Thursday, February 17, 2011

Foodista's Valentine's Day Dinner - Chock Full O' Recipes

Recently celebrating Valentine's Day, Dan and I decided to cook a special steakhouse-style dinner instead of going out and spending lots of money.  The dinner was so special and so celebratory that we promised each other to do it more often.  It wasn't surprising that most of the foods we made were simple in preparation but really depended on good quality ingredients.

Course 1
- Crab Cakes

Even though I've never made crab cakes before, I was willing and ready to try.  "How hard could they be?" I thought to myself.  Turns out that not only were they super simple to create, they were quick too.  The key was buying good quality crab meat, which I got at Whole Foods.  I opted for the claw meat, which wasn't as aesthetically beautiful as the lump crab, but it tasted delicious and was super tender, with a hint of sweetness too.  Here's a simple recipe I used, which came from

Course 2 - Broiled Steak and Potato Gratin

Dan made the steaks but he didn't use a recipe.  I bought two large (just under a pound) ribeye steaks off the bone.  Dan seasoned the steaks simply with sea salt (which he pressed into the meat), olive oil, pepper and garlic.  Letting the flavors marinate for a bit, he put the steaks into the broiler for about 5-6 minutes on each side for medium-rare doneness.  Not only were they juicy and flavorful, they had a nice crunchy exterior.

Our steaks were coupled with a side of rich potato gratin.   Once again, I made sure to use really good, aged gruyere cheese and sliced the potatoes really thin (even though I had no mandoline).  We were both really happy with the flavors, as they were tangy, decadent and really comforting.  A nice sprinkling of fresh parsley added some delicious earthiness.  To achieve the lovely brown crust you see above, we kept the potatoes in the broiling oven together with the steak.  Here's the recipe, which comes from Emeril Lagasse.

Course 3 - Dessert (Banana Pudding and Mini Apricot Linzer Tortes)
Dessert was simple, as we tapped into one of my favorite NYC bakeries, Buttercup Bakeshop for their legendary banana pudding.  What I love about it most is that it has chunks of real bananas and a really thick but not heavy consistency.  We topped it with their mini apricot linzer tortes, which looked adorable and tasted wonderful.  I liked the crunchy bite of the cookie, which was a little more toothsome than I'm used to, but it worked well to balance out the smoothness in the pudding.

Hope you all had a wonderful V-Day as well.  *smooches*

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