Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and although it's always nice to go out to a restaurant for a special dinner, it can be just as romantic to have dinner at home, just the two of you.
Set the mood and make it special as this will be no ordinary Tuesday night!:
- Use your best china, cloth napkins and fanciest wine glasses
- Set an elegant table for two — how about in front of the fireplace?
- Have a pretty vase of flowers on the table and light some candles
- Dim the lights
- Play a romantic CD of love songs, soft jazz or your favorite songs for background music
Here's a special four-course menu suggestion:
- Shrimp cocktail - served in a martini glass with cocktail sauce
- A salad of field greens, sliced apples or pears, toasted walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese with a light dressing
- Steak Diane (see recipe below) served with steamed vegetables and rice pilaf or mashed potatoes
- Strawberries dipped in chocolate for dessert
Steak Diane - serves 2
It may seem like a long list of ingredients, but you may have most of them in your pantry or fridge. Assemble all the ingredients before starting as the meat will cook quickly. Have your side dishes ready, as well.
2 filet mignons, 6-8 ounces each
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T unsalted butter
2 tsp. minced shallots or onion
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup white mushrooms, sliced
3 T Cognac or brandy
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
3 T heavy cream
3 T beef stock or broth
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 dash hot red pepper sauce
1 T fresh parsley leaves, optional
Season the filets on both sides with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook for 30 seconds on the first side. Turn and cook for 30 seconds on the second side. Add the shallots and garlic to the side of the pan and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms begin to soften, 2 minutes. Remove just the meat from the pan, place on a rimmed plate and cover with tin foil to keep warm.
Add the Cognac (or brandy), mustard, cream, beef stock, Worcestershire and hot sauce to the pan and mix thoroughly and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes until it thickens. Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the pan and turn the meat to coat with the sauce. Cook to your desired preference (rare, medium-rare, etc.) or about 1 minute more for medium rare.
Remove from heat and place filets on warmed plates. Pour the sauce over the filets. Sprinkle with the parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.
Adapted from a Essence from Emeril recipe.
About this column: When she's not covering Clinton, you'll find editor Fay Abrahamsson in the kitchen whipping up some savory and sweet treats.