For 12 years, a group of friends in Marietta have celebrated Valentine’s Day together with a formal dinner on the Sunday before Valentine’s Day.
“Valentine’s Day is a classic way to honor to your significant other. It’s an expression of love for the one we love,” said Susan Haynie, wife of Marietta City Attorney Doug Haynie.
The group of friends that participates is part of a community group at North Metro Church and includes Barbara and Bobby Farmer, Nancy and E.B. Pulley, Cathy and Jim Harold, the Haynies, Becky and David Dickerson and Pat and Mike Zier.
“It’s our church Bible study group. We were looking for a way for the group to celebrate Valentine’s. It’s so difficult to go out to dinner on Valentine’s Day,” Haynie said. They have two grown children, Caroline and Jeff, and three grandchildren.
“The guys wanted to do something for the girls. They came up with the idea that they would design the menu and do all the cooking. That would be their Valentine for us,” she said.
“They are just like clowns in the kitchen. The guys are hysterical. We coach them at every course. It’s a riot but it’s a lot of fun,” Haynie said.
The Haynies host the event each year and the menu is the same every year.
“Who wants to risk changing a mastered skill set?” Haynie asked.
She goes all out on the decorations such as fresh flowers, sparkling hearts, favors for the ladies and a formally set table.
“Each year is more fun than the last as the tradition endures and manners are refined. After all, no one needs to remember more than once a year that you serve from the left and take away from the right,” Haynie teased.
“The inspiration for this event renews itself every year as the men, all husbands, in this group who meet regularly for prayer and Bible study, had the idea that a real Valentine gift that showed their love and devotion would be to actually cook, serve and clean up the whole affair,” she said.
“Gladly accepting, the wives — with a little coaching behind the scenes — enjoy the unfolding of the entire evening — a delicious comedy of errors, of course,” Haynie said.
Valentine’s Dinner Menu
Jumbo boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce
Mixed green salad with fresh strawberries and vinaigrette dressing
Charcoal grilled beef filet mignon
Grilled marinated salmon fillets
Steamed fresh asparagus with hollandaise sauce
Cheesy Delicious Grits
Gabriel’s red velvet cake
DELICIOUS GRITS (FROM THE KITCHEN OF LINDA MILLIGAN)
½ cup butter
1 cup regular grits
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup melted butter
Bring milk to boil, add ½ cup butter and gradually stir in grits. Cook uncovered stirring until thickened (about 20 minutes). Watch at this step as it can boil over quickly. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Beat with mixer at high speed until creamy.
Pour into a 9” x 13” Pyrex dish sprayed with Pam or pour into individual molds sprayed with Pam. Allow to set overnight in refrigerator. When ready to bake, if using Pyrex dish method cut grits into squares and place in greased casserole dish like fallen dominoes. If using molds, place unmolded servings on a greased baking dish.
Drizzle grits with melted butter and sprinkle with grated cheeses.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes to heat and melt cheeses.
Tip: Use individual Valentine molds for Valentine’s dinner
SALMON FILLETS MARINATED
IN LEMON SOY MARINADE
For the Marinade:
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
¼ cup olive oil
Combine first 5 ingredients in container of an electric blender. Process 10 seconds. With motor running, gradually add olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Use as marinade 1 hour prior to grilling. Don’t marinate longer because high acidic marinades can make fish mushy if marinated too long.
Grill 1” fillets for 10 minutes on each side.