Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Food of Love

It's Valentine's Day!

I know there are probably a lot of you out there who, regardless of whether you're in love or not, scoff at the whole idea that one a particular day our love for each other must be expressed in a particular way. I get you. And I agree that we should express our love every day, and that the whole holiday is horrifically materialistic. Which doesn't mean that I didn't buy my husband heart-shaped candies or a card from the store. He bought me candy as well (and apparently has some second part of his gift for me when he gets home) but he bought it from our favorite local chocolate shop, Cowgirl Chocolates, and put it in a heart-shaped box I'd saved from a Valentine past (he thought I was crazy for saving it, and look how it turned out).

And, of course, I'm making dinner.

I had thousands of recipes to choose from when formulating this meal, to be sure. Books and books, plus the entire internet. I had to consider the hubby's favorite things, of course. Dessert came down to red velvet sandwich cookies or homemade chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches; the ice cream won the day. There will be wild rice with mushrooms and onions. I've opened a particularly nice bottle of wine we bought in Walla Walla, to let it breathe. Salad, so we'll feel at least a little healthy.

But what about the main course? So many dishes I've made in the past have wowed my husband. He's been longing for salmon lately. He loves chicken. Indian food. Lamb. But I didn't want to make anything that felt at all mundane; I wanted a particularly special dish. To me, this would mean something highly complex and difficult. It might have meant duck en croute a la Julia Child. But for my husband, I knew there was one dish that would be a most delightful treat.

I'm making Aussie Chicken.

What is Aussie Chicken, you might ask? It's chicken breasts, slathered in honey mustard, bacon, mushrooms, and cheese. It's a riff on something from Outback Steakhouse, I believe, and we haven't had it in years. Not since before I really learned to cook. It's delightfully simple and exploding with flavor (code: salt, sugar, and fat).

This is going to be a happy Valentine's Day.

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