As the holiday season approaches, here are some foolproof recipes to prepare for a cozy evening at home. And you can order a virtual serenade for your loved one.
In a year of endless uncertainty, maybe this Valentine’s Day you’ll want to forego your annual game of “Guess what’s in the chocolates.” (Can we all agree that raspberries have no place in chocolate?)
Nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic, you and your Valentine, Palentines, or whoever you’re celebrating February 14 with are probably looking for ways to keep at-home dining options tasty, affordable, and, above all, easy. .
On some level, you and your loved one may be looking to skip the holidays altogether. After so many months of eating at home, what’s another Sunday night dinner? But not so fast. Berit Brogaard, a professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Miami and author of the book “On Romantic Love,” said not having a romantic vacation with a partner can affect people in way more than just celebrating them.
“Not celebrating a holiday can negatively affect your romantic relationships because, on an unconscious level, you think celebrating that romantic day with someone you love is a matter of life and death,” Brogaard said.
Engaging in shared activities, such as cooking, Brogaard added, is a great way to get to know your partner by creating mutual emotional intimacy and closeness.
But, celebrating the season of love isn’t just about a romantic partner. Last year Josh Stewart, a young meteorology student, spent his Valentine’s Day having dinner with a group of friends. This weekend, Stewart plans to spend the holidays cooking in her on-campus apartment with her friends.
“I was browsing TikTok last week and saw a few recipes that looked quite appetizing, so my friend and I decided to give them a try this weekend,” Steward said. “Something in the kitchen at home is healthier. Going through the process of preparing food with my friends will be a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
So make yourself comfortable, preheat the oven and get the romantic comedies out. Here are a few recipes where you don’t have to be Gordon Ramsey to make them.
Baked feta and tomato pasta
For those of us who spend too much time on TikTok these days, you might know this recipe. This easy pasta with tomato and fetafrom Finnish food blogger Jenni Häyrinen, took social media by storm just a few weeks ago and is ready to make its way into your Valentine’s Day spread.
Preheat your oven to 350º, combine your cherry tomatoes, minced garlic, feta cheese, olive oil and seasonings in a baking dish. Bake 30 minutes or until tomatoes burst. Meanwhile, prepare the pasta of your choice. Once your tomatoes and feta are cooked, mix the ingredients with a fork and add your cooked pasta. Garnish with fresh basil and voila! You have a creamy pasta dish for two.
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 block of feta cheese
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
- Salt, pepper and basil to taste
- 1 box of pasta of your choice
Salmon Leaf and Vegetables
When your hands are “the dishwasher” in your kitchen, you know that less is more. That’s why one-plate meals reign supreme as a top option for a date night. This Citrus Skillet Salmon, by Robin Broadfoot on the “Tasty” blog, might make anyone think you spent a summer at the Culinary Institute of America.
Preheat your oven to 400º. Slice two pounds of yellow potatoes and toss on a baking sheet with two tablespoons of olive oil, two cloves of garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Bake your potatoes for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet and toss your potatoes to the side of the pan. Add your two salmon fillets and the asparagus, glazed with the other two tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, two cloves garlic, salt and pepper. Bake an additional 20 minutes.*
- 2 pounds. small yellow potatoes, cut into wedges
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme
- 2 salmon fillets
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- Salt and pepper to taste
*Cooking times may vary depending on the size of your fillet. The salmon should flake easily with a fork when ready.
Valentine’s Day is (probably) revered by chocolate makers because it’s the only time of year when chocolate sales skyrocket. And, while the uncertainty of the aforementioned matching box of chocolates may be out of place this year, we shouldn’t completely rule out the idea of including the decadent candy in our evening plans. At Ina Garden Recipe for chunky chocolate chip cookies will pair perfectly with any dinner plan and complete any movie marathon.
Preheat your oven to 350º. In a bowl, cream the butter and the two sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Separately, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt, then add the flour mixture to the creamy butter using the mixer on low speed. Stir in your chocolate pieces.
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 pounds semi-sweet chocolate chunks
Drop cookie dough into small balls on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. This recipe prepares between 36 and 40 cookies. Bake your cookies for exactly 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly on the baking sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and enjoy!
So maybe we’re not all up to the Ina Garten and Gordon Ramsey of the world. Its good. If all else fails, fear not. Papa John’s still sells his heart shaped pizza This weekend. Nothing says love and comfort like a heart-shaped cheese and home delivery.
But what’s a romantic evening without a little atmosphere? With live performances still on hold, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a fraternity for men with a particular interest in music, sought a virtual stage. Instead of their infamous Valentine’s Day serenades, the group of a cappella performers will perform virtual “Singing Valentines.”
Reese Ortenberg, a junior music engineering student and vice president of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, joined the fraternity as a freshman. Ortenberg said he was thrilled to still be able to offer the romantic and embarrassing experience of serenading.
“We had to find a way to approach our songs differently, but we’re happy that we can still deliver them, even if they’re a little less embarrassing,” Ortenberg said. “My favorite song to perform is ‘Never Going to Give You Up’ by Rick Astley. Because of the notoriety of the song, it’s fun to watch people turn red while we play.
The a capella group has recorded various pop love songs and will deliver the virtual serenades with a personalized message via email to the Valentine of your choice. Anyone who wants to send a virtual “Singing Valentine” can request one here before February 12.