With the big day approaching, conversations have turned to how we celebrate. My friends and I have been reminiscing about our earliest recollection of "fancy restaurants" and celebratory meals. We all got giggling about Chateaubriand for two, (with requisite piped mashed potatoes), Steak Diane (cooked table side and flambeed) Caesar salads (also prepared table side) Cherries Jubilee, cream puffs shaped like swans.
Days gone by indeed, but there was certainly a sense of occasion and an effort made. How to translate that feeling to today's world? Beef and chocolate are classic Valentine fare. It's a big day, so a little effort is required. But there is no need to stress. These two are pretty simple and mighty impressive.
So in tribute to an old school celebration, Individual Beef Wellingtons, fillet with mushroom duxelles in puff pastry, and chocolate pot de creme.
Individual Beef Wellingtons
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 beef fillets about 1/2 pound each one inch thick. Cut in half to make 4
2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1 shallot - chopped fine
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup liver pate
1 package Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets, thawed
Preheat oven to 425
Prepare the Duxelles (mushroom spread)
1. In a skillet, heat olive oil and sear fillets on both sides. About 2 minutes each side.
2. Place fillets in the refrigerator
3. Melt butter in the skillet. Saute mushrooms, garlic and shallots until tender. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add wine and continue to cook until reduced.
5. Turn into a bowl and fold in the pate. Place in the refrigerator and chill to room temperature.
Prepare the Bordelaise Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot - diced
2 cups red wine
1/2 cup beef broth
sprig fresh thyme
1. Add wine, beef stock, shallots and thyme and bring to a boil.
2 Reduce and simmer until reduced by 3/4 and thickened.
3. Swirl in butter and set aside
1. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto a sheet of parchment paper.
2. With a sharp knife, cut into four squares.
3. Spread duxelles on each fillet
4. Place fillets, duxelles facedown, in the center of each square of pastry
5. "Wrap" the fillets by joining opposite corners and pinching pastry dough together
6. Turn right side up and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
7. Decorate " the package", with the remaining sheet of puff pastry.
8. Beat the egg and brush each "package"
9. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
10. Serve with Bordelaise sauce
Easiest Chocolate Pot de Creme
Rich, creamy and so simple it's criminal. The key is to make sure that the eggs are at room temperature and that the coffee is very hot.
12oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 eggs - room temperature
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur
pinch of salt
1 cup coffee
1. Place eggs, chocolate, salt and liqueur in blender and blend very fine.
2. Slowly pour very hot coffee into the blender. This is very important. The heat cooks the eggs and melts the chocolate.
3. Continue to blend until chocolate is completely melted.
4. Pour into individual cups and chill for at least 4 hours
5. Garnish with whipped cream