Valentines

girl_cork_sm.jpgShe came highly recommended – like a great book, a fine restaurant, or a good plastic surgeon. Her name was Delilah, and our mutual friend, Nina, wanted to hook us up.

She described Delilah as a great beauty, with intellect and insight.

“She’s your muse,” said Nina.

I wasn’t falling for the hype. I didn’t want to go on a blind date. But Nina wouldn’t let up. She was sure that Delilah and I were perfect for each other.

I sighed and told her I’d think about it.

“Don’t think about it. Call her,” she insisted. “Fate doesn’t wait.”

 

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ImageAh, to be dead and in love. Sounds strange but why can’t love transcend dimensions as seems to be the curious case at Idyllwild’s Strawberry Creek Inn. The proprietor and chef, Rodney Williams, sometimes felt a warmth, a caress, an alarming brush of passion when alone in one particular room. He ignored it at first but as the sensations continued and he found himself oddly aroused, his curiosity grew. Finally, he called on a group of psychic experts and discovered that in fact, (for those who believe that parapsychology is fact), there was someone or something swooning about the place. Further investigation led to a ghost named Jade. According to the psychics, and there were several in concurrence, Jade, was the spirit of an ancient indigenous woman who occupied the land in life, and she was hanging around because she had fallen madly in love with the handsome Williams. It’s a strange romance that he finds comforting.

“She’s here to help,” he says, “I believe she may be responsible for our extraordinary success.”

Jade’s infatuated spirit seems to infuse the inn with romance. The award-winning bed and breakfast is a labor of love for Williams and his life-partner, Ian Scott. “So far Jade has not shown any signs of jealousy,” laughs Williams, “she seems happy to share me.”

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COOKIES.valentine.xoxo I do love a good holiday and any holiday that gives me an excuse to bake with a theme is fine by me. This year, dinner is at home with my four boys (M is included as he is in fact still a boy). Making all of their favorites; grilled lamb chops with a delicious marinade (parsley, basil, garlic, shallots, and coconut oil), asparagus tart, stuffed tomatoes, and chocolate lava cakes for dessert.

Now that my family is taken care of, I couldn’t let their teachers and some of our favorite people go unnoticed. Isaac has the greatest teacher this year and not only is she going to get a huge box of Sees Lollypops (her favorite), but she is going to get a selection of both butter-sugar cookies and these cocoa shortbread cookies. There are countless other teachers and staff members that will also be getting a neat little box wrapped in ribbon. Each box will represent how much we adore and love each and everyone of them.

On this Valentine’s Day, I will hug and kiss my kids and tell all my boys how much I love them. Yet, come to think of it, it really doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to say and do these things; it pretty much happens everyday!

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stable.jpgAround fifteen years ago, my wife and I decided that eventually we wanted to leave Los Angeles and move to the country.  Although neither of us had ever lived on a farm, we both had grandparents who did and had fond memories of visits where we “helped” with chores such as milking and gathering eggs.  However, I soon learned to avert my eyes whenever I saw my grandmother pick up a chicken, as I knew this was Step 1 of the recipe for the pot pie which would appear on the supper table. 

Once we had decided to move, we spent our vacations looking for the perfect place.  We checked out Northern California, Oregon, Washington and the Canadian Maritimes before eventually deciding on Vermont because it actually looked like “the country” of our imaginations.    

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filetsThere's no other holiday like Valentine's Day when lovers are given the chance to express their affection in many ways, be it something as simple as flowers or as fancy as a restaurant dinner. Here in New York City and there are many Valentine's Day dinner specials soon to be available. There is always an opportunity for couples to dine out and have a great, albeit, expensive time. But a private dinner at home can be just as special and a lot less pricey. I don't think there is anything more romantic than cooking for your other half. A meal that's made with love has so much more meaning than anything a restaurant could offer.

I have a simple dinner in mind. This entrée is simple and easy, using basic cooking techniques, so you don't have to spend too much time at the stove. It's uncomplicated, unfussy, hearty, and familiar in flavors: it's steak, potatoes, and spinach. These petite filet mignon make an elegant dinner for two and, with the side dishes included, come in well under 20 dollars, 30 if you include a good bottle of red wine. Celebrate your Valentine with this easy and affordable meal.

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