You could go the safe route.
There’s plenty out there to choose from:
Sautéed sole or herb-crusted lamb chops.
If you want to get fancy this Valentine’s Day and thin out the wallet the options are endless.
Or you can declare this true love and go for the no-frills, unpretentious dish of a Crock-Pot simmered meal.
The one where you just plop five ingredients into the Slow Cooker, hit the ”start” button and get on with your day.
Because, love-struck or not, your day has to get on, does it not?
No one else in going to make breakfast for the children.
Or make sure their completed math homework is in the backpacks.
Or, heaven forbid, make and pack everyone’s lunch.
No, you’re still on, whether Cupid is on duty that day or not.
It takes a certain relationship clearance to get to the stage of the garlicky, Slow Cooked, just-thrown-together meal, I admit. So, maybe if you’re not there yet, if you’re still lighting up the bathtub with rose-scented pink candles every night and inviting your special someone to join you, you may want to skip this part. Just scroll down to the bottom, where the recipe is. You’ll be using it soon enough. And you don’t want to miss it. It’s real good.
Those of you with clearance know who you are.
You’re the ones who shove the lacey thong in the back of the lingerie drawer and wear the cotton control tops sold in bulk from Costco. Thank goodness. Some things just need to be held in.
Perhaps you’ve slacked a bit on the body-waxing regimen, always producing a perfectly logical explanation:
Who has time?
If God intended me to have hair there, so be it!
What’s another ten days?
And, of course, the ultimate clearance for relationship clearance: you have to have heard each other’s farts.
You have come to be okay with it.
Accept that it happens more often than not.
That, yes, he is cute, has good shoulders, perhaps even holds the door open for you to walk through (if you’re into that sort of thing, of course) but man, can he let one rip!
When you are good with that, pull out the Slow Cooker.
There’s enough stuff to get right each day, anyway.
Aside from all the kids’ needs, that is.
For example, if you live in the real world and have to show up for work at an office or such, there’s prep for that. Not all of us have a fifty-person Oprah team to make it happen. Good for her for bravely showing us her before pictures with the puffy makeup-less eyes, the Spanx-less bod, the bedhead hair. But of course, she shows us the after pictures as well, the ones where she is dazzling- a beautiful, perfectly sculpted, glittery, mega-watt smiling Oprah! The Oprah we will remember, adore, hold a grudge against, beg to emulate, and forever compare ourselves to. Damn! And she is actually sixty years old already? At that point, standing in front of the mirror before the sun has risen with no one but the dog to cheer us on feels tough enough.
So, trying to woo someone with an individual serving of Beef Wellington just because it is February 14th may push you over the edge.
I grew up in a Latin American country, one driven by (and proud producer of) stellar telenovelas: sappy tales drenched in passion and redemption and love and love and love. Dia de los Enamorados is hardcore there. So, I understand the temptation to create an elaborate culinary artwork drizzled in a truffle oil reduction.
And still, I will tell you:
A man is a man is a man.
And by this wise sentiment I mean to say:
If you serve a man a huge hunk of delicious, juicy meat that has been gently simmering for ten hours in a tasty sauce he can easily scoop up with a crusty baguette, he will love you for it. And if you go nuts on the carbs, load up with white rice (perfect to soak up the sauce), throw in some tiny baked potatoes and skip the salad altogether, don’t even mention roughage, why, then, you are in for a night to remember.
A man’s heart is through his stomach! They don’t make that shit up.
So, yes, you could debone a trout and poach it just so, I mean, if it makes you feel better. I can give you a killer Orange Saffron sauce, if you’d like.
But do yourself a favor and stick with me on this. It’s low-maintenance and sublime. You’ll both sit through dinner and not say a word, because you are that close, that connected, that language is not even needed.
Or because you’ll both be too busy chowing this amazing meal down.
If you bring up Oprah in the conversation, non-chalanty, of course, in between bites and slurps, I bet you’ll both agree she’d even dig serving this meal to her beau, Stedman. Whether they’re sharing a quiet evening in her Montecito, California estate or enjoying the ocean breeze at her Hawaii farmhouse-style homestead, she’d be singing your praises for enlightening her with such an easy and wonderful lover’s day recipe.
And that’s the after Oprah I’m talking about.
Memorize it so you can lie about how complicated this recipe is.
- 1 pork tenderloin (no spices or marinades)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup cheap red wine (the one you serve to that cousin you can’t stand)
- 1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
- 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Place tenderloin in the Slow Cooker and add all the ingredients. Mix around so the tenderloin is coated.
- Cook at desired Slow Cooker speed, depending on your planning skills or how crazy your day is or how darn hungry you are.
- Serve, with sauce in a cutesy little sauce server (that’ll fancy it up!)
- Serves 4
P.S. Leftover makes killer sandwiches!