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romantic dinner timeline

I apologize! I’d meant to post a schedule for the Valentines dinner but life started suddenly running faster than I could, and here it is days later. Most of you weren’t looking for this anyway, but a promise is a promise, so here we go…

If you wanted to substitute a steak for the ahi, everything would proceed essentially the same as the timetable below. Just replace sesame seeds with cracked black pepper for the steak.

(For the stacked crab bistro salad, hints were already given for how with a few prep steps out of the way the night before, this can be very easily assembled in only a few minutes just before plating. You could enjoy a cocktail and an appetizer and then, in under 40 minutes have the rest of dinner ready to share.)

I know parts of this for some will seem overly simplistic – my hope is that a lovely dinner, this or some other, could be easily accessible and do-able for everyone. Very little should keep you (at least every now and then) from being able to put some love on the table for a sweetheart. So, with that, on to the rest of the dinner:

0:00 (oh-100 hours – I never thought I’d have the occasion to talk like that! 🙂 I sound like a sailor! Oh wait, that’s not what I mean, is it?)

Remove ahi from the fridge to take some of the chill off, and pat both sides with good sprinkle of coarse salt and then the sesame seeds. (Measure water for rice and put on to boil. Have dinner plates nearby for serving, with pickled ginger and wasabi paste on them. Put the rice on to cook. Set the timer for 30 minutes for the rice. 6 minutes total elapsed time.


Are you blanching the sugar snap peas the night before? Oh good for you. That’ll save time. Remove peas from fridge. The rest of this will come together so quickly. Brush the mushrooms clean, remove stems, slice thinly – about 1/4″.  Slice the shallot. Peel ginger, cut in thin slices (about 1/8″ or thinner). Cut those slices again in narrow strips to form matchsticks. Elapsed time 12 minutes.


Put one skillet on the stove for your ahi. (Cast iron works great, but any heavy skillet. Turn heat on very low just to gradually bring the heat up.) Put canola & sesame oils in another skillet for peas. Bring heat up to medium. Measure out the tamari and cooking sherry and put together in small cup at the ready. Pat of butter on standby. Pan’s hot, add shallots, 1-2 minutes add mushrooms, 30 seconds later add ginger. 2-3 minutes add peas, 2 minutes or so, add liquids. Stir til thickened. Add butter. Put lid on and hold. 11 minutes elapsed time.


Towards the end of the cooking time for peas, raise temperature on ahi pan. Once smoking hot, add ahi. Watch for doneness as directed in post. Timer just went off on your rice. Remove from heat, leaving lid on. Turn ahi when ready. Seer on other side. Fluff riceElapsed time somewhere around 3-5 minutes.

32:00 – 35:00 


 Ask your honey to pour the wine and light the candles. Plate the dinner and bring to the table. Bon appetít – enjoy your night!   ♥

(To print a copy, click here. )

19 Comments Post a comment
  1. Pseu #

    looks scrum-diddly-umptious.

    February 13, 2012
    • Why thank you Pseu! and easy, no?

      February 13, 2012
      • Pseu #

        ‘easy’ maybe, but not store-cupboard ingredients, so I may have to save this meal plan for another time

        February 14, 2012
  2. This is plated so beautifully! I HAVE to tell you what my ‘romantic’ Valentine dinner is going to consist of! My darling husband has purchased a box of breaded Gorton’s fish filets and is accompanying them with Pasta Roni angel hair! And the funny thing is that I am looking forward to this “meal out of the box” because it comes to me with the best of intentions! Hee hee!

    February 13, 2012
    • I LOVE that!!! I truly do! xo!

      February 13, 2012
  3. Your time line is a great idea. Love the crab salad.

    February 13, 2012
    • Thanks Connie…the “worry” i suppose is that someone might look at a plate like that and think it beyond them, time-wise or ability-wise…but this is really neither. I was hoping the time-line might help . And we LOVE that crab salad! 🙂

      February 13, 2012
  4. Yummy! It all looks so delish.

    February 13, 2012
  5. This is gorgeous and I love that it’s light!

    February 13, 2012
    • We love that about it too…well, that and how heart-meltingly good it tastes!

      February 13, 2012
  6. Gorgeous! And the timeline does make it seem so much more do-able than I would have imagined.

    February 13, 2012
  7. The main shot is a stunner – very neat menu.

    February 13, 2012
  8. Ah, you´re so good to us! And I think we´re having steak, so this is super helpful 🙂

    February 14, 2012
  9. Val #

    A work of art!

    February 14, 2012
  10. I think it’s a great idea to run a timeline through… when I first began cooking that was my biggest question.. and sometimes still is! What can I do the night before.. how long does everything take. When it’s a special dinner, you just want to get it right! Excellent post!! xo Smidge

    February 14, 2012
  11. Hi Spree!
    Very nice timeline. It looks delicious 🙂

    February 15, 2012
  12. You just proved to the blogging world that there are no excuses for not preparing a beautiful and delicious meal.

    February 17, 2012
  13. If more chefs provided thoughtful and useful timelines along with their other kitchen guidelines like you do, I’ll bet there’d be a few more of us too scared to tackle pretty and sophisticated food more often. Nicely done, Antoinette!

    February 19, 2012
    • I meant, of course, a few *less* of us chickens–or was that a Freudian slip?! 😉

      February 19, 2012

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