to the valuable metallic within the type of caramel, from a liquid glaze on a tart or flan to an amber brittle like on the highest of crème brûlée. Or symbolize it with completely cooked pastry. Even just-so caramelized scallops or hen have a fairly golden hue. You can kind of nod to gold by tingeing dishes with saffron too; use it in risotto, poaching liquid for pale meals that may tackle the brilliant yellow tint, even stir it into straightforward ice cream.
A liberal coating of sanding sugar could make cookies or truffles appear to be they’re coated in diamond mud, or giant flakes of sea salt can sparkle on the floor of a chocolate tart to evoke a scattering of icy diamond chips.
Another good factor about cooking within the colour palette of effective gems is that it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s-specific. If you assume Cupid is silly and love is the worst, you possibly can throw an particularly fabulous anti-Valentine’s Day celebration to categorical your esteem in your single self. Or escape the treasure chest components for any grand event dinner, regardless of the place it falls on the calendar. But when you comply with this MO for a particular somebody on the formally sanctioned day of excessive romance, they may keep in mind and recognize it all the time (not to be a downer, however in all probability even when issues don’t finally work out).
So use these examples as inspiration, or comply with a few of the jaw-dropping recipes highlighted right here and prepare dinner—then eat—your coronary heart out.
Blood Orange Margarita
Blood orange juice provides a punch of shade and extra-zesty taste to a margarita. If you’re extra into amethysts (and conventional Valentine’s Day bubbly), attempt the dead-simple and superbly violet Elizabeth Taylor Champagne Cocktail. But if you need one thing bolder, blood orange is the best way to go. Get our Blood Orange Margarita recipe.
Golden Beet and Citrus Salad with Spiced Honey Vinaigrette
This plate pops with sensible shade, and slicing the citrus into faceted shapes highlights their resemblance to edible gems much more. Crisp fennel and creamy avocado complement the juicy fruit, and a spiced honey French dressing brings all of it collectively. Get the recipe.
Smoky Purple Sweet Potato Soup with Bacon and Chipotle
Amethyst occurs to be the normal February birthstone, so that is an particularly good selection for an sudden Valentine’s Day soup—however should you can’t discover purple produce, brilliant orange candy potatoes will work simply as nicely and nonetheless be beautiful. Get the recipe.
Puff Pastry Baked Brie with Fig Jam and Candied Walnuts
Golden, flaky pastry plus heat, gooey brie, plus shiny, juicy pomegranate seeds and ripe figs? Yes, please! It’s virtually too fairly to eat, however actually, how might you resist digging in? Oh, and there are candied walnuts too. Get the recipe.
Grilled Salmon with Beet Blood Orange Relish
Beets are one of the lovely roots, not just for their extremely vibrant hue however their incomparable earthy-sweet style. Paired with balsamic vinegar and blood oranges, they make an elegant topping for easy grilled salmon that’s positive to win anybody’s coronary heart. Get the recipe.
Mini Beef Wellingtons
Fancy and enjoyable, these mini nuggets of beef tenderloin wrapped in prosciutto, mushroom duxelles, and wealthy golden pastry might take a while, however are completely value it. For the vegan and vegetarian sophisticates, there are pleasant beet Wellingtons, however for the remainder of us, a ruby middle could be achieved by correctly cooking these meaty little parcels of affection. Get the recipe.
Gold Leaf Macarons
Dessert might be as superbly easy as a scoop of luscious ice cream topped with edible gems of kumquat spoon fruit and their syrup, or chocolate mendiants, however in the event you’re up for a little bit of a undertaking, make macarons in a mixture of jewel tones with the addition of shiny gold leaf. They might not final so long as precise jewellery, however they’re far more considerate (and tastier too). Get the recipe.
DIY Gemstone Cupcakes
You might in all probability even get away with simply shopping for fancy candies (or make them your self on this gem-faceted mould to match the theme!), however should you intend to actually wow, these crazy-amazing gemstone cupcakes can’t be beat. Get the recipe.