Currently viewing the tag: "valentines day"

Blair Garrett

For everyone of us who is “in love” with a furry, loyal, and loving pet, let’s take a moment this Valentine’s Day to reflect on why we’re so crazy about our pets…and maybe why our four-legged friend may be a better Valentine than a love interest.

For those of us riding solo this Valentine’s Day, maybe feeling a bit down because we don’t have a Valentine, don’t fret, there’s still one surefire fall-back plan: Why not make your pet your Valentine? Why does a Valentine have to have only two legs?

People with pet allergies need not apply, but our furry friends will always be there to save the day. A person’s relationship to their pet can provide immeasurable companionship, fun, and plenty of love, and, in some ways, it’s even better than a person-to-person relationship.

Dogs will never complain about your cooking, and they’re always happy and willing to try out your new recipes with a smile on their face.

Plus, they’re great listeners. If you’ve got a nasty coworker who grinds your gears from nine to five, your dog or cat is always there at the end of the day to let you go on your half-hour rant about Cathy from accounting.

Love to snuggle? Furry Valentine to the rescue! They will never push you away or tell you that they are too “tired” and just want to be left alone.

Always wishing for someone to love you just the way you are? Your furry Valentine will never judge you, never imply that you need to lose some more weight or maybe wear a little more makeup. No, they will love you exactly as you are—at your best, and at your worst.

If you’re someone who struggles with what to get your significant other on Valentine’s Day, don’t worry. Pets have low expectations on holidays, so your last-minute-gas-station-artificial-flower bouquets are more than enough to make them happy.

The love from dogs and cats is unconditional, and they may even return the favor by bringing you gifts from time to time. It may not be that Pandora bracelet you’ve added to your online shopping cart a dozen times, and it might not necessarily look or smell very good, but it’s the thought that counts.

If you’ve ever had a spouse use your credit card for their personal hobbies, or a rogue pre-teen buy hundreds of dollars of Fortnite V-Bucks with your precious VISA, fear not. Dogs will never spend your hard-earned cash without asking. In fact, they aren’t materialistic at all. They don’t desire much; they only long to make you happy.

If 2021 isn’t the year that you find the love of your life, there’s always next year and the year after. Just be thankful your pups don’t argue back. They worship you. To them, you’re the best thing since sliced bread. And, with your pets, you are always right. No battles there.

When it’s a cheap date, and you don’t have to dress up, there’s not much room left for complaints. Your animals won’t judge you for it, and big, comfy sweatshirts are always encouraged. Netflix and a glass of wine is a totally viable night with your four-legged companions. Plus, you won’t have to compromise on a show or movie. Your pet will love whatever you choose to watch.

If all that isn’t enough to convince you that your pet is the perfect Valentine, consider this: If it’s just you and your pet, you get to eat all the chocolates and candies, and it doesn’t get much better than that.

by Ava Morlier, Culinary Arts Program at CTC

Well, February has come. Winter makes going outside miserable unless you have more than five layers on. Even though the feast of Christmas seems far away, rich food can still make an appearance on your table, thanks to a very special holiday: Valentine’s Day! Today’s dish will warm you up and provide a rich, delicious flavor. No need to break out the fondue pot or go to an overpriced restaurant to get that perfect meal with a loved one. Ladies and gentlemen, today I will be writing about a delicious classic that has the ability to warm any soul and make your Valentine’s Day feast easier (and tastier): French onion soup!

Before you bemoan the overpowering onions or bad flavor, let me clear up some confusion on the soup. Generally, the flavor of the onions should not be overpowering. The onions also should not be burnt. That is a common mistake that ruins many a soup. Instead, the onions need to caramelize. Caramelizing happens when the natural sugars of a food (ex. onions) cook and caramelize, often turning the food brown (not black) and giving the food a nutty flavor. This is the main flavor base of the soup, so it’s important not to overcook the onions in this stage.

Next, is the bread and cheese. The bread (called the crouton) should generally be a crusty bread (such as a baguette) and should be toasted (usually under the broiler for a short time) before going into the soup. Otherwise, you will be left with very soggy bread. I made that mistake when attempting to make the soup on my own, and the result was neither pretty nor tasty. The cheese can be pretty much anything you desire; however, provolone or Gruyere will pair the best with the rich flavors of the soup.

In general, the soup will be layered like this: soup, toasted bread, and cheese. Once layered, all will go into the broiler (in an oven-proof ceramic bowl or cup) and will come out when the cheese bubbles and develops a bit of color.

Finally, the cooking wine! Most French onion soups are made with red wine. I used a Merlot, but any red wine will work. The wine will be used to deglaze the onions, removing the brown bits full of flavor from the pan and unlocking a lot of flavor. The wine will cook out, so the soup is safe for everyone to eat. Make sure not to use too much, though; it’s hard to counteract the strong flavor. A dixie cup (or 3 tablespoons) should be enough, but feel free to add more or less based on preference.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! May this soup warm up you and your loved ones and provide rich flavors for your tables!

Classic French Onion Soup

Ingredients

1 red and 1 white medium-large onion, refrigerated (the different types of onions will enhance the flavor)

4 tbsp. Butter

  1 large clove garlic, minced

  3-4 tbsp. red wine

  1 c. beef broth

 ½ c. water (optional)

  1 sprig fresh thyme

  1 sprig fresh oregano

  1 tsp black pepper

  1-2 slices cheese (provolone and Gruyere work best)

  1-2 large pieces of a crusty bread (like a baguette)

      Fresh chives, chopped (optional)

Tools Needed

• Cutting board

• Damp cloth or towel (for underneath cutting board to ensure the board doesn’t slide around)

• Heat-proof spatula

• Oven-proof bowl or large cup

Instructions

1. Heat the pot on medium-low heat. Add butter and allow to melt (don’t burn).

2. Cut up the onions (with the chef’s knife): Remove the skin and first layer of the onion, then cut the root and stem and place in a small bowl. Cut in lengthwise from stem to root. Place the flat side of the half on the cutting board. Cut thin, lengthwise slices of the onion. Place finished pieces in a large bowl.

3. Once butter is melted, put the onions in the pot. Stir to coat onions in butter and turn the heat down a bit. Stir occasionally, stirring off brown bits that form. Keep in mind brown bits are natural and provide flavor.

4. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Cut bread slice(s) with the serrated knife to fit the bowl/cup (I used 2 small slices of bread to fit the size of the bowl).

5. Grease the pan and put slices of bread on it. Once the oven is up to temperature, place bread in. Do not close the oven door (it will make the oven too hot), and only allow bread to toast 1-2 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool once done.

6. Stir onions and place lid on pot; allow to cook. This process may take a bit. Heat may be turned up, but nothing above medium heat.

7. Once brown (but not black), add in cooking wine. Wine should smoke when added. Allow to cook.

8. Add beef broth, pepper, and leaves of fresh thyme and oregano. Taste test the broth and add in water if the flavor is too rich. Bring to simmer.

9. Make sure the oven is still at 500 degrees. Add soup to an oven-proof bowl. Add bread to the surface of the soup, and top with cheese. Place bowl on top of the sheet pan and put in oven, making sure to leave the oven door cracked open once bowl is in the oven. Allow to cook until cheese bubbles and has a bit of color.

10. Remove from oven and garnish with fresh chives if desired. Allow to cool and serve.

Blair Garrett

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start planning for a night out with your special someone.

Chocolates and flowers are nice, but for those of us who are searching for a memorable evening with our significant other, options for a fun or romantic night out are a welcome change from the norm.
There are plenty of great date spots that work outside of just Valentine’s Day, too, and if you’re in desperate need of ideas, you’ve come to the right place.

Big and bold plans can be fun and exciting, but your date night doesn’t have to break the bank. Your options are only limited to your creativity, and the most important thing you can spend this Valentine’s Day is your time.

Let’s take a look at a few great local and non-local options for your perfect February night out.

1. Antrim 1844
     If a romantic getaway is more your style, look no further than Taneytown’s Antrim 1844. Built on an old plantation, Antrim 1844 offers customers a variety of historic housing options for a weekend stay close to home you won’t soon forget. With 11 different local houses to choose from and dozens of room options among them, a new and exciting experience awaits couples looking to celebrate.

The property often hosts weddings and work outings, so, naturally, there are food accommodations. Antrim 1844’s Smokehouse Restaurant has been named “Best Historic Restaurant in America,” and with all of the options available to guests, it’s easy to see why.

Whether it’s a six-course meal or a trip to the restaurant’s 20,000 bottle wine cellar, you’re in for a classy, laid back evening at Antrim 1844.

2. Carroll Creek Park Walk
       This free, open to the public day trip gives visitors gorgeous views of downtown Frederick. On the walk, you can see some of the best murals and artwork Maryland has to offer, all at your pace and leisure. There are tons of shops and restaurants you can make a stop at along the way, so the trip is really what you make it.

This former floodplain is now one of the premier attractions to Frederick and has been renovated as recent as 2016. There are also electric bikes for rent to add a workout or faster mode of transportation to your self-guided tour. A bike also allows you flexibility to branch out and see more of the city.  
 
3. Firestone’s Culinary Tavern
       If beautifully prepared meals with a fine glass of wine suit your ideal night out, Firestone’s Culinary Tavern in Frederick has all that and more. Firestone’s features a “Raw Bar,” consisting of upscale seafood delicacies with an intimate setting. Draft beers, fine wines, and signature cocktails accompany some of the finest oysters the east coast has to offer.

At Firestone’s, there is always something new to try, and you’ll never get tired of their extravagant dishes. With Frederick’s largest selection of beer and ale, there is an accommodation for just about everyone.

4. Order Take-out
     For an intimate stay at home night, bring home a special take-out dinner. See our article in this issue about Celebrations Catering in Thurmont, where a special Friday Night Valentine’s Menu offers upscale delicious meal options.

On Valentine’s weekend, several local non-profits are hosting dinners or events, where carryout is an option as well. Take a look at those opportunities in the Around Town Section and Community Calendar in this issue.

5. Ice Skating
       There’s no better time to lace up the skates than with local ponds starting to freeze over. Although the Greater Catoctin area is typically not as cold as our neighbors to the north, and sometimes our outdoor ponds aren’t entirely frozen over, don’t fret.
There are some great local spots to ice skate—indoors and outdoor.

Ski Liberty hosts outdoor skating daily, and both Hagerstown and Frederick have indoor ice rinks with weekend public skates.

No gear? No problem. All options listed have rentals available upon request, so ice skating is an easy and fun way to kick off your February.

Ice skating is something most people are either proficient at or terrible at, and it makes for a lot of laughs if the latter is the case. Dates are all about having fun and spending time with a person you care about, so what better way than to watch each other slide around like a newborn calf taking its first steps.

6. escape room
       Nothing focuses more on communication and problem solving—two cornerstones of a relationship—quite like an escape room. For those of us who have never taken an escape room challenge, couples or parties must work together—and sometimes compete—to solve riddles, puzzles, and equations to find a way out of a themed escape room.
       When the door locks behind you, the timer starts, and carefully inspecting each item in the room is the key to finding your escape key and freeing the group. Solving an escape room together is a great way to get out and do something unique and creative. The riddles are often funny and challenging, allowing you to share a few laughs while working together.

There are several excellent options, just a short drive away, with each offering a one-of-a-kind experience. Frederick has ClueIQ, Surelocked In Escape Games, and Escape This. Escape Gettysburg and 1863 Escape Room are also great options north of the Mason Dixon line. So, there is no shortage of great local spots for a fun night out.

The value in the year’s most romantic holiday is designating a specific day dedicated to the most special person in your life. Whether you’ve dated for six months, or you’re celebrating your 50th anniversary, date nights are a healthy outlet to keep relationships flourishing.

Great date ideas are everywhere, but it’s up to you to make it a memorable one. If it’s once a week or once a year, taking a trip to do something out of the same old routine is an easy way to put a smile on the face of those you care about most. So, don’t be afraid to get out there and make your dream night out a reality.

Ski Liberty’s outdoor ice rink, open daily at the foot of the mountain.

Ode to February

by Valerie Nusbaum

February is the shortest month of the year, but it’s a special month because every four years a February 29th comes along.  Our second calendar month is home to Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day.  February is also the most likely month to play host to a blizzard.

For me, though, February is a major work time. It’s generally the time when I start spring cleaning. I clean out closets and drawers. I donate items we don’t use or need, and I throw away things that aren’t worth donating. Almost nothing makes me feel as good as organizing and straightening cabinets, closets, and drawers. 

I also spend a lot of time in my studio in February. It’s great to be able to look out the window at the bleak landscape while I paint something colorful and bright. I also do a lot of thinking as I stare out the window, and sometimes I’m reminded of things my family would rather I forget……

One day Randy mentioned that he was craving Mexican food. I may not always let on that I’m listening while he ruminates, but I do hear him; so I thought I’d surprise him with some homemade enchiladas, rice and beans for dinner the next day. I chopped and cooked, grated cheese, and set out chips and salsa for my hungry hubby when he came home after a hard day at the office.  He seemed to enjoy the meal and thanked me profusely. Then he leaned back in his chair and said, “I’m going to sit here and think about what I might be craving for tomorrow night.”

I looked over and said, “Let me help you out with that. Tomorrow night, you’ll be craving leftovers.”

Then there was the time my mother was visiting. It wasn’t a planned visit. Mom had spent the night in the hospital, and I insisted that she come home with us for a few days to rest and recover. She didn’t have any toiletries or makeup with her, so I offered her the use of anything I had on hand. She said she could make do with her own lipstick and asked if she could borrow an eyebrow pencil. I was busy doing laundry or some such, so I told her where to look and to help herself.

When I went back upstairs, Mom was in the bathroom and she called me in. She asked me how her eyebrows looked, and I tried not to laugh. Honestly, I did.

“They look fine except for one little thing,” I said. “You do know that they’re blue, don’t you?” Mom had grabbed a blue eyeliner pencil instead of the one she wanted, and she evidently couldn’t see well in the bathroom light.

I’ve gotten off track here. We were discussing all the things there are to do in February. Don’t forget Mardi Gras. Yes, we’re a long way from New Orleans, but a lot of people I know join in the celebration.  Some of them even lift their shirts and beg for beads. Granted, that’s not a great thing to do in the grocery store, but I’ve seen it happen.

Speaking of grocery stores, February is the month when we can all get our Kinkling Day fix.  My mother-in-law used to do “donut day” in February, where she made and fried lots and lots of donuts and then covered them and herself in powdered sugar.  Randy told me that he loved walking through her kitchen door and sitting down to a platter of warm donuts.

Don’t forget about the Super Bowl, which (I think) is played on the first Sunday in February. Lots of people enjoy watching the game, and even more enjoy the snacks, drinks, and food included in a proper Super Bowl viewing—big pots of chili, chips and dips, hot dogs, hoagies, and beer, beer, beer. Randy and I are Baltimore Ravens fans, and while our team made it to the playoffs this year, they lost the wild card game.  We’ll still watch the Super Bowl and I’ll make the food, but it won’t be the same for us without a horse in the race. We’ll rate the commercials like everyone else. In an aside, I’d like to point out to the Ravens owners that absolutely no one looks good in purple. I’m just saying.

If Randy gets a Super Bowl party, I get an Oscars party. Since Randy is in charge of the food for this one, I might be served a pizza, but I love pizza, so that’s okay. I don’t usually watch the awards show, but I do enjoy seeing some of the red carpet antics. Celebrities crack me up with all their preening and the fact that most of them can’t string together enough intelligent words to form a sentence. Randy always says that he can’t understand how a star can have writers and minions at his disposal, and still can’t give an acceptance speech that makes sense. He also tells me every single year that it’s very apparent that Hollywood believes it invented the bosom.

My point here is that there’s a lot to do in a very short time in February. Whatever YOU do, I hope you’re warm, safe and well-fed.

Adventures from a Traveler’s Notebook

by Lisa C.

   Cantwell

With Valentine’s Day approaching and winter still upon us, I thought of a trip we took a few years ago that fulfilled a life-long romantic dream: a stay in historic New England, complete with a horse-drawn sleigh ride.

So, in addition to highlighting that adventure in this month’s column, I’ve researched a couple of destinations that will enable you to experience the tingling of harness bells, snuggled under a cozy blanket with your beloved, should you have a similar wish!

by Valerie Nusbaum

Despite what you might believe, writing is hard work. If a writer has a good idea, the words can flow from the brain, almost more quickly than they can be written. When the ideas stop coming, then the problems begin. That’s where I am today. I have a column due next week and absolutely no idea what to write about.

The column is for the February edition, so it seems silly to write about the recent Christmas holidays. I’ve been there and done that already. Valentine’s Day has been done to death and, besides, there’s only so much I can say about hearts and flowers and romance without gagging. Groundhog Day? I could give you a brief history of how the tradition got started and then tell you that my in-laws were married on February 2, but I don’t know where to go from there. Let’s see…President’s Day? I guess we could discuss Washington and Lincoln and a few other Commanders in Chief. I could mention that I’ve been trying to memorize the names of the Presidents in order of service, and once I’ve mastered that, I plan to commit their terms and Vice Presidents to memory as well. I’m an American. I feel I should know that. I don’t believe I can come up with nine hundred words on that subject, though.

Randy really hasn’t done anything particularly funny lately. He’s working long days at his job, and we have a lot of family issues that we’re dealing with. There’s nothing of interest to my readers in that. This is supposed to be a light, humorous story, not something that will make you cry or fall asleep.

My brother is flying in from Montana for a short visit, and I could write about how we’re always happy to see each other, but we manage to get on each other’s nerves after two hours together. Some things never change.  I’m planning to make a sign to hold up at the airport for him. You know how the limo drivers hold signs with their passengers’ names? My sign will read “Booger.” I’m trying to talk Randy into holding a sign reading “Bigg.” There might be a story in that for another time.

Our nephew sent us pictures of our grand-niece, Clara, playing inside a big cardboard box. That’s it. Not even a paragraph.

My mother suggested that I write about the time we were kids, and Mom was sledding with us at my grandparents’ house. Mom ran over Pap’s peach tree with the sled. She thinks that story is hilarious. You be the judge.

I’ve started three other columns and have left them all hanging. One was, indeed, about Valentine’s Day. I couldn’t finish it. Another one was about the month of February.  Three paragraphs in and I was stumped. The third one was a piece of fiction about a girl who was allergic to flowers and chocolate. What was I thinking?

I was getting desperate, and then I remembered that right after Christmas I had read The Girl on the Train. I found that book very disturbing, and yet I couldn’t put it down. After I finished the book, I gave it to Randy and asked if he’d read it to see if he had the same reaction. Not being a big fan of “chick lit,” he read it and then said, “You’re darn right it was disturbing. I read the whole stupid book about those silly people, and the writer never once mentioned what kind of train it was.” His reaction cracked me up, but I didn’t think I could write a whole column around it.

I thought about writing something regarding weight loss since everyone seems to be trying to lose weight after the holidays. Then I remembered something else that Randy said recently. You see, he’s not a member of Oprah’s fan club. Now that Oprah owns a portion of Weight Watchers and she’s become their spokesperson, Randy is even more annoyed with her. We were watching television the other night and one of Oprah’s commercials came on. Randy looked over and said, “You know, someone should put Oprah and Marie Osmond in a room together and let them eat each other.” It took me a second, and then I figured out that Marie is a spokesperson for Nutri-Systems. Maybe a weight loss column is a good idea for another month, but I think I’ll leave Oprah out of it.  And Marie.

So here I am with a whole lot of nothing. Life is like that. Sometimes it’s exciting and filled to the brim with action and adventure. More often than not, it’s like this. Stuff happens, but most of it isn’t worth repeating. And some of it can’t be repeated in polite company (most of my emails with my friend, Gail, fall in this category). We have appointments with our doctors and dentists, we get bills that need to be disputed, we have lunch or dinner with friends, and we spend time with our families. We can choose to grumble about things or we can smile and get on with it. Most of all, we can relax and enjoy the slow times. Trust me, it won’t always be this way.

by Val Nusbaum

Laws of Attraction

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and our minds and hearts are filled with thoughts of romance and love, right? Sure. In my continuing quest to make life easier for my faithful readers, I decided to go to an expert in the art of seduction and gather vital information to help you attract and keep the one you love. This is how the conversation played out:

Me: “Tell me some things a man can do in order to attract a woman.”

Randy: “Huh?”

Me: “What manly qualities do women find attractive?”

Randy: “High E. P.”

Me: “Seriously? You think the first thing I noticed about you was your earnings potential?”

(Note:  When Randy and I met, I was earning more than he was. I was NOT after his money.)

Randy: “You can’t throw this stuff at me and expect me to have the correct answer.  I need time to think.”

Me: “There is no correct answer. I just want to know what things you did to attract me.”

Randy: “Drugged you?  Deception and trickery?  I still haven’t figured that one out.”

Me: “Fine.  Tell me what it was about me that attracted you.”

Randy: “Big (unprintable).”

Me: “I give up. You’re right. I don’t know why I married you either.”

Randy followed me into my office, still berating me for asking a question he was unprepared to answer. Then he rattled off a list of qualities that included cleanliness, good grooming, fashion style, intelligence, kindness, and a few other things. I sat looking at him as he rattled on, and he became more agitated that I wasn’t typing or writing down his pearls of wisdom.  He really came undone when I asked if a sense of humor was important to him, because he’d failed to mention that quality. He launched into an explanation of how it is impossible to rate one’s good qualities. Is a sense of humor more important than a sunny disposition? Do they go hand in hand? Does it matter if a man is fun to be around if he doesn’t bathe regularly? I started giggling at his frustration, which only increased his annoyance.

Randy: “Okay, Missy. You tell me without any forethought what I can do to be more attractive to you.”

Me: “A hot fudge sundae would be nice.”

Randy: “How far away would I have to be holding the sundae in order for you to decide which of us you want more?”

Me: “You’d have to hold it right in front of you before I’d notice you. It’s hot fudge, for Pete’s sake.”

This is the way most of our conversations about love and attraction go, and this is why a sense of humor is high on my list of attractive qualities. Luckily for me, Randy is a funny man.

I didn’t get very far in finding out the things that men and women can do to be more attractive to each other, but my expert did give me a list of things that one should never do on a date.

I hope you find his advice helpful.

I made him stop at ten items, but Randy could have kept going all night long based on his own experiences.

My advice to you is simple: Be yourself, don’t take yourself too seriously, and be ready to laugh with your date. Never laugh at him or her. Wait until you get home to do that. Don’t wear anything too tight.  Be nice even if you don’t like him, and you know you’ll never see him again. You might meet his cousin someday, and the two of you may hit it off. Your wedding could get awkward. Trust me.

Tell the truth whenever possible.  Lies are difficult to remember and harder to maintain.

If you really like someone, introduce him or her to your family right away and get it over with. You’ll find out very quickly if the person you’re dating feels the same way about you.

I guess when it comes right down to it, my hubby is correct in saying that no one really knows what attracts us to each other or why.  Randy and I don’t have a clue why we like each other. We just do.

I’m sending a special thanks to Amy Messler for her kind words about my December column and for taking the time to write, and also to Loberta Staley for her continued support.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope you all get flowers and candy, or at the very least, a good laugh and a yummy hot fudge sundae

by Jim Houck, Jr.

Emmitsburg Heritage Committee Holding Wing Feed to Benefit Community Heritage Day Festival

Now is the time to plan for celebrating your Valentine’s Day with the ones you love. What better way to express your love to your significant other, and give back to the community at the same time, than attending a charity wing feed?

The Emmitsburg Heritage Committee is holding a wing feed on Saturday, February 13, 2016, at the Emmitsburg Ambulance Building, located on Creamery Road, from 3:00-11:00 p.m. Proceeds will go to benefit our Community Heritage Day Festival, being held on June 25, 2016 (rain date will be Sunday, June 26, 2016).

Emmitsburg Heritage Day is our community’s annual Independence Day celebration, and is sponsored by many of our civic organizations. The event has been held for the past thirty-four years, and includes foods like barbecue chicken, prepared and served by our Lions Club, along with other foods like Italian sausages (prepared and served by our Sons of the American Legion), as well as games for children and adults, music, and a parade, followed by a grand fireworks display. Local charities, and our community as a whole, benefit from this great fun-filled day. Emmitsburg has a rich Civil War history, and there are many amazing sites to see and tour in the area.

The Valentine’s Day Wing Feed will be one of the fundraisers that will help to keep this great event alive, because Heritage Day is operated solely on donations and proceeds from fundraisers. There will be a variety of wings, with side dishes and dessert, along with a variety of liquid refreshments. The food will be served from 4:00-7:00 p.m., and music and dancing will be from 7:30-11:00 p.m. The doors will open at 3:00 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., liquid refreshments will be served until 11:00 p.m. for a donation of $1.00 each. We will also have games for adult entertainment, so please come out and have a great time and support the cause.

Tickets are $20.00 each. Contacts to purchase tickets are: Zurgable Bros. Hardware (Mark at 301-447-2020); Mountain Liquors (Gary at 301-447-2342); Cliff Sweeney at 301-447-1712; Jennifer Joy at 301-447-6467; and Jim Houck Jr. at 717-451-1741 or 72andready@gmail.com. For more information, visit www.EmmitsburgEvents.com.

Happy New Year! God Bless the United States of America, God Bless the American Veteran, and God Bless You.

k, Jr.

 

Buck Reed

The Supermarket Gourmet

Valentine’s Day: flowers, candy, romance, and hearts all spring to mind on this holiday. But, few people remember that it was named for a Roman priest around 269 AD. He believed that one man wedding one woman for life was more in keeping with Christianity than the polygamy that was so popular in that day. Because of his belief, he was imprisoned and sentenced to death by beating, stoning, and, finally, beheading. To say the least, there are more than a few men who may believe St. Valentine got off easy.

The commercialization of Valentine’s Day is just the tip of the iceberg for this romantic holiday. The price of roses at this time of year is higher than any other time of the year. Restaurants enjoy preparing a special menu for lovebirds, but getting a reservation is sometimes difficult. Granted, many establishments will try to extend the holiday by offering their special menu through the weekend. Valentine’s Day for a restaurant can sometimes be a hardship, with up to ten percent of reservations turning into “no shows.”  To prevent this, restaurants may either overbook their dining room, or worse, take your credit card number and run it for a fee if you do not honor your reservation.

There are many solutions to this problem, but since this is a cooking article, let’s talk about preparing a meal at home for your loved one. Imagine the shock you might summon if you surprised your loved one with a special meal prepared lovingly with your own hands. You can grab an even greater reaction if you’ve never cooked before!  Here are some tips:

• Keep it simple. Don’t get too extravagant or try to prepare something too far above your skill set. Start with some sliced cheese and crackers, and then sit down with a plated salad. Follow with your main course and finish with a dessert.

• Pick a menu that shows you know your partner’s tastes, desires, and most of all, allergies. Cooking for someone is the most intimate thing you can do for that someone special (okay…second most intimate), so put some thought into it.

• Try to pick menu items you can set up a day or two before the event. Having things that are ready to be popped in the oven or vegetables that are cut and ready for the pan will make the day’s workload considerably easier. Safety Tip: Make sure you keep things covered and refrigerated once you prep them. 

• Once you have figured out your menu, practice it. Try actually making it for yourself and a friend before you bring it out to your loved one. The effort will show.

• Pick a wine that works. If you know their favorite wine, great! If not, talk to the guy behind the counter. If they cannot help you, find another shop. Or maybe your loved one’s favorite wine is beer. That works, too.

• Set the table. Put a little effort into the table and the room. Carefully pick your music. Clean up a bit, adjust the lighting, add a nice centerpiece; these are the details that can make for a memorable night.

Some easy menu ideas are: Rock Cornish Game—roasted with herbs or a glaze; Lobster—expensive but easy and always impressive; or a pasta dish—easy to set up ahead of time and can be a baked dish as well.

Need some tips on menu ideas? Send me an email at news@thecatoctinbanner.com, and I will try to help you in any way I can.