I know, we are barely over all the holiday and New Year’s Eve Celebrations, and already I’m pushing head-long into Valentine’s Day. I guess I’ve got some explaining to do . . .
Years gone by, New Year’s Eve was spent at home. We had a tradition in our house of making a Surf and Turf supper complete with mashed potatoes, a Caesar Salad and ended the evening with Chocolate Soufflés. Believe me, it takes some real talent in the timing department to have the Soufflés served at the stroke of midnight. But then, we needed time between courses to digest all the wonderful food and be ready for a spectacular dessert. I once had a friend tell me that I was setting Kiddo’s future bride up for failure, since he was under the impression that everyone ate Soufflés at home on New Year’s Eve. My response – who said she had to be the one to make the Soufflé?
In any case, we don’t spend New Year’s Eve at home anymore. New Year’s Eve has evolved into an expanded “Family Affair” at my sister’s home, with lots of kid-friendly appetizers (love appetizers – all those little bites of delicious goodness – after all variety is the spice of life). We play board games and light sparklers at the stroke of midnight. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy family time. It’s always wonderful to spend time with dear old Dad and reminisce about the days when New Year’s Eve meant Guy Lombardo and Auld Lang Syne. However; I miss the steaks, the lobster and most of all I miss the Soufflés. I miss making them, I miss eating them, I miss everything about them. Missing those traditional suppers got me to thinking . . .
And that’s when the light bulb came on. Just because our New Year’s Eve has changed doesn’t mean I can’t mark another day of celebration in the same way – say Valentine’s Day for instance.
Valentine’s Day as a day of romance dates back to the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-Century England, the day evolved into an occasion for young lovers to express their feelings for one another with the exchange of gifts, poetry, hand-written cards, sweets and flowers. Popular among the gifts were keys – said to be the keys to the giver’s heart with an invitation to the receiver to open a heart filled with love. I don’t know about you, but I find that romantic. By the 19th-Century hand written cards had given way to mass-produced greeting cards, and keys were replaced with jewelry. Since then, the price tag for romance has continued to escalate. I don’t know about you, but to me the most romantic gestures come from the heart and not the pocketbook.
While the menu may seem a bit complicated, taken in small steps over a period of several days, it all comes together with ease. Most of the recipes I’ve shared before. Just follow the links for all the yummy details.
Broiled Lobster Tails with Butter
Brown Sugar Kahlúa Glazed Baby Carrots
Broiled Lobster Tails Brushed with Butter
4 small, fully cooked Lobster Tails
1/2 Stick CLARIFIED butter (drawn)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 Teaspoon White Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
Dash of Paprika
Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a sauté pan. DO NOT stir butter while melting. Carefully tilt pan to draw out clear butter, leaving cream at bottom of pan.
Place clarified butter into a small bowl. Add lemon juice, white pepper, sea salt, garlic powder and a dash of paprika. Blend and set aside.
Preheat broiler of oven. Adjust rack so that tails are cooked 4-5 inches away from heating element.
Place THAWED tails on working surface. Flatten slightly. Using kitchen scissors cut right side of shell at wide side (opposite “tail”) lengthwise toward “tail”. Repeat on left side. Carefully lift shell. Snip at tail, removing the cut strip of shell. Run sharp knife down center of exposed meat to butterfly, flatten to open slightly. Set aside, and make clarified butter.
Lightly brush tails with seasoned clarified butter. Place lobster tails under the broiler, heat until golden and warm. DO NOT over-cook. Broil 2 minute per ounce. Small tails, 8-10 minutes or until meat pulls away from shell easily, brush with remaining clarified butter as needed to keep moist.
Remove from broiler and serve with melted butter and lemon wedges.
Butter for lobster can be served in small cups or better still, warm butter dishes.
Dipping Butter – Plain
1/2 lb butter, melted
Lemons, cut in half
Divide butter among warmers, light candles and let the butter melt gently. Or melt over very low heat in a pan, pour into dipping containers such as small cups or ramekin dishes.
Slice lemons in half, wrap in cheesecloth and serve with lobsters.
Dipping Butter – Tarragon
1/2 lb butter, melted
Tarragon Leaves – Finely minced
As above, melt butter in warmers. Add Tarragon to taste and serve. If melting butter in a pan, add tarragon at the end, just as butter is removed from heat.
1 Head Romaine Lettuce
Caesar Garlic Croutons
Parmesan Cheese, Shaved
Caesar Salad Dressing – Favorite
Tear lettuce leaves into large pieces. Pour a small amount of Caesar Dressing on lettuce leaves, just enough to lightly coat leaves, toss to blend.
Plate on small salad plates, top with a sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese and croutons. Serve immediately.
Hubby once told me he didn’t need Valentine’s Day to be special – that every day with me was as special as Valentine’s Day no matter what we were doing.
Here’s to wishing you a lifetime of love and holding hands with your best friend.