Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Hungry Valentine

I decided to give my husband the type of Valentine’s dinner that he would truly enjoy – an evening at home.

Nosh: Olive tapenade
Tomato/ basil dip
Toasted ciabatta

We stopped by Little Italy’s Buon Appetito and visited their neighboring deli to pick up some house tomato dip ($4) – a fresh puree with olive oil and basil – simple, but additictive.

Appetizer: Heirloom tomatoes
Proscuitto Parma
Fresh Mozzarella
Greens with balsamic vinaigrette

Assenti’s was known for racks of fresh pasta, but I was on a search for burrata (extra creamy fresh mozzarella.) I didn’t see any, so I happily settled for fresh mozzarella balls that swam in a shallow, water bath and ordered ½ lb. proscuitto Parma, treated like a delicate flower by the proprietor.

Entrée: Grilled lamb chops
Grilled filet mignon
Gorgonzola butter
Twice baked potatoes with cheddar and bacon
Sauteed crimini mushrooms and Vidalia onions
Sauteed spinach and garlic

Iowa Meat Farms was the best butcher in town, so we splurged on lamb chops and filet mignon. I also made a compound butter with gorgonzola, rosemary and a bit of lemon. I let both the cheese and butter get to room temperature, then mixed the two. I lined it up in saran wrap, put it in the frig and ended up with a super, snazzy stick of butter. I think I even buttered my napkin it was so good – it went well on everything, but I especially loved it on the lamb.

Dessert: Chocolate molten cake
Homemade vanilla toffee ice cream

I looked online and the easiest recipe for chocolate molten cake was a two minute video on the Food Network's website. I couldn’t believe what an easy, yet impressive dessert this turned out to be. It took about 15 mintes total and that included baking time.

1) Mix (with an electric mixer) 4 eggs, 1 yolk, 1 cup sugar until frothy - soufflé-like, so we want it to rise
2) Melt one stick of butter and 10 oz. semi-sweet chocolate on double broiler (or just put a glass bowl over a pot with water.) Add a tsp. of cinnamon and/ or vanilla if desired.
3) Slowly mix chocolate into eggs and sugar. Sift a ¼ cup of sifted flour atop.
4) Put in buttered and sugared ramekins. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Chocolaty, bubbly, lava goodness! My hubby also made some homemade vanilla, toffee chip ice cream to complete the effect. The best part was that we had all night to draw out the meal. We weren't rushed out of a restuarant or charged an absorbanant fee for catering to Cupid's demands. And since "Home is where the heart is," we couldn't think of any better place to spend this holiday.

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