Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day: The Morning After

Valentine's Day chez English Major was a frugal success!

I stopped at Fairway on my way home and bought salad fixings (greens & grape tomatoes), some raw shrimp, half a dozen eggs, a baguette, a couple of lemons, and some groceries we needed for the house--some yogurt, some baby carrots, a couple of apples. I also bought some pasta in case our plan (make pasta from scratch!) was a failure. Total: $22.

Importantly, I resisted the impulse to embellish, to say, "Oh, what we're doing isn't enough--I'll get some strawberries to macerate and eat with the cheesecake! I'll get an avocado to add to the salad! I'll get a bottle of lambic to drink with dessert!" No. No. What we're doing is fine. Keep walking.

We already had the cheesecake I made on Sunday in the fridge (another plus of that recipe: reheats like a dream), and we also already had flour, parsley, olive oil, butter, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and a bottle of white wine. Making pasta from scratch is intimidating-sounding but actually easy, and very, very, very delicious, especially when accompanied by a sauce that consists of butter, oil, garlic, lemon juice, white wine, and shrimp. And butter. And oil. And butter. (A tip from me to you: there was some butter in the sauce.)

Simple salad with the vinaigrette recipe I learned in my cooking class in France (I am not sharing the recipe, no, because even though it is the easiest thing ever, everyone thinks I am God's gift to salad when I make it, and there are some things a girl has to keep to herself) was a great side dish, and cheesecake, and wine...mmm, gluttony.

(K's present to me was a glamorous black-and-gold cigarette holder and a matching cigarette case full of beautiful Nat Sherman cigarettes in bright colors--fueling my semi-secret belief that I really am Holly Golightly.)

So there were no yachts and no diamonds, but we did something cool (pasta from scratch!), made ourselves a pretty decadent dinner, and went to bed happy. And I didn't shoot my budget all to hell. And what more, really, can one really ask?


Him said...

Sounds like a great night.

I used to be a smoker, but now I'm a runner. When I did used to smoke, I always wanted a cool cigarette case; I dut didn't want to fill the damn thing every time I bought a new pack.

English Major said...

I find it really exciting, Him, especially because I am a very occasional smoker with a really intense fondness for the ritualism of cigarettes, so this is right up my alley. Plus, if you don't smoke much, you only have to refill the case like once a month, so that helps, too.

I'm going to quit before I'm thirty! I swear.

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering today how difficult it is to make pasta...sounds like a fun thing to try.

Single Ma said...

Sounds like a fabulous evening, indeed.

By the way, for some reason, I picture you as a cute little innocent, fresh out the box college grad. My image doesn't include cigarettes. Don't taint it! LOL

Shuchong said...

Oh yum! Pasta from scratch sounds lovely. Where did you get the recipe?

Anonymous said...

EM, I love your blog but have never commented. You can't be frugal if you smoke, even if it is "occasional". Don't wait until you're thirty do it now.

tracyho said...

Great stuff, Happy Valentine ,

All the best,

Tracy Ho

asgreen said...

That's great you were able to do something special without spending a lot of money. Vday is probably my least favorite holiday, for many reasons, but espeically because it's just an excuse to spend money. Lowkey is always the way to go. =)

Anonymous said...

I would love to know how you made the pasta also. I saw it on a PBS cooking show. It seems like it takes all day! said...

It's important to go all out from time to time, but most of the time, I prefer a home cooked meal and the company of my beautiful wife... saving money is just an added bonus.

Escape Brooklyn said...

And I thought I was fancy because my husband recently started making *sauce* from scratch. Now you've upped the ante and I'll have to taunt him until he makes the pasta, too. ;)