I Was Not Prepared!
Hiya folks! So I feel like Valentine’s day came out of nowhere this year. Not that the hubs and I celebrate it in any special way, more than a yummy dinner at home. With the January Whole30, and it felt like Super Bowl stuff came right after… poor little V-day just got forgotten. Maybe it’s also because it’s on a weekday this year. Anyway, I have a little romantic dinner spread shoot I have to do today. Really, filet mignon with a chocolate port wine sauce. Yeah, I know!!!! So I dreamed up these babies as the perfect side dish to such a decadent and fancy meat. I like the idea of the whole savory meal coming from sweet inspiration. Chocolate. Merengues. Get it?
Getting It Together
For you all, by God, I will pull this romantic menu off. I might not get it all photographed and posted on time, but I will write it up here. A three course, PALEO, Valentine’s day dinner menu.
First Course: Starter Salad
Entree: Steak & Sweet Potato Merengues (or Cauliflower Carbonara)
The recipe for the merengues is at the bottom of this page, they take about an hour, but you can make them ahead of time. Don’t have the time… try this 15 minutes Cauliflower Carbonara!
Here you can choose whichever steak you prefer and is in your price range. I suggest Sirloin Steak, Filet Mignon or Rib Eye.
Steak Seasoning, per pound of steak mix:
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1 tsp course black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 400F.
Rub steaks down with salt, pepper & fat.
Heat an oven safe skillet (multi clad or cast iron) on medium heat until it reaches full temp.
Place the steaks on the skillet and sear each side for 3 minutes.
Then place in the hot oven. Ribeye: 8 minutes. Sirloin Steak: 6 minutes. Filet: 5 minutes.
*These times with 5-7 ounce steaks will result in medium-rare to rare steaks. If you like your steak more cooked, refer to this image from the culinarycook.com
Sauces for your steak!
Chocolate Sauce: After you remove your steaks from the oven, carefully set them on a cutting board. Set the skillet back on the burner on medium heat. Melt 1 tsp fat. Add in minced leek or shallot, 1/2 a cup. Stir until browned. Add in 1 cup of broth to deglaze the pan; as it simmers add in 1/4 cup of chopped bittersweet chocolate & 1 tsp chopped rosemary. Stir and simmer until chocolate is melted and sauce is thick. Slice steak, drizzle sauce on top.
Mushroom Cream Sauce: after you remove your steaks from the oven, carefully set them on a cutting board. Set the skillet back on the burner on medium heat. Melt 1 tsp fat. Add in minced leek or shallot, 1/2 a cup, add in 1/2 a cup of sliced mushrooms, 1 tsp minced rosemary or thyme. Stir until browned. Add in 1 cup of broth to deglaze the pan; as it simmers add in 1/4 cup cashew cream. Stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Spoon it on your plate and serve sliced steak over the sauce.
Ok! If you watch my stories, you know I was playing around with a snickerdoodle cookie thing, but I wasn’t able to perfect the recipe on time so let’s default to things I already know work great! Here are a few options to suit any dietary needs and dessert preferences!
Keep Calm, And Paleo On
You can do this. The salad takes NO TIME. The steaks take no time. Make the merengues and your dessert ahead of time and you can serve dinner in 30 minutes the day of, which leaves plenty of time for smoozing and cocktails (if that’s your jam). I think this is a great opportunity to show your signinfant other, your friends, your mom, or whoever you’re spending this day of love with that the way you eat (paleo) is in fact delicious (and doable)!
What better way to shower someone with love than to make them a super special meal that they will not just LOVE, but that’s totally good for their bodies and souls! AMIRIGHT?!?
Ok… now here is the merengue recipe folks. Delicious, savory little clouds that will melt in your mouth. Yum, and perfect to soak up all the yummy steak sauce!
All the X’s & O’s! – Cristina
Sweet Potato Merengues (Valentine’s Day Dinner)
- Prep Time: 25
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 55
- Yield: 12
- 2 large japanese sweet potato (garnet sweet potatoes will work too)
- 3 egg whites
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup nut milk (if using garnet potatoes reduce milk to 2 tbsp)
- 2 tsp ghee or butter
- pinch of nutmeg
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 1 tsp white pepper
- Heat a large pot on high heat, with at least 6 cups water.
- Peel and dice your sweet potato, add to the pot.
- Peel your garlic cloves and add to the pot too.
- Cover and bring to a rapid boil. Once boiling, remove lid.
- Broil until potatoes are very tender.
- Remove from heat, carefully drain the water out and set the potatoes out to cool. Careful not to loose the garlic cloves.
- While the potatoes cool, get your egg whites ready in the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl. Beat on high, with stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff white peaks form.
- Transfer to another bowl and set in the fridge.
- When potatoes (and garlic cloves) are cooled add them to the large bowl and whip with mixer until smooth.
- Add in the milk, ghee, salt, nutmeg and pepper.
- Once well combined set the mixer aside.
- Get your egg whites and fold in with a spatula until you can’t see them at all.
- Pre-heat oven to 325F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Fill a piping bag or a large ziplock bag with your potato mix (if you’re using a ziplock, trip the tip off a corner to pipe out of).
- Make decorative little puffs with your potato mix on your sheet pan.
- I like doing this in a small circular motion pushing down gently to create the look of layers and lifting off at the end to create the peak.
- Once you’ve piped all your merengues pop them in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Once they begin to turn golden, remove from the oven.
- Serve! Or let cool and store for dinner at a later date. To heat, pop back in the oven at 300F for 5-8 minutes.