Valentine’s Day! It’s about showing the people you love how much you love them, getting impossible dinner reservations, booking a babysitter six months in advance, wearing uncomfortable “sexy” clothes, paying through the nose for a “prix fixe” menu, getting sideways glances from the waitstaff if you linger too long (because they’re worried about their second seating) and freezing your booty off on the walk back to the car.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
When our friends at Whole Foods Market Bradburn approached me about doing a series of posts on staying in this Valentine’s Day, I was all over it. What better way to show your sweetie you care than with a home cooked meal? A little candlelight… Some roses… Mmmmm….
No reservations required.
We’ll be posting three different menu ideas this week, including a family-friendly feast and a breakfast in bed idea, but we’ll start with a traditional, romantic, surf ‘n turf for two.
Hot Crab Dip and NY Steak with Brussels Sprouts
Well, maybe not so traditional. For the surf part of our surf ‘n turf, I decided to put together a delicious hot crab dip — just like you might get as an appetizer at a fancy steakhouse. Luckily, this is really easy to put together!
Serve your crab dip piping hot from the oven with your choice of dippers; I picked 365 Pita Chips, but you could choose your favorite cracker, toast points, or crudite.
For a steakhouse-style steak:
We got a beautiful pair of dry-aged NY strip steaks — on special for Valentine’s Day! — from the meat counter at Whole Foods Bradburn. The butcher told me, “I call this beef butter,” because they’re sooo tender and delicious.
The key to a steakhouse-style steak is that dry aging — the super-dry surface allows the surface of the meat to caramelize and a salty, sizzling crust.
You can recreate that at home with this technique, borrowed from America’s Test Kitchen:
- Trim excess fat and gristle from the steaks and pat dry with paper towels.
- Mix together 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp cornstarch. Rub the steaks thoroughly with the salt mixture.
- Set a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Put the steaks on the rack and freeze for about 30 minutes, up to an hour (but no more!).
- Season the steaks with more salt and pepper and grill (inside or out) until the meat registers 120-125 on an instant-read thermometer — about 5 minutes per side.
- Transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Let rest about 5 minutes before serving.
On the side, I decided to serve Brussels sprouts. Now, don’t make faces! These maligned veggies are absolutely delicious. I cut them in half and then caramelized them in a little butter and olive oil. Add salt and pepper, or even a splash of balsamic vinegar if you like, and serve.
For dessert, I decided to let the pros do the baking. I picked up an adorable 6-inch chantilly cake from the Whole Foods bakery — because it reminded me of our wedding cake! It’s two layers of rich white cake with heavenly fluffy frosting and berries.
But, of course, there are other flavors — notably chocolate with salted caramel and chocolate peanut butter — if you’re looking for a more traditionally Valentine’s chocolate dessert!
Need a little gift for your sweetie? I loooove this lily & green clover soy candle from Paddywax. I’m very sensitive to many synthetic fragrances — plus, I just don’t like them. But this candle smells soft and sweet without being overpowering. The perfect addition to our little romantic téte á téte.
Interested in treating your sweetie to a romantic dinner? Whole Foods Bradburn is giving away a $25 gift certificate to help make it possible! Visit the Whole Foods Bradburn Facebook page to enter to win!