Five-Star Entrée with Five Aphrodisiacs

February, 12, 2014

Who could top that for a Valentine dinner? If your relationship has entered monotonous mode, this concoction should send it sizzling tout de suite. And if your romance is already on fire, the dish is sure to ignite more sparks.


I’d love to take credit for coming up with this creation, but it all goes to Jencen. The meal is elegant, romantic, easy to make, and adaptable to any budget. If you’re flush, splurge on a premium steak. If you’re watching that bottom line, choose something economical, use spices already on hand, and take veggies from your fridge. Either way, you’ll have a hit. Here’s how Jencen and I did it in 12 easy steps and about 45 minutes:

Shopping List for Two: 1) flavoring – five garlic cloves and one large shallot, three tbs. dissolvable coffee, one tbs. cocoa powder, two tbs. parmesan cheese, ¼ tsp. rosemary, and salt to taste, 2) six medium red potatoes, 3) steak, 4) shrimp, 5) butter, 6) wines – chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon (½ cup each), 7) ½ cup cream, 8) olive oil, 9) ½ cup beef stock, 10) broccolini 11) heart-shaped cookie cutter, and 12) two kabob skewers.

First, mince the garlic, removing any sprouts to avoid a bitter taste. Press the side of your knife into the minced garlic to squeeze out moisture. Then mince your shallots.

Valentine Dinner A

Second, mix the spices for your steak rub. The three key ingredients are dissolvable coffee, cocoa powder, and parmesan cheese. If you don’t use anything else, your rub will still be scrumptious. We hit up the spice rack and added a dash of All-Spice, Cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, onion powder and Brazilian cinnamon.

Valentine Dinner B

Third, mix your spices.


Fourth, rinse the potatoes. Don’t scrub them because that will remove the red skin and detract from your beautiful presentation. Potato sprouts collect dirt easily, so cut them all out. Then slice the potatoes into one-inch cubes, place them in hot water, and put the pan on the stove for 15 minutes on medium high heat.


Fifth, dry your steaks with a paper towel so the spice rub will stick evenly, and put on the rub.


Be generous in doing this because when you grill the steaks, juices will escape and drip most of the rub off. The remaining rub will infuse the meat.


Sixth, wash and peel your shrimp. Put them in a frying pan with butter on medium-high heat. Once the butter melts and the shrimp starts to simmer, add garlic. You’ll want to wait until then so the garlic won’t burn and become bitter. Once the garlic starts to turn golden brown, add chardonnay. Flip the shrimp, put a lid on the pan, and let them simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Valentine Dinner G

Seventh, begin grilling your steaks while the shrimp and potatoes simmer. Rotate the steaks between 10 and 2 o’clock on your grill to create perfect grill marks.


Eighth, make your mashed potatoes using a recipe by a former Four Seasons sous chef who trained Jencen. Start by putting a stick of butter in a pan. Place cut-up garlic on top of it, let the butter melt, start to sauté the garlic, and add salt to taste. Pour cream into this concoction and stir until blended. Then let it simmer for ten minutes. This will reduce the cream, creating a savory Alfredo-like sauce. While this is cooking, pour the water off the potatoes and mash them.

Valentine Dinner I

Ninth, create your wine reduction gravy. Coat a sauce pan with olive oil and pour off the excess. Heat the oil on medium, add ¼ cup shallots and stir until they turn clear. Add ½ cup red wine and ½ beef stock. Simmer until only half the liquid remains.


Tenth, once your steak is cooked with the perfect grill marks, reduce the heat to keep it warm while you pour your Alfredo-like cream from the frying pan into the mashed potatoes. Mash some more, and add salt to taste. Make the consistency of the potatoes thin because they will thicken as they cool down.

Eleventh, sauté the rest of the shallots and garlic in butter for five minutes while soaking broccolini in a bowl of hot water. Then add the blanched broccolini to the pan.


Twelfth, design a romantic display. Press your mashed potatoes into a heart-shaped cookie cutter on a plate and pass a knife across the top of the cutter to level off the potatoes. Pull the cookie cutter straight up and the heart will remain. Add your steak and pour the wine reduction gravy over it. Make a heart with two shrimps by placing them face-to-face on a kabob skewer stick and prop it up against the steak and potatoes. Garnish with broccolini.

Valentine Dinner

Tantalizingly delicious! The five aphrodisiacs are chocolate, coffee, shrimp, rare steak and wine—that’s straight from the chef.


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