We had a really wonderful dinner last night, home-cooked by our Valentine. It was inspired by the gloriously sunny and warm image of Calabria above. To read our Valentine's commentary and see our (rather bad, phone-quality) pictures of dinner, read on...
The idea of the dinner was warmth. Here in Ohio, Valentine's Day 2008 was accompanied by snow, ice, slush and cold, cold air. I wanted a dinner that brought us somewhere warmer. This painting by von Klenze reminds me of visiting my family in Calabria. We had a huge Italian dinner, and then watched the sunset over the Mediterranean.
Tonight, for an antipasto, I brought out some Parmesan, olive oil, and some fresh olives with a little fresh baked bread.
Next, I served butternut squash ravioli in a sage butter sauce, topped with fried shallots and toasted pine nuts.
The main course was pork tenderloin, stuffed with breadcrumbs, sun-dried tomatoes, and more sage; I served some sauteed mixed greens with the meat.
For dessert, I wanted something light, and went with pears served with blue cheese, and a caramelized butter and honey sauce.
We were very impressed, and the wonderful bottle of Pinot Noir didn't hurt either. It actually went very well with the entire meal, including the pears - when it turned buttery and almost floral in contrast to the honey. The pears were our favorite part of this excellent meal; the pine nuts got caramelized too, like tiny pops of crunchy nut candy.
We topped the evening off with a viewing of a wonderfully restored 70mm print of Hitchcock's Vertigo - in our mind a nearly perfect Valentine's flick.
(Image credit: Landscape with the Castle of Massa di Carrara, Leo von Klenze, 1827. Courtesy of the J. Paul Getty Trust.)