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:
Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers. Photo Credit: Heather Platt
I absolutely love pickles. Even when I was young, I would beg my mother to buy me a jar of sweet pickles at the grocery store. They were like crisp tangy candies that I couldn’t wait to get home and crunch between my teeth. Years later, as a twenty-something living in New York City, I discovered the Japanese versions of my favorite treat. And for many years, I couldn’t eat at a sushi restaurant without ordering a giant plate of Tsukemono to start.
My favorite place to eat Japanese food, however, is not any of the myriad of NYC spots I frequented over my eight years in the Big Apple. It’s my sister’s house in Massachusetts. She and her husband Takeshi have the most impressive artillery of Japanese sauces, vinegars, spices, and seasonings that an ingredient-hungry cook like myself has ever seen. They also, amazingly, are members of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). So on a recent visit, when my sister reluctantly pulled out a huge bag of giant yellow cucumbers they had received from their farm-share, I knew just what to make. We served them Miso-Glazed Cod, white rice and an avocado salad and they were delicious!
Nephew and Japanese Pickles. Photo Credit: Heather Platt
Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers served here with Miso-Glazed Cod. Photo Credit: Heather Platt
Japanese Pickled Carrots and Cucumbers
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.