If you’ve seen this post elsewhere from me, good! LOL…if not – enjoy!
Some of my friends swear that the only good way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to go out to dinner. Um, no! I’ve been there, folks. Done that. Got the rubber meal to prove it. For all that is holy, do NOT go to a fancy restaurant on Valentine’s night. Here are my reasons:
1. They’re overbooked. Your party won’t be seated on time, no matter how far in advance you got reservations. Plan on waiting an extra 30 minutes to an hour in the bar, on your feet, and ladies, this means in those impossibly high heels you bought to wear and haven’t yet broken in.
2. They’re understaffed. A line cook is out maybe. Or a sous chef. Quite possibly the only knowledgeable wine steward. If you’re really lucky, not only will all three be out with the flu that night, but two waitresses and the dishwasher will be out, too. Enjoy your water, because that’s it for quite some time.
3. By the time your waiter has finally arrived to take your order, the two couples you and your sweetie are with are squabbling, and you’ve forgotten and/or changed your mind as to what you want to order. Instead of ordering wine, because none of you can agree on red or white, a desperate chant goes up for “martinis, and keep ’em coming”.
4. Your meal has arrived, your party is sloshed, and suddenly no one wants what they ordered. Bickering continues as meals get swapped across the table. Food flies.
5. The staff, in order to make you all feel better, give you the same dessert they’ve given every other table in the place – tiramisu that looks like it’s been attacked by kittens. You eat it anyway, needing something besides bread and cold eggplant parmesan in your stomach.
6. You all stumble out of the quieting restaurant, each party sure that they paid more than their fair share. The women all hate the men; the men all hate each other. A fistfight breaks out, and is quickly quelled because one of the women starts vomiting.
7. The most romantic night of the year ends up with your honey passed out on the couch and you tearfully sitting in the shower, wondering how to explain that traffic ticket you earned.
So, trust me. Stay home, make an easy yet delicious dinner for two, follow up with a sinful dessert, and include wine or champagne or sparkling cider along with candlelight and beautiful, romantic music. Not only will you enjoy yourself and have sex that night, but you will still be friends with the other two couples in the morning. What’s not to like?
And here’s a recipe, even…
Pan-Seared Scallops with Bacon and Spinach for Two
This is a fabulous recipe but totally depends on the right scallops. Go out of your way to a fishmonger and get two to three firm, absolutely fresh ocean scallops (the big ones, not the bitty ones) per person. No, not cheap – but tasty! Make sure you’ve got the champagne or chardonnay chilling in a wine bucket.
3 slices bacon
2 – 3 jumbo sea scallops per person (4 – 6 for two)
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
6 ounces fresh spinach
lemon wedges, optional
1. Cook bacon in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, coarsely chop and set bacon aside. (Leave ALL the drippings in the pan!)
2. Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle scallops evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add scallops to drippings in pan; cook until a crispy golden crust forms, then flip to the other side. Roughly 2 – 4 minutes per side (depends on how hot the pan is when you initially put the scallops in!) Transfer to a plate and cover immediately with foil to keep warm.
3. Add onion and garlic to pan; reduce heat to medium. Saute onion and garlic until fragrant, stirring frequently – don’t let the garlic burn!
4. Add half of spinach; cook until wilty. Add the rest of the spinach and cook down (about 2 minutes total).
5. Remove from heat – stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt and and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Divide spinach between two plates; crumble bacon on top and then put the scallops on. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
That’s it – add a lovely crusty baguette, a fantastic Chardonnay or a sparkling wine, and you’ve got a perfect, simple (and TASTY) meal.
Enjoy…and have a perfectly wonderful Valentine’s Day!