Valentine’s Feast 2014 Edition

Every Valentine’s Day we like to come up with a fun and different feast for one another. The first year we made a simple steak with wild mushrooms and bacon laced green beans. Then we did a spicy and chocolatey NY Strip with Mexican themed sides. Last year, we tackled steelhead trout, and decided it was only a matter of time before we approached the summum bonum of cooked at home decadence: Lobster.

Lobster can be tricky around V-day. Live lobsters become more expensive, and if you’re thrifty pre-frozen tails and legs go for bargain basement cheap on special. Just make sure you see what you’re getting those “great deal” 6oz tails that are under $10 are also basically 2-3 bites of lobster and are a great side, but won’t seal the deal for your meal. I checked out Costco, which is generally my go-to for large amounts of classy food anytime near a holiday as they have great specials. I nabbed just over 2lbs of rock lobster tails for under $20, and just over 3lbs of cold water claws for under $25. That’s more lobster than 2 people should be eating for under the price of one lobster at a decent restaurant on a non-holiday.

When we talked sides, I had to go traditional and nabbed up some fingerling potatoes, cobbed corn, and porcini mushrooms while I was at Costco to pull together some stuffed mushrooms, corn on the cob, and new potatoes to go with some steamed broccoli.

You can find my methods for potatoes in several of my blog posts, basically you boil them until soft, toss in a little whipped cream cheese, toss on some chives/green onions, and call it good. It’s a solid plan that delivers the taste of butter and cream without the ridiculous calories that go with them.

You can also find my methodology for roasting corn- this time I wrapped them in foil and gave them a go at 450 in the oven for 20 minutes.

I used steamfresh broccoli because I knew that my mains would take some time.

The Stuffed Mushrooms were by far the star of the side show. I’ve been doing these for a while but these were the best ever and the boyfriend agreed wholeheartedly. I attribute it to getting a little creative this time around, check out the recipe below to see for yourself.
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Stuffed Mushroom Caps
Ingredients:
Porcini Mushrooms (medium-large) washed and capped
Feta Cheese
Garlic Bread Crostinis (Mine came from the HEB bakery by my house)
Celery Seasoning (not celery salt, they sell just celery)
Thyme
Rosemary
Green Onion
Panko
Minced Garlic
Oil

Directions:
1) Using a proportion of 1.5 crostinis and 1 TSP panko per mushroom you’re going to stuff, add both to a blender and pulverize into bread crumbs.
2) Add 1 TSP minced garlic for every 2 mushrooms, 1 TBS for every 6 mushrooms of Rosemary, Thyme, Celery, and Green Onion to blender and mix well.
3) On medium low heat place mushrooms open cap up in a skillet, use a high heat oil to grease the surface and toss some wet minced garlic in with the oil. Cover and allow to cook for about 10 minutes.
4) Once mushrooms are tender and cooked, fill each cap with a layer of feta cheese and allow to melt slightly.
5) Now scoop in your breadcrumb mix on top of the feta and allow to cook for about an additional minute.
6) Remove from pan and eat while warm for maximum deliciousness.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

With sides successfully out of the way, it’s time to tackle the lobster. First, we went after the tails.
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Stuffed Lobster Tails
Ingredients:
Lobster tails
Garlic Crostini
Celery Seasoning (not celery salt, they sell just celery)
Thyme
Rosemary
Green Onion
Panko

Directions:
1) Put water in your steamer and get it going at a nice boil.
2) Add your tails in with the topside (curved side) down at first.
3) Cover and allow to steam for 10 minutes (if you inserted the tails frozen) or 5 minutes (if you inserted defrosted tails).
4) Use the instructions above for the mushroom cap stuffing mix, this will be your lobster stuffing, too. Use the proportions as if you were making 6 mushroom caps per tail.
5) Set your oven to 350.
6) Flip your tails so the curved side is up and allow to steam for 5 minutes.
7) Prepare a non-stick cookie sheet to receive your lobsters.
8) Using tongs remove the lobsters to the cookie sheet and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes (until cool enough to touch).
9) Using kitchen shears, cut a straight line incision for 5-6 inches up the backside of the tail and pry the shell open (this may mean making Ts on the ends, that’s OK).
10) Carefully baste the interior of the lobster in butter or butter substitute (we used feta instead of butter, and that’s an option for you, too if you like feta), then stuff with your stuffing.
11) Place in the oven for 5 minutes to warm and cook your stuffing.
12) Plate and you’re ready to eat.

Prep Time: 10-15 mins
Cook Time: Around 45 mins

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Then it was CLAWberring time. I just put the claws in the steamer for 10 minutes to defrost and warm them up because my claws were pre-cooked but frozen.

For the dessert course, chocolate is always the only option for V-Day so I prepared a Chocolate Faux Mousse out of tofu.
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Chocolate “Mousse”
Ingredients:
1 package firm tofu
2 cups bittersweet chocolate (we used Toll House)
2 cups milk chocolate (we used Guittard)
1/2 cup of milk (I used Promised Land 2% Midnight Chocolate)

Instructions:
1) Set up a double boiler and when it’s boiling, drop to medium high heat and, toss your chocolates inside to liquefy. Stir occasionally.
2) Unpack your tofu and press it gently to get the liquid out.
3) When your chocolate is melted, toss it, the tofu, and the milk into your blender and liquefy.
4) When you have a smooth consistency, put it in a bowl and toss it in the fridge for about an hour before serving.
ProTip: Mine turned out a little thick, it might behoove you to add some whipped cream to give it a more mousse-like consistency.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: Around an hour
Serves: 2-4

Dinner Plating Notes: I slapped half a lemon for each of us in linen bags to use on the lobster. I also paired this with a cheap Riesling because I figured the flavors would go. It was a little sweet but manageable. I also included 3 crostini each since I had some leftover from the stuffings. We actually didn’t make a butter sauce and were both fine with that. I did pour us both up a glass of chocolate milk to go with dessert, too.

Now for gratuitous pics:

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Dinner is served.
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We each got 2 claws and a tail and I had some claws left over for further cooking projects.

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The potatoes were a hit, especially since I got multicolored fingerlings and had some purple potatoes going on in there.
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We somehow didn’t have lobster utensils so we had to use a nutcracker and forks, but he still managed to get his claw out intact like a boss.
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Of course you can’t give something like this to a nerd without him playing with it.

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Dessert course, we shared that ridiculous amount of “mousse”. 1392434112470      He did well on the roses, look at how pretty they were. 1392427189095         And I got him Godiva because I care, with a bonus peek at the dress I wore.

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