Friday, February 18, 2011

Valentines Day Dinners

Valentines Day was Monday huh?  And I haven't written about the meals I cooked.  Let's just say, its been an insanely busy roller coaster week.  But I did cook two fabulous (meat heavy) meals for my hubby on Valentine's Day.  I had some plans for a dessert too, but I just didn't have the time.
On Saturday night, I decided to make Pan-Roasted Lamb with a Tangerine Chili Sauce.  Megan also had the same idea and we both got the same inspiration from Food and Wine.  I've never made Lamb chops but Dave has been raving about them since they were served at our wedding in 2008.  Soo I was excited about how simple this recipe seemed!  And it was!  If you're looking for a quick impressive meal for your date, make this.

I served my chops with a curried sweet potato puree and added the tangerine chili sauce on top.  I also served this with a Blood Orange, Sweet Potato, Avocado, Feta and Arugula Salad, inspiration from Epicurious...

I made the sweet potatoes by roasting the Sweet Potatoes on a baking sheet with evoo, salt and pepper at 400 for 20 minutes.  Then cook the onion, garlic, cumin, and curry powder in a frying pan with some olive oil for about 5-7 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Then stir in the tomato paste and continue cooking for a couple minutes. Place the onion mixture in a food processor. Pulse mixture until the onions are finely ground. So that's the base of the lamb dish. 
Now speaking of the lamb...
Rack of Lamb with Tangerine Chile Sauce
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
One 2 1/2 pound frenched rack of lamb
salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh tangerine juice
1 teaspoon of tangerine zest
1 small red chile, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of chicken stock
2 tablespoons of butter
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Season the lamb with salt and pepper.
Add the lamb to the skillet, fat side down, and cook over moderately high heat until richly browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the lamb fat side up and cook for 2 minutes longer. 
Transfer the skillet (I actually switched to a roasting pan) to the oven and roast the rack for about 20 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the meat registers 125° for medium-rare meat. Transfer the lamb to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. 
Discard the fat in the skillet. Add the tangerine zest and juice and the chile to the skillet and boil over moderately high heat until the juice is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and boil until reduced by one-fourth, about 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and swirl in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Carve the lamb into chops and arrange on warmed plates.
Spoon the sauce over the lamb and serve.

And for dessert, I bought a Boston Creme Pie from the Whole Foods Bake Shop.

On Valentine's Day, I made Goat Cheese Filet Mignon with a Shitake Mushroom Sauce. The Filet with Goat Cheese was Bobby Flay idea and the mushroom sauce was from
Filet Mignon with Toasted Goat Cheese

2 filet mignon steaks, each 1 1/2-inches thick
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 (3/4-inch thick) slices goat cheese
Chopped green onions, for garnish
Preheat the grill to high. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before grilling. Meanwhile, combine the cumin, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Liberally season both sides of each filet with the spice mixture. Grill the filets for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium doneness. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Remove the steaks from the grill onto a baking sheet (or put grill pan in oven like I did), and top each with a slice of the cheese. 
Place under the broiler until cheese is golden brown and soft. Add sauce (recipe below) and green onions.
Mushroom Wine Sauce 

3 ounces chopped shiitake mushroom caps 
1 tablespoon flour 
1/4 cup shallot (minced) 
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
1/3 cup red wine  (I used Merlot, my favorite) 
1 cup beef broth
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Prepare Mushroom wine Sauce first and set aside: Combine Mushrooms and flour in a bowl and toss to coat and set aside. In a medium skillet, combine wine, shallots, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Reduce heat. Add broth, Worcestershire, tomato paste, and stir to combine and cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook 3 minutes, until mushrooms are tender. Stir in mustard. Serve sauce over and under the Filet Mignon.

 Nothing beats buying a wonderful cut of meat.... this filet from Whole Foods was perfect!
I hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day!  I've been making some boorggers for Burger Week but work has been busy so I haven't cooked every night.  So far I made Liz's Butternut Squash Burgers and Bree's Spinach Feta Burgers.  I still have my Black Bean Sliders on the menu for sometime this weekend. 
Last weekend, I also went to Lolita in Boston so stay tuned for a full review of the extremely trendy tequilla bar.  And I've had some pretty good runs- 2 sets of 6X400 on Tuesday and a run along the Charles on Thursday.  I am planning to run long tomorrow and a 5K on Sunday.

Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful day  : )
What is your favorite meal to make or eat for an important occasion?


  1. Liz, everything looks amazing, nice work! :) Also, best of luck on the 5k this weekend, are you going for a PR? I miss you, we need to schedule a run together sometime soon!

  2. You are such a good chef!! I would not trust myself to cook that kind of meat well - Ben is the meat expert :) The potato puree and the salad look amazing too.
    So glad you had a nice Valentines Day, Lizzy!!

  3. Oh my gosh...will you be my Valentine?

  4. Your lamb looks perfect! I may need to try that version next! The filet sounds amazing too.

    (I wish I had leftover baklava!)

  5. The lamb and the filet look absolutely perfect! your hubby is so lucky! I still haven't posted about vday either, so behind the times! can't wait to hear what you thought about Lolita....

  6. that is one lucky husband you've got there, Lizzy! everything looks wonderful, especially the lamb. I think my favorite special meal has got to be lasagna, make by my great grandmother when we go home to visit. it's beyond amazing.

  7. Your lamb came out beautifully! I LOVE lamb but have never made it that way! I saw it on Megans blog too :) And that filet + goat cheese sounds like heaven!! Sounds like you had a wonderful V-day, and gorgeous flowers!

  8. The Boston Creme Pie was perfect timing with all the BQ changes ha ha!

    Special occassions--I let the hubby do the cooking! I'm too scurred!!

  9. Those are some amazing-looking gourmet meals you've got there!! Definitely meat-heavy, but I can honestly say the salad sounds delicious! ;) haha I'm sure everything was wonderful and I really love your presentation of it all!

    Hope the week ended well for you and your'e feeling good about everything. Good luck with the long run!

  10. Your food is always so gourmet and impressive! I need to take lessons!

  11. That's quite the meal! Love all of the flavors and how they have that little something extra special to them...and Boston Cream Pie is just the best!

  12. Your dinners look so delicious! I love your roses also. Hope you and your hubby had a great Valentine's