Prep Steps

The Beau’s birthday was Sunday. In addition to a trip to First Watch, of course, his favorite breakfast place and drinks out with friends Sunday night, I decided to make him a fabulous birthday dinner at home Sunday afternoon.

The beau loves a steakhouse dinner so I decided to re-create that experience in my wee little apartment. Here was the menu:

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Lobster Bisque & Grilled Romaine Salad

Pinot Noir
Grilled Filet Mignon & Dry-Aged Sirloin
Spinach Gratin
Bleu Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Burgundy Mushrooms & Champagne Onions

Homemade Red Velvet Cake

Pretty ambitious for me, but overall the food itself was fairly straightforward.  I had some help from store-bought things, and used pretty basic recipes instead of trying anything too complicated. Since I don’t have original recipes to share per se, I’m going to step you through the prep of a dinner like this; how to get everything done on time and on temperature. Get a pen.

Make a Grocery list
(I’ve noted where I had things at-home vs the original recipe list):

Champagne, Pinot Noir (1 bottle each)
Frozen Shrimp (bought enough to use later in the week)
1 head romaine
1 red onion
8oz Parmesan (had at home)
Fresh Caesar dressing
Lobster Bisque (already prepared)
1 16oz bag frozen spinach
8oz Gruyère (I used some leftover “fancy cheeses” we had – great way to use up what you have)
8oz heavy cream
2 Yukon Gold potatoes
1 packet chives
4oz bleu cheese
Steaks (one 5oz filet, one 9oz dry-aged sirloin)
8oz baby bella mushrooms
4 white onions
Cocoa powder
Red food coloring
1 quart buttermilk
(I had the other essentials at home: flour, sugar, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic, wine etc).

Friday after work:
– Go to grocery store, pick up all of the above. Most importantly, talk to the butcher, I told him we were having a fancy birthday dinner and were grilling; and he recommended the two meat cuts above.

Saturday afternoon:
-Bake cake. Allow to cool completely. Cover and forget about until tomorrow.
-Watch marathons of E! TV.

Sunday morning: Prep I:
-Frost cake. I don’t have regular cake pans (and I’m also kind of um, eclectic?) so I had baked assorted mini cakes, cupcakes and mini cupcakes, so frosting took a while. Cover (without messing up frosting artwork) and forget about until after dinner.
All of these items should be covered and refrigerated after prep:
Peel and slice onions.
– Peel potatoes and slice into cubes.
– Thaw frozen spinach in a colander in the sink.
– Clean and slice mushrooms in half.
– Clean romaine, chop off wilted edges, slice lengthwise. Wrap in paper towels.
– Thinly slice 1/2 red onion.

Sunday afternoon (4pm-6pm, Dinner at 6:30pm)
Prep II/Cook:

-Add sliced onions to a tbs of butter, allow to caramelize for an hour (adding splashes of Champagne to deglaze the pan as you go).
– Make Spinach Gratin
-Chill Champagne.
-Remove onions to a warming dish. Add mushrooms to same pan, add butter and caramelize. Adding splashes of burgundy (or other red wine) as you go.
-Boil potatoes, drain. Add bleu cheese, splash of heavy cream, salt, pepper and a few minced chives. Remove to a warming dish and set aside.
-Quick Thaw Shrimp under running cool water. Pat dry.
-Trim 4 slices of bacon of excess fat, wrap around shrimp. Sprinkle with tons of black pepper. Set on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, 5 minutes each side until bacon is crisp.
-Unwrap the meat. Leave out to rest. Liberally coat with sea salt, cracked pepper and garlic powder.
-Lightly spritz romaine (cut-side) with olive oil.
-Have the beau heat the grill. Bring him a glass of champagne and a plate of
bacon-wrapped shrimp while the grill gets going.
-Set the table.
-Bring the beau the meat and romaine to grill. Sit with the beau for a few minutes enjoying champagne and shrimp.
-Have beau grill romaine.
-Have beau put meat on grill
-Heat lobster bisque. Add dashes of fresh garlic and cayenne to give some punch.
-Take grilled romaine from beau. Plate with add red onions, shaved parmesan, fresh Caesar and tons of black pepper.
-As beau finishes grilling. Pour soup. Set out salads. Bring warmed potatoes, spinach and the onions/mushrooms to table. Pour wine. Sit down.
-Beau brings meat in.
-Clear enough plates to bring out cake. Turn off lights, light candles, sing happy birthday while the dog barks along.
Beau is scared of the cake decorations. Beau admires your artistry of cake decorating.
-You and beau leave to meet friends for drinks.
-Leave dishes until tomorrow.

Action shots:

Bacon-wrapped shrimpies to start.

Things happening on the stove.

Stranger things happening at the stove.

Table set. Its GO time:

Grilled Romaine with fresh caesar, red onion and parmesan.

Burgundy Mushrooms & Champagne Onions.

Ina Garten’s Spinach Gratin (1/3 of recipe).

Bleu Cheese & Chive Mashed Potatoes.

All together now with Lobster Bisque (served in small cups) and Grilled Steaks.

Hello dinner…..

….and hello scary dessert. Paula Deen’s Red Velvet Cake. My own scary decorating skills.

All in all a fabulous day with the beau!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Lizzy says:

    Can I be your boyfriend? Pretty please? Wow girlfriend. wow.

    1. Ha! please get in line. But awww shoot, girl – you know Dr. Dave be eatin’ like this every night at your house – Miss Whiskey/bacon wrapped filets!

  2. Jen says:


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