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    What to Cook for Your Next Date Night: from Holly of The Healthy Everythingtarian

    11th July 2013

    Guys, when was the last time you cooked for a date?

    And I’m not talking ordering a pizza, or any recipe that involves the use of a George Foreman grill.

    …I thought so.

    holly-style-girlfriendThat’s why I called in the big guns to help you on your next “Show ‘em how domestic you can be” evening at home.

    Holly of The Healthy Everythingtarian is a good friend of mine and fellow Midwesterner. She knows how to make amazing, healthy food…and also knows how to enjoy herself.

    Just like me, she believes in a healthy lifestyle, but isn’t about to sacrifice what she loves – like cheese curds and beer.

    I asked her for an easy, healthy, and most importantly, delicious meal for you to cook on your next date night.

    …..
    Men, it’s time to take note: what you wear is just one part of the equation to personal style. Looking and feeling our best requires that we pay attention to what we both put on AND in our bodies.

    That’s where I come in.

    My name is Holly, and I write The Healthy Everythingtarian. It’s my humble corner of the Internet where I create healthy recipes and talk about how I wear swimsuit bottoms as underwear when I forget to do laundry. Lucky for you, I write more on the former than the latter. The meals I share are mostly good-for-you and don’t take forever to make, which are my most important rules for everyday eating.

    STYLEGF1

    With the ungodly amount of dietary needs and restrictions these days, it seems we are all looking for flexible meal ideas that can satisfy our diverse array of bellies. The best recipes (and ones I cook most often) are easily customizable and adaptable.

    What do you do when you find yourself interested in a super cute yet super-strict Paleo dieter who also happens to be both gluten-free and vegan? Your instinct might be to run far, far away from this seemingly impossible woman.

    But stop right there gentlemen: Polenta with Asparagus, Panfried Beans + Feta is here to help.

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    This is the type of meal that’s easy enough to whip up on a Tuesday night for dinner but fancy enough to impress a foxy lady friend on a Saturday date night. We’re talking third date eating here…if you know what I mean.

    Make this recipe as is, and you have yourself an easy vegetarian dish. However, just because a lady may look dainty doesn’t mean she can’t throw down a rib-eye with the best of truck drivers. In that case, grilled chicken or steak would make a lovely side to this meal.

    Cornmeal, which is made from ground sweet corn, is naturally gluten-free and means this meal is safe to eat with the wheat allergy-prone women in your lives. Those who are lactose-free and vegan can simply omit the cheese on top.

    Although, if you’re having me over for dinner and hoping to get lucky in love, I wouldn’t recommend it. The way to my heart is through cheese and lots of it.

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    Since I enjoy eating seasonally, asparagus was my immediate first choice for this recipe in July. It gives the dish a bright pop of green and a slight crunch. But don’t be afraid to swap it out with the seasons – roasted heirloom tomatoes are great for late summer and sauteed mushrooms would be a delicious topping for fall.

    And if it just so happens that you do make this meal on that all-important third date (and please do let me know if this actually happens), maybe cut the garlic in half and go easy on the beans. We’re not killing lady vampires or Dutch oven-ing potential mates here.

    I am trying to make you look AND feel good, after all.

    STYLEGF5

    POLENTA WITH ASPARAGUS, PANFRIED BEANS + FETA
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Cook time: 20 minutes

    3 T olive oil
    1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed off
    1 T minced garlic
    1/2 medium onion, diced
    4 cups water or vegetable stock
    1 cup cornmeal
    2 T butter
    1/4 cup heavy cream, regular milk or unsweetened almond milk
    1 cup pre-cooked fava beans**
    salt + pepper, to taste
    1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

    ** Or other bean of choice – I suggest cannellini, lima or garbanzo beans

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    On a baking sheet, toss asparagus in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and roast until slightly browned, turning occasionally.

    On medium-low heat in a saucepan, saute 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic until fragrant. Add onion and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add water, and let come to a boil. Add polenta, whisking constantly for 5-6 minutes, or until cooked through (polenta will be thick). Add in butter and heavy cream, continuing to whisk until blended and smooth. Season to taste

    Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat, saute beans in 1 T olive oil. Let brown for 3-4 minutes per side. When finished, season with salt.

    To serve, layer polenta with grilled asparagus, pan-fried beans and crumbled feta.

    Makes 4 servings

     

    Tell us:

    Do you have a specialty you cook for dates? How often do you try out new recipes? Do you adhere to any dietary restrictions of your own?