It’s in the air. It’s in the stores. It’s in the sappy Hallmark cards you buy because that’s what you do this time of year. As St. Valentine’s Day approaches, our thoughts inevitably turn to love. Not to take away from those of you who enjoy the warm fuzzies that Valentine’s Day brings, but I’m not a huge fan of this “holiday”. I’d rather someone show me love 365 days of the year, not go out of their way with unnecessary (and often outrageously expensive) displays one day of the year. But each happily to their own!
To be honest, Scott and I typically don’t do anything for Valentine’s Day. I don’t even remember the last time we got each other cards to mark the occasion. That being said, we are celebrating this year! This year, Valentine’s Day, or more specifically, the day after Valentine’s Day, marks Scott’s first payday since early 2014 when he was laid-off. It has been a long, hard battle, between his unemployment and dealing with my health issues and walking a very tight financial line for almost a year. But we have been so blessed by the friends in our life and the Lord’s provision. There were days when I had no idea how we were going to make it, but with some Divine provision, we made it through. Scott got the call that he had gotten his current position just days before his employment insurance ran out. I look back at it all and it still amazes me just how perfectly it all worked out! Scott’s first pay day is this Sunday, so we are celebrating!!! During his time off, Scott promised me a lobster dinner to celebrate the end of his unemployment. The frugal part of me cringed at the idea of paying a restaurant a significant overhead to do something we could just as easily do at home, so we settled on a celebratory seafood feast at home.
Here’s the menu:
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops
- Coconut Shrimp Salad
- Lobster with Garlic Avocado Dipping Sauce
- Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges
- Cherry Carob Tart (adapted from the Mango Carob Tart recipe by Audrey at Unconventional Baker – All I did was substitute frozen cherries for the frozen mangoes and skip the non-AIP toppings. Scott had been requesting this recipe ever since he first saw the original recipe last fall!)
I thought I would share a couple of the recipes with you that could easily double as AIP appetizers for any party or casual get-together!
These were a hit from our Christmas Eve Hors d’ouevres. Costco carries a lovely prosciutto that is imported from Italy and the only ingredients are pork and salt. I find prosciutto much easier to work with, especially for projects like this, than the sulfite-free, additive-free bacon we get from the local butcher (which is amazing in its own right). And the flavour is much more delicate, complimenting the scallops well, rather than overpowering them as bacon tends to do. When I finally work up the nerve to make my own homemade fermented fish sauce, I am looking foward to trying it with these scallops!
- 4-6 medium-large sea scallops, thawed
- 2-3 slices prosciutto (or double that if you like meaty scallops)
- Cut prosciutto slices in half lengthwise. Wrap a half slice around each scallop, securing with a toothpick. If you really want the pork flavour to pop, you can use a whole slice on each scallop, folding it in half lengthwise and then wrapping the scallop, securing with a toothpick.
- Place wrapped scallops on a greased baking sheet. Turn your oven to broil and place the top rack on the second level from the top. Once oven is heated, place baking sheet on the top rack. Broil for about 10 minutes, or until scallops are cooked (they should be opaque white). Keep a careful eye on them because if you over-cook the scallops, they will get rubbery.
Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges
With the bulk of my culinary effort going into the Cherry Carob Tart, I wanted to keep the rest of the meal delicious but easy. These sweet potato wedges are a great side dish that takes limited time and effort to prepare, also making them ideal for a quick and easy weeknight side. They are great on their own, or you can pair them with a creamy avocado dipping sauce.
- 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into wedges lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or high-heat oil of choice – melted coconut oil would also work)
- salt and cinnamon to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 375F (400F if you are closer to sea level than I am!).
- Toss sweet potato wedges with oil and salt and cinnamon to taste. Arrange on baking sheet.
- Roast in oven for about 30 minutes until tender. You will want to turn the wedges once half way through to ensure even cooking.
What are your plans this Valentine’s Day? A special meal coming your way? A surprise from a sweety? Feel free to share!