Don’t get me started on the reds… and I love my reds – crimson, ruby, cérise…
Valentine’s is bearing down, the full court press, and we’re greeted by balloons, cards, flowers and chocolate (not to mention diamond rings), all lining our display shelves and flashing across our screens. As for my nod to the upcoming Hallmark Holiday?
I’m considering hues that leave no hangover from riotous reds or precious pinks. At the moment I prefer tones of toast and coffee.
I’m eschewing titillating tales and in their place noting the following: love reveals itself in small deeds and heartfelt pauses in routine, in delivering silence so that your partner can catch (at last) those forty winks, the mixing of a martini or slow pour of scotch after an impossible day at work, the hearty meal: one weary man who walks through the door (to greet an even wearier woman), and in his arms are the makings of steak au poivre with a bottle of Cabernet.
Be still, my heart.
Paying Attention to Your Partner’s Needs: Feed Him/Her
Sprawled in bed last evening though it was only eight o’clock, after days during which I was far too tired (and preoccupied) to cook for myself, the sound of steak sizzling in a pan in my kitchen was enough to rouse me; even more so, such kindness: a meal I love with a man I love, though he had a dreadful week of his own.
How often do we feed someone we love as a purposeful act of love, not simply caretaking?
How little does it take to conjure the notion of a Valentine with no necessity for the requisite flowers or chocolate or overpriced gift, as this good man reminded me last evening?
How often is the gift of awareness of what the other person needs – and then delivering – the sweetest expression of love?
Cooking Can Be an Act of Love
I find myself recalling the many times in my life when food was associated with love and vice versa: a toddler’s gleeful face when surprised by a new, delicious taste and consequently, the gush of emotion from the parent whose pleasure it is to witness this discovery; the mother’s contentment when her little boys put their mischievous minds to baking her a cake for her birthday, and the delight in sharing it – sloping layers, burnt edges, crooked candles and all.
Homemade soups remind me of familial moments and romantic ones; aromatic baking brings me back to special celebrations; Valentine’s – in its own way – is an offering of sensory range more appealing to me than one hundred shades of pinks better suited to lipsticks and nail enamels than sparkly, overpriced, commercialized sentiments.
I make no bones about enjoying my beef; now, I may add a small steak, peppery potatoes dressed in parsley, and a glass of Cabernet shared at my file-covered kitchen table to a collection of modest and marvelous memories, all about love.
Steak Au Poivre for Valentine’s
- four 4-oz. filets (grass fed)
- Fresh Ground Pepper
- Olive oil or butter to sear the steak
- Worcestershire Sauce
Use coarsely ground pepper. Coat both sides of your filets with the pepper. Sear steak in butter or oil, top of the stove, burner on high, turning each piece of steak when it’s seared. Pay attention to splattering oil!
Add a few dashes of Worcestershire and / or red wine. Turn down the heat and cover. Depending on the thickness of your meat (I prefer not more than one inch), you may need 5 to 8 minutes on low heat to finish cooking while still keeping the inside a rosy pink.
You’re done! Serve with home fries, potatoes sautéed on top of the stove, or baked potato. Add light sour cream or other garnish, or simply sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Total cost (grass-fed filet can be expensive): anywhere from $18 to $28 for the meat; $3 to $6 for everything else. But remember, the recipe above serves four. Last evening’s meal, in entirety, for two? An approximate cost of $22, including the wine.
Dessert? I leave that to your imagination.
Part of a series of essays, recipes, and tidbits on food and love in celebration of Valentine’s week.
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