Our First Solo Valentine’s Day

A week ago, DSH and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day as empty nesters.  It was also our first Valentine’s Day with no children.  You see, when we started dating and eventually married, I already had a child.

Someone back then once referred to her as “baggage.”  Yes, they asked my husband why he would want to get involved with a woman who had “baggage.”  My dear, sweet, 2-year old daughter was considered my baggage and why would any man want to get involved with us?

To his credit, he stuck it out with me and my little piece of baggage, even adopting her and being a super good dad to her along with the rest of our girls who came along later.

While I always thought that Valentine’s Day was a dumb holiday, DSH has always loved it.  He buys his girls cheap Valentine’s Day trinkets and candy.  I go with the flow by preparing a really nice meal that we all share.  This year I cooked for just two.

Here was our Valentine’s Day Menu:

Shrimp Cocktail Served with Prosecco
Pork Tenderloin Served Tuscan Style
Smashed Baby Potatoes
Cauliflower Gratin
Molten Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream
Pinot Noir

Early in the day, I texted him this picture.  Just setting the mood.

We started off with Shrimp Cocktail and Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine.  Okay, I know Shrimp Cocktail is a thoroughly 1970s era appetizer, but I steamed some fresh shrimp in the shells and cooled them and they were perfect and perfectly good, too.

What is extra special about this part of our meal was that we used the champagne glasses that we got from the hospital where our three youngest girls were born.

Tuscan Style Roasted Pork Tenderloin – got the idea from a friend (thanks, Teri!) and it was heavenly.

I used JoAnn Weir’s recipe (here), but used Herbs de Provence in lieu of the sage, rosemary, and fennel pollen (seriously I do not like recipes that use ingredients that are not readily available).

There are a lot of smashed baby potato recipes out there.  I made my own version using Parmigiano Reggiano cheese since I was making an Italian roasted pork and added bacon in keeping with the pork theme and a little sour cream on top at the end.

I love cauliflower and have had a Cauliflower Gratin recipe sitting in my recipe holder for a long time waiting for the perfect opportunity to try it.

I started with a recipe I found on Tasty Kitchen (here).  First of all, I cut the recipe in half.  I’ll use the other half of my cauliflower to make Mock Mashed Potatoes.  I also used Parmigiano Reggiano cheese instead of Gruyère – again in keeping with my Italian theme.

I ended with Molten Chocolate Cake with whipped cream.  There are a ton of molten or lava cake recipes out there.  I chose this one from Tasty Kitchen mainly because it only made 4 servings rather than the 6 or 8 serving recipes out there.

I shared the extra two cakes with my friend, Laura, who called me the next day to tell me that the taste of these heavenly little desserts reminded her of her mother (who is in heaven) and her mother’s pound cake.  I love how food can evoke such loving memories.

If you like Molten Chocolate Cake, try this recipe.  It’s a good one.  Don’t forget to serve it with some freshly whipped cream or ice cream and they are especially good served warm.

We shared a nice dinner with some good Pinot Noir.

Do you dream in chocolate?  Got some great little chocolates and my own little Valentine’s Day sock monkey.

Hope all of you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day, but remember to be kind to those you love every day of the year.

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