Valentine’s Dinner Adventure 2014

Ryan and I have a Valentine’s tradition. We don’t buy each other gifts, we don’t by cheesy Hallmark cards, we cook each other dinner. Ryan takes main course, and I do the dessert. We find a new recipe for something that sounds fabulous, normally something we wouldn’t ordinarily make. We make a day of it, drive to a fancy grocery store to buy fresh meat and produce, often stopping at a cooking store to buy some kitchen gadget or special pan that we don’t have, come home and spend the whole day cooking. Of course we usually leave the house later than expected, spend more time shopping than we anticipated, nothing we cook goes as smoothly as we want and dinner ends up being at 10 pm and we are both tired and cranky. But it is our tradition and we’re sticking with it.

This year it went relatively smoothly. We were out of the house before 11 am, we added a couple extra stops to our shopping adventure. “As long as we’re out, we should stop and look at…” You know how it goes. I discovered the wonder that is Hobby Lobby (Grand Opening in Woodbury, MN if anyone is interested) which is now my new favorite store. So much stuff! I didn’t buy anything, but I’ll be back once I have a craft in mind. We got our groceries, picked up some other items, ate lunch. We were back home at 4, which was a little later than we had planned, but we had picked pretty simple recipes this year, so we weren’t panicked yet. 

I was making chocolate creme brulee and Ryan was making flank steak tacos with roasted corn salsa with homemade tortillas. The tricky part was that we were going to grill the steak and corn on our charcoal grill and it had snowed quite a bit while we were out and about. Only in Minnesota would someone say, “I’ll light the coals as soon as I finish snowblowing the driveway.”  The snowblowing put Ryan behind but the creme brulee only took a few minutes to make, and then needed to bake and cool, so I volunteered to make the tortillas in the mean time. 

In the end we had dinner around 8:30. Not too bad. And we weren’t starving to death, we hadn’t started snapping at each other, and all the food was not only edible, it was really good. The homemade tortillas were probably the most difficult thing we made and they were truly delicious. We eat a lot of tacos in various forms, so they were what made this iteration special occasion worthy. The steak was cooked a perfect medium rare and the roasted corn salsa was fabulous. I told Ryan he can make it any time, I could eat it with a spoon. The creme brulee was rich and velvety smooth. It was surprising easy to make, I may have to add it to a regular rotation. All in all it wasn’t the most complicated of our Valentine’s dinners, but it was the most successful. Three recipes I will definitely make again.

So as always, the recipes are on their way. Stay tuned.

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