Stay At Home Date Night

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Going out for a romantic dinner is always a nice treat – you get tasty food cooked for you while you get to sit back and enjoy your night. Sometimes, however, I find it’s much more romantic and fun to cook at home and have a night in.  I cook at home most days of the week and always try to make my dishes look appetizing and put-together; so for a romantic date night I go the extra mile by including a three course meal and a fun drink to compliment the whole meal.  Living in Los Angeles means that we’re quite lucky to have constant sunshine throughout the year but that doesn’t mean the weather is always nice to sit outside at night. So for this at home date night I decided to take it outside as it had been hot all day and it had been too long since we had enjoyed our small but lovely patio.

Date night menu (recipes for all included below):

Appetizer: Mixed green salad with orange, dill, and walnuts

Main Course: grilled rib-eye steak with mushroom wine sauce, sweet and savory mashed potatoes

Dessert: blackberry & strawberry fruit tart

Drink: red wine sangria

SALAD:

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This salad was the easiest component of the meal. It’s very light but flavorful – salads should be fun and inventive in my opinion – if all your salads look and taste the same – get yourself to the market and start mixing up fresh ingredients, I bet almost any combination will be great.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bag (or about 4 cups) mixed field greens

1 tangerine, peeled and sliced (or any type of orange – I really love using blood oranges too)

4 tablespoons crushed walnuts

3 tablespoons finely minced fresh dill

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil mixed in with 2 tablespoons of red win vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS:

I like to add the oil and vinegar mixture to the bottom of a large bowl before putting in your ingredients. This way you can prep your salad and then mix it right before serving so your greens won’t get soggy. After putting in the oil and vinegar in your salad bowl add the mixed greens and sliced tangerine. Sprinkle the dill and walnuts over the salad.

MAIN COURSE:

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STEAK INGREDIENTS:

2 fillets of rib eye steak

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

STEAK INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat up a griddle a few minutes before cooking your steak. Rub the fillets with olive oil, salt, and pepper. The tablespoon count is approximate – rub generously and let it soak in while the griddle heats up. Once the griddle is hot place your steak fillets and cook on each side for about 5 minutes for medium-rare steak (cook longer depending on how cooked you like it keeping in mind that the meat continues to cook for a few minutes when you take it off the griddle). Take steak off griddle and put on your cutting board covered for just a few minutes. Slice steak and put on serving plates – top with mushroom sauce.

MUSHROOM SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

2 cups sliced mushrooms (any variety you like)

1 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup red wine

2 tablespoons butter

2 sprigs fresh thyme

MUSHROOM SAUCE INSTRUCTIONS:

Melt butter in a saucepan and add sliced mushrooms. Cook mushrooms down for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, thyme, and red wine and simmer sauce for about 20 minutes. Keep sauce warm for when you’re ready to serve over steak.

SWEET AND SAVORY MASHED POTATO INGREDIENTS:

For these I used two different types of potatoes. It happened out of chance as I did not have enough of one type of potato to make enough so I threw in both sweet potatoes and russet potatoes. The starchiness of the russet potatoes combined with the delicate sweetness of the white sweet potatoes was fantastic – definitely adding this fluke to the recipe box.

1/2 lb white sweet potatoes

1/2 lb russet potatoes

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons salt

SWEET AND SAVORY MASHED POTATO INSTRUCTIONS:

Peel all your potatoes and cut into quarters. Add potatoes to pot and cover with water and boil until tender. Drain all the water out of the pot, put back on stove-top and add cream, butter, and salt. Mash potatoes over stove-top while butter melts and the potatoes are smooth and creamy.

HOMEMADE SIMPLE SANGRIA:

Don’t have a photo of just the sangria – but you can see it in the above picture of the whole table. I kept it very basic for this one.

SANGRIA INGREDIENTS:

1 bottle cabernet sauvignon

4 cups pomegranate juice

1/4 cup gin

2 cups sparkling water

1/2 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup blueberries (I like to gently mush them up to get the juices out)

SANGRIA INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine all ingredients except for sparkling water in a large drink dispenser (or pitcher), gently stir with a spoon and chill in fridge. Add sparkling water before serving.

FRUIT TART:

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This is in line with those ‘semi-homemade’ types of desserts. I’m not the greatest at baking so I took some shortcuts – but if baking is your thing I would say going at this from scratch.

TART CRUST: I used pre-made frozen pie crust from trader joes and it worked so well! You can see the chunks of butter and all I had to do was let it thaw and put it right into my ramekins before baking.

TART FILLING:

INGREDIENTS:

4 egg yolks

2 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons melted butter

pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine all of your dry ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and mix. Add the yolks, milk, cream, and butter and whisk to combine everything thoroughly. Put in microwave for 4 minutes, whisk, and then put in microwave for another 4 minutes but this time stop it after each minute and whisk. If it looks runny at first don’t freak out, it will get creamier with each extra minute.

Add your cream mixture to your baked crust ramekins, let it settle in for a few minutes and top with fresh fruit.

A long post for an involved but fun and romantic meal made with love. Yes, it can seem like a lot of work but it’s all so worth it! It made for a very pleasant evening with my boyfriend who was right there with me to help with the cooking and we enjoyed every bite that much more.

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