Let’s face it, there’s nothing more romantic than a home cooked meal and nothing more unromantic than eating over-priced pre-fixe menus in crowded restaurants. Here are some of my favorite things to make for my sweetie on Valentine’s Day (or any day.)
Creamy Spaghetti Carbonara:
Seared Scallops with Sage Brown Butter:
Butternut Squash Risotto:
Roasted Chicken with Herbs:
Steamed Lobster. Photo Credit: Heather Platt
Despite growing up in a land-locked state, I have had the great fortune of having extended family who dwell along the seacoast in southern Maine. Every childhood visit there involved a trip to the lobster pound to buy a dozen of the live little crustaceans followed by a casual family feast of the delicious delicacies. We sat around a table, excited with white plastic bibs tied around our necks and claw-crackers in hand. The Vermonters at the table would always ask the Mainers to show them how to efficiently extract the meat from the tail, claws, legs and torso. My cousin Ty would explain that her Aunt Wendy always ate the “green stuff” and as kids we would squeal with disgust and fascination. Now, like the legendary Aunt Wendy, I too eat the “green stuff.” This internal part of the lobster, called Tomalley, is actually the liver and pancreas of the animal. So that explains why I find it so flavorful, which it is, FYI. Aunt Wendy is a smart woman. A big bucket in the center of the table served as a sort of basket ball hoop for shells to be tossed after the precious meat had been consumed.
These lobster dinners, which were served with a 1/4 cup of drawn butter for dipping, toasted English muffins, corn on the cob and a fresh garden salad were all I ever knew of eating lobster. For many years I rolled my eyes at over-priced lobster on restaurant menus. In truth because I just couldn’t bear to eat it outside of this nostalgic familial context. And thanks to a recent tutorial from one of my favorite Mainers, I finally learned how to make it.
Live Lobsters. Photo Credit: Heather Platt
Classic Steamed Maine Lobster Dinner
I absolutely love cherry season! It sounds dorky, but it’s true. I look forward to it all year and it doesn’t last very long, so it’s important to make the most of it while it’s here. Cherries are such a special, sweet, succulent fruit. And they always remind me of the happiest time of year, the beginning of summer. We usually think of cherries as a dessert item, (mmm..I do love a good cherry pie), but I love to come up with savory ways to use these sweet/tart treats. And one of my favorite ways to do that is to make a super easy Cherry Port Sauce served over Pork Tenderloin.
This time, I’m serving it with goat cheese gratin. And though gratin is typically served in the winter, with heavier fare, it also makes for a wonderful summer dish because it can be made ahead of time and serves as the perfect summertime side for all kinds of grilled meats.