Happy Valentine’s Day Steaks…& Chicken…& Meatballs…&…

Valentine’s Day: a great excuse to eat too much, write mushy cards, have chocolate for breakfast, and slow dance in your living room.  I’m ALL on board.

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We started early, on Saturday night.  The Husband made not one but TWO Italian feasts: spaghetti and meatballs and chicken parmesan.  (His mother’s recipe, coming soon.)  YUM.  Cupcakes for dessert.  Yesterday morning began with cinnamon rolls, and ended with filet mignon with Stilton cream sauce and creamy mashed potatoes.  (Turns out he made me the same meal for Vday last year, all details listed here.) Chocolate mousse heart for dessert, pictured above.  Obviously, we had a side heaping of ice cream.

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I challenge someone out there to tell me they ate more decadently than we did.  Hope you all had a fabulous Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Gorgonzola Sausage Burger

I was a “vegetarian” for about ten years (i.e., I focused only on consuming pasta and cheese, and found that adopting the mantle of “vegetarian” was helpful in my quest to avoid all foods that were not pasta and cheese).

Burgers put an end to that.

The year was 2002, the setting, a 4th of July BBQ at a high school friend’s house.  Two (vegetarian) friends and I, bowled over by the smell of the grill, steathily helped ourselves to a burger.  We made our way to the garage so no one could see us, and carefully passed the stolen burger between the three of us, sharing bites, until it was gone.  Incidentally, so was my vegetarianism.

Thirteen years later, I actually love vegetables and eat far more than pasta and cheese.  (Side note: YAY!) And at least once a summer, I get that BBQ smell wafting under my nose and I just know: tonight is burger night.  Thanks to Husband for always indulging me.

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Gorgonzola Sausage Burger

  • 1 pound high quality ground beef
  • optional but delicious: one hot Italian sausage link
  • big dash Worcestershire sauce
  • big handful crushed red pepper
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • cooking spray
  • to serve:
    • good buns, toasted
    • Sriracha mayo (i.e., one part Sriracha sauce to two parts mayonnaise, whipped together)
    • pickled onions and/or cucumbers – we used the basic method outlined here
    • sliced tomato
    • red onion
    • lettuce/arugula
    • avocado
    • potato chips!
  1. In a large bowl, mix your meat, Worcestershire, spices, onion and garlic together.  Form four large patties (don’t overwork the meat).  Note – the fattiness from the sausage and the ground beef will help to bind the patty together.  If not, add an egg and some breadcrumbs to help your cause!
  2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add your patties – cooking two at a time, or so – and cook about four minutes per side.  I like to tent the pan with aluminum foil in order to help the middle cook through a bit.
  3. Prep your buns! Add Gorgonzola to the bottom of each bun – this will help it melt.  (You can also add to the top of the burger as it cooks, either way.)  Add the meat patty and your favorite toppings.  Obviously, don’t forget the chips.

The Verdict:

Dear Husband, who prepared these last night: these are even better than the garage burger. Now, if only we had a backyard grill…

Slow Cooked Roast Beef

Today is my husband’s birthday.

I sometimes give him a hard time on here for being a picky eater (who doesnt’ like fish?!), or for boiling an entire box of pasta and calling it dinner, but the truth is, I am an obscenely lucky woman to be married to him.  Not only is he deeply kind, hard working, funny, and handsome (in fact, he is dark, tall AND handsome!), he is also quite handy in the kitchen. And not just for getting down the pots from the hard-to-reach cabinets: the man can cook, especially when it comes to the crockpot.

In honor of his birthday, a recipe developed entirely by my main squeeze.

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Slow Cooked Roast Beef

  • about two pounds rump roast (or other meat you can cook for a long time to make tender)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme
  • about 4 cups of beef broth
  • for the spice rub:
    • 1-2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
    • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
    • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    • 1 tablespoon onion powder
    • salt, pepper
  • for serving sandwiches:
    • good rolls
    • a little bit of sour cream, mixed with freshly prepared horseradish
    • spicy arugula
    • mustard
    • cheese of your choice (Husband notes: “A purest would use provolone.”)
  1. Mix all of the spices together in a small bowl and then rub them into the roast, making sure all sides are covered.  Season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Pour enough beef broth into a crock pot for about a 3/4 inch bath; add onions, garlic, about half of your rosemary/thyme, and a dash of crushed red pepper.  Add the roast in the middle, top with additional rosemary/thyme.
  3. Cook on the low setting for about 8 hours.  Remove and let rest a few minutes before shredding to assemble into sandwiches.  Serve with your choice of delicious toppings.

The Verdict:

An easy-to-make, hearty, and tasty meal that makes tons of leftovers.  My husband advises you “chow yours with a side of potato chips, preferably Utz or Cape Cod.”  In other words, a Bostonian meets a Philadelphian, and they live happily ever after.

(My Mom’s) Beef Bourgouignon

 

 

The lack of a Sunday/Monday planning post this week is no accident: this is a fly-by-the-seat-of-our pants kind of week.  Chez nous, there is no real nightly dinner plan, as I had no real grocery list when my mom (YAY for moms who visit!) and I hit Trader Joe’s this weekend.  We had one thing, and one thing only, on our minds:  making this mind-blowingly delicious beef bourguignon.  (My mom nixed my idea for (another) veggie tart, declaring that the Husband “needs” more protein.  Didn’t you see our quinoa dinner, Mom!?)

Of course, this stew comes straight from my mom’s head; no need for recipes there.  I’ve laid out a rough guide below – but feel free to tweak for your eating pleasure.

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My Mom’s Beef Bourgouignon

  • olive oil
  • a couple of tablespoons of butter
  • 3 pounds beef (cut into stew-sized chunks)
  • S&P
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cartons mushrooms
  • pearl onions
  • flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3-4 cups (or even a whole bottle) red wine
  • a bit of water, as needed
  • parsley, for serving
  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil and butter over high heat.  Saute the beef until browned.  On a separate plate, sprinkle flour, salt and pepper; transfer beef on to the plate and add flour, S&P in layers.
  2. In the Dutch oven, saute the celery, carrots and onion over medium heat, until translucent.  Add the garlic, cook for a minute or two, and then add mushrooms and tomato paste and cook through, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the beef back to the pot and pour in white wine.  Reduce the wine by half and then add pearl onions, red wine, bay leaf, and thyme.  Bring to a boil before reducing the heat; cover and simmer for about 45 minutes.
  4. Adjust the seasonings as you see fit, top with fresh parsley, and serve with fresh crusty bread (and CHEESE, of course).

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The Verdict:

It was a sad day when my mom (and sister) left – but they did leave behind a trail of delicious food in our refrigerator! Word to the wise: this is even better after a few days, when the flavors have had a chance to come together (and the meat has had a chance to break down and become more tender.)

 

Valentine’s Day Steaks with Blue Cheese Cream Sauce

I love Valentine’s Day.  Love, love, love it.  It is all of my favorite things, combined in one beautiful day.  Chocolate, cards (ok, I know people like to get down on Hallmark holidays, but honestly, who doesn’t looooove browsing the Paper Source?!), flowers, food, and of course, my husband.

Despite the fact that we are technically newlyweds, this Saturday marked our ninth February 14th together.  And it was the best one yet, planned entirely by him, & capped off by this ridiculous meal, also prepared by him (with a little help from Ina).

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Valentine’s Day Steaks with Blue Cheese Cream Sauce

for the steaks

  • 2 8oz filet mignon steaks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter

for the sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2-4 oz roquefort, blue, gorgonzola or carambiola cheese, crumbled
  • salt & pepper
  • chopped scallions or chives

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  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees; heat a large oven proof skillet over high heat.
  2. Pat dry the filets with paper towels.  Brush a little bit of oil over them and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Start making your sauce by pouring the cream into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cream is reduced by half.
  4. Add the steaks to the hot pan and sear evenly on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Top each steak with a pat of butter and place the pan in the oven.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  Remove, cover tightly with foil and allow to rest.
  5. Remove the cream from the heat,a dd the cheese and stir until melted.  Season with salt and pepper, add scallions or chives.
  6. Serve steaks topped with the sauce…and if you’re lucky, like I was, with a side of sauteed mushrooms, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, and a good bottle of red wine.

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The Verdict:

Honey, you’re the man.