Dinner for two - Charleston food photographer Nicole Mendicino

Date night.  I am having trouble digesting the date night concept. What is date night? Is it shared meal, dress up, putting your best foot forward to please one another for one night only? Why can’t relationships be as simple as doing life together, walking side by side with each other? Maybe always being your best self all the time instead of once a week during date night.

Call me crazy, but I kind of hate the idea of “date night”. The pressure to come up with something adventurous, find a baby sitter, go out, to then end up at a restaurant that is so loud you can’t here yourself think, which leads to pressure of coming up with something interesting to chat about. In the end you sit across from your partner on this forced evening both thinking “we should have stayed home, made dinner and watched Zombies attacking each other on the T.V. I just think the idea of one night a week to make sure to connect with your partner seems odd. Why not be connecting all the time? It doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking hour with one another. But there has to be more than date night to a relationship.

Relationships feel as though they are based off fairytales and sometimes I think that this whole date night thing is right along side it. Do you know what I am talking about?

The prince, the night in shinning armor, saving the girl, the damsel in distress. The prince rescues the princess, his one true love. Disney did a great number on me with those stories. Now it seems all of us women and men have certain expectations on how the other should be, should look should act like. Then what? I mean after prince charming rescues you, because as women we sure can’t rescue ourselves. (“Right”)  Now what? What do you do after the prince rescues you? Fairytale Wedding, Fairytale love, so on and so on. Then you have a wonderful few months. All of a sudden the birds stop chirping. The music fades. Shit gets real. The prince doesn’t seem like a prince anymore, the damsel doesn’t need rescuing, so now what are you supposed to do?

Have kids? Go on date night to spice it up?

Lets take a few steps back now from all the pink lace and tool. Lets take a break from Date night. Lets start at the beginning. It’s a very good place to start. (Cue Julie Andrews from the sound of music.)

What attracted you to that person in the first place? How did you act when you first met them? Did you poop in front of each other? I’ll bet you didn’t. You were the best version of yourself! Everyday. You wanted the other person to like you. You thought his jokes were funny and laughed. Like REALLY Laughed. He didn’t open the doors for you or maybe he did either way you didn’t mind. Date night wasn’t a thing, hang outs, road trips just fun being together, enjoying each other. That is where the love is. So what gives? Lets say you go back to that and do those things all the time. How would that change things? Maybe give being your best self a chance, EVERYDAY. What does that look like? No excuses here, the kids aren’t getting in the way, the job isn’t. It’s a choice.

Relationships are actually quite simple but yet we complicate them by putting pressure on the other person to get what we want. That’s messed up. Or forcing things like date night so I can feel like my partner is pursuing me like Prince Charming pursuing his damsel. Say WHAT?

I have a crazy Idea. Do life together. Be partners to each other. Find what it is you liked about each other in the first place. BEE YOURSELF! I’m no expert here. I am a little awkward, maybe a lot awkward at times. I’m not an expert on love. But what I do know is He is No prince Charming, I am no Cinderella and we don’t need date night. Normal boring life is much more exciting, I’d take dinner for two at home watching Zombies attack anytime over a forced anything.


Black Rice With Garlic and Cilantro 

What you will need: 

Wild Black Rice - You can find this at your local grocery store. Cilantro, Garlic about 1 clove. Salt. 

Follow directions on package for rice, use a rice cooker or stove top to make . It will take the longest so make sure to throw the rice in the pot first before prepping the other food. Also add salt to the rice while it cooks. About a 1/2 teaspoon is enough. 

Alaskan Salmon with Garlic, Lemon, Olive Oil and shallots.  

What you need:

- 2 Wild Alaskan Salmons Fillets, 1 lemons, 1 bunch of garlic (4 cloves or 5 depending on how much you like garlic), High quality Olive Oil, 1 Shallot, salt and pepper. 

-To Make :

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees 

Prep a baking pan with Olive oil or Non stick cooking spray. Clean the Salmon Filets, smash garlic (keep shells on) with a knife, slice lemon, and shallots. Place the Salmon on the baking sheet, place smashed garlic, lemon, olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper on top of the Salomon Filets. 

Then bake for 10 min. You will know when the fish is done by placing a fork over the top, if the salmon piece are sliding off, the color has gone from bright pink to pale its done. Also Fish cooks very fast and will keep cooking once you take it out of the oven. Over done the fish will be gummy or tough when you are eating it. 

Radish Spinach Salad with Goddess Dressing  

What you will need :

-3 0r 4 Radishes, Fresh Spinach , Lemon, Cilantro, Garlic, Olive oil , Lemon, Lime, Bragg Liquid Aminos, Vegenaise or Mayo works great. Salt and pepper. Ground Ginger or Fresh. A bowl, whisk, knife. mortar and pestle. 

For the Dressing: Roughly chop the Garlic, Cilantro, place in the mortar and pestle add a pinch of salt, and ground ginger to the mix and grind up until combined into a paste. Set aside. 

Cut the lemon and lime in half. Set aside. 

In a bowl Mix together about a tablespoon of Olive oil, tablespoon Vegenaise, teaspoon liquid Aminos, Squeeze in the cut lemon. (use the whole thing, then add in about Half of the lime) Add in the cilantro, garlic mix. With a whisk throughly mix all together. Add salt and pepper to taste. As well as more olive oil, lemon juice if too acidic. 

Slice the Radishes and Place in a bowl with the spinach. 

Add Dressing and toss together. 

That is simple meal Dinner for two. Enjoy.