Valentine's Night In

We go out to eat a lot. We love trying new restaurants, crossing them off the list, and then moving on to the next one. We love exploring new neighborhoods, finding chefs we want to follow on to future restaurant projects, and drinking plenty of wine and craft cocktails along the way.

But Travis and I aren't very traditional when it comes to Valentine's Day. We don't like going out to dinner and being rushed by a restaurant trying to add an extra table turn in order to meet the demands of all the people who only eat out a couple of times a year. We don't like all of the sweetheart menus, which tend to be overpriced and unoriginal. We don't buy big lavish gifts, although we do love to buy each other a little something & write a heartfelt card. 

Last year, Trav cooked me dinner. I worked all day, went to a (really empty) yoga class, and came home to an amazing meal of lamb and veggies prepared extra-special just for me. It was perfect. And while we cook at home all the time, he made it special by making something we rarely have!

Toasting with some prosecco to start the night.
This year, we decided to have yet another night in (I mean, House of Cards ssn 2 came out on Netflix on Valentine's Day, so we were eager to watch that), but we changed it up a little bit. I told Trav I didn't want to sleep in our bed, so we decided to crash upstairs in the guest room. Neither of us have slept upstairs, so we thought it'd be a fun little change. And I told him I wanted to help with dinner this year, so we came up with a menu together and split the responsibilities. Here's what we made:
Baked Brie: Most days I treat myself to a little cheese-based snack after work, especially if I've gone to the gym that day. I love apples with Beecher's cheese, wheat thins & cream cheese, and even just a small chuck of parmesan. I know, I'm weird. I figured that it'd be easy enough to throw a chunk of brie into some pastry dough and toss it in the oven so that we can snack on it while we prepare the rest of the meal. It was perfect.
Baked brie with some more prosecco before cooking dinner. House of Cards on Netflix on the tv. 
Fresh Oysters: Trav knows I love to shuck oysters, so he bought a dozen local oysters and a cut-proof glove for me to go to town. He made a classic mignonette and we sipped some Prosecco while enjoying.
Oysters & prosecco. Tulips & candles in the background, of course.  
Seafood Risotto: This was all Trav, and it turned out fantastic. Fresh mussels, clams, and prawns with a basic white wine-parmesan risotto. Our first time ever making risotto and it turned out fantastic. Here's a recipe we used as a guideline, but we did quite a bit of improvising. We paired it with a simple green salad and some white wine.

The most amazing risotto. Seriously. Make it. 
See that box next to my plate? It contained Trav's gift for me (I thought the oyster glove & knife were my gifts, but he outdid himself). An aquamarine necklace to match my earrings/engagement ring. Aquamarine is my birthstone and my absolute favorite thing to wear in jewelry, and I was so surprised. I told him no birthday presents this year (only 2 weeks away) since he outdid himself on Valentine's Day. He's the best.

After dinner we had planned to cozy up on the couch with a fire in the fireplace and watch some Netflix, but we were wiped. We ended up saving dessert & a fire for the next day.

S'mores molten lava cakes: They were amazing - I highly recommend them! And they went great with Trav's scotch and my dessert wine. Here's the recipe I used. Word to the wise - these are rich, so use small ramekins or plan on sharing one!

Ooey goodness. Toasted marshmallows, crushed graham crackers, bittersweet chocolate, and fresh raspberries. 
Overall we had a great Valentine's Day weekend. We did a ton of housework on Saturday and Sunday, making sure to take lots of breaks for House of Cards...and we finished the whole season before heading back to work on Monday morning. We've never binge-watched something like that before, but it was super fun. How was your weekend? Do anything special? Do you watch Netflix shows on crazy marathons like we did? 
Posted on February 17, 2014 .