There is something awfully special about a date night with your main squeeze. I love getting dressed up and visiting our favorite spot or trying something completely new together. However, there is something even sweeter to me about the the peace of being in our own space (donned in sweats) after our precocious toddler is off in dreamland. Especially when we’re on vacation and our sitter is miles away back home, it’s extra delightful to carve out time just for the two of us.
We believe in slowing down and enjoying the process as much as the end result. We’ve come up with a great date night that you can do in the comfort of your home or vacation home. Whether you take it to the patio or enjoy in the courtyard, we’ve got you covered from appetizer to playlist for your evening together.
So first things first, hit play, poor some wine and enjoy this soundtrack of our favorite date night tunes for spending an evening cooking and dining with that special someone.
Appetizer: Marcona Almonds & Marinated Olives & Cheese
These are a couple of our favorite quick snacks to eat while prepping a great meal. Marcona Almonds are a variety of sweet almond from Spain. They are slightly shorter and more plump compared to traditional almonds and we promise you’ll fall in love with their rich buttery flavor. As for the olives, don’t be tempted by any found in a jar or can, go for the bulk olives at your local Mediterranean or gourmet grocery store – the varieties are endless. Our favorite cheese for this pairing is Manchego but an old favorite will do just as well.
Cocktail: Cherry-Maple Sour
- 2oz gin
- 1 oz pure maple syrup
- juice of one lemon
- 1 teaspoonful of sour cherry jam
In a shaker filled 3/4 of the way with ice, add gin, lemon juice, maple syrup and cherry jam. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker feels really cold. Strain into a chilled glass. Makes 1 cocktail.
Main Course: Build Your Own Pizza
- 1lb ball of dough from your favorite pizza place or gourmet grocery store (we used Whole Foods)
- Semolina or cornmeal
- Favorite sauce or olive oil and minced garlic, herbs and sea salt
- Favorite Toppings:
- Artichoke hearts, mushrooms, sweet peppers, thinly sliced lemon, pancetta, tomatoes
- Fresh mozzarella or cheese of choice
- Finish toppings: fresh herbs, crushed pepper, arugula and lemon juice (your choice)
Let your ball of dough rest at room temp covered with a kitchen towel for 30 minutes while you begin to prep ingredients.
Preheat your oven to 500º F, if using a pizza stone make sure it is in there before you heat the oven. Prepare a pizza peel or the back or a cookie sheet by generously coating it with semolina or cornmeal. On a lightly floured surface place your ball of dough flatten it out a bit using the heel of you hand. Begin to stretch the dough by picking it and letting it hang and stretch, rotate and repeat until you have a large round. You can also roll it out but you will get more of flat, less bubbly pizza. Place the pizza crust on prepared peel or cookie sheet.
Spread the sauce of you choice or a combination of olive oil, minced garlic, herbs and salt. Add some of your favorite toppings, cover with a bit of cheese and finish with a few more toppings.
Carefully slide pizza onto the the hot stone in the oven using a hard forward flick, then begin to pull away the peel. If not using a stone, bake on a cookie sheet. Bake pizza for about 8 minutes and check. If you want the toppings to brown a bit more, broil for about 3 minutes watching carefully, as not to burn. Remove pizza from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, add your finish toppings if desired and slice. If you want a more portable pizza for a picnic, simple fold the dough over like a taco, pinch the edges shut and bake until golden brown.
You are already having such a good time why stop to make a complicated desert. Grab a pint of your favorite ice cream and serve it over grilled plums or peaches and a drizzle of honey. We recommend any of the Southern Craft Creamery flavors found at Modica Market in Seaside, FL! Tupelo Honey and Bay Laurel are our favorites!
Bon Date Night!
Thank you, Chris and Tricia Castro for sharing these incredible recipes!