It was one of the best meals I’ve ever created, yet it almost didn’t happen. Ever year, I try to make a special Valentine’s Day dinner. The problem is that Valentine’s Day is usually on a weekday which means me and my Valentine rush home from work to try to have a romantic evening. Romance, in essence, is something that is created….slowly, by adding layer upon layer of subtle seductions. If you are running around, putting out fires at work, fighting rush hour and calming upset kids, then romance is really hard to come by.
Using the weekly poll, I created a delicious menu incorporating the best parts of the poll options. It was an ambitious menu, but one I knew I would set up perhaps one of our better romantic evenings in a long time. Filet mignon was a clear poll winner, but I decided to adjust to a simpler version without Bernaise sauce because that sauce isn’t a favorite of my husband’s and I have made it before, so it was less of a challenge. Instead, I chose Giada’s Filet Mignon with Balsamic Syrup and Goat Cheese. It was simple, yet incredible. I licked every bit of that syrup off my plate.
It was the syrup that almost did me in. I had the balsamic vinegar and sugar boiling down and after many minutes of careful attention and stirring, I left it for a minute to try to light a few tea candles. Ten matches and almost some singed hair later, I got back to the saucepan to find a pot of black bubbly tar. It was way overdone, burned and just disgusting. I was furious at myself for leaving it unattended. I started scrubbing the pot before it really stuck and that’s when I remembered I had one other small jar of really nice balsamic vinegar in the pantry. I had been saving it for a special occasion. Well, really, what was a better special occasion? I remade the recipe, very attentive this time, and it turned out to be one of the best parts of the meal!
I also decided to make the Green Bean and Bacon Bundles to go with the filets. Why? Well, steamed vegetables are too blah for me and who can turn down bacon? Besides making a beautiful presentation, these were also very tasty. I didn’t let the beans boil long enough so they were a little tougher than I would prefer, but the flavor was great.
For one more little indulgence, I whipped up two white potatoes with milk, sour cream, and lots of butter. Unfortunately, I let it sit too long in the bowl and they got a little too cool.
Finally, the pièce de résistance, a Chocolate Soufflé. It was my first attempt at any type of soufflé. I was intimidated, but the recipe did note it was for intermediates so I felt like I could handle it.
Everything was going great. I melted the chocolate perfectly. I didn’t let even a smidge of moisture near that bowl. I remembered to add the vanilla at just the right point. I started cracking and separating the eggs. First one, perfect. Second one, easy! Third one…No! No, No, No!
The egg yolk broke as I was separating and just the tiniest bit fell into my egg whites. That does not work. The egg yolk can’t mix with the egg whites or the whites won’t whip up properly. I only had 6 eggs left, so I used the three already cracked egg yolks with the sugar mixture. Then I threw out the tarnished egg whites and separated the 6 remaining eggs I had on hand. The recipe is for 6 soufflés, so I had too much batter left over which I knew that was going to happen going into it, but was too afraid to try to half or third the recipe since it’s such a picky combination. After a few quick finger licks, I knew it was going to be ok. The batter was simply awesome and I timed the soufflés perfectly. Light, airy, chocolatey goodness.
A toast to Perseverance, you saved my meal and rewarded me with romance!