Made With Love

Valentine’s Day…..the one day a year that is completely dedicated to romance and love.  But before you get stressed out with the thought of over-crowded restaurants, Hallmark stores bursting with cards, and chocolate heart boxes, all of which don’t sound or look the least bit romantic, consider having your significant other over and treat them to a home-cooked feast.  Here is a terrific steakhouse-inspired meal that is not only easy to organize and execute, it’s guaranteed to make anyone feel special anytime of the year.  

Classic Iceberg Wedge

½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
the juice of 1 lemon
½ cup bleu cheese crumbles
1 head of Iceberg lettuce (cut into quarters)
4 strips of bacon
1 pear (skinned, cored, and sliced lengthwise)
10 grape tomatoes
1 red onion, Sliced
Balsamic vinegar, for garnish


Mix ½ cup of sour cream and ½ cup of mayonnaise in a bowl.  Stir in the lemon juice and ½ cup of the bleu cheese crumbles.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Thoroughly wash the iceberg lettuce and cut into quarters (you will only need two).  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lay out 4 strips of bacon on a sheet tray and bake for about 20 minutes or until very crispy. Remove from the oven and pat dry with a paper towel.  Slice the tomatoes in half and the red onion into thin slices On salad plates, place the quarter of the iceberg lettuce.  Drizzle it with the bleu cheese dressing and add a few tomatoes, the pear slices, and sliced onion.  Crumble the cooled bacon over each wedge.  Garnish with remaining bleu cheese crumbles and a tiny splash of balsamic vinegar.

Ribeye Steaks

½  tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
¾  teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Two 8-ounce ribeye steaks (each about 1-inch thick)
Vegetable oil, for brushing


In a small bowl, blend the cornstarch, salt and pepper together.  Rub a generous 1/2 teaspoon of the seasoning mixture over each side of each steak to coat.  Arrange the steaks on a baking sheet and freeze or place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Preheat a ridged grill pan (preferably cast iron) or skillet over high heat for 4-5 minutes.  Brush the pan with oil.  Place the steaks on the grill and cook until the bottom is crusty, about 5 minutes.  Flip the steaks over and cook until the bottom is crusty, but the center is still medium-rare, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer the steaks to a platter or individual plates.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Potatoes with Shrimp

Potatoes with Shrimp
2 pounds medium-size Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup half-and-half, room temperature
2 small lemons, zested
2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces medium shrimp (about 30 per pound), peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place the potatoes, 2 tablespoons of the butter, garlic and 1 tablespoon of salt in a large saucepan.  Add enough cold water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch and bring to a boil.  Simmer until tender, about 15-20 minutes.  Drain the potatoes in a colander and remove the garlic cloves.  Place the potatoes back into the saucepan and add the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and half-and-half.  Using a hand masher, mash the potatoes until smooth.  Stir in the zest, chives, parsley, thyme, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Keep warm over low heat.

In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the shrimp and season with the salt and pepper.  Cook until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp and set aside. When cool enough to handle, chop the shrimp into 1/2-inch pieces. Stir the shrimp and any pan juices into the potatoes.

Banana Flambé

2 bananas (preferably a little green on the outside, not overly ripe)
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup dark rum
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ stick utterb
¼ tsp salt
1 pint Chocolate ice cream
1 pint Strawberry ice cream
1 pint Vanilla ice cream
Matches or butane lighter
Maraschino Cherries, for garish


In a skillet on medium heat, add the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter and stir until melted and bubbly.   Turn up the heat to high, add the rum and immediately contact it with the flame source.   Grab the handle of the pan and shake it back and forth until the fire is out. Once the fire is out, turn off the heat.  In two bowls, put a scoop of each ice cream in the bowls.  Pour the flambéed bananas over the ice cream and garnish with a cherry.

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Jay P. Obertance is a food, quality, and entertainment addict; a gourmand/chef with a passion for fine dining and a love of company to enjoy and share it with. As his motto goes, “Life is too short to eat mediocre food.”