Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day Wrap Up

Kevin and I have always celebrated Valentine's Day. In the beginning we were probably more over the top about it and things have become a bit more low key over the years, but we always celebrate. It's probably more important to Kevin than it is to me. He may not always observe it with the same romantic zeal he did when we were first dating, but he always wants to do something. I guess it's because the two of us are really suffering from winter blahs by the time V-day rolls around, so it's a great excuse to do something special and focus on each other for the night.

We almost always go out to dinner, but this year was a little different. Things have been particularly difficult for him at work these days and he has been really down for the past couple of weeks. He's been so grumpy and work-obessed that I just couldn't find a time to say, "Hey, what should we do for Valentine's Day. Let's make a reservation." He was the one who finally asked me what we should do - on Tuesday. At that point, most decent restaurants are booked.

I decided to cook. I figured that even if we could get a reservation somewhere, most places would be serving some kind of prixe fixe meal that would probably taste mass produced and we would be rushed through our meal (like what happened on New Year's Eve at Trinity). We were probably better off eating at home anyway. I told Kevin I would cook him whatever he wanted and I would make myself something special as well.

Kevin said he wanted shrimp scampi. As seafood is something hard for me to improvise (I can't tell if something tastes good if I won't eat it) I went to my good friend Tyler Florence who is my go-to guy for classic recipes.

Rather than make the required linguini, I decided to be more adventurous. You see Sue and Giada have been making me crave orzo lately, particulary orzo that is creamy and rich. Although my orzo was probably overkill with the shrimp scampi, I thought it was amazingly good. Sue's and Giada's recipes required baking the orzo in the oven with cheese, but there is no way Kevin would abide by that, so I just made orzo in creamy sauce.

I started by taking:

1 Cup orzo

and cooked it in:

2 Cups chicken stock.

I brought the stock to a boil, took it down to a simmer, dumped in the orzo, covered the pot, and cooked the orzo as if it were rice. When the orzo had taken on most of the water, I put it in the sauce.

The sauce was:

8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 half medium onion diced.

Sauteed in

2T butter.

Next I added

1/2 cup of white wine

I let that reduce almost all of the way down.

Then I added

1/2 cup heavy cream
1 good handful grated parmiggiano reggiano.
1 handful chopped fresh parsely

WOW! I can't tell you just how yummy this orzo was. It was the best orzo I ever made. It will probably also cause me to die young of a heart attack. (Especially since I'm on such a heavy cream kick lately).

Speaking of heart attacks, for my dinner I took a cue from Ree and used her method of cooking a ribeye steak (Hint: more butter). Her recipe calls for rubbing the steak with Lawry's Seasoned Salt and lemon pepper. I'm not sure if I'm too big of a food snob to use those two things, but I don't currently have them in my kitchen. I used Old World Seasoning and Florida Seasoned Pepper from Penzey's Spices. I suspect ingredient-wise they're almost identical to Pioneer Woman's own seasonings, but these have the cache` of coming from a specialty shop. *tilts nose upward*

I had really wanted to do some kind of homemade dessert. That just couldn't happen. I got stuck in traffic on my way home from work and still had to head to the store to buy the ingredients for dinner. The A&P registers were woefully understaffed and the cashier at the one I used was incompetent. I hardly was home in time to make dinner. Dessert was chocolate Haagen Daaz ice cream splashed with Kahlua, and topped with fresh whipped cream and toasted pecans.

Kevin gave me a gift of assorted barks from Chocolations. They were excellent, but they didn't make up for the fact that I had to endure the unpleasant part of dinner alone. I forgot that when you cook for yourself, even if it's a holiday, you still have to do the CLEANUP. I had to clean pans for two different entrees. Kevin was NO HELP. If it weren't for the chocolate, I would have killed him. I told him after the last dish was put away, "Next year we go out."


Emiline said...

You have a wonderful blog! I really enjoy reading it. I should have started reading it sooner.

*You all are making me hungry for orzo.

*I want some steak.

*I don't have lemon pepper. Maybe a little old fashioned?

*Dessert sounds fabulous. I don't think you can beat what you made. Mmm...Haagen Daz.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...



Sue said...

Thank you for the shoutouts lately. I do love orzo and this is such a different way to cook it and it makes it extra good.

My husband was waiter a hundred year's ago and he's always told me that Valentine's Day is the WORST day (actually week) to go out. The kitchen is overtaxed and the service is usually bad, so he's brainwashed me for so long that I don't even expect it.

HOWEVER, it isn't at all unreasonable for the person who didn't cook on Valentine's Day to do the dishes. I think you just need to get that in writing next year...