Friday, January 31, 2014

Time to Start Planning the Most Romantic Dinner of the Year…

Valentine’s Day is almost here, so if you plan on going out, I hope you have reservations! As for me…I don’t go anywhere near a restaurant on February 14th, choosing the candlelight supper at home (right, honey?) over that hot mess year after year. I’ve pulled 2 of my coziest and most elegant recipes from Sunday Best Dishes to focus on this go around, and because they feature a red wine reduction sauce drizzled over filet mignon made the classic French way, I guess you could say that this Valentine’s Day I’m wearing my heart on my sieve!
No spoilers here alert! I’m not giving away my signature recipe for Grilled Tenderloin Steak and a tequila spiked dessert, but I will dish on tried and true culinary methods in bringing them to the plate. Download Sunday Best, if you want your Valentine’s Day to resemble the hot and juicy picture below.

So here’s the deal with steak….yeah, it’s absolutely better when you grill it outside; however, this is a really frigid winter for most of us, and backyard BBQs may not be in the cards. That’s why a tenderloin steak is the perfect choice—it’s the best cut for stovetop cooking. You’re going to want to buy four (six ounce) steaks, 2 to 3 inches thick and ask the butcher to remove the silver skin for you; it’s easy enough to do it yourself (even kind of fun), but with the tequila sippin’ I hope you’ve got planned, it never hurts to save time.

So, steak tenderloin (aka filet mignon) must be seasoned well with coarse salt and cracked pepper; set your cuts out a good 20 minutes before you cook them, and make sure to pat the meat dry with paper towels before rubbing in the seasonings. Add a brush of olive oil to each side of the steak (very important!), and coat the grill pan with plenty of olive oil, too. I sear my steak 4 to 6 minutes per side on high heat, and let it rest outside the pan, in a fresh application of red wine sauce, about ten minutes before serving it. Steak, as you may already know, continues to cook on its own, off the grill. Another important steak lover’s mantra: Always, always aim for medium-rare. For Valentine’s Day, I’m topping mine off with a cheese I’m keeping secret until the big reveal on 2/14/14….but if you must know what it is, refer to the Culinary Class chapter in Sunday Best Dishes!   

Now, on to dessert, the focal point of a sweet holiday…

As you can see, I’m making blueberry short bread biscuits, surrounded in a bed of tequila soaked fruit—there’s nothing like peppery silver tequila to bring out the flavor of blueberries, and with the suggestion of strawberries in the mix, you’ve honored the color code of Valentine’s Day well enough.  For cooking, the brand “Jose Cuervo Clasico Silver” is a sound choice in tequila; it’s priced lower than other brands, yet has the sweet fire-power your marinades, vinaigrettes and sauces demand, whether they are savory or sweet.

And I can’t think of a more perfect note to end on. May your Feb. 14 be the sweetest yet!




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