Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Day 2009

I don't have pictures to document anything, but I figured since I gave Thanksgiving so much attention, I ought to give a brief reenactment of our Valentine's Day.

To start with, we slept in. That was probably a good enough present as is. Virginia Tech was supposed to play at Maryland at 2pm here, but the game wasn't on TV. So, we decided to order the game on ESPN Full Court. It was the weirdest thing. I saw all these stories about how we lost, but I can't for the life of me remember there even being a game on that day. So weird. I just have a two hour span of blackness in my memory.

So after that, Melissa decided she wanted to go shopping with her new credit card (if you are her family and are reading this, she's being responsible I promise). So she got in the shower first and I took the opportunity to sneak out and take care of some V-day business. It is not easy to surprise someone with whom you share a one bedroom apartment.

I had bought a card about a week ago. We both said we shouldn't spend any money on the holiday. Melissa is actually a hater of Valentine's Day, and I long ago promised to change her mind. I went to Frye's and fought a ridiculous crowd in their floral department trying to find the perfect flowers. I opted out of the bouquet theme and went with a single two-tone rose. It was a sunset-orange with pink 'trim.' I also bought two glass champagne flutes for the bottle of champagne I bought earlier in the day while we were at the grocery store shopping for dinner. I tried to buy it without her seeing it, but that was virtually impossible. We got Freixenet...only the finest. It was her choice!

My roommate was borrowing my car, so I was borrowing hers for the excursion. I left the rose on her windshield and snuck the glasses and the Snickers she had asked for (but didn't know she was getting) into the house while she was getting dressed. I showered and then we headed to the mall for her to get the new clothes she had been hoping for for so long.

I offered fashion advice as a part of my 'make the day special' promise. She couldn't find the boots she really wanted or any jeans, but she did get four nice tops (that is fashion lingo for 'shirts').

We were on our way out of the mall when the gelato stand wooed us for samples. They get us every time. This time, we decided to actually buy something though. We got a pint of two flavors - white chocolate peanut butter, and dark chocolate. The girl behind the counter compared it to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Not far off.

So we headed home and I started to make dinner. We had a bottle of wine that Melissa had bought randomly a week ago but never opened. We uncorked that while I got dinner started. This was the crowning achievement of the night.

I started with the yams and sweet potatoes, cutting them into shoe strings to make french fries. I brushed them with olive oil and then dusted them with sea salt, Himalayan grey salt, and organic raw sugar. They went into the oven while I got started on the rest of the dinner. This was the experimental phase of dinner.

Next was the broccolini. I wasn't sure I'd like broccolini, but Melissa requested it. I threw some butter in the pan and then tossed in the greens, then added a little balsamic vinaigrette. I covered the pan and let it sautee while I prepped the steaks.

We had gotten two cuts of filet mignon from the grocery store. They were a little fattier than restaurant filet, but not so much as to annoy us. I rubbed them with a little sea salt and cracked pepper, then put them in a pyrex glass dish on top of one small slab of unsalted butter each. I put two more small slabs of unsalted butter on top of each cut. Those were tucked away to be cooked last. We both like our steaks mid-rare.

The broccolini was about finished at this point, so put it in a Corningware dish lined with aluminum foil and stowed it in the microwave to stay warm.

Next came the portabella mushrooms. In the same pan, I threw another small slab of unsalted butter and then tossed in a packet of mushrooms. They were pre-sliced. I poured in some Worcestershire sauce and then put the lid back on.

All the while, I was checking on the fries periodically. I was getting worried. They were not looking good. Some were charred to blackness, others were still soggy and cold-ish.

Once the fries were as finished as we thought they were going to be, I took them out and covered them with tinfoil. The mushrooms I put on a low heat.

I threw the steak in for a very short period of time so that it would be mid-rare. It ended up being closer to rare, so it had to go back in after we sat down to eat. No big deal.

The food all ended up being spectacular. The portion of the french fries that didn't burn and didn't stay soggy were fantastic. The mushrooms and the broccolini were delicious. The steaks were perfect. The wine complemented the meal pretty well.

After dinner, we got a movie on demand, lit a bunch of tea candles around the apartment and drank our champagne. We had our gelato with the Snickers broken up and sprinkled on top.

All in all, it was a fantastic day.

Disclaimer: Many uses of "I" in this blog should really be "we." However, I refused to let Melissa do any work, and she only gave guidance here and there on the finer aspects of chef-ing. She also helped with some prep work, but I made her promise she enjoyed helping before she was allowed to lift a finger.


Julie said...

all in all, sounds like a great valentines day! Has you converted her to a fan of the holiday at all?

We had a similar meal @ home as well... except I baked the yams... I'll have to try out your home-made french fry recipe next time I cook yams at home.

oh, and one more thing.... go terps!

J Evan said...

Wait, that's it? What happened next?

This is stupid if you don't tell me!