This Valentines Day, stay at home and cook something up together
Roses, chocolates and fancy restaurants are all very nice, but nothing could be more romantic on Valentines Day than a lovely candlelit meal at home. Unplug the television, open a nice bottle of wine, put on some soft music, and savor a quiet evening with the one you love.While cooking for your sweetie can be wonderfully satisfying, its twice as nice to cook as a couple. Side by side and armed with this weeks simple recipes, youll be dining in an hour or so on Chateaubriand with Wild Mushroom Sauce on a bed of Creamy Polenta (or Garlic Mashed Potatoes) topped with an elegant Parmesan Pastry Caps, fresh Crab Louis, and for dessert, a rich chocolaty Pot du Crme with bourbon whipped cream and fresh raspberries.Sure it sounds fancy, but the recipes are surprisingly easy, and with two of you in the kitchen, its sure to be a good time. Uncork a bottle of Champagne and toast to one another as you chop, stir and plate a memorable romantic evening together. Buon Appetito Salte! Chef Mick Rosacci, Tonys Meats & Specialty Foods, http://www.TonysMarket.comCrab Louisiceberg lettuce 8-10 oz. cooked crabmeat, or small shrimp1 medium tomato, cut in wedges 1 hard boiled egg, cut in wedgescapers black olives Louis Dressing 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise1⁄4 cup sour cream2 TBS tomato based chili sauce1⁄2 TBS fresh lemon juicea few drops hot pepper sauce1⁄8 cup finely diced green pepper1⁄8 cup finely sliced green onions Rinse, core and drain lettuce. Use 1-2 large attractive lettuce leafs to form a lettuce cup on each of two plates. Shred remaining lettuce to make 3 cups. (Refrigerate any remaining lettuce for another use.) Place shredded lettuce on lettuce cups. Arrange crabmeat evenly over lettuce. Garnish each plate with tomato wedges, egg wedges, capers and olives. Can be made earlier in the day.Just before serving, spoon about half the dressing over the crabmeat. Serve remaining dressing on the side. Serves 2.Chateaubriand for Two1.25-1.5 lbs. beef Chateaubriand1-2 TBS olive oil2-4 cloves fresh garlic, crushedcoarse sea saltCracked black pepperDried herb medleyHave your butcher cut you a center-cut piece of tenderloin removing the silver skin but none of the interlaced bottom fat. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and heat a heavy pan (preferably iron) over medium high heat.Combine garlic and olive oil and rub over roast. Season to taste with coarse sea salt, cracked pepper and herbs, rubbing them in so everything is covered with oil.Drizzle oil into pan and add roast, browning briefly on all sides (optional). Place on a rack in the upper half of pre-heated oven and roast to desired temperature (120-130 degrees internal suggested) about 15-20 minutes. Remove, cover and rest for 5-10 minutes.Slice and serve over creamy polenta or garlic mashed potatoes, drizzling with sauce and topping with puff pastry cap. Chef Mick Rosacci, Tonys Meats & Specialty FoodsGarlic Mashed Potatoes3 Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered 1-2 TBS minced garlic 3⁄4 cups heavy cream 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 stick of butter Salt and pepper to tasteIn a saucepot, add potatoes and fill with water. Add a little salt. Slowly boil potatoes for 30 to 40 minutes until potatoes come cleanly off of a pairing knife, drain well.Meanwhile, slowly caramelize garlic in a saucepan with a pat of butter, then add the cream. Reduce cream by 30 percent. In a large stainless steel bowl, add hot potatoes, garlic cream and half of the butter. Hand-mash together. Add salt and pepper and remaining butter to taste.Variation: for truffle potatoes, omit garlic and substitute butter with truffle butter available in many gourmet markets.Creamy PolentaQuick-cooking polentaSalted water or stockGruyere cheese, shreddedParmigiano-Reggiano, shreddedCream or half & halfButterPrepare desired amount of polenta according to package directions. When thick, whisk in shredded cheese to taste. Stir in enough heavy cream or half & half to thin polenta to desired consistency. Remove from heat, stir in butter and spoon onto a plate. Serve immediately topped with sliced meat and sauce. Variation: Substitute cheeses with a generous amount of creamy gorgonzola.Puff Pastry CapsPrepared Puff pastry1 egg, well beatenReggiano-Parmigiano cheesePreheat oven to 425 degrees.Thaw pastry according to package directions. Cut into decorative rounds, squares or cookie cutter shapes and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Beat 1 egg well with 1 tsp. of milk and brush generously over pastry, then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until puffed and golden brown, roughly 15 minutes.Serve pastry caps as a decorative garnish with chateaubriand. Chef Mick Rosacci, Tonys Meats & Specialty FoodsWild Mushroom Sauce1 cup red wine 1⁄2 oz. dried wild mushrooms1⁄2 cup prepared instant demi-glace*2 TBS butter, separated2 shallots, mincedBring wine to boil, remove from heat and pour over dried mushrooms, allow to rehydrate 30 minutes. Rinse and chop mushrooms, strain wine through a coffee filter and reserve.Prepare demi-glace according to directions and reserve. Saut shallots in 1 TBS butter until soft. Add wine and mushrooms and reduce by half.Stir in demi-glace and heat through. Remove from heat and stir in remaining butter. Serve.* More Than Gourmet brand Demi-Glace Gold suggestedRed Wine-Mushroom Gravy1⁄2 TBS minced garlic1⁄2 onion, roughly chopped 1⁄2 lb. button mushrooms, sliced 1⁄2 bottle dry red wine 1 cup rich chicken or beef stock 1 TBS soy sauce 1 TBS butter Salt and black pepper, to taste In a saucepan coated with oil, caramelize the garlic, onions and mushrooms. Deglaze with red wine and reduce by 75 percent. Add the stock and soy sauce and reduce by 50 percent. Check for seasoning. Using a hand blender, puree the sauce and add the butter. Check again for seasoning. Keep warm. Ming TsaiPot de Crme2 cups heavy cream6 oz. Callebaut chocolate, grated2 TBS sugar6 egg yolks1 tsp. vanillawhipped creamraspberriesIn a heavy saucepan combine cream and sugar. Cook and stir until cream is scalded. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate. Beat egg yolks in a bowl and pour a little of the hot mixture on the yolks; blend well. Return to remaining hot mixture, add vanilla, mix well. Strain into custard cups or ramekins and cover with foil.Set cups in a pan of warm water and bake at 300 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until the crme just sets around edges. Chill in refrigerator. When ready to serve, top with cream whipped with sugar and a splash of bourbon (optional) and garnish with raspberries.
Maculan Brentino, 2001, Italy, $13: Fausto Maculan really did it this time; releasing this years Brentino unfiltered made a great wine even better! Look forward to a dense garnet color and an irresistible bouquet of roses, violets and oak. Rich and elegant, Brentino soothes with a warming velvet touch, ripe berry fruit, soft tannins, and the perfect acid balance to complement this weeks romantic meal. A best buy easily worth twice the price!
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