Valentine’s Day, 2014

by Dave Schuler on February 15, 2014

Yesterday, as usual, we stayed in. This is, after all, the best restaurant in town and it’s hard for me to justify braving the weather, traffic, and crazy drivers to spend a lot of money on a meal that’s not as good as the meal that I would have made at home.

I wanted to make something nice but not ostentatious for Valentine’s Day so I prepared a dinner of roasted shrimp, pan-browned asparagus with cherry tomatoes and garlic, champagne, and a dessert of Mississippi Mud cake (bakery-made) and mint chocolate chip ice cream. I had never roasted shrimp before but they turned out very nice. I’d be hesitant to try it with anything smaller than colossal grade shrimp (8-12 per pound). I left the shrimp in their shells, cut the shells with kitchen shears and cleaned them, and brined them for a half hour before roasting them, carefully placed upright on a rack in a quick oven. I basted them with melted butter and dusted them with a Moroccan spice combination I happened to have on hand.

For the asparagus I sauteed the tomatoes in olive oil until they began to break down, added a bit of garlic and sauteed that for just under a minute and then set that aside. I blanched the asparagus in water for a few minutes, drained it, and pan-browned it in a bit of olive oil for five or six minutes, adding the tomatoes and garlic just before serving to warm them.

As is my usual practice, I built my menu around things that were on sale.

After dinner we exchanged cards and I gave my wife some nice European chocolate. Not candy—just chocolate. She doesn’t like incidentals like nuts, nougat, caramel, or fruit getting in the way of the central chocolate.

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jan February 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm

It sounded like a comfortable Valentine’s Day for you and your wife Dave.

Our’s was low-key and heart-felt. My husband gave me a bouquet of pin-cushion/irises, purchased from that morning’s farmer’s market — an eye-catching array of color, texture, and class. In turn, I gave him the latest ‘Left-over Cutie’s CD — an eclectic group of minstrels with a unique, original sound we both like. We exchanged sentiment-filled cards, topping off the day by walking over to a local ‘surfer’ cafe, The Shaka Shack, for their outstanding turkey burger, sprinkled with hardy, interesting conversations with people we knew, along the way. It was a mellow, meaningful Valentine’s Day!

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