Do you find Valentine’s Day depressing? You’re not alone. According to health experts, Valentine’s Day can be miserable for singles, recently widowed, or anyone who feels their love life is less than ideal. Seeing images of happy couples can be a bit much, especially when you lost the map to your happy place.
Heck, Valentine’s Day can be emotionally draining for kids too, as far as that goes. At least it was for me. Does anyone else remember it the way I do?
Every year in elementary school, it was the same. The students would walk around the classroom, depositing their cards in the shoe boxes each kid decorated with ribbon, hearts, glitter. Whatever they thought would ultimately bring them the highest return.
But no one had to give you a valentine. No one said they had to give you anything.
Then the Queen Bee (my fourth grade Bee was Sandra) would begin her interrogation. “How many did you get?” she’d ask each and every girl in the room. And no matter what number you gave, her’s was higher. It was always higher.
Had the rest of us been smarter, we could have banded together against Sandra. Maybe knocked her down a few pegs by withholding our valentines to her, and over stuffing each others boxes. But alas, my conniving ways were not fully developed at that time. Damn it.
It kinda makes you wonder what Sandra is up to nowadays, doesn’t it?
You know what I think?
I bet she’s one of those women on Facebook who post pictures of the huge bouquet of flowers they received at work.
“OMG, that hubby of mine! Look what he did! Aren’t I the lucky girl?!”
And then there will be the various pics of the homemade valentines her kids made. “Who’s got great kids? This gal!!!!! I love my darlings!!!”
Later, the romantic meal hubby made for her: “Seared Scallops with white wine and lemon sauce! It’s like I always say, girls — marry a man who can cook! LOL!!!”
Don’t let the Sandras of the world get you down, gentle reader. Don’t for one second let them think your life isn’t absolutely perfect, just the way it is. In all its imperfect glory.
Instead… you know what we should do?…
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m going to suggest something rotten. Something to really stick it to poor Sandra.
And you know, a few years back, I might have done just that. But I’ve grown a bit wiser and ever so slightly more compassionate, so now I find the Sandras rather sad. Even in the fourth grade, it was sad. A person who needs that kind of constant validation deserves our pity, not vengeance. So let’s leave them be, shall we?
Instead, let’s celebrate Valentine’s Day as it’s meant to be celebrated. Not as a day to make others feel bad, or to compare your love life to others, but as a day to think about the amount of love in your own heart, and how you should go about expressing it.
Send a heartfelt email telling the people in your life how you feel. How about taking some flowers over to the widow down the street? Take a plate of cookies over to the nice neighbor who never complains about your music choices.
Hey! Here’s an idea: how about inviting someone over for an elegant dinner? After all, eating out on Valentine’s Day is a risky endeavor (crowds, crying babies, limited menu options). And whether this someone is a spouse, a lover or a darn good friend, it makes no difference — you can still show your love for life and good food.
So here’s an elegant dinner that’s quick and painless. It goes together so fast, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the evening. How great is that? The key is to prep all your ingredients and have them ready to go, because once you get started, it goes fast!
Seared Scallops and Sauteed Greens with White Wine & Lemon Sauce
Scallops? A quick and easy meal? Trust me, it is! I already had this in mind when I saw that Anne at Tasting Everything also chose scallops as her Valentine’s recipe. So there you go! Two bloggers can’t be wrong, especially when one of those bloggers is a professional chef! (Hint: it’s not me.)
- 1 slice bacon, chopped in small pieces (freeze it first to make this easier)
- 3 Tablespoons minced red onion, divided
- 2 cups greens, sliced thinly (my plan was to use spinach, but I forgot to buy it and was too lazy to go to the store; all I had was Romaine lettuce so I went with that; believe it or not, it worked great!)
- 1 Tablespoon fresh herb of choice (I used basil; if you don’t have fresh herbs, use 1 teaspoon dried)
- 3 Tablespoons butter, divided
- 6 large scallops (rinse, blot well with paper towels to dry)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 Tablespoon other fresh herb of choice (I used chives)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- Salt and pepper to taste
All right, I know that looks like a lot of ingredients, but here’s the thing: You don’t have to do all of it. Read on and I’ll explain:
First up: Saute bacon and 2 Tablespoons of red onion until cooked, add lettuce and herb, stir and cook until slightly wilted. This goes fast, about 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from pan and divide between your two dishes.
To same pan, melt 1 Tablespoon butter. Season the now dry scallops with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Let set untouched in pan for about 3 or 4 minutes. Turn and cook 3 or 4 minutes more (scallops cook quickly). Remove from pan and set three on each plate, over the greens.
Turn down heat, let pan cool slightly, add remaining butter. When melted, add white wine and stir, scraping up all the cooked on bits. Cook until reduced to about half. Add second herb and lemon zest. Spoon sauce over scallops and greens.
Garnish with a slice of lemon, serve with white wine, and be prepared to wow your guest.
Note: If your guest is allergic to shellfish or just plain doesn’t like it, don’t serve it to them! Instead, consider serving grilled chicken or pork loin over the greens, with the sauce. Or skip the sauce, if that makes you feel better. You can even cheat by buying precooked meat — I won’t tell! The whole point is to present a lovely meal to your loved one, stress-free. Because if they love you, they don’t want to see you stressed. Be happy, dear reader. You have love in your heart, and no one can take that away.