Valentine Shmalentine 2011

I’m not one of those girls who hates Valentine’s Day, nor am I the kind of girl who swoons at the idea of the holiday.  I am ambivalent.  I may not really care about Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean I won’t use it as an excuse for a good meal.

I arrived at Whole Foods to see shoppers in full panic mode.  The line at the flower department was a mile long.  Don’t these men know there is a bodega on every corner of Manhattan, each with a flower section?  Even worse, I thought the world was ending when I swung by the meat counter.  I suppose cooking for your sweetie was in vogue this year because the store was full of men trying to buy the ingredients for a romantic meal.  Unfortunately, there was not enough filet mignon to go around and a riot was a-brewing.  “Please don’t tell me you want filet mignon, too,” the butcher frowned when it was my turn to order.  “No, don’t worry,” I said.  “I’ll have the sirloin.”

Steak seemed like a good centerpiece for a romantic meal (a romantic meal I was cooking for myself, mind you) and what goes better with steak than potatoes?  An ordinary potato wouldn’t do, so I made smashed potatoes with gruyere, cremini mushrooms, and spinach.  I also made a salad of arugula topped with zucchini ribbons, shaved parmesan, avocado, pine nuts, and a lemon vinaigrette.  You can’t see it in the picture, but I actually made a basket weave pattern with the zucchini to give the salad a fancy edge.

So maybe no one asked me to “be mine” this year, but it turns out I was my own Valentine.  And judging by my satisfied tummy, I was a damn good one.