Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Treat Your Sweetie!

Valentine's Day is a couple week's away so there's still time to plan a special evening, that is if you are inclined to celebrate.  It is not a serious holiday for us, meaning that we are not consistent in our celebrating.  Sometimes we go out for dinner, sometimes I cook.  Sometimes we exchange cards, sometimes we don't.  Occasionally there are flowers or gifts, but more often not.  Now we do have a good excuse for our lack of heart-shaped enthusiasm.  We both have birthdays in February, and we actually met in February 1986, so we have a lot more meaningful dates to celebrate.

That's not to say that there haven't been any special V-days or never any surprises.  One year I got a big balloon and some candy (Hershey's dark chocolate kisses).  Was that the year I got flowers, too?  After nearly 23 years together, the lines between the years begins to blur a bit.

Anyway, one dinner I clearly remember was in 2005 (I kept notes on that).  I had a recipe that I'd been wanting to try, and Valentine's seemed like the perfect occasion.  It is from Southern Living's Easy Weeknight Favorites.  Everything I'd made from this book was good so I figured this would be too, and it was.

I got a couple filet mignons from the Fresh Market just to make sure I started out with good quality.  That, of course, was when I didn't have to go across town to get there.  The recipe is for four steaks but if you're just cooking for two as I was, it's OK, just make the gravy as instructed. You'll just have a little more gravy for your potatoes.

I followed the recipe to a tee, and those were probably the best steaks I ever made.  My side dishes were homemade mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus.  I had French bread (probably from the Fresh Market as well) and a nice Cabernet to wash it down.

Now I know we had dessert, but please forgive me, I don't remember what it was.  If it comes to me, I'll update with that critical information.  Here is the recipe.  I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did. 

 Happy Valentine's Day!

Filet Mignon with Horseradish Gravy

4 (5 oz.) beef tenderloin steaks
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1 (3/4 oz.) package brown gravy mix
½ cup water
½ cup red wine
2 ½ TB prepared horseradish
1 (8 oz.) package fresh mushrooms, sliced

Heat a heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot.  Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper.  Add steaks to hot skillet; cook 1 minute on each side.  Place steaks in a greased small baking dish.  Add gravy mix and next 3 ingredients to skillet.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Stir in mushrooms.  Pour mixture over steaks.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or to desired doneness.  Yield:  4 servings.

Notes:  The times in this recipe work with 1-inch steaks to give you a perfect medium.  Allow more time for thicker cuts or more doneness.  You may also make your own gravy from scratch and then add the wine.  The package makes about 1 cup of gravy.

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