Updated: Feb 2
Oh, Valentine's Day, how I love to anxiously overthink everything about you. Most Valentine's, I have a hard enough time just being stuck in an endless cycle of "Do I reinvent the wheel, or go the classic chocolates & teddy bear route?" Add to that a global pandemic, a scarcity of restaurants/nightlife open, your Netflix queue being less than inspiring, and, you know, everything else that quarantine life has to offer us right now, and you get a very restless me.
But, I decided something today whilst sipping my nitro cold brew and sitting down to write some wedding blogs. I'm not going to let the Valentine's overthinking train of doom get me this year. I, here and now, simply refuse it. And I'm not going to let it get you either. Even in isolation, we can make this a Valentine's for the books. How? Let me show you. I've compiled my best list of everything you need for a quarantine V-Day. Let's get started.
1). The Drinks
I've got the perfect drink for you & your Valentine to sip on. I call it, Cupid's Kiss. Actually, it's really just a New York Sour, but doesn't Cupid's Kiss sound way better/appropriate? Here's the recipe courtesy of liquor.com:
2 ounces rye whiskey or bourbon
1 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1 egg white (optional)
1/2 ounce red wine
Add the whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white (optional) into a shaker with ice and shake hard until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
Slowly pour the red wine over the back of a bar spoon so that the wine floats on top of the drink.
This cocktail has a really great full body texture which is in large part thanks to the egg whites. To thoroughly cook the egg whites, make sure to shake vigorously. Or, if egg whites freak you out a bit, feel free to skip them! The drink can totally stand on its own without it.
2). The Fit
Who says you can't get dressed up to lay on the couch? Certainly not I! I say, Netflix & chill but make it Vogue. I'm currently obsessed with these velvet dresses from Baltic Born Clothing. They're designed to fit all shapes & sizes with their adjustable wrap ties and the quality... you guys, they have no idea I'm writing about them and I certainly wasn't paid to, but the quality is out of this world. I think it's a super fair price for the custom fit & overall gorgeous factor. Also, they have a ton of bridal dress options! Mostly for bridesmaids or casual reception dresses, but totally worth browsing through. Check their online store here.
(One note: the dress I bought is a bit long for me, but I'm getting it tailored because that's how much it's worth it.)
3). The Noms
Okay, so get ready because I'm going to stuff you with carbs, but you can just thank me later. Here's my pitch for your V-day dinner: Steak with Spaghetti Aglio E Olio
What is Spaghetti Aglio E Olio? It's pasta at its finest, and this is coming from a certified Italian girl. The Naples dish is somehow both light & earthy, with the star being its use of garlic almost as an oil over the noodles. Don't hate me for making you eat garlic on national love day, it's delicious & in my experience, the dish totally won't trash your breath. V-Day is all about indulgence in the things we love, and you deserve to eat to your mouth's content. And pop a mint if you're super paranoid. You'll be fine, promise. Here's the recipe for Spaghetti Aglio E Olio courtesy of foodnetwork.com:
1 pound dried spaghetti, such as DeCecco
1/3 cup good olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water before you drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pot large enough to hold the pasta, such as a 12-inch saute pan or a large, shallow pot. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it just begins to turn golden on the edges-don't overcook it! Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds more. Carefully add the reserved pasta-cooking water to the garlic and oil and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about a third.
Add the drained pasta to the garlic sauce and toss. Off the heat, add the parsley and Parmesan and toss well. Allow the pasta to rest off the heat for 5 minutes for the sauce to be absorbed. Taste for seasoning and serve warm with extra Parmesan on the side.
Add the spaghetti with your favorite cut of seared steak and just bask in the richness of the dish. Trust me, you'll be glad you did. Not a big meat eater? This pasta can be great with any type of fish or sautéed veggies with garbanzo beans. You guys, I'm getting low key starving writing this!
4). The Entertainment
So I'm not huge into watching romantic movies on Valentine's Day. I know, I'm crazy! It just seems too on the nose & I'm a stereotypic against the grain type of gal. But, here's my concession. You should watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It's one of my favorite movies ever, and though it's got some darker themes, I believe at its core it's actually a great movie about love & relationships. Have you seen it? It stars Jim Carrey & Kate Winslett and it's pretty much a perfect piece of cinema. Great for both you & your partner to enjoy, full of psychological intrigue, grabbing visuals, and stunning acting. Prove me wrong! Watch it & tell me what you think. It's available for rent on amazon prime video.
So, kiss your Valentine's quarantine anxiety goodbye. All that matters is that you & your love fill up on carbs & enjoy each other. For those of you having to celebrate virtually (which, if that's the case, I'm so so sorry, my goodness) you can totally make all of this work! It could be fun to send each other the different ingredients and make the food & drinks together via Skype. That way, you can share a meal no matter where you are. Happy Valentine's, loves. Stay safe & be well.
Have and To Hold Photography is a luxury wedding photography and videography company based out of Denver but serving all of Colorado. Keep up with their Colorado wedding adventures on instagram! @haveandtoholdphotography