Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to make your significant other feel special. Why not treat him/her to an especially, thoughtful romantic dinner?

Menu for Two: Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon with Red Wine Fig Sauce, Perfectly Roasted Potatoes and Creamed Spinach

Pepper-Crusted Filet Mignon with Red Wine Fig Sauce

2  (5 to 6 ounces each) filet mignons (about 1 1/2 inches thick)

Kosher salt and coarsely ground pepper

2 teaspoon(s) olive oil

Red Wine Sauce

1 cup red wine (buy your favorite red wine; if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t reduce it)

1 tablespoon fig jam

2 tablespoon(s) cold butter, cut up

Kosher salt

Season both sides of the filets very generously with salt and pepper (especially pepper), patting in firmly. Filet Mignon can take lots of pepper.

Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high. Cook filets until desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side (depending on thickness) for medium-rare.

Remove strings from filets, and serve with Red Wine Sauce, if desired.

To make Red Wine Sauce: Place the red wine and fig jam in a small saucepan; boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; add cut-up butter, and swirl pan until butter is melted and sauce is thickened, about 1 minute. Season with coarse salt.

Perfectly Roasted Potatoes with Grated Parmesan

1 lbs. specialty medley potatoes like red, fingerling and purple

1 teaspoon olive oil

kosher salt  to taste

1/2 tsp. dried thyme (or fresh)

1/2 tsp. dried crushed rosemary (or fresh)

1/2 tsp. turmeric for color

1/4 freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Wash and brush your potatoes well. Cut each in half. Place potatoes in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, thyme, rosemary, salt and turmeric. Pour over potatoes and mix well.

Place potatoes in a roasting pan in a single layer. Roast in a 450F oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Be sure to move the potatoes around halfway through the roasting process. Grate fresh Parmesan cheese over top of potatoes and roast one minute more.

Creamy Spinach

The perfect accompaniment to the pepper Crusted Filet Mignon, this creamy spinach has a touch of nutmeg

1 pound curly spinach, well washed, thick stems removed, water still clinging to leaves

Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons butter

1 shallot, minced, or 2 tablespoons minced onion

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 to 1 cup milk

Place spinach in a large saucepan (3 to 4 quarts) over medium heat (it will be extremely full), and season with salt. Cover and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander, and rinse under cold water until completely cooled; squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium-low; add shallot, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add flour; cook, stirring, 1 minute (do not let brown); add 3/4 cup milk. Simmer gently over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Thin with additional milk, if necessary. Remove from heat; stir in spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Chocolate Mousse

This makes 6 servings, but we can’t leave the kids out, right?  Make enough for the whole family to enjoy, but be sure to have a special romantic dinner with just your hubby or wife! The perfect dessert for a romantic dinner, this mousse looks so pretty and you don’t have to slave over the stove all day. You can even make this the day before giving yourself plenty of time to look and feel your best!

Serves 6

16 oz good quality chocolate, chopped (I like Ghiradelli)
6 egg yolks
1 tbsp. Grand Marnier, orange liquor
6 egg whites
1 cup powdered sugar

4 tbsp. salted butter (salt always brings out the sweetness in your desserts)

A few raspberries for garnish

Place your chopped chocolate and butter in a metal bowl and place over saucepan filled with water. Bring to a medium heat (make sure the water doesn’t ever boil or touch the metal bowl) and melt the chocolate and butter carefully, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Add Grand Marnier and leave to cool. In a separate bowl, beat sugar and egg yolks until smooth and then add to your chocolate.

In a separate bowl or mixer, beat the egg whites until they form firm peaks, then gently fold into the chocolate mixture. Patience is a virtue! : – )

Spoon or squeeze your mousse out of a pastry bag into your 6 to 7 dessert glasses, top with whipped cream and place in the fridge. Leave for around 12 hours or overnight to set.

Some garnishes might be fresh orange zest or fresh berries of your choice. Enjoy and please don’t wait as long as I did to make this dessert!