Making the Meal is Half The Fun

Making the Meal is Half The Fun

Heat Up Valentine’s Day By Celebrating At Home

By Jason “Stub” Stubblefield

Valentine’s Day is upon us once again, and that means we do everything in our power to once again express our undying love, affection and appreciation to our partner. Typically we express our love in the form of gifts, such as candy, flowers, jewelry or a night on the town.

Why not take the opportunity this year to get back to the basics and enjoy a romantic evening at home. Make a meal together and open that “special” bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion. Perhaps have a romantic dinner at home by the fire listening to your favorite music or watching a classic move.

Romantic meals need not be heavy or over-indulgent, instead focus on making it special and out-of-the ordinary. Even if you or your partner aren’t particularly skilled in the kitchen, cooking together can be a great interactive bonding activity. A light seafood menu with a decadent dessert makes for a great start to your celebration on Valentines’ Day. Here are our recommendations for a simple and delicious meal to prepare at home.

– Spinach Salad with Walnuts and Dried Cranberries is a great start or side with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

– Steamed King Crab Legs with Drawn Butter and Fresh Lemons

– Steamed Shrimp with Homemade Cocktail Sauce

– Grilled or Pan Sauteed Filet in butter, red wine and fresh rosemary

– Rice Pilaf with Toasted Almonds

– Red Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

It is Valentine’s Day, so naturally we’re going to begin with some bubbly! The benefit to our menu is that sparkling wine will pair beautifully with the entire meal! It also has a lower alcohol content, so you can stay witty and charming the entire evening!

If you regularly drink champagne or sparkling wine, choose your favorite. If not, there are several easy-to-find, yet delicious and inexpensive, choices available.

Argyle Winery makes great sparkling wines from Willamette Valley, Oregon. The classic Brut Sparkling is a nice blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a good acid backbone perfect for food pairing. The tight bubbles carry bright stone fruit notes while a hint of bread and cream linger on the finish. Reasonably priced at approximately $25.

If you prefer pink in your champagne flute, try the Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs. This predominately Pinot Noir bubbly provides creamy cherry and a hint of citrus on the palate. Also priced around $25.

For something from over the pond, Champagne Taittinger—one of my personal favs—provides creamy bubbles that give way to toasty notes of honey and peach with a clean, yet lingering finish. It’s a bit pricier at $45.

If you prefer a still wine with your meal, consider Ramon Bilbao Albarino. Native to the Galicia region of Spain, Albariño brings gripping acidity, citrus and salty mineral notes that compliment the sweet meat and buttery accompaniment of a seafood menu. You can find it for around $17.

Trimbach Pinot Blanc from Alsace will also pair beautifully with the seafood on your plate. Pinot Blanc brings fruit in the form of lemon and apple, mineral notes and less acidity than an Albariño. This easy-drinking dry white wine will not only pair well with seafood, but is a great selection for those who generally prefer sweeter offerings.

If you prefer red wine, go with a lighter-bodied wine such as a Pinot Noir. Kenwood Vineyards Pinot Noir from California’s Russian River Valley delivers supple tannins with notes of cherry and a hint of vanilla that doesn’t overpower the more delicate flavors on your plate. It is a steal for about $15.

I hope you enjoy a special Valentine’s celebration at home and make special memories preparing dinner with your partner. You will laugh and share the experience of creating something together! Isn’t togetherness what Valentine’s Day is really all about?