Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Be Mine

This past weekend, my boys and I worked together to make these Valentine cards for their classmates.

Their little friends found these to be rather funny -- success!


I have a history of choosing fussy, exhaustingly long projects for things at a short notice, so I was super proud of myself for actually picking something doable for this event and sticking with it. Fun!

In the past, Greg and I have often gone out for dinner on Valentine's Day, but the trouble is, those pre-fix menus just don't ever really work for us. The food tends to taste like it was rushed out of the kitchen without much care, no matter where we've done it, and getting a reservation at a decent hour is pretty much impossible to score. This year, I decided to cook something special at home instead.

I decided on mussels, which is quick and simple to cook, but for us is very special, because even though we both love seafood, I almost never cook it.

I didn't use a recipe -- instead, I sort of just threw things in the pan. Here's the basic idea, in case you'd like to do the same (this was with 2 lbs of mussels):
First, I sauteed some finely chopped shallots in a little butter. Next, I added a few cloves of thinly sliced garlic to warm in the pan for a moment. Then I turned up the heat, added a big bunch of oyster mushrooms, and browned them up. Just as they were gaining some color, I threw about a 1/2 cup of white wine into the pan, and dumped in the mussels with a shake of red pepper flakes. At the last minute, I sprinkled the dish with some freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, and served it atop some fresh angel hair pasta (storebought, not my own this time)

To serve alongside, I baked a baguette (from a batch of Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes A Day dough), and threw a head of garlic in to the oven next to the bread so that we could spread the warm bread with sweet roasted garlic. I also mixed up a shallot vinaigrette (thank you Julia Child), which I tossed together with an arugula/baby spinach salad mix.

For my own personal appetizer, I got some fresh oysters to eat on the half-shell (Greg doesn't especially like them, but I could eat them every day for the rest of my life, and have just learned to shuck them myself!)

For dessert I used David Lebovitz' recipe for Perfect Panna Cotta -- so easy it's almost criminal, yet very special, all at once.  I served it in brandy glasses with sliced, sugared strawberries, and drizzled my serving with some dark chocolate sauce I had left over from something else (Greg does not like chocolate, but I am often bored by vanilla, so this was the perfect way to customize our desserts).

Flowers that Greg brought me

I think that Valentine's Day at home just may become a tradition.  Because in my mind, it's pretty hard to top the idea of tucking the children into bed, and then opening a bottle of white wine for an At Home Date with my very own Valentine.

Happy Valentine's Day, friends!

Now that we're through with that holiday, it's on to Celebrate The Boy with Rae and Dana.  So excited to be inspired with ideas for my favorite little boys!


Boogie said...

You make the best stuff with your kids. I love this Valentine idea!

Jill said...

The picture pop Valentine cards are funny and cool! Great idea!