Valentine’s Day is one of the few days of the year I intentionally opt out of dining out.

There are good restaurant experiences to be had on Cupid’s holiday, of course. But to me, an essential part of a romantic dinner is the ability to linger over it, and that’s often challenging on such a popular date night. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever experienced the discomfort of trying to decide what to order for dessert while other couples are side-eying your table from the waiting area.

So I usually cook — something richer and more complicated than I would normally make. I braised lamb shanks one year, and seared and simmered my way through Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon recipe another (worth the effort, but just be sure to start cooking around noon if you expect it to be done by dinnertime).

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It’s a tradition I’ve kept up whether solo or coupled. One year, when I was newly single, I labored over a New York Strip steak with mushroom sauce and garlic mashed potatoes for one. Mindfully savoring everything I had made, not wallowing in my newfound aloneness on the day of love, felt like a small victory.

When I do have a significant other, I’ll often request that we please “save” the date-night dinner out for later in February, when many restaurants are a little less hectic, and then I’ll start researching recipes for an elaborate meal at home.

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This year, though, I’m slightly altering my cooking plan, based on advice from Jeanie Roland, chef and co-owner of Ella’s Food & Drink, in Westerly, R.I., and author of the new cookbook “Butter Love & Cream.”

To my surprise, Roland encouraged me to forgo plans to make a complicated, blow-out dinner for my boyfriend, and take it easy in the kitchen instead. It wasn’t the advice I was expecting from a chef who triumphed on the television show “Beat Bobby Flay” and taught superstar Taylor Swift how to make ricotta cheese and clarified butter.

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But indeed, Roland suggested making a quick dinner by whipping up a few simple appetizers that can be prepared mostly in advance.

“Take some pressure off, so you have time for romance,” said Roland, who runs her Westerly restaurant and The Perfect Caper, in Punta Gorda, Florida, with her husband, James Roland. “Besides, who wants to canoodle by the fire after you’ve just had a big, heavy meal?”

Hmm ... good point. So, what to make?

Two starters from Roland’s new cookbook, “Butter Love & Cream,” fit the bill: Oysters On the Half Shell with Ella’s Mignonette, and Lobster-Crab Cakes. Both feel indulgent and special, but don’t take hours to prepare.

For days when a more involved meal is called for, her self-published cookbook also includes more time-consuming recipes, such as fresh Chitarra pasta with Shaved Brussels and Bacon, Slow-Roasted Coffee-Spiced Short Ribs, and Duck Dumplings.

The title, “Butter Love & Cream,” references two of Roland’s favorite ingredients, used liberally in the classical French cooking she was trained in. The other part relates to the passion needed to sustain years in the business, as Roland has at age 52. Ella’s is currently in its seventh year of operation and The Perfect Caper is in its 19th.

“Cooking and being a chef are not things you can do half-way,” Roland said. “You have to put love into it. And if you’re not in that moment to make something, wait and do it when you are.”

In fact, Roland spent years trying to write a cookbook. She finally finished it after foot surgery kept her on the couch for awhile. She started simply, by writing out her favorite recipes longhand on yellow legal pads.

“I’ve had the name of the cookbook in my head for 20 years, so when I finally got a copy, it was magical,” she said. ” I just wanted to stop and take it all in.”

Not unlike a romantic dinner, at home or in a restaurant.

Oysters on the Half Shell with Ella’s Mignonette

½ cup rice wine vinegar

½ cup cilantro, finely chopped

½ cup parsley, finely chopped

3 shallots, finely diced

3 serrano peppers, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

1½ tablespoons lime juice

½ cup mirin

1 tablespoon brown or natural sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 dozen raw oysters

Thoroughly mix together all ingredients except for the oysters until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve, clean and open oysters, then set on ice. Top with sauce, as desired.

Yields approximately 2 cups.

Lobster-Crab Cakes

1 pound jumbo lump crab meat

¾ cup mayonnaise

1½ tablespoons grated fresh ginger

½ teaspoon fish sauce

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

3 tablespoons minced green onion

1 tablespoon minced jalapeno

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 eggs

½ cup panko

1 pound cooked lobster meat, diced

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except for the lobster. Once incorporated, gently fold in lobster. Chill mixture in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before forming cakes. Tightly pack mixture into 12 evenly sized cakes, using an ice cream scoop to form, if desired.

Refrigerate until ready to cook.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 F. Heat a nonstick pan lightly coated with cooking spray to medium-high heat. Cook cakes until golden brown on one side. Then transfer to preheated oven to cook for additional 5 minutes.

Serve with spicy mayonnaise, if desired.

Makes 12 cakes.

Recipes from “Butter Love & Cream” by Jeanie Roland.