Valentine’s Day is Not Just for Couples


I have a lot of single friends, like a lot of them and it is usually the same thing every year. YAY!! It’s Valentine’s Day, guess I am staying in. No one ever thinks that Valentine’s Day is for anyone that doesn’t have a significant other. Well, I am here to tell you how ridiculous that is.

You as an individual person are the best person to romance you! Think about it, just for a minute, what are your favorite things? Dark chocolate, white chocolate? Steak, seafood, Tofu? Red wine or martinis? Well guess what, the sky is the limit and you can actually have whatever you want this Valentine’s Day. Take just a few minutes and create a Valentine’s Day that you will remember.

Dinner alone? Wahoo!!! With all the new conveniences in grocery stores these days there is no reason why you can’t make a spectacular dinner just for you. Whether you are a carnivore or an herbivore, there is nothing stopping you. Anyone that knows me knows that Wegman’s is my favorite grocery store after a farmer’s market. They have some of the most spectacular packaging for singles I’ve ever seen and compared to what you will pay out at a restaurant on this the busiest day of the year, you can create something more decadent by staying in.

Ready to get started? For my Valentine’s dinner this year I am planning on a beautiful garlic rubbed petite filet, with sautéed mushrooms on a bed of creamy parmesan polenta and a side of parmesan crusted roasted cauliflower. Dessert? I am not above treating myself to something decadent that I don’t have to make, so stop by your favorite local bakery and pick something up that will make your toes curl.

Menu is planned now let’s get shopping. (I suggest you go to the grocery store on Friday as Saturday is going to be bonkers with all the last minute shopping being done by those that just remembered they have a significant other that is going to be really disappointed when they don’t get that $50 bouquet or $25 box of chocolates.)

The ingredient’s list is easy for this meal.

1 petite filet mignon or your favorite cut of steak

¼ lb. portabella mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves of garlic (or more, you are alone, live it up!!)

1 shallot

3/4 cup half and half, separated (save the leftovers for your coffee next week)

½ cup olive oil

1 cup polenta or fine cornmeal

1 cup chopped fresh cauliflower

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 tblsps butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Before we get started on dinner, remember, today is all about you. Since you did you’re shopping a day early you can spend the day pampering yourself. Dinner will take about 45 minutes to prep and prepare so you have nothing else to do. Might as well start the day with a nice hot shower, treat yourself to that sugar scrub you save for special occasions, moisturize, put on your make up or trim up that beard. Put on your favorite outfit and then start your day. Dress for yourself, impress yourself, and romance yourself. You are your own best date.

Okay, it’s 6:30 p.m., you’ve treated yourself well today but it is time to start cooking. Are you ready?

Place a piece of foil on a cookie sheet (makes cleaning up easier) and preheat your oven to 350°.


Put the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper into your food processer, and blend well to mince the garlic. Slather your steak with ¼ of the garlic mix and set aside.


Place the cauliflower in a ziplock bag with a ¼ of the remaining garlic olive oil mixture, ½ the parmesan cheese and toss to coat. Place on one side of the cookie sheet and put in the preheated oven when you start the polenta.


Heat a small skillet till hot, add the remaining garlic and olive oil mixture, stir so that garlic doesn’t burn. Reduce heat to medium and add the shallots and mushrooms, sauté till shallots are translucent and mushrooms are tender. Stir in a ¼ cup of the half and half until creamy and well combined. Set aside, but keep warm.


Bring 2 1/2 cups water plus ½ cup half and half to a boil (can use all half and half if you want, but will be extra high in calories then). Stir the polenta, reduce heat to between simmer and medium and stir every couple of minutes until the polenta absorbs all the liquid and becomes thick, takes about 15-20 minutes for this to happen. I mean it, stir often, but be careful as the polenta will bubble and spit. Remove from heat, stir in remaining parmesan cheese and butter and stir well. *This makes more than you need, but I always put the reserve in a loaf pan, let it set up and use it over the next few days for lasagna, as the base for a poached egg, broiled with mozzarella cheese with a salad.

At the 10 minute mark, put your steak on the other side of the cauliflower pan; turn your broiler on high. Broil for 4 minutes on one side and then flip the steak over, stir the cauliflower and broil for another 4 minutes (for medium rare). If you have a grill, you can do the same thing on a hot grill with the steak and just keep the cauliflower baking while you finish off your polenta.

Let steak rest while you set the table with your most favorite china, turn on your favorite music, pour your favorite wine and light a candle (yes, light that candle, you are worth it!).

Now let’s get plating, place as much polenta as you want on the center of your beautiful plate, top it with the mushrooms, surround the plate with the cauliflower and top it with the steak.

Thank yourself for being so loving and enjoy your dinner.

Happy Valentine’s Day my friends!

Remember Single means:








See you next week!

Hugs and Garlic,





Dinamarie is currently chef owner at My Grandmother’s Table while working with another local vendor to open a small café in Alburtis this spring.


Twitter: @dina_valentini