Friday, February 17, 2012

Simply Love

Ravings: Did everyone have a great Valentine’s Day? I did. It was wonderful, although I’m sure my definition of wonderful is not the same as everyone else’s. Isn’t that what makes life so interesting though! Jason and I are frantically trying to move. Meaning we are trying to get out from under the deep end on our mortgage so that when we try to sell, we don’t end up being homeless as a result.

Sidebar: What pisses me off about all of it is that I did the right thing. I got a house I could truly afford, with a smart, sensible loan, and have paid my mortgage fully and on time every month. I have lived in my house for almost 12 years and, made thousands of dollars of upgrades and am still completely upside down! My neighborhood has deteriorated to the point that I don’t even like being outside, and we just want out.

Back to Valentine’s Day: Given our current goal and my obsessive need for a budget, we agreed not to buy gifts, cards, or anything really to celebrate the day. I awoke that morning to a sweet kiss, a huge bear hug, and a joke about VD. Gotta love my husband! We then went off to work like normal. After work, we made dinner together, laughing and joking, and then sat down to a really nice meal with CJ and a friend of his. It was simple and sweet and perfect.

Cravings: And here is our meal for Valentine’s dinner.

The menu included:

  • Grilled Filet Mignon with Magic Sauce
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  • Apple, Onion and Cheddar Gratin
  • Chocolate Mousse Frosting

Grilled Filet Mignon

We got some awesome filets on sale at Earth Fare, so Jason just simply grilled those on our indoor electric grill.

Magic Sauce (found on Pinterest from

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 medium cloves of garlic, smashed into a paste
1 well-crumbled bay leaf
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon + fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Gently warm the olive oil over medium-low heat in a skillet or pan, until it is just hot. When hot remove from heat. While the oil is heating, lightly pound the rosemary, thyme, and oregano in a mortar and pestle. Stir the paprika, garlic, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, and salt into the oil. Then add the bruised herbs and lemon juice.

Roasted (Glazed) Sweet Potatoes

4 sweet potatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
1/3 cup maple syrup
¼ cup chocolate balsamic vinegar (you can use regular)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp blackening seasoning

Chop the sweet potatoes and spread them on a roasting pan. Mix all the other ingredients together in a bowl and pour over sweet potatoes. Roast them for about 20-25 minutes until soft and beginning to carmelize.

Apple, Onion, and Cheddar Gratin

1 sweet onion, quartered and sliced
Same amount of apple, chopped (I left the skins on)
½ Tbsp dried thyme
½ Tbsp black pepper
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup milk
3 oz cream cheese
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Saute onion and apple in 2 Tbsp of the butter until softened a bit,then add the thyme and pepper. Put into a baking dish. In the same pan, melt the other 2 Tbsp of butter, then add the milk and cream cheese. Turn the heat down and stir until the cream cheese is melted. Add the cheddar cheese and stir until melted. Pour that over the apple and onion mixture and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. (This turned out a bit runny, so next time I will add some flour to the butter and milk mixture before adding in the cheeses to see if that will thicken it up a bit.)

Chocolate Mousse Frosting (from Chocolate Covered Katie)

1 can coconut milk
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Sweetener to taste (I used ½ Tbsp powdered sugar and ½ Tbsp regular sugar)

We garnished with sliced strawberries, a few dark chocolate chips and a chrusciki or angel wing.

Open the coconut milk, and leave the can (or transfer to a bowl) uncovered in the fridge overnight. (Don’t shake the can before opening.) It should get very, very thick. (If it doesn’t, you’ve gotten a bad can that won’t work for the recipe. I highly recommend Thai Kitchen, or especially Thai Kitchen Organic.) Once thick, transfer to a bowl (you can opt to leave out the watery bit at the bottom of the can, if you want it even thicker) and whip in your cocoa, vanilla, and sweetener with a fork, or even beaters if you want to be fancy. (For the photos on this page, I didn’t use beaters. But I did pipe the mousse out using an icing tip.) Stored uncovered in the fridge, the mixture gets even thicker.

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