Oh Valentine’s Day. The day when pink and red seem to encompass everything and it is culturally accepted to binge on chocolate. In the over-commercialization of this holiday, it can become too easy to fall into a panic about “getting the right gift” or “meeting expectations.” Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to have the perfect Valentine’s Day? Some of the most magical memories I have of Valentine’s Day aren’t from adulthood, with relationships, fancy dinners, or flowers. Rather, I remember Valentine’s Day as a child running into my elementary school classroom with my decorated shoe box and getting a little treat from each of my classmates.
The fact is that while the relationship I have with my husband is nothing like those I had with my elementary school classmates, it is requires more discipline as an adult to make sure you take a step back to appreciate all of those whom you love. I find there is no more perfect way to show my love and appreciation for my husband than with a home cooked meal. I get to cook him something that he loves, and it gives me time to step back and enjoy the day myself.
I set about preparing my Valentine’s Day dinner for two. I poured myself a glass of wine and put Roman Holiday on the television. I didn’t have to give much thought about what my husband would like to eat on this special day, for the way to his heart is through his stomach and beef is the quickest way to get you there. I am happy to say my plan was a success and Will loved his Valentine’s Day dinner at home.
Parmesan Crusted Asparagus
1 head large asparagus
1 Stick of Butter (softened)
¾ cup Italian breadcrumbs
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a bowl, mix together the butter and the breadcrumbs. Once combined, add in the parmesan cheese. Place this between two sheets of parchment paper and with a rolling pin roll out to a very thin, even layer. Place this in the fridge until very chilled, at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Remove the earthy ends of the asparagus by cutting them on an angle. Steam the asparagus for 3-5 minutes. Retrieve the parmesan mixture from the fridge and remove the top piece of parchment paper. Cut the parmesan bread mixture into strips, roughly the length of the asparagus and ¼ – 1/3 inches thick. Work quickly so that the butter does not melt. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet and top each piece with a strip of the parmesan bread mixture. Place in the oven under the broiler for 5-10 minutes, or until the tops become crisp and golden brown.
Roasted Rib Eye with Garlic Thyme Espagnole
2 Rib Eye Steaks (roughly one pound each)
6 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon chopped Garlic
4 Sprigs Thyme
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 can Beef Broth
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take 2 Rib Eye steaks, roughly one pound each. Salt and pepper each side of the steak. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat until very hot. Add a small amount of vegetable oil to the skillet while it is heating. Just before the oil begins to smoke, add 4 tablespoons of butter and 1 sprig of thyme. Add the meat to the skillet, searing each side for 2 minutes. Once seared, place into the oven for 5-6 minutes. Remove from the skillet and let the steaks rest roughly 10 minutes before serving.
Bring a small saucepan to medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Once bubbly, add 2 tablespoons of flour to make a very thin roux. Cook for a moment to thicken, then add canned beef broth. Throw in garlic and remaining 3 sprigs of thyme. Simmer 10-15 minutes. When plating dinner, simply spoon over the steak prior to serving.
This dish was inspired by Eleven Madison Park Cookbook.