Happy Valentine's Day!
Whether your Valentine's dinner will be a romantic evening for 2 or a more festive gathering among friends, here are a couple of menu suggestions to ensure your celebration is one of substance & style.
Grilled Rib Eye Steak with Roasted Carrots
Its the perfect holiday to play up bold reds! This pairs excellently with a robust red. We recently discovered an Italian red, Taurino Salice Salentino, compliments of our friend Steve - an excellent cooking companion with good instincts in the kitchen & purveyor of the finer things in life.
Rib Eye Steak, bone-in
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 glug of olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
1. when using high quality ingredients, a simple approach lets the flavors shine through - a dusting of nutmeg, a glug of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt & pepper will go a long way to bringing out the flavors of a grilled steak.
2. make sure your grill grates are clean to prevent the meat from sticking. use an oiled paper towel & a wire brush to clean the grates.
3. once the steaks go on the grill, the cooking process is fast. for approximately an one inch thick steak, if you are looking for a medium-rare temperature, the cook time will be about one minute on each side on a really hot grill. if you are careful with your steak placement - 12 o'clock position followed by a 1:30 position on each side, you can achieve diamond pattern grill marks that appear oh so professional.
4. pay attention to the "give" of the meat - a medium rare steak should be firm yet maintain a good amount of give.
5. resting your meat once it comes off the grill is one of the most important aspects of the "cooking" process. let your steak rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it or serving, depending on the thickness of the steak.
Roasted Carrots with Leeks & Honey
1 leek, sliced into coins
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
freshly ground salt & pepper, to taste
1. pre-heat oven to 400F.
2. peel carrots & cut really thick carrots in half.
3. line a baking sheet with carrots. spread leek coins over the carrots. drizzle honey & sprinkle with salt & pepper. a dusting of cayenne pepper plays nicely against the honey drizzle.
4. bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until carrots are tender to the touch of a fork.
Ponzu Braised Chicken with Bok Choy
Sweet & Spicy Bok Choy
If your persuasions lie on the white & sparkling side, try this whole roasted chicken recipe & serve with a bottle of champagne, prosecco or even a hoppy craft beer.
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 inch fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp ponzu
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2-3/4 cup chicken stock
1. pre-heat the oven to 350F.
2. if you are working with a whole chicken, rather than pre-cut chicken, then you will need to cut the chicken in half. we used our kitchen scissors for this job, but a butcher knife would work just as well.
3. cover all sides of the chicken with salt & pepper
4. warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat-high, sear the chicken skin side down, until the skin is nicely browned.
5. remove the seared chicken from the pot. toss garlic, onion & ginger into the cooking liquid from the chicken, stirring until the onions brown.
6. once the onions have browned, add ponzu, soy sauce & rice vinegar. using a wooden spatula, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
7. return the chicken to the pot, with juices and braising liquids. add enough chicken stock to have about 1 inch of liquid in the pot.
8. cover the pot & cook the chicken in the oven until the meat is falling off the bones.
We paired this chicken with sweet and spicy bok choy, and frankly the jury is still out about which one was better?!
1 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp seasame oil
8-12 stalks of baby bok choy
1 shallot, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp sriacha
1. warm olive oil in a skillet pan. add seasame oil once warmed.
2. once the seasame oil is fragrant, add the bok choy, shallots & garlic. stir to coat.
3. once the shallots soften a bit, add soy sauce, honey & sriacha. continue to stir fry until the flavors blend the the bok choy has absorbed the flavors.
Collage Photo Credits (left to right, top to bottom): Lonny, Southern Living, Lonny, Lonny, Lonny