Monday, February 13, 2012

"Romantic Valentine's Day Dinner for Two"

I’ve planned a romantic dinner for the two of us, my husband, and I.  It’s all about what makes US happy, so I’ve planned some of my favorite things and some of his favorite things.  He likes movies and snacks, and I have some of each.  He likes meat and potatoes, and I’ve got most of that together.  We both like restful music in the background, so we can talk and relax, so I’ve got some of that.  The party will begin at sundown.

We’ll have the table all set and sit down to a shrimp cocktail and a sparkling beverage.  Then we’ll have the main part of the dinner and save the dessert for the movies.  We’ll see one of mine and one of his.  My list includes "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle" and "While You Were Sleeping" and "An Affair to Remember" as well as others.  His probably runs to something like “Independence Day”, “Crossfire Trail” or “One Special Night” - - -

I like to use my mother's wedding china and my crystal for this meal. The tablecloth and napkins came from my husband's mother.  I love vintage linens for the table and use them every day.

Timing the meal

I picked easy items to make.  I don’t want to spend the whole day in the kitchen, do you?  First thing in the morning, I make the trifle and put it away in the fridge.  It needs to settle.  After that, I make the  squash and meat loaf, refrigerate them and pop each one into the oven at the last minute. The shrimp cocktail, I make just before dinner and it is served first, about half way through the time when the meat loaf is baking.  We like to take our time.  Between the meal and the dessert, we exchange cards and gifts.

It’s a sweet time for both of us….and it won’t be perfect.  If I’m too concerned about the timing, it won’t be fun.  So, I plan to enjoy the accidents along the way.  After all, it’ll still be early and we could go to the Drive-In, right?

The Valentine Menu

Shrimp Cocktail
Sparkling Cider
Meat Loaf Extraordinaire
Butternut Squash a la Buerre
Green Beans Scampi
Strawberry Trifle

In the background, some of our favorite music - - -

John McDermott – Believe Me
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole - White Sandy Beach
 James Taylor – How Sweet It Is
Theme from Somewhere in Time
Tracy Byrd – Keeper of the Stars

Movies for St. Valentine’s Day

I had to plan ahead for this one because not all were in our collection, but it was worth it.  For Christmas, I got him all the known Louis L’Amore movies that are available on DVD, so we might add one of those to my romance-type list.  Usually, we watch the action-packed movie first, then, have our dessert with the romance.

“An Affair to Remember” – Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr
“While You Were Sleeping” – Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman
“You’ve Got Mail” – Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan
“The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” – Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison
“Random Harvest” – Greer Garson and Ronald Colman
And there’s always, Disney, you know:  Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Cars (Cars?!!!).

The Recipes

Shrimp Cocktail

12 Medium Shrimp, cooked and chilled
½ c. tomato catsup
1 T. Horseradish Sauce
1 t. Lemon Juice
Place the catsup, horseradish and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk together well.  Check the taste.  Some like more horseradish than others.  Divide into two sherbet bowls.  Hook the shrimp over the side and chill until ready to serve with a fork and a napkin.

Meat Loaf Extraordinaire

1 pound ground beef or chuck
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
3 pieces of bread, crusts removed and cubed small
¾ c. tomato catsup
1 to 3 t. sage, according to taste (you should be able to smell it when the meat is mixed up)
½ t. salt
¼ t. pepper

Place meat and bread in a large bowl and set aside.  Saute onion and celery in a little butter with the sage until tender and fragrant.  Remove from heat and stir in catsup.  Add the veggies to the meat and bread.  Add salt and pepper and mix well with clean hands.
Spoon into a loaf pan and bake about 50 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Butternut Squash a la Beurre (Butter)

Pierce the squash in three places deeply and microwave in 5 minute intervals on high until the skin gives when you poke it.  Slice open and remove seeds.  Spoon out flesh and place in a small casserole dish.  Top with butter and brown sugar and bake at 350 degrees F until butter and sugar are melted together.

Green Beans Scampi

Place 1 or 2 cans of French-cut green beans in a saucepan.  Add 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, crushed.  Heat to boiling and simmer 5 minutes.  Serve with a dot of butter and salt and pepper.

Strawberry Trifle

1 bag frozen strawberries
1 loaf Angel Food Cake
1 pkg Jello instant Vanilla pudding
1 Pint Heavy Cream, sweetened and flavored with vanilla, whipped

Thaw strawberries and cut all but five of them in quarters.  Cut the cake in 2” cubes.  Make the pudding according to instructions.  Whip and season the cream.

In a trifle bowl or a clear glass bowl, place a layer of cake cubes, topped with a slathering of pudding.  Next, place a layer of strawberries and a layer of cream.  Make more layers in the order given until almost all used up.  Top with whipped cream and dot with the five whole strawberries.

You can also make this in a parfait or other tall glass for individual servings.

Have a look at our "Heart Etui (needle case)" pattern at Prairie Cottage Corner.  (See the fourth previous blog post about the etui.)  If you buy it on Valentine's Day, I'll email it to you, specially, so you can give it to someone you care about on the day.  Try to make your purchase before 5 pm PST, will you?  I'm going to be busy after that.  LOL.  Prairie Stitcher

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