Valentine's Day Ideas

V-day 3-Bottle Wine Pairing Pack

V-Day Tasting 3-Pack with DIY 3-Course Recipes (with Bonus Veggie Option)

First course: Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley

Founded in 1982, Roederer Estate is nestled in Mendocino County’s fog-shrouded, Anderson Valley. As the California property of Champagne Louis Roederer, Roederer Estate builds upon a centuries-old tradition of fine winemaking. Roederer’s California sparkling stays true to the estate's French roots with its finesse and depth of flavor.

Varietals: Approximately 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir

Tasting notes: Red fruit aromas from the Pinot Noir mingle with the Chardonnay notes creating crisp and elegant flavors with complex pear, spice and hazelnut flavors. It is fresh and lightly fruity with great finesse and depth of flavor.

Why we picked the Winter Citrus Salad with Honey Dressing: The bright acidity of the wine compliments the vibrant citrus fruit delivering a symphony of sweet and sour flavors. Perfect for a playful start of a multi-level flavor profile dinner.

Second Course: 2014 Mt Brave Cabernet Sauvignon Mt Veeder

This wine is some of the best wine Mt. Veeder has to offer. A burly wine, with a touch of Merlot and Cabernet Franc blended in the keep things interesting. Cassis, anise, blue fruits and a touch of orange peel. Grainy tannin and bright acidity tie everything together on its way to a supple finish.

Tasting notes: This hand-harvested, small-production Cabernet Sauvignon has notes of blueberry, cassis, light roast espresso, and floral notes. Grainy tannin and bright acidity tie everything together on its way to a supple finish. Hints of herb, Asian spice, espresso and toast combine with floral notes, weight and a wonderful finish.

Why we picked the Skillet Steak Dinner or Vegetarian Portobello Steaks with Avocado Chimichurri: Hints of herb, Asian spice, espresso and toast combined with floral notes of this Cabernet compliment the rich layer of flavors in these dishes – accenting the bright weight and finish of the wine.

Third Course: 2006 Charbay Still House Port Napa Valley

Charbay has been crafting masterful wines and spirits in Napa ever since 1983, following European winegrowing traditions. Seal the deal with their 93pt Napa Valley port that tastes like a 20-year-old tawny. Packed with chocolate and black cherries, this limited edition treat is excellent on its own or coupled with chocolate delights.

Varietals: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Zinfandel, 10% Syrah

Tasting notes: Packed with chocolate and black cherries, this limited edition treat is excellent on its own or coupled with chocolate delights. Plump jammy flavors of the wine in its youth and toasty vanilla of the brandy have combined & settled down to mature to a medium body, semi-dry richness.

Why we picked the Salted Caramel Pots de Crème or Chocolate Mousse: The toasty, spicy flavors of the Port accentuate and deepen the richness of these desserts, leaving you with a complex and satisfying finish without being overpowering to the palate.

DIY Recipes for V-Day

Appetizer - Winter Citrus Salad with Honey Dressing:

Cooking time 10min

2 blood oranges or tangerines
1 pink grapefruit
1 navel orange
1/4 small red onion or 1 shallot, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or balsamic
1/2 teaspoon honey
Lime or lemon juice to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly chopped tarragon or a pinch dried

Peel citrus and remove pith, and slice into wheels. Layer the fruit on a serving dish, sprinkle with salt and use the chopped onion as garnish.
Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, lime juice and tarragon. Taste the mix and adjust seasoning as needed. When ready, drizzle over the salad and serve.

Entrée - Skillet Steak Dinner:

Prep time 35 min - Cooking time 20 min

2 Steaks of your choice (2 New York Steaks 2 inches thick recommended)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter divided
4 ounces mushrooms quartered
1/2 pound asparagus trimmed
Additional salt and pepper to taste

Let the steaks sit in room temperature without packaging for at least 30 minutes.
Mix the salt, peppers, onion powder, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Rub both sides of each steak with the created mixture.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Preheat a heavy, oven-safe skillet over high heat until it is smoking hot. Add in 1 tablespoon canola oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Sear steaks in the hot pan for 2-3 minutes per side. Turn the steak onto its side and render the fat by searing it for 2-3 minutes as well. Remove steaks from pan and set aside briefly.

Add in remaining butter, mushrooms and asparagus. Season both with salt and pepper and toss in the oil and butter over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Move to the side and return the steaks to the pan.

Slide the skillet into the preheated oven to finish cooking, about 10-15 minutes for medium rare. Use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy.

Entrée (Vegetarian Option) - Vegetarian Portobello Steaks with Avocado Chimichurri:

Prep time 15 min - Cooking time 10 min

Ingredients for the Mushroomz:
2 large portobello mushrooms (stems removed, wiped clean)
0.17 cup balsamic vinegar
0.13 cup olive oil
0.25 tsp cumin
0.25 tsp black pepper
0.13 tsp smoked paprika
1.5 cloves garlic (minced)
0.5 Tbsp steak sauce (optional, vegan friendly, like A1)
Ingredients for the Chimichurri:
0.75 cups parsley (finely chopped, either kind will work, but flat leaf Italian parsley is best)
1.5 cloves garlic (minced)
0.5 medium shallot (minced)
0.13 tsp red pepper flake
1.5-2 Tbsp olive oil (extra virgin when possible)
1.5 Tbsp lemon juice (for more traditional chimichurri, use red or white vinegar)
0.25 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
0.5 small ripe avocado (cubed)

Add portobello mushrooms to a shallow baking dish or large freezer bag. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, cumin, black pepper, paprika, garlic, and steak sauce (optional). Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Add sauce to the mushrooms and use a pastry brush to brush on all sides. Marinate on one side for 5 minutes, then the other side for 5 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare chimichurri by adding parsley, garlic, shallot, red pepper flake, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a medium mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lemon juice for acidity, salt for flavor, or red pepper flake for heat. Add avocado and toss to combine. Set aside.

Heat a grill or a large skillet over medium heat. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes, or until caramelized and deep golden brown. Brush on any remaining marinade while cooking to infuse more flavor.

Top portobello steaks with avocado chimichurri, serve and enjoy!

Dessert - Chocolate Mousse:

Cooking time 20 min Setting before serving 2h

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, best quality
3 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
2 teaspoons sugar
Chocolate shavings

Place the butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Break the chocolate into small pieces directly into the bowl. Microwave it in 20-second intervals, stirring between each bout of heat, until the chocolate is about 75% melted. Stir, allowing the residual heat in the bowl to melt the chocolate completely. (Alternatively, place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan containing about 1 inch of barely simmering water. Stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.) Let the mixture cool for a few minutes, then whisk in the egg yolks one at a time, mixing until smooth after each addition. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form (the peaks should be just starting to hold, and will melt back into themselves after a second). Gradually beat in 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the peaks will stand straight up when the beaters are lifted from the mixture). Using a large rubber spatula, fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture until uniform. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the heavy cream on medium-high speed until it begins to thicken up. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla and continue beating until the cream holds medium peaks (when you lift the beaters or whisk out of the bowl, the peaks will slightly droop down, but they won't lose their shape entirely). Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Be sure it is fully incorporated but don't mix any more than necessary. Divide the mousse between 6 individual glasses, cover, and chill until set, at least 2 hours.

Up to a few hours before serving, whip the cream until it begins to thicken up. Add the sugar and whip to medium peaks. Dollop the whipped cream over the mousse and top with chocolate shavings.

Make-Ahead Instructions: Mousse can be made up to 1 day ahead of time. Cover with plastic wrap and keep chilled in the refrigerator. Add whipped cream topping and chocolate shavings up to a few hours before serving.

Note: Chocolate mousse is made with raw eggs. If that is a concern, try to find pasteurized eggs. Pasteurized eggs have been briefly exposed to heat to destroy any potential bacteria.

Have a great and romantic V-day!