Nothing Says “I Love You” like Animal Protein and Cheesecake

24 Feb

Yup. You read that right.
Now, normally — as you folks well know — I’m very into pursuing a healthy diet. Whole grains, fruits & veggies, lean meats, occasional indulgences, the works. However, there are some inevitable conflicts with this on the calendar.
1. Thanksgiving. Rules? Shmules.
2. Christmas. See Thanksgiving. Especially when hors d’oeuvres and pie are involved.
3. My birthday — if you can’t indulge on your Day of Birth, when can you, eh?
4. Valentine’s Day.

Confession: For most of my boyfriend-less years of life, I was somewhat anti-Valentine’s. “Rawr! Invented by Hallmark! Greeting Cards and Conversations Hearts aren’t love! Grrr growl angerness.” That slowly evolved into more of a “meh” approach; something along the lines of, “Well, I guess you can celebrate love in general … and use it as an excuse to bake things. Now, ‘scuz me while I hunt down some red food coloring for cookie frosting.”

I mean, how could I turn down the prospect of baking these? Seriously.

I mean, how could I turn down the prospect of baking these? Seriously.

And now, as with most things in life, I’m a bit of a cheese-filled love bug. (Creme-filled? Parmesan-filled? Eh, details.) Not to the extent that “Valentine’s Day = DIAMONDS AND SHINY THINGIEEEES” (serious meh), but more along the lines of, “Celebrate love in all of its forms? Yes, please. Especially when that love is manifested in bacon. And cheesecake. And pan-seared broccoli.” (I know, I know; to some of us, broccoli is an expression of love. #justgowithit.)

So, The History Teacher and I put together our own Valentine’s Day Feast featuring … you guessed it, animal protein and cheesecake. Our entree, Oven-Roasted Bacon-Wrapped Scallops, was entirely THT’s idea (What can I say? I’m a lucky lady. 🙂 ). We served the scallops with Whole Wheat Summer Spaghetti (so good with the sweet-savory flavor of the scallops) and Pan-Seared Broccolini with Red Pepper and Garlic. Topping off the meal with a New York Cocktail was festive enough, but for dessert, we noshed on Cheesecake with Honey Drizzle and Cinnamon-Sugar.

And I’m stoked to share the details with you! All of our recipes are available right here on GKG for your own meal-planning and festivities. Even though we’re now past Valentine’s Day, it can’t hurt to cook a special meal with your special someone. Or, heck, for your first and oldest love — yourself. Happy eating!

Mmmmmmm. Meat-candy.

Mmmmmmm. Meat-candy.

Oven-Roasted Bacon-Wrapped Scallops — serves 2 with leftovers. Easily doubled or quadrupled for a party!

You’ll need:

  • 10-12 large sea scallops (not bay scallops, which are much smaller), thawed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 5 or 6 strips of bacon (pork works best, but try substituting your favorite. Even tofu bacon could probably work!)
  • Old Bay (optional)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp melted butter
  • Olive Oil

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking pan with foil or parchment paper. If using foil, spray lightly with cooking spray.
  • To wrap the scallops, cut each strip of bacon in half. Wrap around each scallop width-wise, piercing with a toothpick to stay in place. Continue wrapping until all scallops are wrapped. Sprinkle lightly with Old Bay (optional), salt & pepper. Drizzle with melted butter and olive oil.
  • Roast for 15 minutes, or until scallops are done and bacon is crisp. Coat with extra butter if you’re feeling particularly sinful. 🙂

We noshed on those beauties with Summer Spaghetti (see the above link for the recipe) and Pan-Seared Broccolini.

You’ll need:

  • 1 bunch broccolini, rinsed and dried with bottom etches trimmed off
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • Parmesan cheese, for serving

Here’s what you do:

  • Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add broccolini, garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring frequently as you stir-fry the veggies.
  • After 5 minutes, Add 1-2 tbsp water and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Allow the broccolini to steam for another 5 minutes. Then, lift the lid and continue to stir-fry until broccolini are tender-crisp.
  • Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

For dessert, we topped store-bought cheesecake with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. Simple, classic and delicious.

But to wash it all down, THT whipped up a delicious New York Cocktail. Love my budding bartender. 🙂 If you’d like to try your own, here’s the easy-peasy recipe.

New York Cocktail — serves one

You’ll need:

  • 2 oz whiskey
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp superfine sugar (also called “caster sugar”; you can also use regular sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp grenadine
  • lemon twist for garnish (optional)

Here’s what you do:

  • Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  • Shake.
  • Pour into a glass. Serve.

Happy belated Valentine’s, my loves! From GKG and THT to yours. 🙂 What did you guys nosh upon on Valentine’s Day this year? Did you go out? Stay home? Order takeout?

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