My SO and I met in 2003 when we were both working as waiters at a popular Italian restaurant chain, Macaroni Grill. At the time, I was more into just finishing college than crafting, cooking, or baking, and I honestly didn’t know how to cook very much at all. But, being in school and broke, I couldn’t afford to take him out for the first birthday of his that we celebrated together, so I decided to cook for him – limited experience and all. I used my dad’s family secret steak recipe and made a couple sides (a starch & veggie) and even made little menus with my limited scrapbooking supplies that I titled, "Chez Diana". Back then, I didn’t even have a dining room table, but I setup the "bar" in my kitchen where I had two stools and put out a semi-decent place-setting. Dan loved the whole thing and said it was one of his favorite meals and to this day, the steak dinner (with my dad’s recipe) is one of his faves.
For his birthday this year, I decided to make his favorite meal to celebrate.
Except, this year, we started with a shrimp appetizer. Just some sauteed large shrimp with some Italian seasoning and garlic. I should have gotten some lemon from the grocery store because some lemon juice squeezed on these babies as they were finishing in the pan would have been so tasty. Kinda like this Rachael Ray recipe we make sometimes – 4 Minute Spicy Garlic Shrimp – a great entree for any night of the week and so fast!
After taking a moment to enjoy the shrimp, it was on to pan-searing the steak. Brown on both sides, add secret ingrediants, and finish in red wine. Mmm…this red wine is one of my faves – Estancia. I’m not a big wine connoisseur, so all the red wines taste nearly the same to me, but the brand, Estancia, is always great no matter the type of wine…even white or red…they’re all good.
I like to keep the sides simple when making meals. I like to do one thing fancy and the rest simple, although, honestly, this meal is overall pretty easy. Anywho, with the steak and shrimp being a bit on the fancy side, I kept the other parts of the meal simple. I sauteed some asparagus tips for the veggie, and I did roasted potatoes for the side. I love making roasted potatoes because they are great for entertaining – even just for two – and they’re very affordable. You prepare them and pop them in the oven and then you get to work on everything else for dinner while they’re cooking. They don’t require a lot of maintenance, and they’re pretty forgiving on timing, too, b/c you can leave them in the oven a bit longer if the rest of your meal is running late.
It’s not really a "gourmet" meal by professional standards, but we both really enjoy it, so I guess it’s gourmet enough for us.
Roasted Potatoes for Two:
1 lb red potatoes – (leave skins on or peel – I like to peel off the rough parts and remove the eyes)
3 garlic cloves – chopped (you can sub garlic salt or powder)
Italian Seasoning (roughly a tablespoon, but eyeball it)
Preheat oven to 425 F. Chop potatoes into chunks. The bigger the chunks, the longer you’ll need to cook them. I usually cut mine to about 1 inch pieces. Spread potatoes in a baking dish (I used 8"x11" rectangle). Drizzle with olive oil (I used about 3-4 tablespoons, but eyeball it). Sprinkle garlic, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper over potatoes. Toss potatoes to coat. Spread potatoes to even layer. Place in oven and bake until potatoes are tender or are just starting to brown – approximately (and this is very approximately so just watch them) 35-45 minutes. If you wish, take out halfway through cooking and toss potatoes with spoon. Be sure to put them in an even layer again before you put them back in the oven.
This recipe is my variation based on the ones I’ve used before that I found on foodnetwork.com. You may like those recipes better as they are more exact and mine is a guess-timation. I didn’t feel like looking up a recipe last night so I just guessed at everything…lol.