Thinking about going out to dinner this Valentine’s Day? Whether tradition or simply a safety move, there is something about dining with a person you care for that strengthens your unionl—if only for just one day. Pioneer of Nuevo Latino cuisine and TV personality Chef Alex Garcia spoke to Fox News Latino about how he’s making that night special—and gave us some recipes so you can do it yourself at home.
Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest times of year for restaurants. What will your restaurants [among them Calle Ocho and Havana Café] be doing for it?
A Valentine’s weekend! Different themes keep things interesting, so for example, Friday all of my restaurants are mixing 'love potions' and Saturdays we are featuring 'dinners for two.'
Potions are sweet—but I heard you have a spicier theme planned.
On Monday, we’re doing an aphrodisiac menu with all the restaurants. But for the second year in a row, we are doing an event at Shag [“Aphrodisiacs y Amor” in Williamsburg, Brooklyn] and I will do all the cooking myself. Couples do blindfolded tastings and learn about the power of the aphrodisiac. With only 12 couples, it is very intimate.
Real quick: What are the top 3 erotic foods?
Oysters, ginger and mangos. Some, like ginger, have real chemical reactions and been scientifically proven to stimulate sexuality, while others, like mangos, are just because just want people believe that they are.
Though I am sure you hope they do the opposite, some people prefer to stay home on Valentine’s Day. Any advice for someone planning to cook a romantic meal?
It’s a special day, so you should put some passion into it. Starting with great drinks and fresh ingredients. Also, go for something you can share, a nice cevich or seafood soup. [For a couple recipes, see below.]
But just in case your cooking falls short...it doesn’t hurt to have those great drinks, right?
Of course. [Laughs]. Just put in the effort—that is most important!
Erica Y. Lopez has written for ABCNews.com and is now a freelance writer for Fox News Latino. She can be reached at Ericaylopez@gmail.com.
Lobster Ceviche with Passion Fruit
2 (1 1/2 pound) lobsters, cooked, chilled, and shelled
1 red onion, julienned
2 tomatoes, concassed and julienned
2 scallions, sliced
2 oranges, segmented
2 cups mango nectar
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 passion fruits, juiced
Pinch finely chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
1 mango, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
2 grapefruits, segmented
Dice the lobsters into large pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the onion, tomatoes, scallions, and orange segments.
In a separate bowl, combine the mango nectar, lime juice, and the passion fruit juice. Add the juice mixture to the lobster mixture and season with cilantro, salt, and pepper, to taste.
Arrange sliced mango and grapefruit segments on a plate and top with ceviche.
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
2 ounces white rum
1/2-1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (recipe follows)
4 ounces club soda
6 sprigs fresh mint
1 vanilla bean, split in 1/2 lengthwise and crosswise
4 cups granulated sugar
Directions for Mojito:
Rim cocktail glass with vanilla sugar.Combine all ingredients except mint in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Muddle the mint in the bottom of a cocktail glass. Add ice. Strain mixture into the glass with the muddled mint, and serve.
Directions for Vanilla Sugar:
In a large container or glass jar with an airtight lid, pour 1/2 of the sugar. Add bean quarters and cover with remaining sugar. Seal and place in a cool, dark place. Two or more times a day, shake the container to distribute the vanilla essence. Shake daily for at least 1 week and up to 3 weeks. Replenish the sugar as it is used.