Dine in, go out, or bring home chocolate Frostys from Wendy’s, I’m told it is more about how special your special someone is to you than how special the gestures and gifts on Valentine’s Day. Well isn’t that a load of crap because when someone is that special and it’s a special day of the year, you better bring some game. I’m not saying you should go all “He went to Jared” on everybody (don’t be a commercial holiday advertising numbed zombie!). That is, unless your butcher’s name is Jared.
What I am trying to tell you, for your own sake and your Valentine’s, is skip the loveless, soul-sucking boneless, skinless chicken breast for something more special, namely a steak.
The steak pictured is a Ribeye that was cut about 2″ thick, then butterflied by a butcher to give it the sweet shape of a heart. The presentation speaks for itself, but it’s also smart because it is easy to share. One steak, two people. Done and done! Getting your date to share a meal at the restaurant? Big fail. Saving some coin and making a creative, shareable steak at home? Irresistible genius. And if your guy or gal can’t appreciate it, you may be with the wrong person. But what do I know, I raise beef and talk about it for a living. Oh my word, please don’t break up on Valentine’s Day because of my advice.
Rancher and I already have plans that don’t include RB, me cooking, or even winter socks. We are headed to Vegas for my college roomie’s wedding this weekend and you can bet your strip loin we have plans to dine at an acclaimed steakhouse. But I do know what I would be making if it was a typical Valentine’s Day here at the ranch. And it would be steak. And it would be easy. And we would be just as happy as we will be taking in the milder temps and glittering lights of the Strip and taking down a decadent celebrity chef conceived meal.
Speaking of fancy steakhouse stuff, ever wonder how they do that voodoo that they do so well, it’s a spell that makes you wanna shoop, shoop (and drop a lot of moolah for it)? Most cook their thick-cut, premium steaks to your liking with a skillet and oven combo method as illustrated here:
To complete your transformation to super awesome steakhouse chef, I present to you the Ancho-Chocolate Citrus Rub. Sounds elaborate, but it’s actually just a few common ingredients and spices massaged into the surface of your steak. You can mix the spices, rub, and grill your steak in under the time it would take you to drive to a restaurant.
Here is what you need:
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine these ingredients in a bowl, then rub onto the surface of your steak (both sides). Watch Jackie and learn:
Oh baby, adding a hint of heat, and sweet, and citrus zest pairs perfectly with the savory steak, and the theme of the night. If you want to take it up a notch, this T-Bone for Two recipe can help you make it saucy. Namely by adding a traditional Mexican Mole Sauce which has a base of cocoa powder like the rub.
1 beef T-Bone Steak, cut 1 inch thick (about 1 pound)
1 teaspoon steak seasoning
Sauce: Mole Sauce(recipe follows)
Instructions 1.Prepare desired Sauce(s); set aside. 2.Press steak seasoning evenly onto beef steak. Place steak on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, 14 to 16 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 15 to 19 minutes) for medium-rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. 3.Remove bone; carve steak crosswise into slices. Serve with sauce(s).
Mole Sauce: Combine 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup raisins, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 3/4 teaspoon ground ancho chile powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt in small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally. Carefully pour hot sauce in food processor or blender container. Cover; process 30 seconds or until smooth, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons water to thin sauce, if necessary. Return to saucepan; keep warm until ready to use. Makes 1 cup
I’m sure more on rubs and sauces, and making things sweet and spicy for Valentine’s Day could be discussed, but I’m going to stick to steak recipes. It’s my safe zone. But, if I had to give one (okay, one more) tip for the lover’s day, it would be “steak up, don’t break up.”