Romancing the stove

There is nothing more impressive or romantic than making a great meal at home.

avocado grapefruit image

Cooking dinner for two sounds like the romantic night of your dreams. A bottle of great wine, little kisses over a pan of searing steaks, and a fudgy chocolate cake to enjoy with your beloved. Tuck in the kiddos, turn off the phones (yes, really), and tie on your aprons because this menu is just for the two of you.

There is nothing more impressive or romantic than making a great meal at home. Schmoozing with your significant other and feeding each other the labor of your love is the best kind of meal ever.  Put some sizzle in your life by enjoying each other's company without having to get dressed up.

Arugula, Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into rounds
  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted, cut into thin slices
  • 1 small fennel bulb, sliced very thinly
  1. Arrange arugula, grapefruit, avocado, and fennel on individual plates. Keep chilled while preparing Steak Diane. 

Shaker Shallot-Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of sea or kosher salt
  1. Place shallot, mustard, vinegar, honey, oil, and salt together in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake!
  2. Store extra vinaigrette in the refrigerator. 

Steak Diane

The classic tableside-prepared entree is back! There is nothing more fun, exciting, and sexy than lighting up/ flambeeing your dinner. Now we call it "deglazing a pan," but flambé just sounds so continental. The point is that all the cooking juices and brown bits become the sauce. Yum! No worries, you got this! I have modernized the recipe a bit and made it perfect for just the two of you.

  • Truffle oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 10-ounce ribeye steak (or 2 smaller steaks), fat trimmed
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms (I like a mix of cremini, shiitake, maitake, oyster, and trumpet), roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  1. Heat a heavy-duty saucepan, generously coated with truffle or olive oil, over medium high heat.
  2. Season steak with salt and pepper. (Generously season the meat! Restaurant steaks taste so good because of the lavish amount of seasoning.)
  3. Cook steak on first side for four minutes (no peeking). Cook on the other side for about three minutes and transfer to a plate. Cover with foil and allow to rest. The steak will take a quick douse in the sauce so you can cook it more if desired.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add shallots and mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are golden brown, add garlic, and sauté for one minute.
  5. Add mustard and STEP BACK before adding brandy. The brandy will ignite! (This is a good thing and will taste amazing.) Once flames subside, add broth and scrape the brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan up with a wooden spoon or spatula. Once the pan sauce has reduced by half, add parsley.
  6. Slice steak thinly and return it and any juices from the steak to the pan. Cook the steak for just a minute or two to warm it through.
  7. Arrange steak and pan sauce on individual serving plates, or better yet, serve right out of the pan and share with your love. 

Fingerling Steak Frites

Your favorite bistro is right where you are now -- at home! These frites can be prepped and cooked most of the way earlier in the day or, even the day before. Yay -- cozy nights at home are delish!

  • ½ pound fingerling potatoes, uncut
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Pinch of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  1. Roast potatoes until a fork can easily pierce them, about 20-30 minutes. Cool completely.
  2. Before serving, heat a medium sauté pan, lightly coated with olive oil.
  3. Slice potatoes into long thin pieces. Sauté frites, being sure to season with salt and pepper, until crispy and brown on all sides. Add garlic and parsley and toss together.
  4. Serve with Steak Diane. 

Fudgy Chocolate Pound Cake

No mixer needed. This super chocolatey cake is perfect for date night or any night. 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • ½ cup best quality cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I only use Callebaut 71%), melted
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup brewed coffee
  • 1½ cups packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons non-dairy yogurt (I like a coconut product available at Whole Foods)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan and dust with cocoa powder.

  1. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together melted chocolate, eggs, coffee, brown sugar, olive oil, yogurt, and vanilla until the sugar has dissolved and is no longer gritty.
  3. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and whisk together until just mixed. Transfer to prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester is inserted and only a few crumbs cling to it.
  4. Cool on a cake rack for 10-15 minutes before removing cake from the pan.

Chocolate Glaze

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup, rice bran syrup or agave
  1. Heat chocolate, water and corn syrup together over a double boiler until chocolate has melted.
  2. Pour over pound cake.

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