Typically I shy away from engaging in Valentine’s Day activities. I don’t even like acknowledging the day. I do realize that our culture relishes in all the decadent and sexy goodness that comes with it: Dark and velvety chocolate, flowers, perfume or cologne, a pretty piece of jewelry and of course the pièce de résistance-a candle lit dinner for two.
All of that may be a stretch but perhaps newlyweds or a confidently-in-love elderly couple would excitedly plan a day and evening of romantic gestures. Some are clearer on how they plan on celebrating and sharing their affection for those around them; while others, like me, have to spend a significant amount of time trying to figure out how to make it a special evening.
I’ve always relied on food to express my love and affection. A good, hearty and well thought out meal can quickly resolve issues and provides tremendous nourishment for the soul. If you think I’m trying to be all mushy, just think about all the times a relaxed sit down dinner completed a perfect evening. So, for this Valentine’s I committed to making an extra-special meal that would say “I love you” and satisfy any loving relationship. A menu of oysters, risotto, Swiss chard and of course a complementary wine makes a simple meal that will be romantic, elegant and easy to prepare.
Th romantic risotto was quick, easy and simple with complex taste.. The dried rose petals and strawberries whispered, “Hello, Lover”. I fell in love with the risotto the minute I saw it–based on its look and smell. If you consider the fact that risotto hales from Italy, a land of culture, romantics and the one of the best love languages, you can appreciate its effect: a perfect warm food that fills you up quite nicely. Making risotto is a labor of love, no doubt a great way to show your sweetheart affection. I paired the Italian imported risotto with seared oysters to counterbalance the heavy grain and keep a healthy diet in mind. For green goodness, the Swiss chard was the last element that pulled it all together. I kept it airy, sautéing it in olive oil and adding a touch of ginger.
I’m convinced this dinner will woo your significant other and make your mom proud. It’s simple enough to keep you sane, beautiful and elegant; just enough to make you shine! It should be noted that a glass of Pinot Grigio or even a well rated Champagne could be paired with your meal. Light your candles, play some Marvin Gaye, Al Green or Johnny Mathis and enjoy a romantic meal for two!
At the end of the day, if two can come together and openly express their love for one another, the point of Valentine’s Day is not lost. Just make sure to have some fancy food to share!
*The recipe below is only for the specific risotto I tried out. I followed the instructions on the package and tweaked it with the amounts of wine, etc… You can do the same for any risotto that you prefer. For the oysters (shucked and shelved), I seasoned them with salt and seared them in olive oil, until a light golden brown, about 30 seconds on each side.
Rose Petal Risotto & Oysters With Swiss Chard
- 3/4 cup Risotto with Strawberries & Rose Petals
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup Pinot Grigio or a dry white of preference
- salt to taste
For risotto, follow instructions according to package. Adjust water as needed. Serve with a green vegetable.
* Chef’s note: you may substitute oysters for clams, scallops or salmon. Swiss chard may also be substituted for spinach.