There are several great places to eat where I live and in the surrounding communities, and I LOVE getting to eat out and take a break from cooking, but on Valentine's Day, what I want more than anything is to be home spending time with my husband, without the long wait times, the crowds and the noise.
Dinner for two at the house can be just as romantic as a candle-lit dinner out "on the town," and it can also be much yummier (and less expensive) than what you'd get away from home, so my recommendation is that for this Valentine's Day, you stay in with your sweetie and cook a meal together!
I know what the Galloways will be having, and I believe you will like the sound of it.
ON THE MENU:
Appetizer: Charcuterie board with smoked sausage, aged white cheddar cheese, sweet balsamic pears, grapes and fresh herbed olive oil with baguette bread.
Main Course: Rosemary & Thyme, Browned Butter Beef Fillet with Parmesan Crusted Asparagus.
Dessert: Chocolate Mousse with Whipped Cream
Charcuterie Spread: Let's chat about those sweet balsamic pears...
Pears feel "fancy" enough to us already because we don't buy them very often, but when you start adding any kind of special sauce, you elevate your food even more...when it's a balsamic reduction, you're talking NEXT LEVEL good! While it may sound like a complicated, fine-dining ingredient, it's actually very simple to make.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
2 cups of good quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
Heat balsamic vinegar and sugar over medium.
Bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir occasionally until sauce thickens (about 10 minutes). It will reduce to about 1/2 cup.
Remove from heat and allow it to cool completely before glazing pears. When cooled, drizzle over pears and ENJOY!
Herbed Olive Oil Dip with Baguette Bread
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
Mix all ingredients together. Add olive oil to preferred consistency and enjoy with fresh baguette bread.
Rosemary & Thyme, Browned Butter Fillets
Reserve 1 tablespoon of the fresh herbs from the olive oil dip (you won't eat it all because you're saving room for dessert, right?!).
Preheat Oven and cast iron skillet to 500 degrees (heat skillet inside oven during preheat).
Salt and pepper both sides of the fillets.
Top each fillet with 1/2 tablespoon of the herbs.
Once oven comes to temperature, remove skillet (leaving oven on) and place on stove burner over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to skillet. Place fillets (herb side down) on skillet and let them sit still to sear (about 3 minutes each side).
Place skillet in oven (fillets should now be herbed side up). Bake on 500 for 6 minutes for medium to medium-rare.
Remove from oven and top with a slab of butter. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Parmesan Crusted Asparagus
Asparagus is one of those vegetables you either love or hate. I don't believe there is much of a middle ground, but I want to challenge all of you in the latter category, try it cooked this way, and I bet you'll have a new favorite vegetable!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
One bunch of asparagus (trim 2-3 inches off bottom of asparagus to remove toughest parts of the vegetable).
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Pre-steam asparagus by placing in microwave-safe steamer with a little water. Microwave 4 minutes. If you don't have a steamer, you can place the asparagus in a microwave-safe bowl with a couple inches of water. Place microwave-safe plate over bowl and heat for 4 minutes.
Heat butter and minced garlic in skillet over medium-high heat. Add steamed asparagus and parmesan cheese. Don't stir. Let it sit for 3-4 minutes until it gets a good sear on one side. Then flip asparagus and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
Chocolate Mousse with Whipped Cream
We opted for a lighter, sugar free version because we are doing our best to be mindful of our sugar intake and eat healthier. This recipe satisfied our longing for a yummy, chocolatey dessert while allowing us to remain a little closer to the clean-eating side.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
1 package sugar free instant chocolate pudding mix
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
Mix dry ingredients first. Then slowly stir in heavy cream until mostly well-combined. Then, using a hand mixer, mix on slow speed until mouse begins to thicken. It will thicken quickly so be careful!
Top with whipped cream and add a few berries if you'd like and ENJOY!