Katie and I aren’t huge fans of overhyped, overcommercialized Valentine’s Day but we never turn down an opportunity for a special date night. Instead of going out to a restaurant, we always stay in and cook a special meal for Valentine’s Day. Usually we choose a specific culinary ingredient or theme and we alternate who takes the lead each year. This year it was my turn and I chose ginger as the common ingredient since Katie is a little–OK, a LOT–crazy about ginger.
Katie had been gone much of the day Saturday, giving me ample opportunity to prepare dishes in advance in secret. When Sunday rolled around, the day shaped up to be so beautiful that we decided to forgo dinner in lieu of an all-afternoon late lunch outdoors on our patio. The weather was in the mid-60s and very sunny, great for sitting out on our deck chairs and enjoying some Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2008.
The first course was just as light and refreshing as the sauv blanc: cold lychees marinated in fresh lime juice and ginger. Zesty and delicious! Next up was the first of two soups: pear and ginger bisque. This was a carrot and sweet potato soup base with big chunks of Bosc pear and butternut squash for texture. It was delicious hot but, as we later found out, even better cold.
The next soup was similar in that it too had a base of carrot and sweet potato. However, its flavor profile was very different: Indian-spiced carrot-ginger soup. This had a very smooth texture and spicy overtones. I served it hot with a dollop of plain yogurt to complement the spice.
That was enough soup for a while so the next course was stir fried broccoli, tofu, and butternut squash in a light ginger-garlic butter. Technically the recipe only called for me to produce ginger butter, but who would go for ginger only when you have the option to add garlic?!
Last but not least was the piece de resistance. With the wine finished and the temperature cooling outside, we headed into the warm indoors for . . . homemade dark chocolate and ginger ice cream! So good! Most of the meal made for days and days of leftovers, but the ice cream was gone before that evening’s Olympics broadcast had ended.
This was the our first Valentine’s Day together in three years and I think it’s safe to say that we both enjoyed it tremendously.