Batman has his Joker, Christmas has its Grinch, and Valentine's Day? I won't point any fingers, but you know who you are, snarling at love poems and ripping doilies to shreds in your dark, soulless lair of disdain.
And hey, I feel you. Contrary to common belief, you don't need to be cranky and single to have a limited tolerance for the flowers and frills, the boxes of sickeningly sweet chocolates and inane listicles of culinary aphrodisiacs. Sure, Hallmark holidays have their place...it's just that some of us don't really care to go there.
For years, I've simply carried on as though the whole holiday just doesn't exist. But honestly, where's the fun in that? Whether you're dining alone, hunkering down with friends, or sharing the evening with an equally cliché-averse partner, there's no reason why you can't have your gloom and eat it too. In big greasy, meaty, cheesy bites—the kind you normally find in the fluorescent glow of a fast food joint. Because let's be real: nothing says "screw sappy romance" quite like the wafting odor of fast food. Lucky for you, we've got recipes that'll make your home smell like a McDonald's for days (and taste a whole lot better). Let's get junky with it.
Appetizer: Easy Pull-Apart Pepperoni Garlic Knots
There's the garlic knot, and then there's the garlic knot's cooler, easier-going, all-around superior cousin: a skillet-baked orgy of garlicky, herb-studded, cheesy, meaty pull-apart pizza dough with a crisped bottom and a ridiculously tender, chewy interior. Do you need that many garlic knots? No. Will you eat them all anyway? Yes. Yes you will.
Main Course: The World's Best Burger for a Single Man or Woman
Let me be clear: this is the world's best burger, period. Being single is just a bonus, since you can only make one at a time and you are not gonna want to share. Also, your house is gonna have some serious burger stank by the time you're done working your magic. Let's start with the grind: a well-marbled blend enhanced with oxtail and brisket, formed so loosely that you don't even pick it up. As the fat renders, the burger essentially deep fries in its own juices, transforming that loose, rough surface into the craggiest, crispest crust you've ever seen. Throw on some American cheese and serve it on a squishy bun for a fast food-style burger that's got the competition beat.
Don't do meat? Don't despair. Just whip up a batch of these black bean burgers, which deliver a meaty texture and robust flavor that even carnivores will love.
Side Dish: Stout-Battered Onion Rings
Why would you stop at bland old onion rings when you can batter them in beer? Oh right, you wouldn't. This recipe capitalizes on the bold, rich flavor of stout, with paprika, honey, and mustard for some sweetness and spice. The result? All the greasy crispness of your typical onion ring with some actual flavor to round things out.
Dessert: Boozy Milkshakes
I love a great milkshake as much as the next guy, but tonight's not about love. It's about self-indulgence, which means my milkshake's also gonna double as my cocktail. And I'm probably gonna have more than one. With their chewy caramel-coconut texture and firm dark chocolate base, Samoas are arguably the best Girl Scout cookie.* This milkshake echoes those flavors with the burnt sweetness of dulce de leche ice cream and splash of nutty coconut milk. Then the chocolate-syrup-lined glass is dosed with an optional shot of rum and garnished with shaved dark chocolate and toasted coconut. Bottoms up!
*What's that?! You're not a fan of Samoas? Good thing we have five other Girl Scout cookie-inspired options, huh?