It’s Valentine’s Day week y’all. Yah! That means chocolates and flowers and reminders that we either do NOT have a honey or we have a honey who only remembers events like this if we leave subtle reminders like 14 text messages and a handwritten note in their wallet. Yah!!
Yes, you can sense the sarcasm in my voice. No one can do Valentine’s Day like my pops. Every year I’d get the generic “I (HEART) U” made out of crappy chocolate and picked up from Walgreens. No friends, it was not about the gourmet quality of the gift, but the fact that he remembered an ongoing tradition that seemed so appropriate.
(Side note – why don’t we do more of this? The more I think about it, he was on to something… He’d send my mom flowers every year on the first day of school and bring home an Easter Lily when on a grocery run during the appropriate season. That takes less brain power than trying to come up with a new Something Special, but shows that you remembered in your unique way. Anyway…)
If good for nothing else, Valentine’s Day gives us the excuse to eat another holiday-quality, calorie-laden meal and load up on rich desserts and deep red wines. (Oh, how excited am I for this red wine!) The internet will give you no less than 8,000,000 dessert ideas, so let me suggest an actual dinner recipe.
This “recipe” is perfect for a quiet dinner for two or a full dinner party of six. It requires a little prep work, but you won’t have to do anything short of heat up the oil once your guests have arrived. What’s for dinner?
As newlyweds in the 70s, my parents had a fondness for fondue. We would have this version at least twice a year; always on the day after Thanksgiving when we put up the tree. I’m all for your cheese or chocolate fondue, but the meat version is so easy to prepare AND it takes so long to actually cook the meat that no one leaves the table as overly stuffed as you do with the other options.
I can’t bring myself to write-up a recipe because there really isn’t one! Here are a list of ingredients you should have on hand to do it the Skarich way:
- 1 lb beef roast, cut into 1″ sized pieces (“beef for stewing” if you want it already cut)
- Around 3 cups of vegetable or canola oil
- Garlic butter (1/2 stick of butter, slightly melted mixed with 1 tsp garlic salt and dried parsley then put back in the fridge to chill)
- Homemade cocktail sauce (1 part horseradish and to 2 parts ketchup)
- Spicy white sauce (equal parts horseradish to cream cheese)
Fill the fondue vessel just over halfway with the vegetable oil. Let heat on a kitchen countertop with one skewered sample piece in the oil. Once the oil starts to bubble around the meat (and/or your temperature gauge has reached 250 degrees) you are ready to bring to the table.
SAFETY PRECAUTION: Be very, very, very careful around the hot oil. Nothing kills a Valentine’s Day party like third-degree burns.
In a perfect world, everyone gets two skewers, but if you have six people, you may want to limit everyone to one. Depending on how you like your meat cooked, it takes 3-6 minutes per piece.
Our typical side dishes would include white rice, garlic bread, and salad. At one of my favorite restaurants of all time, they give you vegetables (onions, peppers, boiled new potatoes) and other meats (chicken, shrimp, scallops, lobster) to cook in the oil. They also have a whole host of sauces for dipping options.
Moral of the story – play around! If you know you like BBQ sauce and green peppers, give it a whirl. If you’re trying new potatoes, definitely make a dill-based dipping sauce.
Bon appetit, mi amores!