Shrimp for your sweetie
In times past, I've barely shown even the slightest rise in heartbeat for Valentine's Day. The day just seems bossy and everyone answers the ultimatum by scrambling through the aisles of supermarkets and the like for cards, chocolates and the dorky little symbolic bears all in the name of "must not be different" (rolling my eyes).
Yes, I may be a tad bit cynical as I protest following the crowd. Funny how that sentiment resonated when I found myself single. So, when my man asked me to dinner with the cutest little smile saying he has never really liked Valentine's Day but he really likes me and thinks we should celebrate, I suddenly saw why following the masses could reign in the finer points in life.
Giddy as the girl who used to stay up the whole night before my class Valentine's party in fourth grade assigning names to each little card and envelope, I smiled and said, "Yes, let's be mushy and make everyone sick."
The day does take on a different meaning when the motivation is tying heart strings, which is how I like to now think of the day. I don't know why I have to have a reason for participating in such folly. It is, after all, a holiday that holds a longstanding tradition of lovers exchanging hand written notes until, that is, commercial cards became available in the mid-19th century.
There are a number of Saints called Valentine who are honored on Feb. 14. The day became associated with romantic love in the Middle Ages in England. This may have followed on from the Pagan fertility festivals that were held all over Europe as the winter came to an end. All I know is this girl is smiling as he says, "Jump!" and I ask, "How high?"
Not entirely, really, but you did just witness how quickly I abandoned my stance on foolish commercial holidays? And when I fashion food in silly little Hallmark moments, I realize everything I believe is relative and bends at the moment love walks in.
We're doing that dinner a few days before the holiday to beat the lovers crowd. Since I think food can have its sexy romantic moments, we'll be cooking together in the kitchen, a light meal that I think rocks the romance factor.
SKILLET CITRUS SHRIMP AND PASTA WITH BASIL
1 lb. shrimp, cleaned and deveined
3 T. butter
2 cloves garlic
1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
3 T. olive oil
1/2 lb. angel hair pasta, cooked according to package
1/2 chopped red onion
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 lemon, juiced
fresh basil torn in pieces
In a large skillet, add the butter, garlic, tomatoes, and olive oil. Sauté for 4 minutes. Add shrimp and sauté until pink, about 2 minutes. Add the cream and parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Add the pasta and garnish with basil. Remove from heat and pour the lemon juice over the pasta right before you serve.
Janet McCormick is the author of "10-Minute Meals." She lives in Lawrence County, Ohio. She can be reached at 304-654-2003 or www.10-minutemeals.com.