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When it comes to a special night, making reservations at the best restaurant in town is often the first thing that comes to mind. But with all of those other people around, itís hardly ever as romantic as you had imagined. If you really want to make someone feel special, try cooking your own dinner for two. Keep in mind a few of these reliable techniques and youíre sure to create a memorable meal.
Lose the leaf. Turn your dining room or kitchen table into a two top by making it smaller than normal. If you cannot remove a leaf to create this effect, simply eliminate extra chairs to create your own private space.
Set things straight. Use your best plates, flatware, linens and glasses and make sure to have them set out in advance. A proper table is set with utensils approximately 1 1/2 inches from the edge of the table. Avoid large centerpieces that will interfere with conversation in favor of small vases or single buds.
Get the light right. If you have a beautiful chandelier simply dim the lights. If not, try creating the mood with candles.
Try being fresh. Frozen and canned vegetables are fine for everyday use, but for special occasions, you canít beat fresh ingredients. Look for the best fresh vegetables at local farmerís markets or natural food stores if possible. Try foods like artichokes, fava beans or celery root, which may seem too labor intensive on a regular night.
Make it simple. Donít go through the trouble of inviting over that special someone only to spend the entire evening over the stove. Choose recipes that can be prepared in advance and have few last minute tasks. If you are looking for a simple and delicious meal that your sweetheart will love, try Pork Chops with Raspberry and Sweet Onion Sauce.
Spice it up. Go with a menu that strays from the day-to-day. Try ethnic recipes that use exotic spices. Try preparing something from a country that you plan to visit or a place that youíve vacationed together.
Think about drinks. If you are drinking wine, make sure to find a match for every course. Purchase half bottles or save leftovers to use in cooking. When cooking ethnic foods choose beverages like sangria, margaritas or mai tais that harmonize with your theme.
Go halfsies. Rather than wasting food or ending up with a whole bunch of leftovers, remember to cut recipes in half for your intimate table. Use smaller pots and pans when creating sauces so that liquids do not over-reduce.
Take your time. Remember that youíre not trying to turn tables or get the night over with. Break up your menu into a few small courses rather than serving family style all at once.
Prepare for a sweet ending. A flaming last minute dessert is certainly great for grabbing someoneís attention, but youíll probably want to save that for the pros. Try this delicious Black Velvet Cake. It is sure to make the end of your meal memorable.