Fool Proof Date Night – Lobster, Steak, and Fondue (Feb. 22, 2010)

This past Saturday was the perfect evening. Some of our closest friends, Dave & Rachel, met us at our house around 6 p.m. for an experimental dinner. I had coupons for lobster tails and fillets at Earthfare, and felt compelled to use them. So, we decided to experiment. Bryan had lobster mac n cheese in Buffalo on one of his recent business trips and has been waiting for the chance to experiment. And we all took part…

Rachel brought this delicious, fresh salad with spinach, black olives, beets, and cheddar cheese. And we topped it with organic Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing (also on sale at Earthfare).

Then we had some organic shell noodles, which we brought to a boil and simmered for 8 minutes (we used a little over half of the 1 pound bag). After draining, Bryan added 1/2 a stick of butter and 2 minced garlic cloves to the pot. Then he poured the noodles back in the pot and added about 1/3 c. of organic heavy whipping cream and a pile of organic cheese! (Thank you, Dave, for grating all of that!) We used about 6 oz. havarti, 4 oz. sharp white cheddar and 1-2 oz. asiago. Then, to top it all off, we folded in chunks of lobster tail. (To cook the lobster tails, cover with water, bring to boil, simmer for 8 minutes, then cool in ice water. Carefully remove meat from shell and chop into bite size pieces. Hint: Cook this in a separate pot as you’re cooking your noodles, and use the same timer.) We used two 3-4 oz. lobster tails. Adding one more would have made it perfect.

I had the privilege of cooking the steaks. Usually, I leave the meat to Bryan, but he was busy with his lobster cheese masterpiece. So, it was up to me. We pulled the meat out of the fridge about 45 minutes before Dave & Rachel arrived, so it would have time to come to room temperature. I seasoned both sides of the steaks with sea salt and cracked pepper and let it rest. When they got here, I heated the pan over medium high heat, added about 2 Tbsp. of olive oil, and 2 cloves of minced garlic. I quickly added the seasoned steaks and seared it for 2 minutes on each side, adding a pat of butter to the top of each. (Remember, don’t move the meat during this process. If you keep wiggling and checking the meat, the heat can’t do it’s job of sealing the moisture inside.) I pulled Dave & Bryan’s off and left mine and Rachel’s on for 1 more minute, since we like ours a little less rare. I bought two 6 oz. fillets, cooked them as two pieces (instead of four), then cut them just before serving. We kept them warm in the toaster oven on about 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This kept them warm without continuing to cook them. (By the way, the steak was a success, of which I was quite proud.) And we certainly didn’t need more than 3 oz. per person with the pasta and what was to follow.

After dinner, we had french press coffee, while enjoying each other’s company (and a little comedy show). Then we finished the evening with dessert reservations at The Melting Pot (a fondue restaurant in town). A full meal at The Melting Pot can be a bit pricy, but if you want the experience for a reasonable price, dessert for 2 is about $14. Dave & Rachel chose the milk chocolate turtle fondue and we got the dark chocolate Irish creme fondue. They brought each couple a plate with strawberries, banana slices, little squares of pound cake, Rice Krispy treats, brownies, and marshmallows, and a piece of New York style cheesecake. And while not exactly physically healthy, it was good for our mental health and the perfect ending to our double date night.

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