Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fix your sweetheart a romantic meal at home for Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day and you haven’t done anything for your valentine. Forget running to the store for a box of candy, or making last minute reservations at a restaurant. Fix a romantic dinner at home, with wine, the candles, the works.

Not sure what to fix? Try this menu.

Start the evening with a Champagne, of course. I am partial to Vueve Clicquot but a Rose Champagne can be pleasant as well. The Champagne will work well with the Bisque.

A good Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah will make a nice accompaniment to the steak, and a nice port finishes the meal.

And don't forget to turn on the music, Sinatra, of course.

The food:
Roast Carrot and Lobster Bisque
Filet of beef with raisin, pepper and Armagnac sauce
Saffron potatoes
Raspberries Jubilee with Kahlua

Roast Carrot and Lobster Bisque
4 teaspoons butter
1 ¼ cups peeled diced carrot
¼ cup minced onion
1 tablespoon flour
3 cups lobster stock (you can use fish stock if lobster is not available)
Four 5oz lobster tails (or 20oz of cooked lobster meat)
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Sour cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

In an oven proof sauté pan or skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat and sauté the carrots and onion until soft. Cover the pan and place it in the preheated oven and roast the vegetables for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, stirring well. Slowly add the stock and simmer the bisque for 5 minutes. Remove from the stove and puree the bisque in a blender or food processor. When adding the bisque to the blender, do so a little at a time so as not to end up with hot bisque all over you when you blend. Season the bisque as needed.

While the vegetables are roasting put the lobster tails in a bowl and toss with the orange juice. Let stand for 15 minutes. In a heavy pan heat a small amount of olive oil over high heat. Add the lobster tails and cook until the shells turn orange, about 4 minutes. Remove and when cool enough to handle cut away the shell from the meat. Chop the meat into small chunks.

Ladle the bisque into two bowls and add lobster meat to each and top with a dollop of sour cream.

Saffron Potatoes
2 cups chicken stock
Pinch of saffron
6 small new red or Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil, then add the saffron. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Return the pan to the heat and bring the stock to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook for about 15 minutes or until you can just pierce them with a fork.

12 spears, about1 lb. green asparagus
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Wash the asparagus and snap off the tough ends. Toss with olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast in the same oven as the carrots and onions for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with Balsamic vinegar. When serving with the steak Shave the cheese over the asparagus.

Fillets of beef with Raisin, Pepper and Armagnac sauce
¼ cup golden raisins
1 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons Armagnac (or brandy)
1 tablespoon peppercorns
2 8oz beef tenderloin steaks
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chicken broth.

In a small bowl soak the raisins in the boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain. Add two tablespoons of the Armagnac to the raisins and set aside.

Spread the peppercorns on a sheet of wax paper and crush with a rolling pin. Press each side of the steaks into the peppercorns. In a sauté pan or skillet (I prefer cast iron) melt one tablespoons of butter and cook the steaks over medium-high heat, 3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and tent with aluminum foil.

Deglaze the pan with the remaining Armagnac. Add the raisins and their liquid and cook over medium heat to reduce the liquid by half. Add the chicken broth and reduce by half again. Fold in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season to taste.

Place each steak on a plate, top with some sauce and serve with the potatoes and Asparagus.

Raspberries Jubilee with Kahlua
2oz of puff pastry (frozen works just fine)
1 egg white, beaten
1 tablespoon sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
2 tablespoons Kahlua
1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur
1 basket of raspberries or one 10 oz package of unsweetened frozen raspberries, defrosted.
2 scoops vanilla ice cream.

Cut the puff pastry into two 4-inch rounds Brush the top of each with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Put in the freezer and chill for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven 425 degrees F. Place the pastry on a baking sheet greased with butter. Bake for 4 minutes then reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the pastry turns golden brown. Let cool.

In a small saucepan cook the Grand Marnier, Kahlua and raspberry liqueur over medium heat to reduce the liquid by half. Remove from the heat and fold in the raspberries to just heat through.

Slice off the top of each cooled pastry round. Spoon ice cream into each round, and pour the warm raspberry mixture over the ice cream. Cover with the pastry top and serve.

What comes next is up to your imagination.

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