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Valentines Day + A Blistery Anniversary: What to Cook

Updated: Jun 30, 2023


Yes, it's Valentine's day. Happy day! For me, and probably for you too, today is also a voyage down a blistery memory alley of snowstorms and power outages. I know you too have a story of your last Valentine's day; here is a synopsis of mine.

Last February 14th Becky and I were supposed to teach a virtual cooking class for around 30 couples - part of a fundraiser for Farmshare Austin - wherein participants received large and painstakingly curated boxes of locally sourced vegetables, fruit, cocktail fixings, dark chocolate, and cheery instructions to join us on Zoom for a Valentine's Day cook-along. But on February 14th, I instead rolled over in my sleeping bag on the mattress I had drug to my kitchen - closer to the woodstove- and unceremoniously gave my partner a pair of Carhart pants I had ordered on the internet. There was a needy bottle-baby goat named Southpaw in a cage nearby, as well as 2 dirty dogs, all celebrating alongside us. Hay and mud and ice and a mattress and piles of outerwear littered my cubicle of a kitchen. In addition to power and water, I had been without cell service for already a few days, and was completely iced in... and very stressed about the prospect of simply not showing up to this cooking class I helped organize, and was supposed to teach. I drove a harrowing 1/2 mile to my nearest neighbors to see if they had cell service, completely unaware of what the "situation" was across the rest of the state. Eventually, after one of the scariest 5-mile (almost 45-minute) drives of my life, I managed to get a bar of service and send word that it would be difficult to teach the class. Obviously. Little did I know others would have difficulty attending.

Anyway, what a WILD storm we lived through last year. Truthfully, there are so many moments that I'll cherish out of my week playing pioneer... a week when I was completely oblivious to the devastating failure of our state's power grid and the severe suffering so many faced. I cooked pizzas over bonfire coals and made Mardi Gras tequila snow cones with real, Texas snow. I went sledding on a skateboard and played board games by candlelight. For a week, I focused an exhaustive well of cortisol onto the almost zen-like goal of keeping our goat and cattle herd fed and watered - a tricky feat considering. And then, a week later, when the roads in the very rural area where I live had finally thawed enough to drive on, I escaped to "town" (Fredericksburg), unwound my greasy 7-day old braids, took a shower, and wept. But yeah, happy Valentine's day! Let's cook!

Recipes to Keep you Warm
Cozy up with a lover, or friend.

Sexy Salads
Spoiler: All salads are sexy. Sub any Vrdnt lettuce your receive for the lettuces mentioned below.

Bonus: Kale and Nori Salad Booster to top all of your wonderful salads!

Beautiful radish salad, and photo, by Atx-based food photographer, Mackenzie Smith.

Labor of Love
In-depth recipes, that require a bit extra effort, that show how much you care.

Something Sweet
For your Sweet Potato.

P.S. Becky and I did end up teaching the Valentine's Day cooking class on February 20th in the kitchen of fellow farmer friends, Bradley and Katherine. After the class, we swapped snow stories over Ruby Red Palomas and scarlet beet hummus.


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