5 Dishes to Make Him Love You

By: Christine Venzon

No sneaking! See more pictures of aphrodisiac foods.
©iStockphoto.com/Maica

It may be true that "nothing says lovin' like something from the oven," but with guys, love is twined with respect. A dish should say "I care," but it can also say "You deserve the best, and you're man enough to handle it."

In this article, we present five ultimate Valentine's Day dishes that let a guy know how much you admire him. Of course, not every food fits every guy. The spirit counts as much as the ingredients. If your man is a vegetarian, for example, don't "surprise" him with filet mignon. Present him with a plate of artful vegetable sushi with wasabi sauce on the side. Get creative with your choices, and let him know how much consideration you've put into preparing his special dish.

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Also, consider your cooking skills. If you're more adept with a menu than a meat cleaver, there are people who are paid to do that stuff. They're called caterers! Still, there are tons of recipes available online with easy directions -- so don't worry!

Our first dish gets him in touch with his inner caveman.

5: Rack of Ribs

Spareribs: man's favorite finger food.
Spareribs: man's favorite finger food.
©iStockphoto.com/Freeze Frame Studio, Inc.

What food is a better opportunity to indulge that primitive hunger than a slab of spareribs? For maximum enjoyment, slather the ribs with sauce, hide the forks and knives, and smile with delight as he gnaws the meat straight from the bone. You'll get extra credit if it's smoked over an open flame.

If ribs are a bit unwieldy for the circumstances, Buffalo wings and loaded tacos make satisfying, portable portions.

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Next up: a seafood dish that put fish sticks to shame.

4: Lobster

Bring out the king in him with a fancy lobster dish.
Bring out the king in him with a fancy lobster dish.
©iStockphoto.com/Bochkarev Photography

Lobster is the epitome of seafood extravagance. We suggest using lobster tail, as it's considered the choicest part. Also, dispatching a live crustacean can be traumatic if you're not used to food that has a face. A purist might prefer his baked, steamed or broiled with melted butter and lemon juice. For a guy who eats as if every meal could be his last, Lobster Newburg doubles the decadence with an egg yolk-cream sauce.

If you want to balance this self-indulgence with social responsibility, choose domestic lobster, especially spiny lobster from California, Florida and Mexico's Baja Peninsula. They're the most likely to have been harvested sustainably.

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Lobster too upscale for your guy? Take him to the bayou (or go online) for alligator meat. Prepare with his favorite chicken or pork applications -- barbecued gator, perhaps, or gator Parmesan.

Next, a dessert that's not as easy as pie.

3: Tiramisu

Add a touch of cocoa for a for a delicious Valentine's Day dessert.
Add a touch of cocoa for a for a delicious Valentine's Day dessert.
©iStockphoto.com/barol16

This decadent dessert promises fat, more fat and a caffeine buzz. It's also a true labor of love. First, you make zabaglione, an egg-and-sugar fluff that's a dessert in its own right, and then blend it with mascarpone -- cooked heavy cream, a kind of ultra-rich Italian cream cheese. Some recipes have you fold the mixture into whipped cream. This concoction is layered with ladyfingers that have been soaked in sweetened espresso. Serve it in a glass dish so he can see how much you fussed even before he tastes it.

You say your guy doesn't do fussy? Collect an assortment of ice cream flavors and toppings, and hand him a scooper for a build-your-own super sundae. The DIYer in your life will love it.

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Our next recipe is for guys who can handle the heat.

2: Five-alarm Chili

Spice things up with some chili.
Spice things up with some chili.
©iStockphoto.com/Robyn Mackenzie

Hot and spicy foods are a badge of courage for guys. Start a conflagration in a Crockpot with garlic and onion, cumin, and oregano. Fuel the flames with fresh and ground chilies: cayenne and paprika, poblano, and jalapeño. Serve with crackers or cornbread, just in case, as a face-saving way to cool the heat. (Milk might be better, but it's decidedly out of place here.)

If your guy finds plain tongue burning too boorish, try the nuanced heat of ethnic cooking, from a Cajun gumbo, chock-full of smoked andouille sausage, to an Indian chicken tikka masala, bathed in a spiced yogurt marinade and simmered in a tomato cream sauce.

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Our last recipe, fittingly, brings it all back home.

1: Classic Meat and Mashed Potatoes

Few can argue with the classic meat and potatoes dinner.
Few can argue with the classic meat and potatoes dinner.
©iStockphoto.com/lbarn

Meat and potatoes. It's classic comfort food -- hearty, simple fare that appeals to the essential American male. At the same time, it caters to the little boy inside. Serve with gravy and ketchup, and don't flinch if he drowns his mashed potato with both.

If his parents don't have a recipe, use your own mom's. Or your neighbor's. The more dog-eared and grease-stained, the better. Failing that, take him to the locally owned, non-franchise diner.

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For guys who grew up with a silver fork in their mouth, try veal terrine with duchesse potatoes and gourmet ketchup.

If you want more tips on Valentine's Day, see the links on the next page.

Lots More Information

Related Articles

More Great Links

  • Bugialli, Giuliano. Classic Techniques of Italian Cooking. Simon & Schuster/Fireside, 1989.
  • Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. "American Alligator." (Jan. 1, 2011) http:www.fl-seafood.com/species/alligator.htm
  • Food & Wine. "Chicken Tikka Masala." (Jan. 1, 2010) http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chicken-tikka-masala
  • Seafood WATCH. "Lobster, Spiny." (Jan. 1, 2011) http://www.montereybayacquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_factsheet.aspx?fid=205
  • Volpi, Anna Marie. "Classical Tiramisu Cake Recipe." (Jan. 1, 2011) http://www.annamarievolpi.com/page30.html
  • What's Cooking America. "Lobster Newburg." (Dec. 31, 2010) http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/LobsterNewburgHistory.htm

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