Valentine's Day is coming up. Are you wanting to stay home and cook something special? I have some ideas for you!
I consider Beef Wellington to be very romantic - it's decadent and it takes a lot of work, so it's definitely a special occasion food. Check out this post for the recipe.
Steak is a quintessential Valentine's dish. I have long used a method of quick aging with salt to tenderize and season even cheaper cuts. Find the method in this post, along with recipes for Spinach and Gruyere Souffle and Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Mixed Berry Compote. I used a compound butter to top the steak in that post, but since then have more often made a pan sauce by deglazing with sherry, then adding butter.
For one of our earliest Valentine's, I made an herb crusted standing rib roast; along with a chopped salad, heart shaped roasted potatoes, roasted asparagus, and Yorkshire pudding. All of the recipes are in this post, along with some pretty decorations.
I am so far behind in my Try The World reviews, you guys, I am so sorry! Let's talk about this Argentina box: Bake Love Koo! coconut butter cookies (these were gone in like 2 seconds, so good); Dulcor dulce de membrillo (perfect for cheese plates); Chamana and Inti Zen teas (the dulce de leche with red fruits was really good); Memories of Patagonia Malbec wine marinade (I just spread this on crackers with mascarpone, yum); Doña Magdalena dulce de leche; Vanoli chimichurri; MQA Gourmet green olive paste.
I decided to make a meal using the chimichurri and olive paste. I tossed roasted potatoes with the green olive paste; then I broiled skirt steak with some of the chimichurri sauce, and added more on top. Simple, easy, delicious.
In my last post about our Miami trip, I talked about the Fontainebleau Miami Resort. But I didn't talk about any of the (numerous) restaurants on the property. There are a number of casual spots on the property, which I will talk about later. Then there are the four upscale "Signature Restaurants", which are the subject of this post.
First up is Stripsteak by Michael Mina, the most upscale restaurant at the resort. We are fans of Bourbon Steak (also by Mina) here in DC, so we were pretty excited to try this out. The space is pretty and modern, with a really cool glass wine room (and a really good wine list to go with it).
Like Bourbon Steak, Stripsteak serves buttery truffle rolls as it's complementary bread. So friggin good. Just give me 8 loaves. Also like Bourbon Steak, like the appetizers are on point. We ordered a burrata, asparagus, and duck prosciutto salad; a trio of oysters with salmon roe, paddlefish roe, and uni; and seared foie gras with strawberries, pickled fennel, and macadamia nut. They were all delicious, especially the foie.
Today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day! I was assigned Searching for Spice, written by Corina - a mother of two (I love the nicknames she gives her kids: Little Miss Spice and Master Spice). She loves international cuisine, making food from India, Mexico, North Africa, Thailand, and China. She prefers to stick to recipes that aren't terribly time consuming - like this Italian Chicken and Lemon dish, this Lamb Meatball dish, and this Chicken Pie. But sometimes, she will go for a more complicated recipe, too - like this Chicken Biryani and this Cassoulet with Confit Duck.
I ended up choosing this Korean Bulgogi recipe, because I just recently discovered Korean BBQ, and it is awesome! Bulgogi is definitely my favorite thing to order, so I loved that Corina had a recipe I could try. She served it with rice and lettuce to make wraps, I decided (inspired by my Spam dish) to make it a rice bowl, topped with a fried egg. It turned out great!
Remember last week when I posted about the Butternut Squash and Kale Pizza? And I told you that I had leftover kale? Well, here's what became of it. I massaged with raw kale with a homemade dressing (olive oil, lemon juice, champagne vinegar, salt and pepper) and let it sit for 15 minutes to break down and lose the bitterness. Then I topped it with some burrata cheese, more olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Simple and delicious.
I served the salad as an appetizer, and for dinner we had steak (here's my method) and orzo with broccoli pesto. I actually like this version of broccoli pasta sauce better than the other version I've made, and it has a lot less fat!
So I got this combination of ingredients into my head and couldn't stop thinking about all the ways I could use them. Pasta, pizza, tarts - the list goes on. I decided to caramelize a big batch of onions, roast a big squash, and use them all week in a few different dishes.
First off, I peeled and cut up a large (4 lb) butternut squash and laid the cubes out on a baking sheet. I drizzled them with olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little nutmeg. Then I roasted them at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. I used some right away, and stored the rest in an airtight container in the fridge.
For the onions, I bought one of those bags that has about 5 onions in it, sliced them all, and threw them in a large pan with olive oil. After they turned translucent and soft, I turned the heat down from med-hi to med-lo and let them caramelize. This will take anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes. About halfway through, I added a few sprigs of thyme. Once they were really brown, I added a splash of sherry to de-glaze the pan and removed the thyme stems. Again, I used some right away, and stored the rest in an airtight container in the fridge.
We had two different events planned in two different states in the weeks before Christmas: a weekend-long birthday party in the Outer Banks and a family get-together in Nashville, TN. We decided it would be fun to connect the events via a long roadtrip, stopping at the Biltmore Estate in NC before continuing on to TN. Biltmore is HUGE. The house is the largest privately owned house in the US, and the grounds cover 8000 acres. It takes 30 minutes to get from the Inn on the property to the house.
We stayed for two nights at the Inn, which is a really nice hotel and spa. They were all decked out for Christmas, and had a gingerbread house replica of the Inn. There are multiple restaurants on the Estate - we ate at the Inn Dining Room the first night, and like it so much we decided to eat there the second night too!
The Dining Room is seasonal, farm-sourced fine dining. I really liked their small plates and respectful treatment of produce. The amuse bouche was a different cream based vegetable veluote both nights and they were both outstanding. I could have eaten a bowl of that for dinner and been happy.
My favorite dish was the fried brussels sprouts with a farm egg, frisee, and bacon. This is seriously the BEST brussels sprouts dish I have ever had. It was eye-rolling good. I ordered it both nights and asked for the recipe, which they gave me! I'll post it at the bottom.
Another standout was the roasted corn and lobster soup with piquillo peppers. This has been added to my list of favorite lobster dishes, and is in the top 3 lobster bisques for sure.
The pork belly with apple tart and goat cheese ravioli appetizers were also very good and I would highly recommend them. The gnocchi with brie, figs, and bacon was not enjoyable, though. The brie overpowered everything else and the bacon was way too salty. It sounded great on paper, but didn't work.
The artisan meat and cheese platter was very satisfying, with lots of variety and good portions. I didn't order any entrees, and Jasper ordered specials both nights. He really enjoyed the seafood special the first night, but did not like the steak special the second night.
Overall, the good outweighs the bad here and I would recommend trying it out if you are ever in the area.
I always see these beautiful steak pinwheels at the grocery store and was wondering if I could make them myself. It turns out that it isn't that easy - but stuffed with boursin cheese, spinach, and artichokes these sure are tasty! I paired them with a pasta using up the last of a big batch of homemade ricotta, spinach, and golden raisins.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel has lots of great food options which was a nice bonus for staying there. My favorite has to be Holstein's Burgers, which has a huge selection of glam burgers and adult milkshakes. They also have a good bar with a whole menu of drinks based around my favorite liquor - St Germain.
This was my first meal at the trendy burger spot (yes, I went back) - The Billionaire Burger with Kobe beef, foie gras, port onion marmalade, frisee, and truffle mayo. Fan-freaking-tastic. I got it with sweet potato fries and the Drunken Monkey Shake (Reese’s, banana, malt, Frangelico).
We had been meaning to try out Michael Mina's signature restaurant, Bourbon Steak, for quite a while, and when we finally did we were not disappointed - except by the steak.
We started out in the lounge, where we perused their massive and innovative cocktail list. I had the 1919, with aperol, grapefruit bitters, prosecco, and a sugar cube - a perfect aperitif. There were many more drinks on the list that I would love to try as well; we might have to come back for an evening at the bar.