Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day Dinner!

So, you might have noticed that I haven't blogged in... oh.... a month.  And that I have over 100 recipes left to cook.  It's not going to happen.  That's okay.  Being in graduate school is simply too hectic for me to cook, run, and blog regularly.  I really do love this blog, though, so while my goal of 300 new recipes in 1 year is no longer attainable, I do hope to share my experiences with both running and cooking with all of you - even if it's sporadically.

One of the determining factors in me 'officially' giving up on my goal of cooking my way through Betty Crocker's book was getting FOUR new cookbooks in December and January: 1 as a Christmas gift and 3 as engagement gifts.  My friends know me well!  With all these cookbooks, though, I just couldn't resist trying new things.  Which brings me to today's post:

Williams-Sonoma's Bride and Groom Cookbook: Valentine's Day Menu
Starter: Tossed Green Salad
Main Dish: Rib-Eye Steak with Pan Jus, Ginger Carrot Salad, and (my personal addition) Rissoto
Dessert: Blueberry Fool
Wine pairing: Cotes du Rhone Malbec

Following W&S's plan, I began with the blueberry fool several hours ahead of time, simmering fresh blueberries and letting them chill for a few hours.
 After the blueberries simmered, I left them to chill in the fridge and moved onto the carrots:
Carrots were put into simmering water along with some champagne vinegar and salt, and then once they cooled were mixed with olive oil, more champagne vinegar, and lots of spices!  After the carrots were ready, I tried to continue on with the blueberry fool.  My mission: take heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla and get it to be a whipped texture with peaks... and then fold in the blueberries.  All I can say is, I failed.
At best, this was going to turn into blueberry ice cream.  *Sigh*.  Nearly a year into cooking and this was my first attempt at dessert... are we surprised that it didn't go well?  Anyway, onto something I don't suck at.  RISOTTO!  First, I sauteed some onions and butter and oil to get ready for the rice:
 Then, it was time to mix in the rice, wine, and broth:
Meanwhile, it was time to tackle the rib eye.  Did I mention steak scares me?  It's so easy to cook incorrectly... overcooked, undercooked, whichever.
Step one was to salt and pepper it and sear it for one minute on each side.
Then I popped that sucker in the oven at 400 for 10 minutes, while I returned to my risotto.  35 minutes of slowly adding broth and stirring, it was ready for some Parmesan cheese and parsley!
Meanwhile, I also had to work on the "au jus" part of my rib eye.  This has to be stirred pretty constantly in order to avoid things carmelizing on the bottom of the pan.
Then I enlisted the help of the fiance to cut of up the meat while I prepared the salad.
Finally, after several hours in the kitchen, I was ready to put the plates together.  I had just run the dishwasher, so the plates were nice and warm - which is highly recommended by W&S. (Warm food on a warm plate stays warm longer I think?)
Step one, rib eye, au jus...
Step two, add gingered carrots and creamy risotto...
Step 3, add in a tossed green salad and wine!
Hooray for Valentine's Day Dinner!

So, the meat was a little more rare than I normally cook it, but it tasted phenomenal!  The carrots were quite spicy - perhaps a bit too much ginger.  The risotto and salad, perfecto.

I can't say as much for the blueberry fool.  Let's just say the blueberry fool fooled me, and we ended up having to make a Ben & Jerry's run to satisfy my need for dessert.  Maybe next time I will figure out how to get fluffy peaks.

Hopefully it won't be an entire month til my next post!