Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day Food Fest

The spouse and I both had yesterday off in celebration of Lincoln's birthday (which was on Wednesday, but I guess school admins would rather have a four day weekend than be temporally correct.) This year that also happened to coincide with Valentine's Day. We don't usually do much about this holiday, but since we did have the opportunity to spend it together, I decided to make it all about the food.

I started by making breakfast in bed for the spouse. I made an omelet with caramelized onions and sauteed fresh mushrooms. It also had cheddar and Parmesan cheese. When I caramelized the onions, I added a little hot smoked paprika, as well as salt and pepper. I sauteed the mushrooms in olive oil, and added a little garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. I'm finding that if I make a dish with multiple components, I like to season the components separately. When spices are added subtly changes their flavor, and adding them into the components seems to provide more subtly and complexity of flavor.

To go with the omelets, I had some mixed red, white, and purple fingerling potatoes that I sliced on my mandolin and shallow fried until crispy.

After breakfast, we went to an early showing of The Lego Movie. We enjoyed it. I found it one of the most entertaining flicks I've seen  in a long time. Also, the more pages you've read at TV Tropes, the more jokes you will get. 

For lunch, I made club style BLT's. We had picked up some thick cut maple glazed bacon at Costco. We had some nice ripe cluster tomatoes, and bronze leaf lettuce. 

I slow cooked the bacon on a broiler pan in a 350 F oven. It took about half an hour, but this helped the bacon remain flat. This was a good quality bacon, as there was little shrinkage, and less grease run off than you would normally expect. 

I toasted whole wheat bread, and used just a little mayo on each section.

Dinner, however, was the star of the day. We went by the store, and found a nice rib eye (my favorite steak). They also had a nice deal on Maine lobster tails, just $4 each. We both love lobster, so We grabbed a couple. We had already picked up some lovely asparagus. 

If this seems a little deja vu-ish, that's because last year's Valentine's Day menu was also grilled steak and asparagus. I used the same rub (cocoa powder, cumin, salt, onion powder, and chili powder) as last year. 

I also grilled the lobster tails. I snipped off the little palps (legs), and used kitchen shears to split the underside of the shell. The lobster tails took about 3/4's as long to cook as the steak took to reach medium rare. I also grilled the asparagus, and finished it with a little fresh lemon juice and some smoked Serrano sea salt. For the starch, I made quinoa in the rice cooker with some garlic and kosher salt.

For dessert, I also sort of repeated myself from last year. I made a sabayon, though this year's was a spiced rum sabayon. 

To go with it, I made apple pumpkin butter galettes. Traditionally, galettes use frangipane or marzapane (almond paste) for the base. I did not have any, but I had a jar of maple pumpkin butter. The galette is a round of puff pastry, with a layer of the pumpkin butter in the center, and slices of pink lady apples. It came out really nice, and matched well with the sabayon.

To accompany the meal, I had a bottle of 2012 Bella Bolle' Moscato D'Asti. It is an Italian sparkling Muscato. It was sweet, with crisp green apple and citron notes, with a bold attack and a clean finish. It went surprisingly well with the meal. If you are every looking for a sparkling wine that is not brut(ally) dry champagne, I can heartily recommend this one.


Spiced Rum Sabayon

6 egg yolks
 1/3 cup spiced rum
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar

Whip cream to medium stiff peaks. Set aside.

In a double boiler over barely simmering water, whisk together egg yolks. sugar, and rum until thick and smooth. Place bowl with egg mixture in an ice bath, continue to whisk until room temperature. Fold cream into egg mixture. Pour or spoon into serving containers. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Apple and Pumpkin Butter Galettes

1 pink lady apple, sliced
4 3" rounds puff pastry
4 Tbsp. pumpkin butter
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. simple syrup

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.

Spread a tablespoon of pumpkin butter in the center of each round of puff pastry, leaving a rim of  1/4" clear. arrange apple slices to cover pumpkin butter. Brush pastries with butter. Sprinkle liberally with sugar.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake for 15 - 18 minutes, until pastry is brown and crisp. Remove to a cooling rack.

Let cool to room temperature. Brush with simple syrup.

Happy Eating!

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