I hate going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. The eating places are often crowded, the employees harried, and the cooks are sometimes working with a diminished menu. Even when you will get a desk (I’m notoriously unhealthy at getting reservations), and even if the meals is sweet…it’s not usually the most effective eating expertise.
Apart from, child, it’s chilly exterior.
I a lot choose to remain in on Valentine’s Day. However I am a sucker for festivities, so I need our Valentine’s Day in to really feel particular. It ought to really feel celebratory, not like an everyday day.
Since Mike and I each wish to prepare dinner, one approach to make Valentine’s Day really feel festive is to prepare dinner one thing new collectively. It’s one thing we are able to reliably make occur even when Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday (prefer it does this 12 months). The hot button is to cease working a liiiiiitle sooner than standard, pour a glass of one thing bubbly (or a Negroni, Mike’s fave), and — right here comes the important thing lesson discovered — already know what you need to prepare dinner.
Nothing derails a calming night time of cooking sooner than frantically making an attempt to discover a recipe (“What do you need to make”, “I don’t know what do YOU need to make”)…then sourcing the components (gahhh, a visit to the shop??), then having to cope with the World’s Most Annoying Particular person In The Kitchen, Get Out of My Method, MIKE.
I’ve discovered that if I perform a little prep work beforehand, which might even embody treating myself to an thrilling new cookbook, we’ve a blast. And, if we’re actually fortunate, the children will be a part of us. I’ll purchase them fancy sodas, we’ll activate music, after which…they are going to generally pitch in with the cooking. (Dessert or any home made bread is often a great way to lure them in.) In any other case, our rule is that they’ve to remain downstairs whereas we prepare dinner, and no screens. Typically they’ll play board video games, however they are going to typically hang around. I love it.
I’ve additionally discovered that if I order the cookbook effectively upfront of Valentine’s Day, it provides me an opportunity to select a couple of recipes for the large day, in addition to order any components or kitchen instruments that we would must efficiently execute them. I can then wrap up all the pieces — cookbook, spices, instruments, and so forth. — into one massive reward to be opened on Valentine’s Day.
One cookbook I extremely, HIGHLY advocate is Yasmin Kahn’s Ripe Figs. It’s beautiful, and the sort of travelogue cookbook that I can simply learn cover-to-cover. Her recipes are additionally scrumptious. Her Black Eyed Peas With Chard recipe is now within the weekly rotation. It’s easy…however a bit additional and even the boys find it irresistible.
The main target of Ripe Figs is Turkish, Cypriot, and Greek delicacies (with influences from the Center East and Mediterranean). She cooks with issues like sumac, Aleppo pepper, and pomegranate molasses. And she or he swears by toasting cumin seeds whole after which grinding them in a mortar & pestle (I just like the look of this one).
I can’t advocate this cookbook extremely sufficient. The part on mezze has a ton of enjoyable, snacky meals that might make for an epic Valentine’s Day (you may additionally pair a collection of mezze with both Turkish or Greek meatballs), or, frankly, simply recreate her Turkish breakfast — it’s actually hardy sufficient for dinner. Personally, I’ve been dying to attempt her model of spanakopita.
When you’re searching for extra low-key concepts for Valentine’s Day, I threw some concepts into this submit final 12 months: Winter Date Concepts For Valentine’s Day (With our With out Youngsters).