Stay In And Cook Up The Romance - "It's Only Food" Blog at - 266787

"It's Only Food"

Feb. 7, 2012 3:38 pm 
Updated: Feb. 14, 2012 6:35 pm
Every year on Valentine's Day, couples go out dining in quiet candle-lit restaurants to celebrate the holiday of romance.  Now I am not one to take away from the bottom line of any food establishment, but staying in a cooking for your beloved does not have to be a panic-inducing project. And it is exceedingly more romantic. You can surprise your mate with a dinner when they come home, or you can cook it together and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Cooking together is fun and romantic, from the chopping of the vegetables, the actual cooking and the dinner gives you a chance to talk and spend time with each other, not to mention all the senses are used in a kitchen- smell, touch, tasting, you get my drift.  Cooking dinner to be a surprise has its upside too.  It shows that you care and took time to be attentive to the needs of the one you love.  It also has a sense of fulfillment for the one doing the cooking.  When you cook for someone, you are nurturing them at their most basic human level; you are providing sustenance for the body.
Now whether you are putting on the apron for someone you just met, or re-kindling the romance of years of marriage, there are things to consider: the menu and the shopping list.  I will help with these two, and leave the rest up to you. And remember that Picasso once said "Love is the greatest refreshment in life."
One of my favorite dishes to prepare is Veal Marsala with Rosemary Red Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus.  You can actually make this dish in one pan, but I will break it down into three recipes, and make it easier.
Veal Marsala
2-6 oz. Veal Cutlets (pounded to  tenderize)
1-cup Marsala
2-cups freshly sliced mushrooms
2-cups flour
1-tsp. granulated garlic
2/3 cup olive oil
Tenderize the veal cutlets and place them in the flour that has been seasoned with the garlic, salt and pepper.  Dredge generously until the cutlets are caked with the flour. 
At a medium heat add the olive oil into a non-stick frying pan and wait until oil is hot.  Shake any excess flour off and set the veal cutlets into the oil and brown well on each side.
Turn heat down to low and add mushrooms. Stir until semi-cooked and add the Marsala.  The Marsala will reduce over time, and the flour and olive oil will turn into your sauce with the wine. Keep an eye on this and make sure you stir it and not let it get too thick.  It is just a matter of time until it will be done.  Don't worry-the veal will be cooked thoroughly if you don't rush.   Meanwhile....
Rosemary Red Potatoes
10-red potatoes washed and cut in half
1-TBL rosemary
1-Tsp granulated garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
Place potatoes in to boiling water and cook until you can easily poke a toothpick or knife into them.  Drain well.  Add the potatoes to a pan with oil.  (Not the same one you are cooking the veal in-unless you are short on pans) and cook over medium heat adding the garlic and rosemary at the very end.  The potatoes are done when they have a crisp coating on the skin.  Salt and pepper to taste.   And then finally....
 Roasted Asparagus
1-pound fresh asparagus
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Trim the asparagus back at about an inch from the stem bottom.  Place in a shallow baking dish, making sure to spread them out.  Drizzle oil on the asparagus, (not too much) and top with the salt and pepper.  Place in a pre-heated 400 degree oven on the middle rack and check after 5 minutes.  Make sure the tips don't get burnt.  They are usually done after 5 minutes, depending on the oven.
Now getting the meal to come together at the same time takes some practice.  But if you take your time and have fun, everything will turn out ok.  You can also set out a tray of cheese and crackers, or a bottle of wine, and enjoy the evening.  Light some candles and put on Sinatra, turn down the lights and get rid of the kids.  And like Lucy from "Peanuts” said- "All I really need is love, but a little chocolate never hurts."  So I will let you make the decisions on dessert.  And do yourselves a favor; save those dishes for tomorrow.
Feb. 8, 2012 6:00 am
Hubby & I love to cook together in the kitchen. It is always a fun time and the meals are usually delicious! Your meal above sounds great. We just took another trip to the West Side Market (I wrote a blog about it a few weeks ago) and I bought a bottle of rosemary garlic olive oil. The woman said it was great to use on roasted veggies and she was right! I made roasted asparagus with it and it was fantastic. Last night I sauteed mushrooms in it - again - fantastic! I think I would use it for the red potatoes and asparagus. I'm going to save this blog and we might just have to try this menu one night. Thank you for sharing!
Feb. 8, 2012 2:09 pm
Your meal sounds wonderful! I have always preferred to cook and ea at home on occasions such as Valentines Day or New Years. I would rather go somewhere nice on a night when they aren't too busy. Usually the service is better and frequently the food is too. Have a lovely Valentines with your wife.
Feb. 8, 2012 6:19 pm
I prefer a Piccata but the rest, including the Sinatra, sounds a keeper. Happy Valentines CJ
Feb. 9, 2012 5:18 am
Sounds wonderful! We have kept a tradition of the guys making dinner and the girls making salad and desert. We started when our kids were quite young. The kids all have BFs and GFs and we include them in our tradition, too. It is fun! I like your menu and will have to suggest it to the guys for this years feast. :)
Feb. 9, 2012 5:35 am
We stay home and I cook whatever my wife asks for. In the past it has been dishes like lobster or fish tacos or even stuffed turkey burgers. My cooking for my wife makes her happy and when she is happy, I'm happy and so are the kids. As the old saying goes, A Happy Wife is a Happy Life.
Feb. 9, 2012 7:25 am
We always stay in on Vday, too! Waiting an hour for a table and getting food that is overpriced and not as good as what I could have made is so NOT romantic! I usually have a similar meal but with ribeye, not veal! YUMMMM Enjoy the special day!
Feb. 9, 2012 12:37 pm
I know that saying all too well, being proactive in that dept helps a lot. Have a great V day everyone
Feb. 11, 2012 9:33 am
Hey John, I made a schmancy meal last night, a Tilapia filet beneath some chunk crab meat and a lemon beurre blanc. I also prepared Asparagus using the method you described above and I liked it very much, thank you for the way. It absolutely rocked with the beurre blanc.
Feb. 11, 2012 1:31 pm
Thank you very much
Feb. 11, 2012 1:33 pm
BTW I love Tilapia too, and the crab and Beurre blanc sounds fantastic,, we are having beef stroganov that my wife makes man is it good!!!
Feb. 14, 2012 6:35 pm
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John Politte

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Leavenworth, Kansas, USA
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About Me
I have been a professional restaurant person for 30+ years. I started out as a dishwasher and worked my way up the ladder. No schooling except for hands on experience in locations around the USA. I am now starting my own business as a consultant and food writer.
My favorite things to cook
Everything-except baking and desserts
My favorite family cooking traditions
Gravy, my side of the family is mostly French , so we love the sauces and gravies.
My cooking triumphs
Starting my own public access cooking show-"It's Only Food". Did 33 shows in 3 years as the chef and producer. It certainly opened up a lot of doors and paved the way for changing the way I look at food.
My cooking tragedies
Missing my family growing up and working 80 hour weeks, but I can say that it paid off. No regrets.
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