Monday, February 2, 2015


I'm not quite sure what happened with January but it went by in a flash and now it is one of my favorite months to cook, decorate and celebrate.  Valentine's Day - a day set aside to celebrate love, I'm all for that.  My sweet hubby (big sports fan, after all it was Super Bowl Sunday) sat down with me for a few minutes yesterday to discuss the Valentine's Day menu. I wanted him to create a menu of exactly what he would like - and so he did.  Once the menu was in place that gave me time to fiddle around and come up with my tablescape.

Hubby requested a "simple" dinner with his favorites. No bread so no bread plate, wanted his salad on his dinner plate so no salad plate, decadent dessert so just needed a small plate for dessert and a soup bowl, easy peasy. The drinks are not on the menu - will be sparkling apple cider,  ice water and coffee with dessert - just some good strong coffee.
 Pretty red plates...
 Ready for the coffee with dessert...
 Will use the dimmer on Valentine's night....
 Just love my rooster napkin rings.....
Add some delicious food and this is a pretty nice Valentine's Day dinner table!

French Onion Soup:

·   1 1/2 pounds onions, very thinly sliced

·   2 tablespoons butter

·   1 tablespoon Cognac
·   1/2 cup red wine
·   3 cups beef stock
·   Salt and pepper
·   4 croûtes, for garnish (or toast sourdough bread and cut a round to fit your bowl)
·   Grated gruyère cheese, for garnish
Melt the butter in a soup pot and sauté the onions until very soft, at least 20 minutes. Add the Cognac and the wine one minute. Add the stock. Simmer, covered, 45 minutes. Check the seasonings. Ladle into oven-proof soup bowls and set on a baking sheet. Top each with a croûte. Sprinkle the top generously with cheese. Broil until the top is lightly brown, about 2 minutes.

Baked Potato
It is not that I am against putting a potato in the microwave when I am in a hurry but for a nice dinner I don't think anything beats just scrubbing a big Idaho spud and baking it in the oven (no oil, no foil) or as they say "old skool." It will be served with softened butter and some real sour cream with finely chopped fresh chives (do this a few hours ahead and let the flavors meld in the fridge).

Wedge Salad w/Fog City Diner Blue Cheese Dressing:


3 ounces Roquefort cheese (If possible PLEASE Maytag blue cheese)
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
kosher or sea salt to taste
freshly ground white pepper to taste
1 drop Worcestershire sauce, more to taste
1 drop Tabasco Sauce, more to taste
1/4 cup minced celery, including leaves
2 scallions, minced
1 tablespoon minced chives
Break up the cheese into small pieces and reserve.

In a mixing bowl combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, pepper, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce and whisk well.

Gently stir in the cheese, celery, scallions and chives. Do not over mix, as the cheese will turn an unappetizing blue-grey. Keep refrigerated.

Clean a large head of iceberg lettuce, core and cut into wedges. Generously pour this yummy dressing over the wedge and give it a dusting of freshly grated black pepper.

Beef Fillet (from COSTCO):
I have found this is the absolute best way to cook a fillet and make it perfect every time.  Hubby agrees and even though he always cooks steaks, I cook these. Very simple and fool proof. In a small frying pan (preferable an aluminum one NOT NON-STICK, add some olive oil and about 1/4 cube of butter.  With the addition of the olive oil you won't burn the butter.  Brown the meat on both sides (it will sizzle and get a little crispy around the edges, that's good) and the only seasoning I use is salt & pepper.  Once you have both sides well browned put an individual meat thermometer in each one and put the pan in a 350° oven and keep an eye on the temp and when it reaches your desired doneness take it out of the oven and put on a plate and let it rest at least 10 minutes. If you have someone who likes rare and another well done, just take the first one out and cover with foil until you are ready to take out the other. I will sometimes slice some button mushrooms and add a little more butter, salt and pepper and cook them and then towards the very end add a little Vermouth until it is completely absorbed and pile these on the steaks at serving time.

While the meat is resting you can be putting together your salads and your baked potatoes.

Junior's Cheesecake:

This cheesecake is from the cookbook from Junior's famous restaurant in Brooklyn.  I have made this cheesecake many times and all but one time it came out perfect!  I am going to give you a link to a blog that I think has the best version of this recipe.  This is simply the best cheesecake if you like NY style cheese cake.  No graham cracker crust - you make a sponge cake for this and it is so darned good.  It is more complicated then most but well worth the effort.  The recipe for the filling requires 1/4 cup of cornstarch and the one time I failed I was making it for my hubby to take to his office.  I came home from work and put on my apron and made the sponge cake - turned out beautiful....put my cheesecake together and when I took it out of the oven it looked like it was from Junior's - so  beautiful with that beautiful golden brown top, made your mouth water just to look at the cake....I let the required time go by and then unsnapped the springform and "plog" it fell apart - I looked on the counter and there was the cornstarch in the measuring cup - cornstarch is the binder....oops!  Here is the link and don't forget the cornstarch, teehee: Link

A note on the Fog City Diner - the FCD as we knew it closed it's doors and has reopened again.  I have not been there but the menu looks completely different.  This was a place we always tried to have dinner at if we were in San Francisco, so good.  Both the FCD and Junior's have cookbooks worth owning.


French Onion Soup recipe, Laura Calder
Fog City Diner blue chess dressing recipe, FCD Cookbook
Junior's Cheesecake recipe, Welcome to Junior's Remembering Brooklyn with Recipes and Memories from It's Favorite Restaurant
Hem stitch napkins, William's-Sonoma
Rooster napkin rings, Antique Farm House
Red handled flatware, Hampton Forge
White chargers, IKEA
Red dinner plates, Kohl's, Paula Dean
White Rooster, HomeGoods
Buffalo gingham checked tablecloth, Ebay seller
Place Mats, Online seller
Red crystal water and flutes, Horchow
Large candlesticks, Amazon, Oddity Home
Small red plates, HomeGoods
White lattice candle holders, HomeGoods

Thank you for stopping by.



  2. Thank you very much Anonymous. Looking forward to fixing hubby's request meal❤️