Sunday, January 27, 2008

A date night out at the theater!

Ben gave me tickets to see CATS for our first anniversary and Christmas this year. We thought about going somewhere really nice for dinner, but I'd hate to be rushed or late to one of my favorite. So we decided to make a fancy extra special dinner at home. I made NY Strips with Cabernet Sauce, Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Marscapone, Balsamic Browned-Butter Asparagus and Chocolate dipped Strawberries for dessert. The steak recipe calls for Filet Mignon, but Ben found NY Strips that looked really good, so I used them in stead. This was the first time I've ever made Risotto or used dried mushrooms. This recipe was actually in Cooking Light's Best of 20 Years Issued (Sept 2007) as the best rice dish...I can believe it!


We had a wonderful night...the show was fantastic, even Ben liked it. I dressed the part with my leapord print pencil skirt and fur trimmed sweater...it's so fun! I included a picture of us before the show. This was definitely a fancy date night and the food was just as good as anything we could have paid for in a restaurant, but tons cheaper too!



Filet Mignon with Cabernet Sauce (Cooking Light)

Cooking spray
4 (4-ounce) filet mignon steaks
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup cabernet sauvignon
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
2 teaspoons butter

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of steaks evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add steaks to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan. Add shallots to pan; sauté 1 minute. Stir in vinegar and soy sauce, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 1 minute or until liquid evaporates, stirring constantly. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, wine, and broth; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 11 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in butter. Serve with steaks.

Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Marscapone (Cooking Light)

1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 ounce)
1 (14-ounce) can less-sodium beef broth
Cooking spray
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
3/4 cup chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine 1 1/2 cups boiling water and mushrooms; let stand 10 minutes or until soft. Drain through a colander over a bowl. Reserve 1 1/4 cups soaking liquid; chop mushrooms.

Bring reserved soaking liquid and broth to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep broth mixture warm over low heat.

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add rice, shallots, and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine; cook until liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes).
Add 1 cup broth mixture to rice mixture; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Add mushrooms, Parmigiano-Reggiano and mascarpone cheeses, thyme, salt, and pepper; stir gently just until cheeses melt. Serve warm.

Balsamic Browned-Butter Asparagus (Cooking Light)

4 pounds fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 cup butter
4 teaspoons lite soy sauce
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus.

Arrange asparagus evenly on a lightly greased 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat.

Bake asparagus at 400° for 15 minutes or just until tender.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until butter is lightly browned. Remove from heat; stir in soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Drizzle over asparagus, tossing to coat. Serve immediately.

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