Heh heh heh. My title is cracking me up. I can’t help it, those click-baity titles have quickly become parodies of themselves. But! I really do have a romantic Valentine’s Day meal to share: one that is perfect for last-minute planners, one that will fit most any budget or dietary restriction, and one that is sure to please your “special someone” (say that to yourself in your best Mrs. Roper voice), because it is easy to customize!
As with many people who used to work in the food service industry, I avoid going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. Let’s face it: it’s a pain. Everyone’s busy and stressed, it’s expensive, it’s super crowded, it’s pretty much the opposite of romantic. Plus, I obviously cook. Ha.
So I was wracking my brain for what to cook for Scott that would be special, and would also fit into our super-busy, we-have-two-children schedule, when it hit me . . . I’m not going to cook. I’m going to put together one of our favorite meals when it’s hot outside, or when I don’t feel like cooking, or when I want to eat all of our very favorite foods: an antipasto platter!
Imagine it: a big feast of bread, cheeses, meats, fruits and veggies, olives, nuts . . . whatever you like! Not only is it perfect for sharing, it’s portable. You can have it as a picnic, in front of the TV as you watch Breaking Bad (a very romantic activity in our house), or even . . . in bed. (Again, say that last part in your best Mrs. Roper voice. I am big on cracking myself up today).
If you have a limited budget, be careful–things can quickly add up. However, it’s pretty simple to do it on the cheap: you can get a block of store-brand cheese and slice it yourself, get small portions of prosciutto, etc. at the deli counter (a quarter pound of meat can look great, thinly sliced, each strip rolled up like a cigarette), and you can find all kinds of delicious things at a reasonable price by hitting the olive/salad bar.
As you can see, this romantic Valentine’s Day dinner can consist of almost anything (grapes! marinated mushrooms!). This is what I’m going to do:
Romantic Valentine’s Day Antipasto Platter Dinner
One baguette, sliced
One wedge of Brie
One pear, sliced
1/4 lb Genoa salami, thinly sliced
Slices of cantaloupe wrapped in Prosciutto
Roasted red peppers, olives, marinated artichoke hearts (from the olive bar)
Place everything on a large platter, or a cutting board, or a couple of plates, if you don’t have a larger option. Provide knives or spreaders for the cheese and two small plates for sharing. Pop open a bottle of sparkling wine. (I highly recommend Gruet, a New Mexico sparkling wine made by the son of a French champagne vintner. It’s under $20 and has a cult following for a reason: it’s delicious). Hopefully your sweetie will have provided some chocolates for dessert.
So the one thing I will be making are the heart-shaped beets listed above, because my husband loves beets and they’ll look awesome on the plate. Here’s how I’ll make them:
One large beet
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Trim the ends of the beet and boil in salted water to cover until fork-tender, 20-25 minutes. Let cool, then peel (easy with a butter knife) and slice crosswise into pieces about 1/2″ thick. Cut with a heart-shaped cookie cutter (or cut with a knife). Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
So what are your Valentine’s Day plans? What items would you add to the list above? Who loves Three’s Company? Post your comments below!