Celebrating your first date together is very popular in the gay community because until recently, the majority of us did not have the right to marry. So many have used the date of their first meet up or the day they moved in together as a substitution for a wedding anniversary. Being a couple of stereotypical U-Haul lezzies, Amy and I literally have been together since our first date. Amy picked me up for dinner at the Rope Walk in Bel Air, MD around 7pm on December 30, 2006. She couldn’t figure out how to unlock the doors of her new Saab and I was fresh off the East Texas hay truck. I sat through dinner watching Amy pick at her salmon and I nervously chatted through her silence. I thought she wasn’t into me at all and then she insisted on picking up my tab. So then I naturally thought the worst, “Well she just feels sorry for me, she doesn’t like me afterall, and I’m about to be taken right back home!” but as we walked out to the car she asked me if I wanted to go dancing at the Blue Rhino in Baltimore. So we did and then spent the rest of the weekend and New Year’s Day together. Those first few days we shared were beautiful and it’s a very cherished memory of mine. Although we have an official wedding anniversary now, I still don’t want to let go of our original one. It is very special to me and it also helps me to remember that not so long ago that date was the only one available to us. So we decided to spend the day together enjoying our favorite thing to do…..foodie shopping. We visited the Green Dragon, an Amish style flea market, and then went to one of our favorite places in the world, Reading Terminal Market in Philly. We tossed around the idea of going out to one of our old favorite restaurants and maybe going dancing but in the end, we did as we always do. We stayed in. Super boring I know, but it’s what we enjoy. We like to party in slow motion surrounded by good food and relaxing music with a nice glass of dry red wine for her and currently, tequila on the rocks for me.
Now don’t get me wrong, as we’ve been through some hardships over the years, we’ve nearly broken up on more than one occasion, and we’ve put it each other to the test more than we should have. It hasn’t all been rainbows and spa nights and kitty cuddles. There have been times I was sure all hope was lost for us. Back in 2008 before we moved up to Springfield, we broke up for a few months at least. I spent every day looking for an apartment and it felt that we were truly over. It was a heartbreaking period of time between us but somehow we worked it out. Then during our last move, we separated for about five or six weeks altogether. It was really rough with us for a while there. Somehow again, we found a way to love each other through even our darkest of times when we were certain we hated one another. That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned in this relationship, if you truly love someone it takes loving them when life is shitty, it takes loving their ugly side, it takes forgiveness, and it takes honestly recognizing your own bullshit. Compromise, empathy, communication and as much humor as you can squeeze into life is how we’ve managed to stay together even when walking away seemed the right choice at the time. Neither of us have been able to get much farther than the front door for very long though before turning around and deciding to work it out instead. Subsequently, I’ve found that nothing stays wrong for as long as you think it will and it’s up to each of us to determine what is worth fighting for. Oh and we love cooking together, that’s helped a lot! So to commemorate our 10 years of ups and downs and everything in between our time in the kitchen together, we decided on a sea scallop date night in. I admit I was terrified of those little mollusks because I’ve heard time and again how easy it is to completely destroy them with overcooking but I trusted my instincts, kept it simple, and they turned out tender and delicious! It was a beautiful day and a beautiful dinner with my beautiful wife and best friend.
Butter Basted Sea Scallops with Smoked Paprika
8 Sea Scallops
1 tablespoon Rendered Bacon, optional
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon EVOO
2 tabs butter
Salt and pepper to taste
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the smoked paprika, EVOO, salt, and pepper. Place the sea scallops in the bowl and gently mix until the scallops are well coated. Set aside. Preheat a skillet over med high flame, add the rendered bacon if using. Once the skillet is smoking, place the scallops on the pan and sear for 2 to 5 minutes depending size. Once seared, flip and add the butter. Gently base the scallops an additional 2 to 5 minutes. Once opaque and cooked through serve immediately. Garnished with additional butter from the pan if desired and micro greens. Serve with Poblano Creamed Corn, recipe follows.
Poblano Creamed Corn
1 pkg frozen Corn
1 pkg Philly Cream Cheese
2 Poblano chilies, stem and seeds removed, then diced
2 cups Cashew Milk
1/2 cup Half and Half
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon Cumin Powder
a pinch of raw sugar, optional
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes, optional
Salt and Pepper to taste
Set slow cooker to low and add all the ingredients to the pot. Simmer for 4 to 6 hours or until the corn is tender and the sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve with Butter Basted Sea Scallops with Smoked Paprika.