Valentine’s Day in or Valentine’s Day out? Personally, I am a big advocate of eating in because there’s more opportunity for spontaneity, the food is better — at least at my house … and I’ll help you with yours — and no fighting the busy restaurant crowds or stressing out about a babysitter.
Plus, not only are there less logistics, Valentine’s Day at home is cheaper and puts the ball totally in your court. If planning the food isn’t your jam, I pretty much cook like a steakhouse. So, you’re welcome. It all may sound very “fancy,” but it is all deceptively easy. I promise.
Your dinner menu for a delicious Valentine’s Day at home:
Steak two ways (beef and cauliflower) with herbed compound butter
Chocolate Ganache Cherry Cheesecake
If you are looking to minimize the cooking you do on Valentines Day, the cheesecake and herb garlic compound butter can easily be made the day before. The herb compound butter will be used to cook both the steak as well as the cauliflower steak and can even be cut out into little corny hearts to place on top of both steaks just before serving. Ta-da!
For the garlic herb compound butter:
2 sticks (1 cup butter), room temp
4-5 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp salt
3 tsp fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, very finely chopped
With a fork, mix softened/room temperature butter, garlic (ran through a garlic press), salt, and finely chopped herbs until they are all mixed well.
(If you want to make hearts, smooth onto wax paper, no thicker than ¾” and allow the butter to harden in the freezer. When it is cold, carefully cut into small hearts.)
Transfer butter to a lidded storage container and keep in a refrigerator if storing until the next day.
For the steak:
Steak of choice
3-4 tbsp of the herbed compound butter
Sprig or two of rosemary and thyme
5-6 garlic cloves, smashed or coarsely chopped
- Salt and pepper both sides of your steak.
- In a skillet or a thick bottomed pan, add the compound butter, garlic and herbs.
- Make sure your burner is on a high heat because you are looking to create a sear or a crust on the steak, being carnalized with the butter/steak fat.
- For a medium rare cook on the steak, sear for 5-6 minutes per side (for a 1 ½” – 2” thick steak).
- Allow your steak to rest for 8-10 minutes before serving and top with a cute little heart shape of compound butter if desired.
For the frites:
(I cook my frites while my steak is cooking in another pan.)
2 russet potatoes
4-6 cups frying oil (peanut or canola)
Finely grated (almost powdered) parmesan
- Using a mandolin, finely cut the potatoes. I don’t even use the fry setting; I use the julienne one. If you do not have a mandolin, cut the potatoes into very thin, almost shoelace thick pieces.
- After the potatoes are cut, transfer them to a bowl of ice water for a few minutes.
- Heat the frying oil up until it begins to bubble gently.
- Carefully add a medium to large handful of the potatoes into your frying pot and cook, stirring occasionally for 6-9 minutes or until they begin to brown.
- Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the cooked frites onto a plate lined with napkins and sprinkle with salt immediately. Continue this process until you are done with the frites.
For the Cauliflower Steaks:
1 head of cauliflower
4-5 tbsp herbed compound butter
Finely-grated (powdered) parmesan
Extra salt and red pepper flakes, if desired
- Cut the cauliflower into slices that are 1” – 1 ½” thick and are cut vertically down the head of the cauliflower.
- Place the cauliflower steaks on a baking sheet and slather on the herbed compound butter.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes and then remove from oven, adding more salt or red pepper flakes if desired
For the Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake:
For the crust:
9 oz chocolate wafers
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup melted butter
For the filling:
24 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
16 oz semi sweet, milk or dark chocolate (I like semi sweet)
For the cherry topping:
1 lbs cherries, pitted
¾ cup water
2 tsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp corn starch
½ – ¾ cup granulated sugar
- Crush the chocolate wafers in a food processor and combine with melted butter and granulated sugar.
- Transfer to a spring form pan and bake at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes. (Pro tip: wrap the base of the spring form pan in tin foil so that when they butter melts it doesn’t go down into your oven and burn.)
- While the crust is cooking, make a chocolate ganache to mix into the cheesecake mixture. Begin by heating up heavy whipping cream into a lower simmer.
- Slowly add chocolate and continue to stir so that it doesn’t burn. Whisk until smooth and blended.
- In a stand mixer, beat together the room temperature cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and eggs.
- Allow the ganache to cool slightly before mixing into the cream cheese mixture. You do not want the heat to “cook the eggs”.
- Slowly add the slightly cooled ganache into the stand mixer mixture. Blend until well incorporated and transfer to the spring form pan.
- Bake at 325 for 40 minutes and transfer to a fridge to cool.
- Make the cherry topping by adding water, lemon juice, sugar and corn starch to a pot. Mis together before heating. (Corn starch doesn’t mix well into hot temperatures.)
- Place pot on the stove top, add cherries and cook on medium heat for 10-12 minutes.
- Add cherry topping to the cheesecake before serving.