Valentine’s Day – Dinner for Two

February 10th, 2012  |  Carbs, Family Dinner, Moo, Occasions, Side Dishes  |  0 Comments


Grab a piece of paper and write your special someone a letter...draw a heart on it if you feel its missing something.  Stay in and create a beautiful and romantic night at home with your special someone and release all expectations.  You'll not only save a load of cash by not having to hire a babysitter {if you can even find one} but you can make a delicious restaurant quality meal at home and serve it with a great bottle of red wine and I'll guarantee you everyone will be happier.

Plan ahead and get the kids ready for bed early so that at 7:30/8:00 they are down from the night; set the table with your fancy china and crystal {it is a "special" occasion after all}; light some votive candles around the house [or light up the fireplace if weather permits]; turn on some great music and you and your honey can celebrate your love completely alone {and uninterrupted}.

I picked up a cd at Starbucks called Dinner for Two.  It's a mellow mix showcasing tunes from Nina Simone, Dinah Washington, Nat King Cole, Cowboy Junkies and more.  If you don't have the time, just put together a playlist of you and your honey's favorite songs.  Don't have time to make a mix either?  Just plug in Gypsy Kings to Pandora radio and you'll be good to go!

Whatever you do, don't forget the wine.  If you can get your hands on it, the Chiarello Family Vineyards 2009 Bambino Cabernet Sauvignon is absolutely amazing and would pair perfectly with this dinner.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin


1 1/2 lbs beef tenderloin
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil


Using butchers twine, tie off the tenderloin so that it stays together while cooking.  I used ties about every 1 1/2 inches.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and allow the meat to sit out for about 30-45 minutes before cooking.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees on Convection Roast setting or bake at 400 if your oven does not have that feature.

Mix melted butter and worcestershire sauce together and set aside.

In an large skillet [cast iron is great for searing] over high heat, add one tablespoon of vegetable oil.  Once hot, sear the tenderloin on all sides until the meat is browned; about 1 minute per side.

Remove from heat and baste the meat with the butter and worchestershire mixture.  Transfer the tenderloin to a casserole dish.  Insert the meat probe into the centermost part of the meat and put it into the oven, attaching the other end of the meat probe to the oven wall.  Set the meat probe temperature to 130 degrees, close the oven and press Start.  Roast the beef until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees; if using the probe, the oven will automatically shut off; if you aren't using a meat probe, it will take about 25-30 minutes to reach the desired temperature.

Remove the tenderloin from the oven and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes {and up to an hour} before carving.  Waiting to carve will help the meat lock in its natural juices.  Serve with garlic toasted bread and creamed horseradish sauce; and don't forget to dip your bread into the natural juices in the bottom of the casserole dish---you seriously don't want to just wash it out of the pan... it is an integral part of this dinner.  Being that is it Valentine's day, you'll have to refrain from outright licking the pan, but you'll want to I promise.

Garlic Toasted Bread


1 loaf of rustic bread, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove, peeled


In a medium skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter.  Add in the slices of bread and allow to toast on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Take the whole garlic clove and rub lightly against the toasted bread slices.

Alternatively, if you are also making the potato stacks, you could toast your bread in the oil left in the pan after carmelizing the shallots...just sayin'.

Potato Shallot Stacks

I have been seeing photos of these little potato stacks floating all over Pinterest, but when I tried to pull up the recipe on, the recipe was missing!   So here's my attempt to make them....boy oh boy were they delicious, not to mention charming as can be.


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2  yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
2 shallots, sliced thin
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees on Convection Roast setting.  Butter a regular sized muffin tin.

Peel and slice potatoes thin {use a mandoline if you have one}.

In a small skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Toss in shallots and allow to begin caramelizing.  Once shallots begin to brown, turn off heat and stir in thyme leaves.

Begin stacking potatoes in the muffin tin, topping each layer with a few pieces of the caramelized shallots and a little salt and pepper.  I was able to get about 5 slices into each section, but you could certainly do more if you've got room.  Add about 1-2 tablespoons of chicken broth into each section, so that when you press down on the stacks, the chicken broth just starts to come up from underneath the potato stacks.  Add a small dollop of butter to each stack and sprinkle again with salt and pepper.  Place in the oven for about 45-50 minutes.

Remove from oven; run a butter knife around the edges of each stack and allow to slightly cool in the muffin tin.  Use a large spoon to gently scoop out each stack before plating.  Don't you just want to reach into the screen and shove that beautiful creation into your mouth right now?  I know I do and the truth is they taste even better than they look!

Stay tuned all....dessert is coming tomorrow...I'm making Thomas Keller's chocolate bouchons and you DON'T. WANT. TO. MISS. THEM.

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