Singles can celebrate Valentine's Day too with Nadia G's ideas for DIY vodka bar
TORONTO, Cananda - No sweetheart to celebrate with on Valentine's Day? No problem, says Nadia Giosia. Throw an anti-Valentine's party for your single friends.
The stiletto-strutting host and co-producer of "Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen" on Food Network Canada says she'll be back in Montreal for Valentine's Day and will probably do a singles party at her place.
"I think Valentine's Day can be a great time for everyone and with an Italian, of course, that means there's food involved," she said in an interview from Los Angeles, where she's writing the next six episodes for the show, which launched its third season in January.
Shooting is slated to begin on the new episodes in mid-February. The Canadian chef and singer transitioned her web cooking series into the hilarious and informative TV cooking show.
As part of the festivities, she suggests that guests compose anti-Valentine's Day poems.
Giosia, who likes to go by Nadia G, rattles one off: "Roses are red, violets are blue, I was desperate in December, that's why I chose you."
"Or rent a bunch of cheesy romantic comedies and just have a laugh at how ridiculous it all is," she adds.
Giosia suggests a food buffet and a do-it-yourself vodka bar with mixers you've created rather than the traditional cola or orange or cranberry juices.
"I make one out of pink grapefruit juice, fresh mint, cilantro and maple syrup to sweeten and this just tastes absolutely fantastic. It's a bit of a take on a mojito," says Giosia, whose show is shown on the Cooking Channel in the U.S.
She also likes to make a spicy berry version and a lemon-lime mix, and then let people make their own drinks.
Everyone can have their own portion with mini shepherd's pies baked in ramekins. "I like to make mine with some crispy onion, a little bit of paprika in there in the minced meat," and mix russet and sweet potatoes for the topping.
For dessert, bacon chocolate is the ticket. "Who needs a boyfriend or a girlfriend when you've got bacon chocolate and it's very easy to make?" asks Giosia.
"It really tastes delicious because you've got the saltiness of the bacon and then the sweet creaminess of the chocolate.
"Those who are scared of the idea of bacon chocolate, just think about breakfast and how delicious it is when you take a bite of bacon with your pancake that's smothered with syrup. Everybody loves the sweet and salty combination these days, so it's fantastic."
Carry the anti-Valentine idea through to the decor, with a "kill Cupid" theme. Stain a tablecloth with theatre blood or red food colouring and add some feathers. Place a mix of red and white roses in jars.
"Or you could go for something more fierce female like hot pink and animal prints," Giosia says.
"Go wild with it. People get so buttoned up about decor. At the end of the day the point of the party is to have a good time and your guests will really appreciate a little bit of a freaky decor. It gives them something to talk about and have a laugh about, so go crazy with it."
Make sure you have a playlist. "I can't tell you how many times I've been to parties with wonderful people and their ridiculous 2001 sushi lounge zen soundtrack had me gorging on cheese puffs in a quiet rage," she exclaims. "I think sound track is very important. If you have no musical taste ask one of your friends who does to create a playlist."
Of course, if you are in a relationship, you'll likely "be celebrating with the person you love or the person you love to hate," says Giosia.
Rather than going out, she suggests a romantic dinner at home. But kick up that boring old steak and potatoes dinner with balsamic glazed baby back ribs and truffled twice-baked potatoes.
You can cook them for a couple of hours the day of the dinner or make the food ahead of time and relax.
"It's cheaper and you can enjoy the leftovers the next day and with the restaurants so booked up so far in advance for Valentine's Day it could be a nice change to spend it at home and light a couple of candles and enjoy some dirty and delicious ribs."
For a twist on kir, instead of the usual creme de cassis, marinate some raspberries with sugar, vanilla and maybe even a couple of stars of anise. Place a few at the bottom of each glass, then top with Champagne or sparkling wine.
"(This meal is) very Valentine's and there's some big bold flavours in there, whether it's the sweet and tangy balsamic glaze or the truffle and the potato and the punchiness of the fresh fruit and the kir.
"You need to liven things up, especially if you've been with someone for a long time, you know," she says, laughing.