There’s nothing quite like Valentine’s Day to put pressure on your dinner plans.

Do you take your beloved out to eat and pay for the romantic ambience (and someone else to do the dishes), or do you surprise him/her with a homemade meal to show your affection? And if you choose the latter, what do you serve? And what do you drink with it?

This Valentine’s, why not try hard cider?

If you haven’t had Tieton Cider Works, this is the perfect time. Unlike the beer-styled brews you’ll find in the grocer’s cooler, Tieton is a delicious, light and bubbly, and locally made drink that comes in a variety of flavors to complement any meal.

This year, I turned to co-owner Sharon Campbell to create a cider-inspired meal perfect for Valentine’s Day. She didn’t disappoint.

Salad, chicken, a cocktail and a yummy recipe for cider-soaked fruit for dessert. Bonus: Most of the menu can be made ahead.

It’ll win over the heart of your sweetie, guaranteed.

•A perfect salad for the day when you want the meal to taste like you had hours to spend in the kitchen but you only had 20 minutes. The almonds make this simple salad outstanding — it takes 4 to 5 minutes and it makes everyone ask, “What did you do to these almonds?” Spinach from the farmers market or boxed from the grocery store, tossed with the apples; it all comes together with dressing and almonds that are candied like a brittle.

Apple Spinach Salad and Crispy Almonds

1/4 cup minced shallot or red onion

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, toasted

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Sugar, to taste

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup sliced almonds (about 3 ounces)

10 ounces baby spinach leaves, washed and dried

2 medium-size red-skinned apples, such as Pink Lady, quartered, cored, thinly sliced

Combine onion, cider vinegar, Champagne vinegar, sesame seeds and paprika in small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt, pepper and sugar.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add almonds. Stir until almonds begin to color, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar and a pinch of salt over. Stir until sugar melts and begins to turn golden, about 2 minutes longer.

Transfer almonds to plate to cool. Combine spinach and apples in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Mix in almonds and serve.

• Pair with Tieton Cider Works’ Wild Washington Apple Cider.

Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Arak

61/2 tablespoons Arak, Ouzo or Pernod (anise-flavored liquor)

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons grain mustard

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 medium fennel bulbs

1 large chicken, about 23/4 pounds, divided into 8 pieces

4 clementines, unpeeled, cut horizontally into ¼-inch slices (or other tangerines)

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

21/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Put the first six ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add 21/2 teaspoons salt and 11/2 teaspoons pepper. Whisk well and set aside.

Trim the fennel and cut each bulb in half lengthwise. Cut each half into four wedges. Add the fennel to the liquids, along with the chicken pieces, clementine slices, thyme and fennel seeds. Stir well with your hands, then leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

(Note from Sharon Campbell: I placed all of this into a large zip-closed bag overnight. It is also fine to skip the marinating step if you are short of time — I have made it both ways and it is fine, but marinating the chicken made it more moist.)

Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Transfer the chicken and its marinade to a roasting pan large enough to accommodate everything comfortably in a single layer (roughly a 12x141/2 pan); the chicken skin should be facing up. Put the pan in the oven and roast for 35 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is colored and cooked through. Remove from the oven.

Lift the chicken, fennel and clementines from the pan and arrange on a serving plate; cover and keep warm. Pour the cooking liquid into a small saucepan, place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the sauce is reduced by one-third, so you are left with about 1/3 cup. Pour the hot sauce over the chicken, garnish with some parsley and serve.

• Pair with Tieton Cider Works’ Wild Washington Apple Cider.

— Recipe from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Small Dried Fruits in Tieton Wind

1 cup total of dried sour cherries, dried apricots and dried blueberries

1 bottle of Tieton Wind Cider

1/4 cup honey

1 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

1/2 teaspoon toasted peppercorns

1- to 3-inch piece of rosemary

Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook the mixture for approximately 15 minutes, remove from heat and pour into a glass jar. Serve over pound cake or ice cream. Stored in the refrigerator; the fruit will keep for months.

Stoned Cider

1/2 ounce OOLA Waitsburg Bourbon (or your favorite brand)

11/2 ounce Tieton Cherry Cider

2 brandied cherries

2 dashes mole bitters

Pinch of sugar

Muddle cherries with bitters, then add whiskey, cider and sugar. Stir with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass and serve with a piece of your favorite dark chocolate dropped directly into the glass. We like Theo Dark Chocolate, found locally at Deep Sea Deli.

— Created by Erin Nestor, Tommy Gun