Valentine’s Dinner

Clockwise: burrata with dried figs and balsamic vinegar; charcuterie with bread; panna cotta with homemade lemon-orange marmalade; porchetta and a side of wilted spinach with pomegranate seeds and pine nuts

Clockwise from top left: burrata with dried figs and balsamic vinegar; charcuterie with bread; panna cotta with homemade lemon-orange marmalade; porchetta and a side of wilted spinach with pomegranate seeds and pine nuts

In 2012, Nick and I started a tradition of dining in on Valentine’s Day. We had dined out for a few years for the holiday and found lackluster food, inflated prices, sluggish service, and the feeling that we were being rushed through our meal, so we decided to stay home and  make a special meal. The last two years included a lot of appetizers and small plates but this year we decided to do an Italian dinner. We cheated a little bit and didn’t do all of the courses typical of an Italian meal. Here is our menu:

Aperitivo: Champagne (not Italian but the occasion called for it!)
Antipasto: charcuterie & bread; burrata with figs and balsamic vinegar
Primo: We skipped the first course, which is typically risotto, pasta, or soup, because we’ve been eating a lot of pasta and soup lately and needed a break.
Secondo: porchetta
Contorni: wilted spinach with pine nuts and pomegranate seeds
Dolce: panna cotta with lemon-orange marmalade
all served with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, an Italian red wine

The food spanned many Italian regions: Emilia-Romagna, Sicilia, Piemonte, Marche, and Lazio. Though everything was excellent, I was especially fond of the burrata (made locally!) and panna cotta. Recipes will be up soon!

In other news, I’m excited to announce that I have been accepted as a volunteer recipe tester for the James Beard award-winning (and all-around awesome!) food website, Leite’s Culinaria. I won’t be able to post the recipes here, as recipe permission is granted exclusively to Leite’s Culinaria by publishers, but I can talk a little about my experience of recipe testing after the recipes go live on the site. This is the perfect opportunity to try new recipes, work on my cooking skills, and meet other folks who love cooking just as much as I do!

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