Today I’m writing to the guys. Valentines Day is, once again, a chance to tell that special someone how you feel. Love and friendship, or the way I like to think of it, someone to take this “walk of life” with.
In the case of my girl, I first saw her in art class when we both were thirteen years old. We liked each other right off. A few weeks later on the corner of Granite Reef road and Valley Vista Drive in north Scottsdale, at about 8.30 on a cool October evening, I was walking her home, I kissed her. This was her first kiss and I also took her on her first date. We soon broke up, but remained friends. I always thought about her and talked with her. A few years later I was sitting on the edge of a cement planter at Saguaro High School, talking with Randy Smith. She was walking across campus and I said to Randy, “That one right there… Kathy Ross,” pointing at her, “That’s the girl that I’m going to marry.
After that, I asked her to go to the prom with me, and she said yes. For the next few years we spent time together, almost daily, some romantic, some not, but hours upon hours, walking and talking.
We’ve now been married for 30 years. We have two amazing children and have built a life together. We love, laugh, support and help each other in everything, as the vows we shared, so long ago, said, “in good times and in bad” and I can’t imagine life without her.
And so guys, today, Valentines Day, as you take some time to tell that special someone how they make you feel why not try your hand in the kitchen. Good food is a wonderful way to say, “I love you.” It’s so much more than a card or a box of chocolates.
Here are a few easy recipes that are just right for a romantic evening.
My advice, put on some music that reminds her of where or when you met, get out the good dishes, buy a nice bottle of her favorite wine, and if you really want to amaze her… pick up your dirty socks!
These three dishes are simple, elegant and the right choice for an evening alone. The idea being eat a little, chat a little but by all means slow play the food. You’ll be glad you did! Caprese Salad
8 OZ Water Buffalo Milk Mozzarella, sliced thin
3 Large Plum, vine ripe or Heirloom Tomatoes, sliced thin
1/2 C Fresh basil, finely chopped, save a few leaves for garnish
Fruity olive oil
Kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper
On a serving plate, arrange the mozzarella and tomatoes in circles, exposing at least half of the slices...a slice of tomato then a slice of mozzarella then a slice of tomato, and so on. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and then balsamic vinegar then add the basil and place a few of the leaves for effect. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. This can be made a few hours ahead of time.
Piquant Black Pepper and Cognac Shrimp
These delicious shrimp flare up in the pan. It’s just so “Spago!”
1 ½ TBl. Olive oil
1 white onion, sliced thin
Sea salt to taste
1 Lb. Medium shrimp, in their shells (this adds flavor to the sauce)
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. Crushed red chile
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
6 Tbl. Sweet butter, cut into chunks
1 Tbl. fresh parsley, chopped fine
½ fresh lemon
Crusty French bread
Matches or a lighter (Use caution)
Sauté the onion in the oil over medium high heat until translucent. Season to taste with salt. Add the shrimp, black pepper, red chile and thyme. Sauté until shrimp are just cooked and have turned pink, 2 minutes per side. Add cognac (be careful it will flare up) and butter. Stir the butter in, touch a match if it has not ignited, allow to flame for a few seconds, remove from heat. Add parsley and toss well, drizzle with lemon. Serve on a big white plate. Peel and eat while mopping up the sauce with the bread! Goes great with a good crisp Pinot Grigio or her favorite dark beer!
Serve this desert to your sweetie with slices of fresh, ripe mango, big strawberries, and Angel food cake cut into 2-inch squares. Add a little champagne and who knows…
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon Kahlua, Grand Marnier, Mandarin Napoleon, or your favorite liqueur
Fresh fruit or Angel Food cake
In a double boiler (if you don’t have a double boiler place an oven proof mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water), heat the cream just until it simmers. Add the chocolate. Remove from heat and stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is fully melted. Drizzle in the liqueur and stir until mixed well. Serve with fresh fruit, cake, or anything that can use a bit of chocolate!
Makes 3/4 Cup