By Christine Hinrichs
Valentine’s Day seems to fall into that category of holidays that always let you down. I feel the same way about New Year’s Eve and Independence Day. It’s supposed to be a fun, magical holiday, but inevitably you’re left wondering why you were so excited about it in the first place. For many people out there, Valentine’s Day is a thorn in their side. Either your significant other is out of town, working, or a horrible planner, or you are single and thoroughly irritated by what my friend calls, “Singles Awareness Day.” Instead of getting down and out about your Valentine’s Day situation, gather up a group of your friends and celebrate the fact that you don’t have to fake a smile when someone gives you a giant, red, stuffed bear! Here is a stellar menu for an I-Love-My-Friends-But-Not-Valentine’s-Day party!
Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
15-20 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped, plus 15-20 full basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 baguette, sliced into ½-inch rounds
2 ounces goat cheese
Salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the garlic, chopped basil, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place the halved Roma tomatoes on a sheet pan and brush the tops of the tomatoes with the oil mixture. Roast for about 2 hours or until softened and the edges begin to darken.
Toast the bread slices in the oven or under a broiler until just lightly browned. Spread each piece with goat cheese. Top with a tomato half and a basil leaf.
One wheel of brie cheese
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the wheel of brie on a small baking sheet and back for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is oozing out of the bottom. Place the baked brie on a serving platter. Top the brie with about 1/2 cup of honey and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Serve with pieces of crusty bread or crackers.
Heavy-bottomed, deep pan with a lid
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Pour the oil into the pan and heat briefly before adding the kernels. Once the kernels are added, cover the pot and shake it over the heat until you start hearing the popping. After the popcorn has finished popping, pour the popcorn into a large bowl and add the butter. Toss to coat, then add the grated cheese and garlic powder. Toss again to coat.
Just because this isn’t a traditional Valentine’s Day party, doesn’t mean you can have a Valentine’s Day themed dessert! This one is kicked up with a little liqueur for added flavor and fun.
1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons Grand Marnier liqueur
In a double boiler over barely simmering water, heat the cream, and then add the chocolate and liqueur, stirring until melted.
Once melted, serve with skewers and any one of these delicious accompaniments: sliced banana, halved strawberries, pound cake cut into cubes, salted pretzel sticks, graham crackers, brownie bites, raspberries, or whatever
Christine Hinrichs is a vegetarian who loves everything related to food. She daydreams about recipes, frequents the local farmers’ markets and reads cookbooks before bed. Read about her food adventures at ruminationsonfood.blogspot.com.