I wanted to share a few ideas for a Valentine’s Day at home that can feel as intimate and fun — maybe even more so — than a night out on the town.

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Secrets of a Hot (Valentine’s Day) Date + a HUGE giveaway

Secrets of a Hot (Valentine’s Day) Date + a HUGE giveaway

Update: Congratulations Kerianne Taves! You’re the random winner of the Aether Cone! Please contact us (kasey@turntablekitchen.com) to receive your prize 🙂

When I first saw the recipe for hot dates in my friend Ashley’s new book (which she’s promoting in San Francisco this week, woohoo!) I knew there was a time and a place for them and guys, this is the time and the place. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we thought we’d share a few ideas with you for planning and enjoying a hot date — get it? Even though Valentine’s Day is one of those made up Hallmark holidays, I’m still a sucker for it. I appreciate a bundle of flowers (hint hint) and some chocolates, too. But I’m weary of marked up restaurant fixe prix menus so for the last few years, we’ve tended to spend the holiday at home.

Secrets of a Hot (Valentine’s Day) Date + a HUGE giveaway

When you already cook a lot at home, it can be hard to carve out a night that feels different and romantic (especially if you have a kid!) but inspired by (again) my friend Ashley and her book Date Night In, I wanted to share a few ideas for a Valentine’s Day at home that can feel as intimate and fun — maybe even more so — than a night out on the town.

Secrets of a Hot (Valentine’s Day) Date + a HUGE giveaway

The playlist, the appetizers, and the cocktails

First thing’s first — you’ll need a playlist. This week, we’ve been enjoying trying out the Aether Cone, a thinking music player that learns your tastes over time. It’s a striking object of beauty that’s portable, so it’s perfect for moving from the kitchen to the coffee table. It comes with an Rdio account so you can say “play Miles Davis” and it’ll actually start playing Miles Davis. Beyond its elegant shape, it’s actually fun (even our daughter got into it — it’s so simple to use). As you may have gathered from reading this site, music is a pretty important element for a successful night in so we’ve set you up for your hot date with a special playlist, created by Matt and I. You can find it here.

Next, the food and drink. Personally, I find Valentine’s Day to be an ideal excuse for cooking a simple yet decadent meal. I’m talking pasta carbonara or pasta all’arrabiata. Pan seared filet mignon with roasted potatoes. Nothing beats a crab leg appetizer with some warm melted butter, or a sexy spread of charcuterie and cheese. But here’s how to really start your night.

Secrets of a Hot (Valentine’s Day) Date + a HUGE giveaway

Hot dates. You heard correctly. This is possibly the simplest appetizer/dessert/snack you can make but it is absolutely delicious. And these blood orange screwdrivers (made with mezcal instead of vodka) are sure to warm you up for some good conversation. For your game plan, I recommend prepping the orange juice ahead of time, then mixing up your cocktails, then making the dates. You can also save the dates for an after-dinner dessert.

Secrets of a Hot (Valentine’s Day) Date + a HUGE giveaway

Lastly, any good date (in my opinion) should feel like you’re invested in the other person. Try actually turning your phone off and putting away your computer. If you and your date live together or co-habitate frequently, try switching up your regular routine. Put more care into setting the table (bring out the ‘nice’ plates and napkins). Put some champagne on ice. Dress up! But leave your feet bare. Pour some fizzy water with lemon slices in a glass. One thing I’ve come to appreciate about romantic nights at home is the opportunity to be entirely in your comfort zone — meaning you CAN dance like no one is watching.

Secrets of a Hot (Valentine’s Day) Date + a HUGE giveaway

Hot Dates with Olive Oil and Sea Salt
adapted from Date Night In

4-6 large Medjool dates
1 tablespoon of good quality extra virgin olive oil
flaky sea salt (like Maldon)

Pour olive oil into a small saute pan and heat over medium. Add the dates, stirring to coat them, and continue stirring them around the pan for a few minutes so as not to burn them (they should blister and get soft). Transfer the warm, blistered dates to a plate and pour the hot oil over them. Sprinkle with salt and eat warm.

Blood Orange Screwdrivers
adapted from Date Night In

4 ounces of vodka or mezcal* (the latter makes for an awesome, smoky cocktail)
10 ounces of fresh-squeezed blood orange juice (from about 4 oranges)
orange peel, for garnish
ice

Divide the ingredients among two highball glasses. Stir and top with ice. Finish with orange peel.

*Our talented cocktail contributor Jeffrey Levy recommended this switch and we loved it.

Let’s do this: win an Aether Cone (approx. value $400)

We promised you a big giveaway on Instagram, and you may have guessed by now, Aether is generously giving away an Aether Cone to one lucky winner (it comes with a $30 Rdio subscription to boot). To enter to win, follow @aether on Instagram, then leave a comment here telling us where you’d set up your Aether Cone. Please include your Instagram handle in your comment, and be sure to share the giveaway using the hashtag #aethercone (we’ll count social media shares on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as additional opportunities to win). We’ll choose a lucky (random) winner by 12 pm PST on Friday so check back here to see if you’ve won. Good luck!

This post was generously sponsored by Aether Cone. Thanks for supporting the wonderful brands that help keep us running. 

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • Oh, I’ve been eyeing these cones! I’d bring it everywhere but it’d probably make its home in the living room. I follow them on instie @thefauxmartha.

  • the aether cone is such a beautiful object! if i had one, it would rotate between the living room and the kitchen 🙂

    @thethoughtfulplate

  • I love these ideas for a romantic night in, Kasey. So perfect. Eating good food with bare feet is my kind of night. The warm dates sound incredible. The Aether Cone is so pretty and I can imagine it’s nice to have in the living room for listening while comfy on the couch. @dulanotes

  • Ashley Beckman

    Ohh! I’d put it in the room with the plants and the sunshine. Which is basically the only room in my apartment. And then I’d sit in the sunshine surrounded by plants listening to Rdio.

    @crashleysimone

  • Kelsey

    Amazing menu suggestions! We just had some hot dates out this weekend, and now we’re obsessed. So simple. So delicious. We have an open living/dining room with big high ceilings. I’d put the Aether Cone on top of our hutch, next to the doorway from the kitchen to the table, so we can request cooking AND dining music. My instahandle is @kelseyjhopson

  • Ashley Marti

    oh my! lovely post and giveaway! most likely in the living room, but dining room would be great too. also, those dates are my favorite obsession right now. @localhaven

  • Thank you for inspiring the staycation date night! I would place the Aether Cone in our living room, to be enjoyed by adults & kids alike in our family! Or maybe outside when hosting friends in Sonoma. I follow on insta @bicoastalbirdie

  • natbatgarcia

    I’d add one more thing to the romantic-night-at-home agenda… a hot shower to cap off the evening! I’d put the Aether Cone in the bathroom so there’s a soundtrack. 🙂
    Insta: natbatgarcia

  • Deepika

    My idea of relaxing is cooking while listening to music, so I would put the Aether Cone in my kitchen. I have an open concept kitchen/living area, so the bar counter would be the best place to have it playing some tunes while making my favorite dishes. Love the concept! @dchandiramani

  • Allison Taylor Hasserd

    AH! these are so beautiful! if I won, i would put mine in the dining room to be heard throughtout the house (advantages to an open floor plan and a small house)! wahoo! Thanks for the giveaway and scrumptious recipes! i will definitely have to give those a whirl!

    IG handle: @ahasserd626

  • Krista_TIOJ

    Great ideas! I’d love to use the aether cone in my kitchen. It may be a small one, but there’s enough room for dancing!

    IG: @thisisourjamdc

  • Zoe Claire

    I love the look of the Aether cone!! I’d set it up in my living room for friends to enjoy when they come over! It would go well with my other rose gold accessories too! Im following on Instagram 🙂 @zebraglittercone

  • adrienne piazza

    I would love to have this in the kitchen! @adriennepl

  • codyo

    This would be amazing in my kitchen! @codyt (instagram)

  • Susy Palmer

    I’d keep this little beauty on my windowsill in the living room 🙂 I enjoy entertaining so it’d be the perfect mood-setter. I’m @susyolivia on insta, where I’m following Aether as well :))

  • Michelle

    In my newly decorated living room! @michellemags

  • Ooo, how great! I have always had a fondness for Valentine’s Day. February is my birthday month (my birthday is actually today, yay!) and I just enjoy celebrating all month long. I would set up the Aether Cone in our office so my husband and I could both enjoy it. My instagram handle is @jade_melissa!

  • Christi

    Being a dancer means music is with me always…I want my cone to be as mobile as I am, free to move from room to room with style and grace!
    – @welterworks

  • SarahE

    My Aether Cone would live in our family room! @saraher

  • Kelly Beall

    I’ve been following them for a few months already, I’m dying to put one in my kitchen because I’m constantly listening to music when I cook and bake but my laptop isn’t nearly as attractive.

  • MelissaWinn

    Thank you for this giveaway – mostly because it exposed me to your instagram account, and the images you post are AMAZING! As for the Aether Cone, I have a feeling it would follow me through the house! I could see it sitting pretty in my living room and then following me to the kitchen while I cook for the family or friends and it definitely would follow me into my toddler’s room for some awesome dance parties!
    @melissa_m_winn

  • Madison

    What a beautiful music player! Would look so lovely on the wooden coffee table in our living room hand made by my honey 🙂 @smithmadisonm

  • crowls

    I’d put it in my kitchen, since that’s where I spend most of my music listening time!
    @chrisrowls

  • Jarrod Dick

    I’d put it in my room, so it can help me get through my final year of study at University! @jarrodcharles

  • katie

    oooh! great giveaway! i would set up my Aether cone in my toddler’s room for a baby dance party session! IG at katiehintzzambrano

  • Nicole Levy

    I would put my Aether cone in the kitchen since I love listening to music while I cook/bake! IG @levyn87

  • Kristi

    Ahhh I’ve read so much about this thing lately! Perfect gift, better self gift (: I would use the Aether cone at the office and around the house! @kayyyristi

  • Jordan Troublefield

    It’s definitely a piece of art to display as much as it is a speaker cone! I think I’d stack it on a pile of books on the coffee table along with some other “coffee table decor”!

  • nayr31

    I’d put it right in the living room, it would go great in there! @ryancmcgo

  • STL_ben

    I would keep this in the bed room for me and the wife now while it’s cold out….but once spring gets here it would get moved out to the porch to enjoy while we grill up dinner and relax !
    @stl_Ben

  • Margaret

    Definitely on my coffee table – front and center in my living room! @margaretpardue

  • Jazzdab

    I wouldn’t set it up there permanently, but I’d use my Aether Cone out by the firepit on the patio. @jazzdab #aethercone

  • Alice Epstein

    Beautiful piece – would need a swankier living room to go along with it:) One day! @frally83

  • Itzia

    I’d set it up in the kitchen. @tiachicha

  • Amber

    How exciting! I would setup the aether cone in our living room where we do most of our listening, watching, eating, and hanging out. @librarianism

  • Angel Ro

    Warm weather is on its way so I’d open the French doors leading to the backyard and place the Aether Cone on the patio table. @AngelRo_Pix

  • Kristina N.

    I’m in love with this product. The best thing the husband and I ever did was decide to turn off the tv when we first got home from work and instead play music throughout the house. The Aether Cone would be perfect. We have an open floor plan so right now setting it up in the living room is key. But when warm weather comes, this thing would be on our patio. @kneuhart2

  • Cheryl

    I’d set mine up in the bedroom! IG is @mynameischeryl

  • bookloon

    @bookloon (instagram) I’d set up the Aether Cone in the office where we spend a lot of our time.

  • Brittany

    I’m obsessed the design and functionality of this Aethercone! I’m constantly playing music and need it around wherever I go. I love that you can control the music from the speaker and I can move it around with me as I go from the kitchen to the living room! It’s also basically a work of art so it would be front and center wherever I put it. @bminor10

  • Brandon Scarbro

    I’d set my the beautiful Aether Cone on my fireplace mantle and bath in the warm sounds. Instagram Handle – BranScarbro

  • Bianca Pardini

    I’d set up the Aether Cone in my kitchen/dining room – it’s where we spend most of our time and where we entertain! It’s such a beautiful thing and it’s sure to be a conversation piece! Instagram handle: biancapardini

  • KidCulver

    floating, room to room, space to space, corner to corner. the cone will be an extension to me. — @kidculver

  • jillstrominger

    i’d place this gorgeous piece right in the heart of my living room, and surround it with my loving, laughing (and usually libation-swilling) friends. – @jillstrominger

  • Josh

    I’d put that in my room next to my music library. That baby would get quite a bit of love from me. @joshinthewoods

  • zeta6742

    I’d put in in my living room! –@zeta6742

  • Roy Fleeman

    I’d put it in the kitchen of our newly renovated house!

  • Sarah Kieffer

    I super want to win this. I’d put it in my kitchen, and use it all day while baking.
    instagram: sarah_kieffer

  • Eneka Stewart

    Kitchen, study, living room, bedroom, bathroom….it would fit and suit any room of the house! I met my friend today who has the Cone and OMG the best invention I’ve seen for a while, so I had to check it out on the web as soon as I got back home :)! @enekastewart

  • emily

    on the mantle in the living room @eaangus

  • Mei Elizabeth Tan

    Since my supermom/nurse of a sister just moved into her new home, I’d have to say I’d gift it to her as her housewarming presie. I’d place it in their open kitchen/living room so the kiddos can cut a rug while my sister cooks their nightly fam dinners. @mei_elizabeth PS: cute mysterious close up pics, Kase 🙂

  • I’m pretty sure I’d end up moving it around my apartment. But it would find it’s main home in my living room, with brief forays into the kitchen for dance parties while cooking, which is definitely my specialty! — @kristinapp

  • Katie D

    So excited about this perfect partnership! I’m currently setting up a new “foyer” table in the entry to my room – it would be the perfect, form+function statement piece for tunes in the morning, evening and anytime in between. @katherinedally

  • maiamcdonald

    I’d put it in my office 🙂 @designconundrum

  • Lgilman

    I would start out setting the #aethercone on the mantle above the fireplace in my living room, and move it wherever the music takes me. @omgilman

  • Alylivingsf

    I recently moved in with my boyfriend and we have designated our dining room as a “No Technology Zone!” The only thing we are allowing is music. I would put my little cone near the bar so the vibe would always be just right. @Alylivingsf

  • Kali Berry

    this is so great! i would definitely put it in my kitchen so I could listen to music while i cook! 🙂 @kalibberry

  • Joshua Kemble

    Followed! This looks really awesome. I would mos def use it in the kitchen, at my market booth, and in the hot tub… Heyo! @joshkemble

  • Terra Andrews

    awesome giveaway! we live in a loft so i would setup the Aether cone in
    the living room so that you could hear it throughout the house. IG
    @terrabecks

  • Jojams

    I would probably set it up in the living room! Thank you! @JJGPiano on Instagram 🙂 .

  • latanya t

    I would set it up in our kitchen
    @sweetums82

  • Sherry H

    Great giveaway! I love my Rdio subscription and the Aether sounds like the perfect companion. Mine would travel around since our house is a four square and very hard to have a central listening location. I love that it can recharge while I am at work and be ready for mobile music listening in the evening!

  • Sherry H

    @sciencesherry

  • Lisa G

    I would definitely put the cone in our living room, where my husband and I spend most of our down time!

  • Lisa G

    @lisa_gaulke

  • sara rai

    I would set it up in the living room where everyone can enjoy it.
    Sararai4u (instagram)

  • Jazzinjubal

    The aether cone would follow me all around the house! It will probably spend most of its time in the kitchen and dining room though. @jazzinjubal

  • Kerianne Taves

    I would love to have this to move from room to room in our new place. Mostly I’d use it in the kitchen for dance parties with my daughter & husband!

  • Erica Garcia

    Looks like the cone would be welcome in any room in my house! It would start in the kitchen and end up in the bedroom. @ericahearts

  • Cindy Aiton

    It would be perfect for my bedroom! Thank you so much for the opportunity to win.

    Instagram: norma_watson
    Email: clogzilla(at)yahoo(dot)com

  • Stephanie Kubala

    In the bedroom!! but it would also make an appearance at any and all parties I host. @weetzie188

  • R&J Salant

    I would set the #aethercone on the wine rack sidetable in my kitchen… where we listen/dance to music while we cook! @half_pint_kitchen

  • cindy ensley

    I am all about date-night-in, especially on Valentine’s Day! I’d love an Aethercone on our main floor where our living/dining/kitchen are. It’s the space we spend the most time. @hungrygirlporvida on Instagram

  • Leah Fairchild

    I would bring my aether cone outside with us on our Sunday champagne and gardening day. Every Sunday we seed, weed and play music in our garden. I like to think our herbs and vegetables appreciate the sounds and fun we bring to the garden. An aether cone would be the perfect addition to our afternoon with our favorite music, a fantastic bottle of champagne and a well loved garden. @leahfairychild

  • Kate Ramos

    Haha! I’m such a moron. I just now got the whole “Hot Date” thing. Geez! Love this post and that Aethercone looks awesome! We’d use it all over the house in the winter and then take it outside so we could jam out while we’re gardening etc. in the summer. I’m @holajalapeno on Instagram!

  • Guest

    I’d place the cone in the kitchen. Since my husband and I love to cook together, this would be perfect to accompany us. Thanks for the opportunity. @miss_veroniqu3

  • t.if

    This lovely cone would hang out in the kitchen / living room, since it’s really one room in my place. Always a need for great sounding tunes!
    @saucey9 IG

  • Jordan

    I’d bring my cone on a picnic in the secret garden tucked away between the office buildings near where I work. A nice afternoon or evening of good food and good music.

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