A Valentine’s Day Menu

Growing up, Valentine’s Day was always made special in our home.  My parents got married on Valentine’s Day thirty years ago (my dad is a hopeless romantic and my mom loves hearts) and they have never failed to get me some form of gift – as a child, it was always a heart-shaped box of Reese’s PB Cups, but now it is usually some themed socks and a kitchen towel (which I love!).  Valentine’s Day is also special because it is the day my husband proposed to me ten years ago.  Wanna hear that story?  Sure you do!

Michael and I had gone to look at rings together a few months prior to Feb. 14, 2004, but I had no idea when he was going to ask me to marry him.  Okay, maybe I kind of had an idea… BUT I didn’t know the exact time or details.  Waking up that morning, we looked outside together and it was just beautiful.  The ground was covered in snow, which was a pretty rare site in Texas.  After my shower, I exited the bathroom to find a music stand with a little yellow note taped to it, but Michael was nowhere to be found.  Thus began the Yellow Note Scavenger Hunt.  For the next hour or so, I drove around town going from yellow note to yellow note, deciphering clues and smiling.  At the last destination, I walked up to a teddy bear with the final clue tucked into his I AM LOVED sweater.  Then Michael walked out from behind a pillar, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him – right as it started snowing (which is one of my favorite details).  And here we are ten years later.

We cooked our Val-Day meal a day early.  I wanted to have a meal that made me feel, well, sexy.  The last meal that did that was at Gordon Ramsay Steak in Las Vegas, so I figured it best to let that meal inspire this one.

A Valentine’s Day Menu (recipes below)
HeartBeet Salad, with arugula, herb-crusted goat cheese, and jalepeno-infused olive oil
Garlic Rubbed New York Strip with a Rosemary Mushroom Sauce, Lemon Steamed Broccoli
Chocolate Soup, Fennel Vanilla Panna Cotta with Balsamic & Black Pepper Pomegranate Strawberries

HeartBeet SaladHeartBeet Salad
serves 1-2, best to share and maybe feed to each other

ingredients
2 organic beets, peeled, cooked, and cooled (I used Love Beets)
1/4 cup fresh arugula
Herb-Crusted Goat Cheese (see below)
Jalepeno-infused olive oil (see below)
Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper

For the jalepeno-infused olive oil, you will need:
1 jalepeno, membrane and seeds removed, sliced
3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil.

Pour olive oil into a jar or bowl with lid.  Add jalepeno slices.  Seal and let sit for at least 1.5 hours before serving.
*This oil will have a slight, lingering spice to it – just enough to leave you wanting a little more.

For the Herb-Crusted Goat Cheese, you will need:
1 tbsp each of the following fresh herbs, finely chopped: Tarragon, Thyme, Rosemary, Italian Parsley
Zest of one lemon
Pinch of sea salt
4 oz. goat cheese

Mix the herbs, zest, and salt in a small bowl.  With your hands, roll goat cheese into several little balls, approx. 3/4″ in diameter.  Roll the goat cheese balls into the herb mixture.  Place on a dish and refrigerator for at 1 hour before serving.

Assemble your salad:
directions
Arrange arugula on plate.

Slice beets into 1/4″ thick slices.  Using a small heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut beets into hearts.  Some slices will not be large enough, and that’s okay.  This is intended to be a very light starter salad.

Place beet hearts and herb-crusted goat cheese on top of arugula.  Drizzle with jalepeno infused olive oil.

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Garlic Rubbed New York StripGarlic Rubbed New York Strip

ingredients
2 good sized grass-fed NY strip steaks, 1.5″ thick
4 garlic cloves
2 tbsp ghee, melted
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper

directions
Heat oven to 200 degrees.  Preheat grill pan on medium for 10-15 minutes, until very hot.

Place steaks on cutting board and rub each side with one pressed garlic clove.  Let steaks sit for about 20 minutes, then add plenty of sea salt and cracked black pepper to all sides right before you are ready to cook.

Grill steaks in pan approx. 2 minutes per side.  You can also turn the steaks on the side and grill them if you’d like.  Place pan in oven for about 15-20 minutes, until steaks are cooked to medium-rare.  If you’d like to use a thermometer, aim for an internal temp of 135 degrees.

Remove steaks from oven and let rest at least 10 minutes before cutting.
Note: I served our steaks with a Rosemary Mushroom Sauce that still needs some tweaking.  Once perfected, I will edit this post.

Lemon Steamed Broccoli
Slice one lemon and add slices to 1″ of water in a saucepan.  Place 2 cups of broccoli florets in a steamer basket in saucepan and cover.  Steam until bright green and tender crisp.  Toss will sea salt and additional lemon juice if you prefer.

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Chocolate Soup, Fennel Vanilla Panna Cotta with Balsamic & Black Pepper Pomegranate Strawberries
serves
3-4

As I told my Instagram followers, I’ve never been terribly talented in the area of desserts.  I can follow a recipe, just not yet completely confident in creating my own.  I decided to bring a couple different recipes together for this very successful sweet and sexy ending.

ingredients
Fennel Vanilla Panna Cotta, by Empowered Sustenance (GAPS, Paleo – bonus!)Chocolate Soup, Fennel Vanilla Panna Cotta
Chocolate Soup (see below)
Balsamic & Black Pepper Pomegranate Strawberries (see below)

For the Chocolate Soup:
I used the recipe for Bittersweet Hot Cocoa from The 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo, and added 2-1/2 tbsp of grade B Maple Syrup.  I chilled the mixture and stirred it before serving.

Balsamic & Black Pepper Pomegranate Strawberries

ingredients
1/2 cup organic strawberries, stems removed, diced
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

directions
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour.  The balsamic vinegar and the fruit sugars will mix to form a syrup.

Assemble your dessert:
Place Panna Cotta in the center of a shallow bowl. Ladle Chocolate Soup around Panna Cotta, being careful not to drip on the Panna Cotta.  Top Panna Cotta with Balsamic &  Black Pepper Pomegranate Strawberries.

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Always,
Abbey

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