Tuesday, February 17, 2015

On the Homefront: Dalmatian Love Valentine's Day Table

After seeing my post for a fancy winter white table, I'll bet you thought I would be doing a sleek and elegant red-and-white Valentine's Day table.  All I can say is -- gotcha!  Inspired by this fun, casual look for the holiday, I decided to set a table in honor of our beloved Dalmatian Gia, lost recently to cancer, as well the two other Dalmatians we have owned in the past.  I chose a red and brown color scheme, and added a few Dalmatian-spotted touches.  Love comes in many forms, and this year I decided to show a little Dalmatian love on Valentine's Day while celebrating the holiday with my husband:

Dark brown wooden bead placemat from Target years ago; red round woven placemat from Kmart years ago; antiqued bronze charger with beaded edge from who knows when or where; red Waechtersbach Fun Factory dinner plate from Pier 1 years ago; Dalmatian dessert plate by Karen Donleavy, special-ordered a few years ago; Dalmatian-spotted flatware from Cow Depot/Cow Kitchen; brown napkin; red beaded napkin ring from Pier 1 a few years ago; red Waechtersbach Spain Dalmatian mug (gift from my sister years ago); French jelly jar style Luminarc Working Glass; red stemmed wine glass from Target ages ago.

Show me the love!  Two lovely little Dalmatians offer
chocolate-dipped peanuts in heart-shaped ramekins.

Harney & Sons Valentine's Blend tea will be served with dessert in a
Dalmatian-spotted teapot.

This table calls out for a menu featuring red wine and red meat.  The only problem is that I am allergic to the latter.  The best solution for this dilemma -- a surf and turf menu!  The steak will please my husband, while I can safely eat the lobster tail.  Grilling would be ideal, but this time of year is not usually convenient for that option, so try broiling steaks following the detailed instructions listed here, and broil lobster tails as described here.  Be sure to bake your potatoes wrapped in foil before broiling the steak and lobster, and keep them wrapped to stay warm until ready to serve.  Serve all three with some Lemon Parsley Butter (add some garlic if both of you love it), cold and cut into slices for the steak, melted for the lobster, and your choice for the potato.  Creamed spinach is a traditional vegetable for a steak dinner, but serve any vegetable prepared any way you like with this meal.

Red Wine
Grilled or Broiled Ribeye Steak and/or Lobster Tail
Lemon Parsley Butter*
Baked Potatoes
Creamed Spinach**
Chocolate-Covered Mini Donuts
Chocolate-Dipped Peanuts, Almonds, and Macadamia Nuts
Milk Chocolate Truffles
Hot Tea

*Lemon Parsley Butter

1/2 C. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
3 T. minced parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, thoroughly combine all of the ingredients.  Scrape the butter mixture in a straight line onto a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper, close to an edge.  Roll the butter up in the wrap or paper, forming a long cylinder shape about the diameter of a silver dollar.  Twist each end closed and place the butter cylinder in the refrigerator until firm, about two hours.

**Creamed Spinach

1 T. butter
1 shallot, minced
12-16 oz. prewashed fresh baby spinach
1/4-1/3 C. heavy cream
nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste
1/2-1 tsp. Wondra flour (optional)

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan.  Add the shallot and cook until translucent.  Add the spinach and toss until wilted.  Stir in the heavy cream and seasonings and heat for a few minutes until the liquid reduces and thickens slightly. If the sauce is still too thin, stir in enough Wondra flour to thicken.  Serve immediately.  Serves 2-3.

Chocolate in any form is the perfect ending to this meal (sorry, Dalmatians, but no chocolate for you!).  My dessert tray features chocolate-covered mini donuts, chocolate-dipped almonds and macadamia nuts, and milk chocolate Lindt Lindor Truffles (there are also chocolate-dipped peanuts in the two heart-shaped ramekins flanking the tray), but feel free to serve whatever chocolate dessert you prefer.

How about a hug?  This little fellow is ready and willing.

Gimme some Sugar!  Sugar the Dalmatian returns with kisses for all.

I hope everyone had a love-filled Valentine's Day!

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