Valentine’s Day mood tips, rib roast recipe

<strong>Penny’s Pantry</strong> Penny Case

Penny’s Pantry Penny Case

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, a day for husbands, boyfriends, wives, and friends to show their love for each other.

Some couples go out to a restaurant of their choice for a wonderful romantic dinner. I always thought just staying home would be best — have the grandparents watch the kids for the night, make a delicious dinner, set the table with candles and flowers, chill your favorite wine. Just enjoy the evening by yourselves.

It’s even more romantic if you have a fireplace. Either dim the lights or just use candles and soft romantic music. Gifts should be flowers, candy, or jewelry, no household items. Even sexy night wear is nice.

So remember, all you love birds out there: Plan a nice and cozy romantic evening with your loved ones. Enjoy your evening of good dinner, music, and most of all love.

I always wished I had my very own restaurant. Everything would be fresh, home-cooked food, pies, and cakes. My salads would be just the way I make mine; I cut up the greens and other veggies in smaller pieces. I hate going to a restaurant and their salads have big pieces of lettuce and you to use your knife to cut it to mouth-sized pieces. I have people tell me I make a perfect salad.

A lot of restaurants use frozen items and canned products. There’s not much home-cooked food at restaurants anymore. When I worked for Stacey’s and Carl’s diner, everything was homemade. Ford Stacey made his hash browns out of raw potatoes. He had two small skillets he fried them in. He would shred a whole raw potatoes in a skillet, season them with salt and pepper, and sprinkled paprika on top. I make mine the same way.

Carl’s diner made the best meatloaf. Instead of bread crumbs or crackers, they would make theirs with pieces of white bread. It was the best-seller, served every day, as well as roast beef, roast pork, and roast turkey sandwiches cut in half with a scoop of mashed potato in the middle and covered in gravy. I would do the same if I had my own place.

Until next time, enjoy these recipes.

Salt Encrusted Rib Roast

• 1 bone in rib roast (about 6 lbs.)

• 1/2 cup yellow mustard

• 3 cups kosher salt

• 1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place roast in a roasting pan, fat side up. Spread all sides with mustard. Mix salt and water to make a dry paste (it should be just moist enough to pack), pat onto top and sides of roast. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce oven setting to 325 degrees. Roast two and a half hours longer or until beef temperature reaches 135 for medium rare, 150 degrees for medium (it will rise about 10 degrees more upon standing). Let stand 20 minutes. Remove and discard salt crust. Slice roast.

Serves 10.

Note: Press a hefty layer of salt into the beef to seal in flavor. After roasting, tap that crust until it cracks then lift.

Savory Rubbed Roast Chicken

• 2 tsp. paprika

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1 tsp. onion powder

• 1 tsp. white pepper

• 1 tsp. cayenne pepper

• 1 tsp. dried thyme

• 3/4 tsp. garlic powder

• 1/2 tsp. black pepper

• 1 roasting chicken (6-7 lbs.)

• 1 large onion cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix first eight ingredients. Pat chicken dry and place on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side up. Rub seasoning mixture over the outside and inside of the chicken. Place onion inside cavity. Tuck wings under chicken. Tie drumsticks together. Roast two to two and a half hours or until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reads 170-175 degrees (cover loosely with foil if chicken browns to quickly.) Remove chicken from oven. Tent with foil. Let chicken stand 15 minutes before carving.

Serves 12.

Roasted Vegetables with Sage

• 5 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash

• 1/2 pound fingerling potatoes (about 2 cups)

• 1 cup fresh brussel sprouts, halved

• 1 cup fresh baby carrots

• 3 tbsp. butter or margarine

• 1 tbsp. minced fresh sage or 1 tsp. dried sage leaves

• 1 minced garlic clove

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place veggies in a bowl. In a microwave, melt margarine or butter. Stir in rest of ingredients. Add to veggies, and toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Roast 35 to 45 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.

Serves eight.

Penny Case is a lifelong resident of Wellington who loves to cook and share recipes. Send recipes to her at 22 Johns St. or at

Penny’s Pantry Penny Case’s Pantry Penny Case