Note: This is a reprint from Valentine's Day, 2008. I didn't get my act together in time to participate in Mele Cotte's Cucina d'Amore this year, but I wanted to share this recipe, again, as it makes a lovely dinner for two…
As to our Valentine's story, well, it did have a happy ending!
The weekly update will be tomorrow.
Mon mari often complains that I never forget anything and, more specifically, that I never forget a date.
I could suggest that, if he wouldn't choose such inappropriate dates for his actions, perhaps I would be more likely to forget.
And what date and action am I referring to?
To be honest, I was going to ignore this holiday. It's not a big one in our house.
Frankly, we don't quite know how to celebrate it.
It's the anniversary of mon mari kicking me out of the house.
To be fair, we had only been living together for just under a year.
To be unfair it was Valentine's Day, and I had just fixed a lovely dinner for two.
To be really bitchy, he then took me out for a night cap before delivering the blow – the better able to insure the minimum scene… being out in public amidst all of our friends, and all that.
The timing was good – he was going away on business at the end of the month, for a week, giving me time alone to move out.
The timing was bad – I was going away on business for two weeks, immediately, leaving me no time to find a place to live.
All said, it did work out.
I moved out by the end of the month; let everyone know I was single; started dating immediately (admittedly, some were, um, contrived).
He soon regretted his imprudent decision and we were married in May, same year.
We didn't do 'living together' well, at all; but we do just fine at this marriage thing….
Still, we don't normally celebrate Valentine's Day.
Now, let me set the proper mood for this dish:
When most people think of travel and romance they think of France: Paris, the Cote d'Azur, or Italy: Rome, the hills of Tuscany.
They should be thinking of Spain. Here are a few of my favorite romantic spots in Spain:
Sitting in the Plaza Mayor in Segovia just as the sun sets, watching the last rays bounce off the near-perfect, 2000 year old Roman Aqueduct that towers over the city.
Sitting on a terrace at a restaurant in Tibidabo at midnight, having a leisurely dinner and gazing down on the lights of Barcelona and off to the Mediterranean.
Sitting in a secluded courtyard in the old quarter of Cordoba during the Patio Festival when every nook, cranny, balcony and pond is filled with flowers; with rose petals gently raining down.
Sitting in the Alhambra, at dusk, watching the sun set over the Moorish carvings and formal gardens, looking out to the mountains and olive groves.
Sitting in an out-of-the-way bar in Jerez, and finding that you have stumbled into a local Flamenco celebration.
And while one is doing all of that sitting one really should be sipping: Xérès – Jerez – Sherry.
Sherry is a rich, complex fortified wine with a history dating back to 1,100 BC.
Sipping a chilled glass of Fino, watching the evening Paseo, relishing the nuances unique to Spain…. Now, that's a romantic celebration….
Turkey with Sherry and Iberian Ham for two
12 oz (350 gr) turkey cutlets
4 slices Iberian ham (3oz, 90gr)
4oz (125gr) mushrooms
1 cup (8oz, 250ml) chicken stock
1/2 cup (4oz, 125ml) Amontillado (sherry)
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 1 tbs water
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup small pasta (farfalle)
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Cut turkey into bite-size pieces. Clean and slice mushrooms. Slice ham into bite-size pieces. Heat oil in nonstick skillet. Add mushrooms, ham and sauté 5 minutes. Add turkey and sauté 5 minutes longer. Add stock, sherry, rosemary and sugar, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover, stir in cornstarch to thicken. Serve over pasta.
Light the candles, pour a glass of sherry and toast your love!
Like cooking with wine, you don't have to use an expensive, 'Reserve' sherry, but do use something that is perfectly drinkable.
Do not, ever, ever, use 'cooking sherry'. The only good use for that is… there IS no good use for that….
Have a wonderful Valentine's Day.
You can see how I remember the date of our break-up, right?