As many of you know from the over-priced boxes of chocolate, plush toys with “I wub you” written on their stomachs, and lack of roses for sale at the grocery store last weekend was Valentine’s Day. I will never claim to be a fan of fighting for parking spots, waiting 2 hours for a meal, and overcrowded restaurants, so this Valentine’s Day it was a quiet night in with a delicious meal cooked by yours truly, with help by my “yours truly”. The entire menu was found at allrecipes.com, and I’ll link to each individual recipe as we go through the different dishes.
Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
I should preface this post by saying that I love cheese, in all forms. There’s something about it that I just can not get enough of, so the opportunity to smother a boring vegetable in cream cheese may have skewed my tastes, but overall I looooved it.
Apparently when you go to the grocery store at 6 pm on Valentine’s Day to get together a meal for you and your other half, it is not a quick trip. I have never before in my life seen so many people clamoring over each other for the chance to get a cut of meat. Thankfully, there was an organized system among the chaos to get everyone through as efficiently as possible, but nonetheless, by the time my number came up and I had my chance to step up to the counter I forgot completely about buying prosciutto. Thankfully, bacon is like prosciutto’s cheap cousin. You know the kind, they wear the knock-off designer purses with G’s instead of C’s, all the glam without the cost. So I give you my very slight interpretation of prosciutto wrapped asparagus…with bacon.
After reading the comments below the actual recipe we decided to go ahead and blanch (fancy cooking terminology, right???) the asparagus before we baked it in the oven. I really think this made a big difference in the final texture and taste and would definitely do it the same way when we do this recipe again. Also, I got the feeling that bacon is a wee bit more thick than prosciutto, so be ready to leave them in a little bit longer than it states in the recipe if you use that as a substitution.
Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes
Again with the cheese thing, I know, but you won’t regret this dish. The cheese sauce that goes on top of these potatoes is like a little slice of cheese heaven. Thick, salty, and cheesy, it’s everything you could imagine a potato side-dish could be. Somehow we ended up using the wrong size pan, which fit only half the potatoes, half the onion, and all the cheese sauce. Personally, I had no issues with this considering I just wanted to sip up the cheese sauce with a straw, but I can see where others might not like that. In retrospect I’d use a large 13x9 Pyrex pan so that all the potatoes could be evenly covered. Also, I have this issue with onions…… In reality I like the flavor they add to foods and have continually been amazed by how the success of many meals can hinge on them. However, in my mind they are the most disgusting vegetable on the planet. That being said I would definitely keep them in the recipe for the next time we made this dish, but I would have to use a food chopper so you don’t get those onion chunks in between bites. Finally, I followed some of the comments again and took the foil off of the top of the potatoes when about 15 minutes were left on the timer. This made the top of the dish really brown and crispy, most definitely my favorite part of any dish with cheese.
New York Strip with Balsamic Glaze
The piece de resistance of this meal had to be the steak. I don’t consider myself a big “meat-eater”, in fact if it weren’t for a few choice meats I might be able to get away with not eating meat at all. However, all those thoughts are wiped out of my mind when I see a big juicy medium-rare steak sitting in front of me. The recipe we used called for a Filet Mignon, but I’m sure as all of you know these steaks can be on the costly side of things. We decided that in case something went wrong with this recipe we didn’t want to feel guilty all night and instead chose a still nice, but slightly cheaper, New York Strip. With all the comments to the original recipe we weren’t sure how exactly to execute the sauce and the steak (many said to not cook the two together), but we decided to be super adventurous and follow the recipe exactly…..oh yeah, we’re bold. I’m glad we did, the sauce really helped the flavor of the steak, but it wasn’t so much that we couldn’t handle it. I relished every single bite of that steak and wish we had bought more so I could have leftovers today. I don’t think I’d change a thing about this recipe, it was tangy and salty and everything a steak should be.
I hope y'all enjoy the meal as much as we did, I know we'll repeat all of the dishes above, and I'm STRONGLY considering making a mac n cheese out of the sauce from the potatoes, I'll keep you posted!