Working in retail, my mind is always a season or two ahead of any holiday or special gathering. For this blog post, I decided to be fully present and share how we are actually going to celebrate this Valentine’s Day.
At Sahadi’s, Valentine’s Day is less commercial than in some other shops. We stock fine chocolates and other goodies all year round. Today, I spent my morning walking through the store deciding on a Valentine’s Day menu. Since I work with fabulous food all day, you would think that I’d be furiously planning and prepping. As it is, I’m actually looking for something semi-healthy, semi-indulgent and definitely something easy so I can enjoy the evening with my husband of almost 29 years.
Since food stores keep long hours, our meal will be served fairly late in the evening, so I decided to go with meze. Meze is an abundance of small dishes that are traditionally eaten as appetizers before a meal in Lebanon. Here, I am serving them as the main course. I selected Moroccan spiced hummus, with preserved lemon and Ras el Hanout (Moroccan spices) first. I then complemented that with baba ghanouge, taramasalata (Greek caviar spread), mini kibbee balls, falafel drizzled with green tahini sauce and a tart fresh tabouli salad. Cured olives glistening with olive oil and bright pink house-pickled turnips round out the meal. Small plates of wonderful, flavorful food make for a relaxing yet indulgent meal. With no heavy entrée, there will be plenty of room for a light cheese course before dessert.
Cheese is an established food group in our home and we just started stocking a few fabulous new cheeses. I love cheese — it is soul satisfying. Pair this gorgeous floral goat cheese with a fruit and nut cracker and you are set. It also pairs well with my choice of Valentine’s cocktail! Since it’s a sweet holiday, I am going with a dry rose prosecco drizzled with Al Wadi All-Natural Pomegranate Molasses and fresh pom seeds. I love pomegranates — sweet, tart and a beautiful deep red color.
For dessert, I am feeling a rich French Roast French press coffee with cardamom and a handful of simple dark chocolate covered, rose-flavored Turkish delight. Clementine oranges with fresh roasted walnuts finish this romantic meal.