champagneflutesNew Year’s Eve is one of those completely ambiguous holidays that always seems so fun in the movies, but rarely lives up to the hype, especially if you go the $75 a plate restaurant option with noisemakers at midnight.  For a truly romantic New Year’s Eve this year, plan something special AT HOME with your lady friend where YOU do all the work.  Even if you’ve never cooked anything but toast, no, especially if you’ve never cooked anything but toast, planning and preparing a romantic dinner for two will win you way more points than a trite restaurant dinner.  Here’s the even better news, it’s not that hard to make something that looks and tastes completely, impressively gourmet.  The perfect New Year’s Eve menu should be a little fancy, slightly decadent, and definitely contain champagne and chocolate.  Our very easy, very romantic, very decadent menu hits all these notes, and even makes dessert into a special gift, and that’s just bonus points.

THE MENU:

Finger Caesar Salads

Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon with Braised Carrots

Chocolates and Champagne

The Salad:

The classic Caesar salad is one of the most decadent, rich salads there is due to the umami goodness of its anchovy laden dressing.  Serve it with a twist by making it into finger food – eating with your fingers is very suggestive and seductive – and for an extra nice touch, use a vegetable peeler at the table to slice thin shavings of parmiggiano reggiano cheese over the salad.  Leave the forks in the kitchen and feed each other these delicate hearts of romaine dripping with suggestion.  Here’s a simple Caesar recipe to try from Bon Appetit: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/finger-caesar-salads

The Main Course:

Filet mignon, and steak in general, is deceptively easy to prepare, but also very easy to overdo.  A couple of hints and tips about steak before you start: steak will continue to cook for a few minutes after it’s removed from the heat, you don’t want the steak to be “done” in the oven or in the pan, you want it to finish off the heat, tented in foil for a few minutes.  A meat thermometer is good for testing the doneness of steak, but the Touch Test is even better.  For a perfect medium-rare steak, lightly press the steak to test, it should feel like the fleshy part of your hand between your thumb and forefinger.  When the steak feels like this, take it off the heat, tent it in foil for about 5 minutes, and it should be perfect!  We’ve paired the steak with a simple, slightly sweet braised carrot dish as a foil for the salty bacon wrapped filet, and we’ve purposely omitted a potato or starch side, we want to leave room for dessert with this rich meal.  The steak is cooked in the oven, and the carrots are down on the stove top, making it easy to prepare them both at the same time and keep your time away from the table minimal.  Our choice for the filet recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/bacon-wrapped-filet-recipe/index.html?ic1=obinsite ) and carrot recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/braised-and-glazed-carrots-recipe/index.html ) are from our pals over at the Food Network.   Serve this with a nice Cabernet Sauvignon or Petite Sirah.  Make sure you have Frank Sinatra’s Songs for Young Lovers playing on the stereo.

 

The Dessert:

For the piece de resistance of your romantic meal, bring a bottle of champagne and a beautiful box of chocolate truffles to the table.  Look for a great chocolate shop in your area, or try this delicious 16pc set from Vosges (http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/product/milk_chocolate_truffles_16pc/Gifts_For_Her ).  Making dessert a gift is extra romantic, and, of course, chocolates are the ultimate finger food.  Pop the cork, present her with the chocolates, crank up the Frank Sinatra, and congratulate yourself for being the BEST boyfriend ever, and, take a breath and relax until Valentine’s Day.