When you think of February, do you picture the color red, matters of the heart and that Hallmark holiday right in the middle of the month? I remember those old-fashioned paper valentines! Sitting at the table, filling them out, and taking them to school, one for every classmate. And the cupcakes parents would bring in, iced with colors not found in nature. And those hard little pastel, heart-shaped candies stamped with messages (BE MINE). As I got older, it was all about, am I going to get a valentine from a CERTAIN PERSON? And then, am I going to have a date?
Fast forward: when I was 44, I met the love of my life. And he wooed me by cooking me dinner on Valentine’s Day!
The irony is, Gregg Kellogg does not cook. He can make toast. He can pick up Thai food. He can go to the market with a very specific list, with pictures. He can make a pumpkin pie, too, but that’s it. He really doesn’t cook.
To make dinner for a person who makes their living cooking was a bold, brave, and romantic gesture, which I loved!!! He could have made reservations, but he decided he was going to cook for me. He called on his cousin who’s a really great cook and she said, do salmon en papillote, (salmon in parchment). She told him exactly how to do it, and he did it! He even had baby beets tucked into the parchment with the salmon, very small beets so they would roast in the same amount of time. I was very impressed with that. His cousin really did a super job.
Then he attempted chocolate fondue for dessert. Um, not quite on target (you have to watch fondue like a hawk, which he learned), but he cut up a glorious, shimmering pile of fruit—lots of red with strawberries and raspberries, along with golden pineapple. It was totally fun, dipping the fruit and enjoying it together, and total amore.
We’ve been married 15 years now. (I’m still waiting for him to cook for me again. :)
Cook for someone you love this month
Food is love! Show somebody you love—the kids, your husband, wife or girlfriend, or maybe a neighbor or someone you want to get to know better— that you care about them this Valentine’s Day. Food is a great vehicle to connect in a deep and meaningful way, even without everything being perfect. :) The gesture alone is really quite remarkable.
What to cook? If you’re not feeling up to salmon en papillote, explore these options and paint your plate with the glorious colors of roasted beets and the bright flavors of citrus!
A wonderful blend of citrus and crunch, with fennel, sweet roasted beets, and walnuts all joyfully dancing together in a nourishing, light one-dish meal or splendid side.
Make this delicate salad a meal by adding a protein. Seared Scallops (minus the curry powder), sautéed shrimp, baked salmon/fish, or white beans pair beautifully with this. Elegant enough for a special occasion!
Sometimes the colors that nature comes up with blow me away. Take the ruby red beets and red cabbage in this soup; they’re as brilliant as the dahlias that grow in my backyard. So, too, is their taste, and when combined with sautéed onion, fennel, and celery, plus cumin, coriander, and caraway, the result is simply luscious.
Looking for something sweet? These are exceptional chocolate chip cookies, if I do say so myself. Lola, my beloved Portuguese Water Dog, certainly thought so. :)