Happy Valentine’s Day lovebirds!
I know a lot of people have issues with this holiday. I understand, it’s very commercialized (but really, what holiday isn’t? Arbor Day?) Personally, I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. I pretty much love any holiday that revolves around candy. And really, what’s so bad about a day where you get to celebrate the people you love?
My Valentine’s day was shaping up to be uber-romantic. KC knew he’d be working late, which meant I’d be hitting the 5:30 Bar Method class and then heading home to snuggle with the Seuss and eat a lonely salad for one. Not exactly a night of whirlwind romance hmm?
So instead of celebrating this day of love on February 14, KC and I had a night out at home last night. I say “night out” because I made a meal which you would normally get at a restaurant on Valentine’s Day.
Yes, I made red meat. I haven’t really discussed this on here before, but I almost never buy red meat. (In fact, the last time I made beef was Valentine’s Day 2010!) Partly, this is because beef is frickin’ expensive (when I buy meat, I make the utmost effort to ensure it’s organic, local, grass-fed, cage-free, and all that other good business, which translates into — not cheap). The other reason I pretty much only buy fish and fowl, aside from my limited budget, is because I feel very far removed from the food I eat a lot of the time. I think if it came down to it (if I was stranded on a desert… farm… or something), I’m pretty sure I could take down a chicken or a striped bass if I really needed to. But ask me to slaughter a cow? I really don’t know if i could (gulp) stomach it. Thus, I only buy red meat on very special occasions (much to KC’s chagrin).
Anyhoo, back to the point. Last night I made KC and I caesar salad with homemade sourdough croutons; parsley-tossed shrimp; organic, local, grass-fed chateaubriand (aka top sirloin); and parsley-smashed red potatoes.
We started with the salad, shrimp, and a bottle of champagne:
Sorry you can’t see much, but isn’t candlelight romantic? I set up a table complete with candles, wine glasses, and my fanciest china horse plates (50¢ from TJ Maxx, nothing but the finest for my table!)
After the first course, we moved on to the main course: parsley smashed red potatoes and steak (rounded out with a delicious bottle of petite syrah – yum!)
So next Valentine’s, maybe you and your special someone can skip the rush at the local steakhouse and have a romantic meal where you won’t be interrupted by a waiter, or hurried out the door as soon as you’re done with your meal (and, not to mention, save a pretty penny in the process!) And really, what says “I love you” more than a meal cooked with love? That’s right, nothing. (Except diamonds.)
Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons
*pairs well with champagne, white wine, or a light cocktail
- 2-3 thick slices sourdough bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 small head romaine, cored, torn into pieces
- 1 egg yolk, or 1 tablespoon pasteurized egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- a few dashes of worcestershire sauce
- juice from one lemon
- 1 cup olive oil (plus more for croutons)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°. On a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle bread with olive oil, salt and pepper, then toss to combine. Bake 8-10 minutes until browned and crunchy.
- Whisk together egg yolk, vinegar, mustard, garlic, anchovy paste, worcestershire, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil until well-combined. Stir in parmesan, then drizzle over romaine and croutons and toss to combine. (This makes a big batch of dressing, so you’ll have quite a bit leftover. Piadines anyone?)
Steak and Shrimp with Parsley Potatoes
*pairs well with a full-bodied red wine such as cabernet, petite syrah, or zinfandel
- 1/2 pound small red potatoes, halved or quartered if large
- coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- 2 filet mignon, sirloin, or flat-iron steaks (6 oz each)
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 8 extra-large shrimp (6 oz total) peeled and deveined, tails left on
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Place potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Season with salt; bring to a boil, then reduce to a rapid simmer. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to pot.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Pat steaks dry with a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper. When oil just begins to smoke, add steaks to skillet. Cook until browned well on all sides, turning with tongs as needed, up to 10 minutes total (for thinner steaks, cook 6-8 minutes total). Reduce heat to medium, top steaks with thyme, and add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet. When butter froths, tilt skillet slightly so butter pools and repeatedly spoon it over steaks, 1 minute. Transfer steaks to a plate and tent with foil.
- Briefly rinse skillet under cold water and return to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter to skillet; when it froths, add shrimp and cook until beginning to brown at edges, about 2 minutes, turning halfway through. Season with salt and pepper, add half the parsley, and toss. Transfer to plate.
- Return skillet to medium heat and add cooked potatoes. Cook, stirring, until potatoes are heated through and starting to break down, 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon butter and remaining parsley and toss to coat. Season potatoes with salt and pepper. Serve steak and shrimp with potatoes.
*Finish off this meal with your sweetie’s favorite dessert (we had See’s chocolate – yum!)
A big plus of the above recipes? If you follow the specifications, it won’t leave you or your honey feeling overly-stuffed and weighed down, so you’ll still have room for dessert. And really, what’s Valentine’s Day without something a little indulgent to finish it off right? Right.