In 2006, my boyfriend managed to reverse my hatred of Valentine’s Day by proposing. Suddenly, all my single Valentine’s days of suckitude were erased by a very sweet, nervous proposal and a diamond ring.
Flash forward five years and we are married with two beautiful, spunky daughters. I want to make Valentine’s Day 2011 special by recreating the meal I made for us that night.
We had been dating for a year, or as Mr. Engineer sweetly and accurately put it in his proposal, “13 months.” I was not expecting a proposal at all that night. In two days we were going to fly to San Diego for a three-day romp in the sun, and honestly I was thinking San Diego would be a lot of fun with a beach proposal. As my gift to him I planned a special meal I dubbed “fancy basics.” My man is a meat and potatoes guy, so I wanted to make a meal that would appeal to his love affair with steak.
The Bling Menu
Orange Black Pepper-Glazed Filets Mignons
Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes with Asiago Cheese
I told a coworker about my dinner plans and he prophetically said, “Well, if that doesn’t get a proposal, I don’t know what would!” The meal was delicious, but what I remember most about the evening is sitting on the couch drinking wine before dinner and talking about what we would name our children. (And, this was before the proposal people! I really didn’t see this one coming.) Kate and Jack. (Everyone has one boy and one girl, right?)
He proposed during dessert. I put him in charge of torching the sugar on the crème brûlée. It took him forever! Every single sugar molecule was properly fired. As we were breaking the sugar with our spoons he stood up and held a box. A box that appeared too large to contain a ring. Honestly, I was prepared to say, “A key chain! Aw, thank you honey, I always wanted a key chain.” And then it happened, “Will you marry me?” I was floored. I said yes and the rest is our wonderful history.
In honor of the five year anniversary of the proposal, here is the recipe for the filets mignons that warmed my heart and turned my ring finger all shiny and bright.
Orange Black Pepper-Glazed Filets Mignons from one of my favorite cookbooks, Always Superb:Recipes for Every Occasion, a Minnesota Junior League cookbook.
2 T olive oil (divided)
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 T grated gingerroot
1/4 cup dark rum
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup dark molasses
1 T coarsely crushed peppercorns
4 (6 to 8 ounce) filets mignons
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat 1 T olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until tender. Add garlic and gingerroot; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the rum and cook until almost all of the liquid is evaporated. Add orange juice, molasses and peppercorns. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until reduced to desired consistency. (Note: the sauce should not be too runny.) Let stand until room temperature.
Brush the filets with 1 T olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over hot coals for five minutes each side. Spoon the glaze over the filets and cook for one more minute. Serve immediately with any remaining glaze on the size.
Enjoy! And, please tell me if this steak brings you romance or proposals. Three cheers for “diamond steak!”