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Looking for Valentine's Day recipe ideas? We've got five dishes to swoon for, with a Southern twist

Ryan Shepard
The American South
Anne Byrn’s Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

It's Valentine's Day! How are you feeling about it against the backdrop of everything else going on in the world? Truly, even though I am a newly married, I’m not really looking forward to celebrating Valentine’s Day this year. Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers, cards and chocolate as much as the next girl, but I’ve found over the years that there is so much pressure that goes into turning one day into a moment meant to sum up how much you truly love a person. 

For as long as I’ve remembered, single or attached, I’ve chosen to spend Feb. 14 celebrating my first soulmates, my best friends. The women who have been by my side through questionable hairstyles, fashion choices, break-ups and my wedding day. I cherish any opportunity to get together with them and spend the day just celebrating our love for each other.

One year we decided to throw a Valentine’s Day brunch and it’s one of the best days I’ve ever had. Though that's not something I can readily do now, I look forward to the day of big get togethers in the future. In the meantime, however you choose to spend Valentine’s Day, I hope you are surrounded by love and a meal that feeds your soul.  

p.s. I’d serve this dish (Crab and Spinach Quiche) with a few mimosas or if you’re feeling fancy, some classic French 75’s.

WEEKEND

Anne Byrn’s Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Maybe it’s the eye-popping crimson color, but something about red velvet cake brings out heart eyes for us. This traditional recipe for the cake comes complete with cream cheese frosting. You can always forgo the food coloring and let the natural chemical reaction of the acidic and basic ingredients determine the color of the cake, but then, you might be disappointed come Valentine’s that it isn’t red enough.

Pro Tip: If you can’t fit all three cake pans on one oven rack, arrange your oven racks to the upper third and lower third of the oven. Place two cakes on the upper rack and one on the lower. Rotate the pans in the oven about halfway through baking time. Make sure to do this part carefully to avoid your cake falling flat.

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Chocolate Fudge Little Layer Cake

Chocolate Fudge Little Layer Cake

Get ready to impress the one (or ones) you love with this airy layered cake that gets a sweet boost from the chocolate frosting. This recipe calls for a classic yellow butter cake batter, studded with pecans and stretched with a bit of Crisco. The thick, fudgy frosting gets its color from a touch of cocoa — just enough so you know it's there.

Pro Tip: If you’re worried about having enough frosting to spread between layers, you can double the fudge portion of the recipe. If you can’t find White Lily Flour, you can use Swan’s Down cake flour or another type of cake flour.

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WEEKNIGHT

Cast Iron Seared Filet Mignon

Cast Iron Seared Filet Mignon

Cooking a steak in a cast iron pan not only imparts a delicious brown crust on the exterior of the meat, but it also gives you the ability to continually baste the steak with butter for extra flavor and richness. Lean cuts like a filet mignon are perfect candidates for this technique. (But let’s face it: Virtually any steak is better when cooked in cast iron.)

Pro tip: Tying a piece of kitchen twine around the equator of the steak helps to maintain its shape and allows it to cook evenly. Pull the steak from the refrigerator at least an hour before cooking to help it cook uniformly.

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Grilled Oysters with Garlic Parmesan Butter

Grilled Oysters with Garlic Parmesan Butter

Oysters are thought to be a natural aphrodisiac, and while that fact may be disputed, what isn’t up for discussion is how incredibly delicious grilled oysters are. Popularized in New Orleans by seafood houses such as Drago’s and Acme, these charred delicacies take on an amazing smoky flavor from the grill while being gently poached in their own briny liquor and garlicky Parmesan butter.

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Single-serving Lump Crab Spaghetti

Single-Serving Lump Crab Spaghetti

Celebrating Valentine’s Day by yourself (whether because your significant other is out of town or you’re single) doesn’t have to be boring or sad. When dining alone, take the time to treat yourself with decadent recipes you wouldn’t otherwise make. This rich, creamy pasta is loaded with sweet, lump crabmeat, shallots, garlic, scallions — and chili paste bringing a massive flavor punch to an otherwise simple cream sauce. Pair it with a cool glass of white wine, put on your favorite movie and enjoy this elegant dinner party — for one.  

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