Valentine’s Day was never an important holiday for us. We never saw the point of buying roses on a specified “Hallmark”-created holiday date at inflated prices or eating out at double the price of a “normal” dinner with half quality service just because it happened to be February 14th.
Since we didn’t care about going out to eat on Valentine’s Day, we took to our own tiny Brooklyn kitchen (yes, this was ions ago – long before kids when we still lived in New York City) and started a new tradition. I was still new to acquiring culinary skills but always happy to cook and expand my repertoire and John liked being able to take a break every once in a while from being an attorney and working around the clock to cooking with me in our tiny kitchen while sharing some wine.
So we developed our own Valentine’s Day ritual – each year we would cook for ourselves at home – one of us was in charge of cooking appetizers and dessert while the other was in charge of serving the main course.
We had two rules:
- We had to cook something new, something we had never cooked before, and
- We had to keep our menu a secret until we were cooking together on Valentine’s Day.
This quickly evolved to become a fun, much anticipated night in our home, filled with cooking laughter and fun, and the occasional “interesting” menu of courses blending together. It was our tradition and a fun one to keep …. until we had kids. Then we were way too tired to figure out cooking on top of catching up on much needed sleep so the tradition was put on hold – until we decided that this year, the kids are old enough to appreciate the food and pitch in. So we each recruited a kid and asked them to help set and prepare the menu. Add in a dear friend whose husband and younger kid were out of town for the weekend, and we had an extra adult/kid team to bring in dessert.
This year’s menu featured a highly anticipated crab/asparagus soup (that was *almost* perfect) curtesy of John and Jules, a delicious paella with shrimps and mussels chosen by Nicole and Luca, and the creamiest chocolate tart known to us contributed by Kasia and Olo (who by the way completely cheated and already made this dish before….party foul!). Add in some wine, and some more wine, some board games, and lots of Lego mania, and it was a perfect Valentine’s Day spent at home.
Oh, and did I mention that I made a special Valentine’s Day breakfast with chocolate scones and little treats? Yeah, I am starting to think this is going to be a fun tradition to keep going, now that we have helpers in the kitchen!
Happy Valentine’s Day!