This Valentine's Day, why go through the hullabaloo of dinner at a crowded, pricey steakhouse when you can make it (better) at home? Light some candles, throw a bouquet of roses on the table, and you've got yourself one romantic meal.
• See our list of 9 Edible Valentines to serve for dessert -- or to send along to friends and family.
• Browse more recipes for steak dishes, side dishes, and desserts.
• Got a question in the kitchen? The Food52 Hotline is here to help!
Ground coffee, smoked paprika, cumin, ancho chile and brown sugar form an earthy, flinty rub that smells appealingly of wood smoke. Aliwaks borrows a smart technique from Indian cooking and has you toast the spices over low heat before rubbing them on the steak. Then it's just a matter of searing it in a very hot iron pan and finishing the sauce with some chocolate brown stout, beef stock and a lump of butter. - Amanda & Merrill
1 Nice, thick rib eye, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick, big enough for two
1 tablespoon Ground coffee
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons Dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon Smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Ground cumin
1 teaspoon Hot red pepper flakes (preferably Ancho chile)
1 cup Chocolate stout ( you'll have to drink the rest)
1/2 cup Beef stock
1 tablespoon Unsalted butter
1 sprig Thyme
1 tablespoon Vegetable oil ( if you are the type to save bacon fat, by all means use it!)
1. Mix the coffee, salt, paprika, peppers & cumin together and toast lightly in pan until fragrant (alternatively you can toast whole spices then grind). Mix the spices with the sugar to make the rub.
2. Spread the rub all over the steak and let sit for awhile, if you do it the night before you'll have stronger flavor but if you do it right before serving it'll be good, too. (If you pre-rub and set it in the fridge, be sure to bring it up to room temperature before searing, so you do not shock the meat.)
3. Heat a cast iron pan until it's really really hot -- a drop of water flicked into the pan should sizzle and bounce. Add vegetable oil, wait a few seconds until the oil heats up, then place the steak in the pan. It should sizzle; leave it there, do not touch it at all for 3-4 minutes. It should be browning on the bottom. Then place it under a hot broiler and broil to medium rare or desired doneness.
4. Remove the steak and let rest on a warm plate, cover with aluminum foil.
5. Add the thyme sprig to the pan and let it saute a bit till it gets nice and fragrant. Pour in the chocolate stout and deglaze the pan. Add the beef broth, whisk together and reduce by half over medium heat.
6. Remove the thyme sprig and whisk in the butter. Season to taste.
7. Slice the steak on the bias and drizzle the sauce over top.
This salad is everything a Caesar should be -- assertive, complex, and rich -- with a few bonus points tacked on for the inspired use of pancetta (both on its own and as an instrument for crisping the homemade sourdough croutons). If you find the notion of swiping each individual crouton with fresh garlic overwrought, trust us -- it's worth it. - Amanda & Merrill
With a generous hit of half and half and butter (infused with bay and garlic) and a dollop -- or four -- of fresh goat cheese, Sonali's potatoes are creamy and ethereal with the lightest of tangs. Caramelized onions, which are both folded into the potatoes and piled on top before serving, thread their a mellow sweetness throughout. - Amanda & Merrill
Creamed spinach with a crunch, this gratin applies a layer of finesse to an age-old comfort food. A fragrant onion bechamel, made savory with a generous addition of Gruyere, envelops chopped spinach in its lush embrace without overwhelming it. We especially love the layer of buttery-crisp, salty panko crowning the top. - Amanda & Merrill
This recipe was adapted from one given to me by the pastry chef at Anthos, an excellent Greek restaurant here in New York. It couldn't be simpler to make, but the results are spectacular -- you use nothing but good quality dark chocolate, a little milk and some heavy cream, ending up with essentially a whipped ganache.Back when I used to make chocolate mousse a lot for dinner parties and catering gigs, I often folded in a splash of Cointreau and some chocolate shards, which I thought gave it some extra oomph. - Merrill
This wickedly good dirty martini will keep the grown-ups entertained. It has more vermouth than you might expect but goes down smooth and strong, just how we like 'em. - Amanda & Merrill