Right now I’m feeling pretty luxurious. It’s 10:47 am and I slept in (especially a luxury since yesterday I got up at 3:45), am still in bed (still in my comfy elephant pajamas), with coffee, enjoying one of my favorite breakfasts—toast with a touch of butter, farmer’s cheese and jam. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend you do. Though for us it’s definitely not a regular occurrence because farmer’s cheese is kind of pricey (we get ours from Chapel Hill Creamery) and it’s wonderful. And we finally broke out our cute cheese paper from Murray’s Cheese.

Speaking of breakfast…Alice once said, “Sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” and lately I identify with that statement. Driving to Durham a couple times a week at 4am, with hardly any coffee coursing through my veins and certainly no breakfast (yet), I tend to do some of my best thinking. It surprises me the amount of good ideas that drift into sight at that early hour, at which I am oddly hyper-alert. So I guess while I don’t enjoy getting myself out of bed at such an ungodly hour, in a way I kind of value some good, quiet thinking time on an open road.

I never realized before, how packed February was with events—MLK Day, Superbowl, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s and Oscars. That’s a lot of celebrating! I think February definitely trumps January. I didn’t exactly celebrate Mardi Gras yesterday—there were no beads, parties, jazz bands or crawfish…but there were beignets. I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not but I happen to be in love with beignets. They’re yeasty and fried like doughnuts but even better because they’re hot little sugar pillows that melt in your mouth. So after work yesterday, in honor of Mardi Gras (or mainly just my intense love for beignets), I  walked right on over to Rue Cler (amazing little French restaurant in Durham) and ordered myself a half dozen of them. I sat in the corner, basking in the warm sunlight. It was the perfect treat.

beignets at rue cler

With Valentine’s Day approaching, several things are on my mind. A pink vanilla bean beet cheesecake baked in a chocolate tart crust (playing with beets today—stay tuned for recipe!). Cards (the one thing I will always) be fiercely particular about and will always splurge on)—here are a few of my favorites:

I can’t help but reflect on some of my favorite couples (whether they be fictional or real), so here you have them…

1) Jesse & Celine (in Before Sunrise and Before Sunset)

2) Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward

3) Harry & Sally

4) Julia & Paul Child

5) June Carter & Johnny Cash

6) Barack & Michelle

I also got to thinking of romantic movies about food…there are quite a few out there. I haven’t seen Eat Drink, Man Woman or Babette’s Feast, but I have to say, Big Night and Ratatouille are my two favorites, so if you’re hankering to watch something on VDay and haven’t seen either of them, you’ve got my endorsement.

And of course I made a pretty comprehensive Valentine’s Day playlist:

Under The Covers (a good portion are cover songs):

  • “Love you madly”—Cake
  • “Friday I’m in Love”—The Cure
  • “When you love somebody”—The Fruit Bats
  • “All I want is you”—U2
  • “Addicted to Love”—Florence and the Machine
  • “Love me tender”—Elvis
  • “Lovesick Blues”—Patsy Cline
  • “Ring of Fire”—Johnny Cash
  • “Loving Cup”—The Rolling Stones
  • “Be Mine”—Alabama Shakes
  • “I’ve been loving you too long”—Otis Redding
  • “Try a little Tenderness”—Florence and the Machine
  • “Dance me to the end of love”—The Civil Wars (one of my favorite covers)
  • “Sea of Love”—Cat Power
  • “Lover’s Spit”—Broken Social Scene
  • “True love waits”—Radiohead
  • “Please send me someone to love”—Fiona Apple
  • “I can’t give you anything but love”—Billie Holiday
  • “Lover Man”—Billie Holiday
  • “Easy to Love”—Billie Holiday
  • “Stardust”—Nat King Cole
  • “Living of Love”—The Avett Brothers
  • “Wicked Game”—Chris Isaak (Widowspeak has a great cover of this too)
  • “By your side”—Sade

Jay and I always stay in for Valentine’s Day and cook together, which I think is a lot more fun and romantic than going out. Last year we completely defied the typical Valentine’s Day menu. We dismissed recipes for oysters, duck—anything stereotypically romantic, fancy or French and opted for something (that we thought) was better…fried chicken, mac & cheese, green beans and a banana cream caramel tart in a walnut crust. It was incredible and fun and full of love.

This year, I think we are doing some short rib ravioli (inspired by one of the best things I’ve ever eaten—when I had dinner at Commerce a few months ago). We’ll probably pair it with a salad and/or a veggie side and wine of course (possibly French 75 cocktails before). And for dessert, Amaretto Bread Pudding—no chocolate *gasp!*

Whether you love or hate this silly mushy holiday and whether you’re flying solo or have a partner in crime this year, I hope your day is full of some kind of love—for your best friend, your dog, your lover or your gorgeous plate of pasta.

1 Comment

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One response to “XoXo

  1. fabandfiftyish

    On your recommendation we tried the short rib ravioli at Commerce in New York and it was truly amazing. I thank you for the recommendation. I hope yours turned out just as well. A few evenings ago one of my daughters had 72hour short rib in a restaurant in London and she said that too was stunning. Susan

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