I celebrated Valentine’s day by throwing a small, simple dinner party for a couple friends.
It was a choreographed, triumphant dinner party, with seven courses for more than a dozen friends. The older I get, the less ability I have take the easy route when the difficult one? It has better views! Never mind it requires complicated maps, immunizations and a safety harness. Never mind you look horrible in a safety harness.
Dinner — which started with 4 friends who asked me to cook for their single hearts — ended with 14 people perched around a large folding table in my living room. Of course that original quartet knew what they were asking. They wanted a warm meal, wine, and conversation without the looming commercialism of the holiday.
I had time to put together a complicated menu because the Valentine’s were ordered, addressed and readied with the most ridiculous FOREVER LOVE stamps the post office offers, weeks in advance. Because in the back of my very crazy mind, someone might notice if I used the leftover Christmas stamps. And cards can’t be late when they can be early.
Did I mention this party fully indulges the crazy?
Can a menu be sexy? Will you forgive the unabashed pun of showcasing a “piece of meat” under this subhead?
Oh, come on. Play along.
II. Cauliflower bacon soup
III. Salad with a citrus vinegarette
IV. Berry sorbet
V. Stuffed pork loin, garlic mashed red potatoes
VI. Chocolate and coffee tasting
VII. Lemon bars, brownies, orange blossom madeleines
A friend of mine brought me the most thoughtful Valentine gift: a pair of red cooking tongs. He knew they’d be put to great use and would go well with my kitchen. Also, while I enjoyed my company — he jumped up and washed nearly all of the dishes. I got up this morning to find minimal mayhem after 2 days of cooking:
Also — I found some lovely new vintage items at a thrift market near my home for this party. I was worried I wouldn’t have enough bowls, spoons, etc. Friends brought items so we wouldn’t have to wash between courses and it worked out beautifully.
This gave me a chance to set a mismatched table — with thrown together linens — that showed my own peculiar sense of shabby chic:
The group that came together was as happily mismatched and chic. They are a kind and fun gaggle who I’m so happy to have around my table. Spending the night with new friends and a warm meal made for the best crazy, sexy, loving Valentine’s yet.