One of the very few ongoing disagreements my husband and I have is over Valentine’s Day. He says he “doesn’t believe in it.” Whereas I, ever since I can remember, have been enchanted by the prospect of a day celebrating romance, love – and, it has to be said, candy.
His position boils down to this: We shouldn’t need a special day on the calendar to remind us to put our relationship – and our feelings for each other – first. And, grudgingly, I must admit that he has a point.
But I always counter that the world, in fact, needs a little more love, and what’s the harm
of a special (albeit arbitrary) day to remind people, including us, not to take the people they love for granted? And, grudgingly, he must admit that I have a point.
Plus, Valentine’s Day falls right in the middle of winter! The fun and festivities of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are but a distant memory, and – regardless of what the groundhog says on Feb. 2 – sunnier days are usually a ways away. Seems like the perfect time for a little celebration to me!
This year, though, the hubs and I won’t be together on the big day. We both travel for work, and this year, duty called. Hubby was elated, thinking he was off the hook. And, without telling him, I decided that he was. Because surprises are among the few things I love more than Valentine’s Day.
That’s why, on a seemingly random Saturday in January, I decided to knock his socks off with a totally unexpected treat: a romantic steak dinner for two, prepared with love in our kitchen. My recipe, Porterhouse for Two with Lemon Potatoes and Asparagus, was simple. (Dare I say foolproof?)
The great thing about a Porterhouse is that it’s like two steaks in one. The larger portion is strip steak – lean yet tender and flavorful, with a substantial “bite” that earns its reputation as the quintessential steakhouse menu item. The smaller portion on the other side of the telltale T-shaped bone is a tenderloin steak, a.k.a. filet mignon. Melt-in-your-mouth tender, with a mild flavor, this succulent steak provides the perfect contrast. It’s literally the best of both worlds in the steak universe. It even kind of looks like a heart shape. And, it has to be said, there’s something pretty enjoyable about sharing one plate.
(In case you’re wondering: The Porterhouse is essentially the same thing as a T-bone steak: strip on one side of the T-shaped bone, tenderloin on the other. If your tenderloin portion is bigger than a golf ball, then you’ve got yourself a Porterhouse. T-bones feature a more petite filet.)
Anyway, I seasoned both the potatoes and the steak simply, with salt and pepper.
The potatoes were also tossed in a little olive oil, and into the oven to roast they went.
Meanwhile, I was heating up a grill pan on the stove. (I’m a die-hard outdoor griller, but with a wind chill of -15°F, I was all too happy to stay in my cozy kitchen this time. No matter – the final result was just as delicious.) After searing the steak on both sides, it too, along with some asparagus, went into the oven to finish cooking.
In just a matter of minutes, everything was done. I tossed the roasted potatoes with a little finely chopped fresh rosemary, lemon zest and lemon juice – the perfect bright, acidic note to round out the rest of the savory, satisfying flavors.
As it turned out, I’d say my alternate Valentine’s Day dinner was a smashing success and, like the steak itself, the best of both worlds. Hubby got a memorable dinner date on a “random” day, and I got my evening of romance. We opened a bottle of wine, and took our time over dinner, sharing real conversation and a renewed connection.
Not to mention, the meal itself was delicious. The only thing that might have made it more perfect is Valentine’s candy … or flowers … hint, hint!
Whether your sweetheart prefers fine dining or homemade extravagance, make it a Valentine’s Day to remember! See all stories in the Love At First Bite series for romantic and tasty ideas.