Small, intimate dinner parties can be as enjoyable for the hostess as they are for the guests. A simple menu of delicious food, presented to those you enjoy being with is a wonderful way to give of your self. What better way to say thank you, I love you, I value our friendship, congratulations, etc., than by preparing a special meal for that special someone?
Creole Shrimp Remoulade
- The New Orleans way to begin any meal. Served over a bed of field greens, this is an appetizer and a salad in one.
Steak Diane with Brandy Mushroom Sauce
- Simplified for the home cook, this elegant dish has all the grandeur of the traditional presentation, without the fuss.
Fresh Green Beans with Almonds and Blue Cheese
- Fresh Green Beans are a favorite side dish for meat, fish, and poultry, especially when sautéed with sliced or slivered almonds and topped with crumbled blue cheese.
Roasted New Potatoes with Red Onion and Parsley
- Roasted New Potatoes are a delicious, lighter alternative to baked or mashed potatoes.
Warm Chocolate Cakes with Vanilla Ice Cream
- Can you think of a better way to end this meal than with rich, luscious, individual chocolate cakes served with vanilla ice cream?
Serve with a warm baguette and sweet butter.
When I created this menu, I was looking for something that would be classic and reflect the elegance of some of New Orleans' finest restaurants. I also wanted the main course to include steak. But I also wanted something that I could cook in less than 2 hours. With some advanced preparation, this meal can be prepared and served in just under 2 hours -- less if prepare the produce the day before. It is important to read through the recipes ahead to determine where you can save time.
Here are a few quick tips for this meal:
Make sure you have all necessary equipment and ingredients before beginning to prepare the meal.
Have serving dishes, platters, and utensils staged and ready for filling.
Have the table set before beginning to cook.
Prepare the potatoes ( you can chop the parsley and/or green onions later) and get them in the oven 60 - 90 minutes before serving time. The potatoes can take up to 60 minutes to roast. Once the potatoes are fork tender, turn the oven down to 200°F. The potatoes can be kept warm for 20 - 30 minutes.
If possible, prepare Remoulade Sauce the day before.
Prepare the Shrimp. Refrigerate until serving.
While boiling the water for the shrimp, reduce the beef broth for the Steak Diane. Once reduced, add all sauce ingredients to the broth EXCEPT for the cream. Set aside until needed.
Thoroughly wash and dry all produce. If doing this the day before, store in baggies in the refrigerator until needed.
Chop onions, slice shallots, trim the green beans, mince garlic for all of the recipes. This can be done up to 24 hours ahead and stored in baggies in the refrigerator until ready to use. Chop or mince herbs. This is best done no more than 2 hours before using.
Blanch the green beans and set aside. This can be done up to 2 hours ahead. Sauté the blanched beans right before cooking the meat. Hold the sautéed beans for up to 20 minutes (about the time it takes to cook the meat and sauce) uncovered in a 200°F oven. Add the almonds and blue cheese right before serving.
Tips for Preparing the Dessert:
Melt the chocolate and butter for the dessert while chopping the produce.
If you have a standing mixer, beat the sugar and eggs (takes about 8 minutes) while clearing the table.
Once the table has been cleared, follow the directions for preparing the batter and bake the cakes.
Prepare coffee or after dinner drinks while the cakes are baking. The recipes used to create this romantic menu can easily be decreased to serve 2 or increased to serve a crowd.
I hope that you enjoy my Romantic Dinner whether you serve it on Valentine's Day or for any other occasion.
With Warmest Regards,
Editor, Cajun & Creole Site