Monday, February 13, 2012

yes, we celebrate valentine's day

food is the best part
I know many people are put off by the silliness and commercial exploitation, not to mention overt sexism, that are the public face of Valentine's Day. On some levels, I am one of them. That said, I'm almost embarrassed to admit that we have a few Valentine's Day rituals that have lasted over the years, traditions I cling to tenaciously. Some change a bit, sadly no dark chocolate decadence with whipped cream anymore, others go from one year to the next untouched.

We don't do gifts or flowers. No poetry, no love songs. For us, it's all about enjoying together some of our favorite things: the food and the Champagne. As good Californians, we very much support our great state wineries most of the year, but on Valentine's Day, Champagne---the real stuff---wins out. We've had this year's bottle for a few weeks now. After some back and forth argument discussion over which to choose, he we settled on a Piper Heidsieck. I was pressing for one of my favorites, Moet et Chandon Brut Imperial, but the Piper's great, too. I really cannot complain. As usual, too, this year we'll use the beautiful Waterford toasting flutes Bev and Gary gave us many years ago. There's something incredibly romantic to me in all of this. I think where celebrations are concerned, I love ritual above all else, not including the people, of course. I do believe if we'd somehow developed the ritual of paper cups and cream soda, I'd try to hold onto that health risks and all.

And the food is my department. No arguments, no debates, no discussions. I get to chose it and I get to cook it. We became painfully aware many years ago, long before I had begun to identify my dietary limitations, that, for us anyway, the combination of restaurants and special occasions were risky business. Valentine's Day, like Mother's Day, restaurants are packed, kitchens are harried, wait staff is rushed and often inattentive. Nah, I'll take my kitchen and my sweetly set table. Maybe even a fire in the fireplace.

This year we'll start with a salad much like that pictured above. My current menu includes skewers of Alaskan halibut and salmon from Vital Choice Seafood (my favorite) served on cauliflower rice. This is the only part of the meal I've finalized. I will be forever in awe of those who can plan meals for the week. I often change the menu of a meal as I'm cooking it. I have not yet found the perfect-looking asparagus I had in mind, but the plan is a a tender green vegetable. If not asparagus, possibly snow peas. Mushrooms have to be in the mix somewhere, so I'll either stuff a few with an herb blend to serve as an appetizer or lightly saute them to serve with the fish.

And for dessert, a real rarity for us, I'm torn between large long-stemmed strawberries dipped in a blend of coconut oil and raw cocoa powder with a hint of pure stevia and pistachio nuts stirred into the same chocolate mix. Maybe we should have both.


  1. Mmmmmm!!! I think your menu sounds lovely!! The strawberries sound just delicious!! :-) Great way to celebrate!!

  2. Thank you, Carrie. My sister, who is not really a big chocolate fan---go figure, told me about the coconut oil-cocoa blend. She said her friends call it coconut crack, I think.

    1. oops, a correction is in order here. Bev says her friend calls it Cocoa Crack, though I don't remember the reason. We loved it, but we are both dark chocolate lovers. I don't remember the last time I had chocolate, so it was a real treat for me. I used huge long-stemmed strawberries for part of it. I must remember to let the mixture cool more before trying to coat them next time.

  3. It sounds like a perfect meal to celebrate love for life, food, and time well spent together :)
    I hope you had both dessert was a special occasion afterall! xo
    p.s. thank you for your comments on my blog :)

    1. We did have both desserts. They were not as pretty as I'd hoped but tasted wonderful. We're both fans of dark chocolate, so it was perfect, rich but not too sweet.

      I enjoyed reading your blog. Will visit again soon.


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