If I could eat out every day, I would.
Money regularly burns a whole in my pocket, and when it comes to food, I would much rather wine and dine out (or hang out with my pal, Seamless) than peruse up and down grocery aisles in preparation for daunting, home-cooked recipes.
But here's the thing: when I have free time, I actually enjoy cooking. And it's pretty damn rewarding to see someone else enjoying the meal that I just slaved over.
Plus, it saves me a TON of money.
Since I'm dating, I've repeatedly found myself seated across from someone at a dive bar or swanky restaurant with a healthy amount of food and drink.
55 percent of couples say dining out is what they're most likely to spend their money on.
In the moment, I'm YOLO'ing it up, but later, I'm cringing at the mere thought of how much cash I've hastily thrown away during my streak of dinner dates with guys I've never seen again.
And 55 percent of men and women in relationships say that dining out is what they're most likely to spend their hard-earned cash on.
Take those percentages, multiply that, throw in some decimals, and.. you've got A LOT OF MONEY SPENT.
With this in mind, I'm going to rethink my eating — and dating — strategy and start looking at making meals at home as a way to save, save, SAVE!
Because, let's be honest: Cooking for your SO when you can't really afford to be eating out is not only a fun, sporadic idea, it can also improve your relationship.
Cooking for your SO when you can't afford to dine out is not only fun, it can improve your relationship.
"Cook a new, adventurous dish together will stimulate all your senses, and the shared goal is actually great for relationship-building," says Andrea Syrtash, a dating expert and author of "He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing)" and "Cheat On Your Husband (With Your Husband)."
"A big part of keeping a romantic relationship spicy is regularly introducing novelty and shared new experiences."
Ready to get you and your SO or date situated in the kitchen, but afraid you're going to burn the house down?
Lucky for you, acclaimed Michelin starred chef and Swiss entrepreneur, Jürg "ChefFed" Federer, recently teamed up with SKYN Condoms to curate a delicious menu of aphrodisiac dishes for couples to make together.
The three recipes below feature all different kinds of sensual tastes and aromas to get you and bae revved up to devour each other next.
Plus, they'll make for a super impressive, top-notch dining experience for two in your very own home.
Warning: Drooling may occur.
Appetizer: "Feel the Memories" (Chicken and PBJ with mac 'n' cheese)
Peanut Paint 1 cup tawny port 2 Tbsp. butter 1 tsp. peanut butter, creamy
Raspberry Chutney 1 cup frozen raspberries 4 drops hot sauce 1/4 cup white vinegar 1/4 cup sugar
Penne n' Swiss 1/4 lbs. penne 1/2 Tbsp. butter 1/2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour 1/8 lbs. Gruyère, cave aged 1/8 lbs, Emmental, cave aged 1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup heavy cream salt, pepper, pinch of nutmeg
Chicken Breast 2 chicken breasts 1 clove garlic with skin on 2 sprigs fresh thyme 1 Tbsp. high heat oil (avocado, grape seed, coconut, peanut or ghee) Salt
DIRECTIONS: In a small saucepan, bring the port wine to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, so the wine boils lightly without rolling. Let the wine reduce until 1/4 cup of port wine is left; set the reduction aside.
Combine the raspberries, the vinegar, the hot sauce and the sugar in a sauce pan. Bring the raspberry mix to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it boil lightly until all the liquids have cooked off; set aside.
Preheat the oven to 500F and grate the cheese. Bring a big soup pot with 1 gallon of water to a boil and season the water with 2 Tbsp. of salt. Boil the penne in the water, until they have a crisp bite.
While the penne are cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour, stirring until both are fully mixed Add cold milk and heavy cream to the saucepan and bring the sauce to a boil. Season with pinches of salt, coarsely ground pepper and nutmeg. Reduce the heat to low.
Add the cheese and stir until just melted. Make sure that the cheese never boils. When the penne are “al dente” pour 1 cup of the water from the penne in the cheese sauce. Strain the penne from the remaining water and mix them with the cheese sauce. Pour the Penne n' Swiss into an oven-proof baking dish. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Heat the oil in a frying pan. Crush the garlic in the skin, then add 1 of the 2 sprigs of thyme and the garlic to the pan. Sear the chicken with the skin side down until golden brown. Then, turn the chicken over and reduce the heat to medium to avoid burning before the chicken is fully cooked. Once the chicken is done, let it rest for 5 minutes.
PLATING: Pull the leaves off the stem of the second twig of thyme. Bring the port wine reduction back to a boil and briskly whisk in the cold butter. Once the butter is emulsified, remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the peanut butter until the sauce is thick like paint.
With a pastry brush, draw a stroke in the center of the plates. Carve the chicken in slices and arrange the meat on top of the peanut paint. Serve the raspberry chutney on the side and sprinkle the plate with thyme leaves.
Main: "Feel the Turf" (Coffee-seasoned beef with mint cream, cumin carrots, potatoes, and a red wine Cacao sauce)
Potatoes and Butter 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes 1 Tbsp. ghee salt white pepper
Red Wine and Cacao 1/2 cup Tawny port 1/2 cup full bodied red wine 2 Tbsp. butter About 1/4 tsp. cacao powder*
Carrots and Cumin 6 medium sized heirloom carrots 2 Tbsp. olive oil 1/8 tsp. ground cumin 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes 1/2 tsp. brown sugar 1 bay leaf pinch salt 1 Tbsp. water
Beef and Coffee 2 Beef filet mignon, thick center cut 1 Tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper 1 tsp. french roast ground coffee 1/4 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes 1/2 tsp. paprika 1 tsp. brown sugar 1/2 Tbsp. coarse salt 2 Tbsp. European style butter unsalted
Cream and Mint 2 Tbsp. almonds 2 Tbsp. mint 1/4 cup sour cream pinch of cayenne pepper pinch salt 1 Tbsp. pomelo juice (you may sub that with grapefruit juice)
DIRECTIONS: Boil the potatoes with their skin on in saltwater until tender. Peel the potatoes when handwarm, then store them in your refrigerator. Before you put the carrots (further down in the recipe) in the oven, grate the potatoes with a coarse potato grater. Season the potatoes with salt and white pepper.
Heat a non-stick frying pan and half of the ghee. Add the potatoes to the pan in an even layer, saute without stirring. When one side of the potato pie is golden brown, flip it. It's ok if it doesn't stay in one piece. Just rearrange to an even layer after flipping and the potatoes will re-combine.
When both sides are fried, drain the potatoes on a paper towel before plating.
In a saucepan, bring the two wines to a boil. Reduce the heat to a light boil. Reduce the liquids to 1 /4 cup volume or until syrupy in consistency.
Before serving, whisk the hot liquids up with up to 2 Tbsp, of butter. Season the reduction with cacao *The amount of cacao depends on the nature of the wine used, start with 1/4 teaspoon and taste. Then add more to your liking.
Heat the oven to 450F. Peel the carrots. Crush the bay leaf with mortar and pestle. Mix oil, water and all the spices with the bay leaf and toss the carrots in this marinade.
Now is the time where you return to the potatoes (further up in the recipe), to prevent a bottle-neck when executing this recipe. When the potatoes are grated and ready to go, return to the carrots.
On a baking sheet, roast the carrots in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping them after 15 minutes. Remove the carrots from the oven
Bring the filet and the butter to room temperature. Grind the pepper with the other spices with mortar and pestle. Evenly rub the filet on all sides.
Now you can fire the potatoes (further up in the recipe). Let the steak sit for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, finish the cream and mint (further below in the recipe). After 10 minutes of rubbing the steak, heat a skillet on high heat for 10 minutes. Evenly spread half of the butter on one side of each steak.
With the butter facing down, charr the steak for 90 seconds in the skillet. This is called “Pittsburgh style” and the purpose is to charr the steak on the outside, while perfectly cooking it on the inside.
Evenly spread the second half of the butter on the other sides of each steak, flip to a fresh, unused part of the skillet and charr the steak for another 90 seconds.
Finish the steak with the carrots in the oven to your liking. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes outside of the oven before serving.
Coarsely chop the almonds. Heat a non-stick pan and dry roast the almonds. Chop the mint to chiffonade. Chiffonade are very fine and long strips that you cut from the mint leaves. Combine the almonds, the mint and the rest of the ingredients. Set aside.
PLATING: The sour cream sauce is the base of this dish, smear it on your plate and arrange all the other solid ingredients on top.
Serve the chocolate sauce in a way that it does not cover the entire dish. You should have the opportunity to eat a bite with and then another bite without the sauce.
Dessert: "Feel the Crunch" (Chocolate torte and cashew with cream and spices)
Chocolate Torte 2 Eggs 3/4 cup sugar 3 Tbsp. whole milk 6 Tbsp. butter 2 tsp. vanilla extract 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
Cashew Brittle 1/2 cup cashew nuts 1 cup cane sugar 1 tsp. red pepper flakes pinch salt
Spiced Cream Sauce 1 cup heavy whipping cream 1 sticks cinnamon 1 pieces star anise 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes 1 pinch salt 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put 1/2 Tbsp. butter in each of two 6 oz. ramekins. Put the ramekins in the oven for 5 minutes.
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Combine 1/4 cup of sugar and the milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil to melt the sugar. Mix eggs with 1/4 cup of sugar, don't over beat. Slowly combine the milk liquid into the eggs.
Bring a small saucepan with water to a boil. With a brush evenly coat the ramekins with the butter, remove any excess butter. Add the remaining sugar to the ramekins and make sure the entire inside of the ramekins is covered in sugar. Remove excess sugar.
Over the pot of boiling water, place the chocolate, the remaining butter and vanilla into a stainless steel bowl and stir until the chocolate is melted. Cool chocolate mixture and add to the egg mixture. Place completed batter into the ramekins and then onto a sheet tray. Place the sheet tray in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the torte has set.
Coarsely chop the cashews and put them in a non-stick pan. Season with red pepper and salt and dry roast the cashews. Remove the cashews from the pan and add the sugar to the pan. Cook the sugar until it's amber in color. Add the cashews and stir until they are fully incorporated.
Spread cashew caramel flat out onto a sheet tray covered with parchment paper and allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature. Once cooled, crumble by hand and place pieces into a food processor. Pulse for 10 seconds or until contents are coarse.
Put 1/4 cup heavy cream and all the spices except ground cinnamon in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool. With a sieve, remove the spices from the cream, throw the spices out. Add the ground cinnamon to the cream and the remaining cream. Whisk until the cream reaches stiff peaks.
Who kn0ws? All THIS heat in the kitchen may get you and your SO hot and bothered.
Now, go ahead and put that leftover can of whipped cream to good use.