HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYONE!
TODAY’S POINT OF BALANCE: This week I found this fun article on What Chefs Cook for Their Lovers for Valentine’s Day. They all suggest stepping it up and going all out for your loved one this February 14. Personally, I’m not ready to buy and kill a live lobster in my home. We’ll leave that to the professionals.
This article got me thinking about Hans’ favorite meals that I make at home. Whenever I make a new recipe, I have Hans rate it on a scale of one to ten. I’m proud to say there hasn’t been anything below a 7.9! Here are some of his favorites:
Chicken Paprikash: For a little background, here’s a description from Wikipedia.com: “Chicken paprikash is a dish of Hungarian origin traditionally made with chicken, paprika and lard, and served over pasta. There is no “official” recipe; indeed, preparations of Chicken Paprikash often vary between families. In the Americanized version of the dish, sour cream is often used in place of lard and mild red paprika is typically used in place of the more authentic sweet paprika typically used by Hungarians. It is a comfort food for many people and has powers to ‘warm the soul.'”
Similar to my ability to track down a Starbucks from five blocks away, when paprikash is nearby, I know Hans is on his way to finding it. It’s taken a few attempts, but I have come very close to mastering my mom’s recipe. She’s still much better at making it, so whenever my mom asks us what we want for dinner on a Sunday night, this is always the first thing Hans suggests!
Mac and Cheese with Pancetta: For our second anniversary, we went to XO Prime Steaks where we had THE MOST AMAZING MACARONI AND CHEESE I HAVE EVER EATEN. (Yes, it was that good.) For our third anniversary, we decided to recreate our steakhouse experience at home. I made this recipe from Bon Appetit’s website along with a T-Bone steak and a baked potato for my man. He went back for seconds of the pasta, and didn’t finish his steak or potato! I put my serving of the mac & cheese over steamed broccoli. YUM. Whenever we talk about mac & cheese, he asks me to make this dish again. Definitely worth the splurge and the two hours to make it.
Banana Pancakes: When it comes to surprising him with breakfast in bed, this is my old standby. Nothing too fancy: just your usual pancake batter with a ton of banana slices, served with maple syrup. What better way to start the day?!
Fake Chicken Parmigiana: We call it our “fake” chicken parm because it’s not your usual fried and baked version of the dish: One summer night, we had some chicken on the grill, but Hans wanted some pasta with marinara. Suddenly, a light bulb went off in my head. I grabbed some mozzarella that we had left over from sandwiches from the week, melted the cheese on the chicken on the grill, then served the chicken over the pasta. We are counting down the days until we can use our grill again – it’s currently covered in a foot of snow!
General Tso’s Chicken: This is Hans’ favorite item from our local Chinese takeout joint, but I much prefer him eating my much healthier version. I have to give Trader Joe’s all the credit on this one. They have a great General Tso’s sauce that I always make sure to have a bottle of in the pantry. It makes for a quick weeknight meal. Cut up some boneless chicken breast, cook it in the sauce, add a ton of broccoli, and serve over whole wheat noodles.
Palatschinke: A family favorite growing up, my dad used to make these thin egg pancakes on Sunday mornings. Once he got in the family, Hans fell in love with this breakfast staple. More from Wikipedia:
“Central European pancakes are thin pancakes, comparable to the French crêpe. Unlike the thick American pancake, a Palatschinke is filled with different types of fillings and eaten for lunch or dinner. Palatschinken are traditionally rolled with apricot jam or strawberry jam, rolled up and sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. A variety of different fruit sauces, (like applesauce) or thick fruit jams called lekvar, (plum, prune, raspberry, cherry or sour cherry jam), lemon juice and sugar, chocolate sauce, hazelnut-chocolate cream, almonds, dried or fresh fruits, sweet cottage or quark cheese and raisins, cocoa powder, poppy seed, or any combination thereof, may also be used.”
Pumpkin Cheesecake: I asked my mom to make Hans his favorite dessert for his birthday. I found the recipe for The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake and emailed it to her. By that evening, she had done a test run by purchasing a pre-made graham cracker crust and cutting the recipe in third. Have I mentioned my mom rocks? 🙂 She ended up making this three times in the month of November – Hans celebrated all month long!
SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO: For Valentine’s Day, Hans and I went to Light Bistro in Ohio City. Restaurant review on the way!