Sunday, June 10, 2007

Menu for a Romantic Dinner for Two

Ladies, you've met that special man. You want to make a special night of it. Don't ask him to take you out, cook for him. Here's the menu:

Filets wrapped in bacon with melted blue cheese
Grilled fingerling potatoes with herbes de Provence
Tossed salad of mixed greens, fresh herbs, and flowers

First the potatoes. You want the tiny new fingerling ones, 1"-2" round, no bigger. Cut them in half, or quarters, pieces small enough to fit easily in a shot glass. Sliver a small onion. Toss this together with enough olive oil to coat. Depending on the season you can add any or all of several fresh herbs: rosemary (has to be fresh, dried rosemary is nasty), buds of lavender (best when full and round but not yet bloomed), or savory. Experiment. Find the herbs, the scents, the flavors that you like, that he likes. If mixing flavors scares you buy a bottle of "Herbes de Provence"--a blend of these and other flavors. Put the potato mixture on a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil in a single layer and seal the edges. Throw this on the grill first, it will take about 15-20 minutes. Turn often. (If your grill is small, you can do these in the oven at about 400 degrees. Still need to turn often!)

Now for the steaks. You want two 7 oz. fillets (9 oz. if he's a man of hearty appetite). Roll the edges in crushed peppercorn, then wrap a thick slice of bacon around the edge. Secure with toothpicks. Let him do the grilling. It more fun to play together. Meat is more tender when rare, but the center must be barely warm (not cold) and still red (but not too bloody). At the very last minute add some crumbled Stilton bleu cheese to the top of the steak.

While he's grilling the steaks you toss the salad. Mixed spring greens are best, some carrot shredded, more fresh herbs (cilantro, tarragon, a tiny bit of fresh mint), some little grape tomatoes, maybe some mandarin oranges, strawberries sliced, some sunflower seed, and some fresh flowers. There are many edible (and tasty) flowers to add to your salad. Rose petals are good--be sure they are from the tiny Damask roses or wild roses, not those huge hot house flowers from the florist that have neither flavor nor scent!) Nasturtium blossoms add a peppery taste. Purple chive blossoms add a hint of onion. No, you are not likely to find these in your corner market, you have to grow them. It isn't hard, but it does take serious advance planning!

You can use any salad dressing you like but I recommend a raspberry-walnut vinaigrette. You can make your own or if you want to go with store bought, Ken's and Newman's are both good brands. Go easy on dressing, you want to flavor, but not overwhelm a salad.

Drinks? A red wine: a Merlot or a Shiraz. I am partial to the Aussie reds. Find out what he likes though. Is he a beer drinker? I like Blue Moon with sliced oranges, but some men find that a bit frou-frou. Get him to try something new. Tsingtao, a light Chinese beer or Negra Modelo a dark creamy Mexican brew.

Let's talk about salt and pepper. None of this canned black pepper or iodized salt junk. You need, if you don't already have them salt and pepper grinders. There are many peppers: red, green, white, pink and black. I prefer a mix of several. As for salt, sea salts are the best. I use Celtic grey sea salt for meats, a lighter Hawaiian red alae for vegetables.

Set the table for two in the garden (double benefit to growing your own!); use the best china, silver, linen napkins, fine crystal. Light candles everywhere. Dress up a bit, something slinky.

Music is your own choice, I'd uses Vangelis' soundtrack to the movie Blade Runner.

Enjoy the meal. Speak only of happy things, beautiful things, let go of the stresses of the day.

Dessert? Did I forget about dessert? No, I didn't. Be dessert. Make it sweet for him.

No comments:

Post a Comment