Monday, August 24, 2009


DC has been working so many weekends lately, and for some reason it seems like we've had DS with us every date night for weeks. I was gloomily contemplating this fact on my trip, when I came up with the idea of having a SURPRISE cozy date night at home the day after my scheduled return. I called DC immediately and told him not to schedule anything for Saturday night, and to plan on being out of the house at least part of Saturday afternoon. If there's one thing I love, it's surprises!

Saturday "morning" I ran out to pick up some groceries, flowers, and a few other things. ;) Which I managed to smuggle into the house without DC seeing them. Around 4, he left to take a friend of ours who is trying to get her driver's license out for a practice drive. I told him not to come home before 7, and that I would leave him instructions as to what to do then. He looked at me funny, but agreed, and drove off.

I then spent the next hour madly dashing around the living room and kitchen, clearing the surfaces of all the clutter and putting all that stuff back where it belonged. Before I knew it, it was 5:30, and I realized I had not done thing 1 on getting dinner ready yet, and DC would probably be home around 6:45, if I know him. Yikes!

I kicked it into overdrive. Luckily, I had chosen a pretty simple menu, and had purchased a romantic dessert (mousse au chocolat for him, vegan chocolate mousse for me). I finished just in the nick of time. Sure enough, at 6:45 I heard the automatic garage door opening. I went into the downstairs bathroom to complete my toilette. Once that was done, it was a simple job to cook the meat, set a romantic table, light the candles, and set out the shrimp cocktail. (I had reduced the wine sauce for the meat ahead of time.

Here is our menu:

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail (Barefoot Contessa)

Bison Filet Mignons with mushrooms and Port Wine sauce (a combo of Tyler Florence and a recipe from Gourmet)
Twice-Baked Potato (half of a large baker for each of us, DC's half including a generous amount of goat cheese, which he adores)
Sauteed cherry tomatoes

Spinach Salad with mandarin oranges, caramelized walnuts, and bacon bits with raspberry vinaigrette

Chocolate/vegan chocolate Mousse

It was a total success! DC absolutely loved it. Although he was surprised to be served his salad after the main course. I couldn't FIND my camera (it turned up later) so sadly, I have no beautiful photos to share with you. To drink, I bought some hard cider, thinking a little alcohol would be romantic. Wine tends to give both of us headaches.

Here is my combo recipe for

Bison Filet Mignon with Mushrooms and Tawny Port Dijon Sauce

2 (8-ounce) filet mignon bison steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bacon strips
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound assorted mushrooms, such as shiitake, crimini, and chanterelle, stemmed and halved
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
3 tablespoons minced shallot
1/3 cup Tawny Port
2/3 cup dry red wine
1-2 cups beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon style mustard
Beurre manie made by kneading together 1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon allpurpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Season both sides of the filet mignon generously with salt and pepper. Wrap a piece of bacon around the sides of each steak and secure with butcher's twine. In a large heavy, ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Place the steaks in the hot pan and cook until well seared on 1 side, about 3 minutes. Turn the steaks over, there should be a nice crust on top. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and rosemary; give everything a good stir. Transfer the pan to the oven. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes or until the steaks are cooked medium-rare. Remove the steaks, and mushrooms to a platter; cover loosely with foil to keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

In the fat remaining in the skillet cook the shallot over moderately low heat, stirring, until it is softened, add the Port and the red wine, and boil the mixture until it is reduced by two thirds. Add the broth, boil the mixture until it is reduced by half, and strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a small saucepan. Whisk in the mustard, bring the mixture to a boil, and add the beurre manie, a little at a time, whisking until the sauce is smooth. Simmer the sauce, whisking occasionally, for 2 minutes, whisk in any juices that have accumulated on the cutting board, and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Remove the butcher's twine from the steaks and serve with a generous portion of mushrooms and sauce.

After dinner we played Trivial Pursuit... with a few rules of my own tossed in. It was a very fun date night.


  1. I just love it when a plan comes together. Your night sounds very romantic. We can all use a little romance in our lives.

  2. Sounds like a great feast! The bison fillet sounds delish, wish I could find this cut of bison, in my supermarket I can only get ground & sirloin.

  3. Beautiful menu - glad your date night was a hit!

  4. I forgot to say that the recipe was written for regular beef filet mignon, but it worked very well with the bison filet mignon. They actually sell that cut at my WF as bison tenderloin, but they've got it cut up into steaks already. It truly was delicious-- so tender you could cut it with a butter knife. Tyler is always fabulous on how to prepare thick cuts of meat, especially if you want them medium rare.

    Natasha, you could probably ask your Whole Foods or Wegman's if they could get some bison tenderloin in. I am sure it would be very popular. I like it BETTER than regular beef.

  5. What a sweet gesture for your hubby - and yourself! Your dinner sounds yummy!!

  6. This is so romantic! I really should do this! The meal sounds superb - but easy? I'll take your word for it! What a truly wonderful date!


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