Can I let you in on something?
I've never celebrated Valentine's Day.
Ever. In the history of ever.
Even though I've been in a relationship for the last three years.
Why, you ask?
Because our schedules never line up.
See, I was super excited the first year we were together because my single girl dream was coming true: I would finally have a date for Valentine's Day. BUT then I got my company schedule and realized...umm...kidding. We had a 10-out-of-12 (all-day tech) on February 14th. The following year, I had class all day, followed by tech rehearsal for several hours. I finally got home at 9:45, a gross sweaty mess. That night, Jon and I split a red velvet cupcake from Starbucks and watched TV.
Well, this year, my schedule was finally clear on the 14th - after classes ended early in the afternoon, I was free!
Jon was not. He had bowling after work. So by the time he got to my apartment at 11:30...I was falling asleep.
Can I tell you something else?
It could be worse.
Because the last two years running, we've both had the day off on our anniversary... February 12th.
And this year, that day was perfect.
I woke up to a warm plate of homemade French toast with pure maple syrup next to my bed. We went to church, went boot shopping, did some things for the wedding, and went grocery shopping - nothing monumental, but what truly made a difference was that we did those things together, which is a luxury we rarely have. Later that night, we retreated from the snow under warm fuzzy blankets and watched Netflix, just quietly celebrating the wonderful three years we've had together and all the years to come.
And then there was dinner.
Instead of going out, we cooked a gourmet meal together:
Filet Mignon, simply seasoned and cooked to absolute juicy perfection
Mashed Redskin Potatoes with Roasted Garlic and Mascarpone Cheese
and these Roasted Hazelnut Brussels Sprouts.
(For dessert, there was rice pudding...I'll be sharing that soon :)
Now, historically, I have not been a huge fan of brussels. They're kinda bitter, and the only way I'd liked them before was when they were doused in butter and bacon grease...which is not something I could really afford to do with a show coming up. But I found this gloriously simple recipe on Cheeky Kitchen and was struck hard with the urge to try it! I am, after all, on an eternal quest to find more vegetables I lurrrve.
SUCCESS! These suckers were chock full of flavor, texture, and overall deliciousness, without being drowned in fat! A simple short roast at a high temperature with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, with chopped hazelnuts thrown in just at the end to toast up to perfection, and vegetable bliss was attained! It was the perfect side dish, served as part of a perfect dinner, to cap off a perfect anniversary.
Roasted Hazelnut Brussels Sprouts
Source: barely adapted from Cheeky Kitchen
3 cups brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 500˚. Yes, this sucker's gotta be HOT.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, drizzle sprouts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired, tossing to coat.
Spread the sprouts out on the baking sheet and roast on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes, until the edges of the sprouts begin to char. Toss the chopped hazelnuts on top and return to the oven for another 5 minutes, until toasty and aromatic. Serve with essentially any meal you want, though I highly recommend meat and potatoes. Enjoy!