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Friday, February 8, 2013

Valentine's Day Dinner & Movie Pairings

Confession: I'm kind of a sap.  And I kind of have a thing for Valentine's Day.  But not in the way you might think.  Before I was old enough for flowers, candies and candle-lit dinners, Valentine's Day was a bright spot in what I otherwise considered winter's seventh-inning stretch.  Today, I'm still happy to use Valentine's Day as an excuse to break up the post-holiday blues of late January and the settling winter doldrums of February.  Plus, even if it's a kinda silly, kinda made-up holiday, it's also an excuse to spread a little love in the world. Not just the romantic type of love either, but the kind you might have for friends, children, cousins, moms or brothers.  So no matter who it is, I hope you tell someone you love them this Valentine's Day!

Given my attitude toward February the 14th,  I try to celebrate every year, even if this means simply sharing a good meal and a good movie with a good friend.  If this sounds like your kind of V-Day too, here are some ideas for a fun and festive night in, complete with a menu and movie:

For Italians/Mobsters

At least once each winter I make this over-the-top, rib-sticking, meat-lovers dream of a bolognese.  If that's not quite your style, this ragu with veal is equally as decadent and delicious.  To complete your old-world evening, pair one of these pastas with a good red wine, some cannoli and The Godfather.

For Romantics

It's a Valentine's Day post, so I have to incorporate at least one love movie, right?!  Try the Nora Ephron classic Sleepless in Seattle and order from you and your guy or girl's favorite takeout spot.

For Totally Not Romantics

Nothing says anti-chick flick like Die Hard and a steak dinner.

For Foodies

Ratatouille, Chocolat and Sideways are my top three favorite foodie films.  Pick the one that fits your personality (or mood) the best and choose a dish to compliment your feature film...
For Ratatouille, well that's easy: A 30-minute version of this old French classic.  I made it for a holiday dinner four years ago, and my cousin still asks me about it today! Bonus: it's vegetarian-friendly. 
For Chocolat, play up the title ingredient: Incorporate some dessert into your dinner with a slow-cooker variation of chicken mole
For Sideways, save some wine to cook with: If you're feeling adventurous, try tackling the ultimate wine sauce, beurre blanc, and serve over fish or any seafood.  If you're feeling more simple and down-home, try these five-ingredient braised short ribs.

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