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food for love
a valentine's day feast
by Yee-Fan Sun
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Nibble, lick, nip, savor, relish, devour, crave. Get your mind out of the gutter, kids -- what I'm talking about here is food.

Well, mostly. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, bat my eyelashes like a good coquette.) Food is sexy, eating an act of l-o-v-e love. The perfect, scientifically-proven aphrodisiac might not exist, but there's one thing that's undeniable: good food, in the right company, sure can help to set the mood. And if eating is love, then cooking, it follows, is foreplay. The one thing (okay, the other thing) that beats sharing a good meal is making the meal ensemble as well. So skip the restaurant reservations and avoid the Valentine's Day dinner crowds -- make a date in your kitchen instead. We'll get your Evening of Amour started with this swoon-inducingly yummy menu. Turn up some good lovey tunes  and get cooking. Where the night leads, of course, is up to you and yours.

arugula and dried cherries with orange vinaigrette You can make this salad with mixed greens if you like, but I love the strong nutty flavor of arugula paired with the citrusy dressing.

dried cherries
goat cheese
sliced almonds, lightly toasted

2 Tbsp. orange juice, fresh-squeezed
1 Tbsp. lemon juice, fresh-squeezed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsps. brown sugar
plenty of fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
dash of cayenne for zip

Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl, and adjust seasonings to taste. I like to keep my dressing in a small glass screw-top jar (recycled from a caper jar and delabeled), as this makes it easy and messless to shake up the dressing just before using. Alternatively, the dressing can go in a pretty serving dish -- just make sure the sides of the dish are high enough to allow you to give the dressing a good stir. Assemble two plates with a few handfuls of arugula, a smattering of dried cherries and toasted almonds, and crumbled goat cheese. Serve with the dressing.

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