A recipe for true love, if ever there was one. Red meat and red wine followed by, oh I don’t know, a sinfully luxurious flourless chocolate cake

No one could mistakenly call me a champion of Valentine’s Day, but here I am with another post about our romantic evening Lately I’ve been extra googly-eyed and, by coincidence only, it began around the middle of February. I’m just a sucker for being taken care of when I’m sick. Excitement for my new job, as well as encouragement while I freak out a little preparing for said new job, are also nice. It’s the little things that get me.

Simple, but extraordinary meals do the trick, too.

To start, rib-eyes are very tender, thanks to excellent marbling. When you take the first bite of a rib-eye grilled perfectly to juicy medium-rare pink, you stop to savor that moment.

During the dry aging process, moisture evaporates from the muscle creating a greater concentration of that delicious beefy flavor. In addition, the beef’s natural enzymes work to break down the fibrous connective tissue in the muscle, tenderizing it. If a simple rib-eye weren’t enough, we’ve concentrated the flavor and increased the tenderness of the steaks with dry aging. You’re salivating, aren’t you?

Smear a little pesto on the plate, nestle the steak on top, pour over some meat juices, dollop with another spoonful of pesto, and you’ve elevated this grilled, medium-rare, dry aged rib-eye even higher on the deliciousness scale. Serve with this fresh salad, a hearty Zinfandel and thick-sliced crostini to scrape every last drip off the plate, and now the meal is extraordinary.

dry-aged for five days in the refrigerator

Sometimes a couple just needs a nice, romantic meal. No holiday required.

Grilled Dry Aged Rib-Eyes with Pesto and Crostini [serves 2]

Printable recipe

2 rib-eye steaks about 3/4 to 1″ thick, each about 7 – 8 oz.

1 package cheesecloth, approximately 1 yd

1 sheet pan

1 rack to fit inside sheet pan

sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2 slices ciabatta or other crusty bread, about 2 cm thick

1 clove garlic, cut in half

3 – 4 T pesto

Make space in back of refrigerator for 5 to 10 days at a steady temperature of 38° F [most refrigerators are calibrated to 37° F and that’s fine, you don’t need to adjust the temp by one degree].

Remove steaks from packaging and rinse well. Pat completely dry, stack on top of each other, and wrap with 3 layers of cheesecloth. Place on a rack fitted inside a sheet pan in bottom/back of the refrigerator. After 24 hours, remove, unwrap, discard cheesecloth and wrap with a fresh piece. Return to same spot in the refrigerator for 6 to 9 days undisturbed.

Remove steaks from refrigerator. Remove cheesecloth, cut away extraneous fat around the edges and trim off any discolored parts.

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat, and while it’s heating up, toast the bread on both sides. Keep the crostini warm.

Season steaks with salt and black pepper. Cook steaks for 4 minutes on first side, turn and cook 3 minutes more. Transfer to a plate, cover with a piece of foil and set aside.

Spoon some pesto on to each of two plates and smear out across the plate with the back of the spoon. Place a steak on each plate and pour any resting juices over the top. Dollop the top with a bit more pesto.

Rub the crostini with the garlic, drizzle with a little olive oil and place next to the steak. Serve with Orange Baby Greens Salad.

Adapted from Jamie Oliver and Guy Fieri

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Orange Baby Greens Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette [serves 2]

Printable recipe

2 c mixed baby greens, thoroughly washed and dried

1 medium orange, supremed over a bowl, juices reserved — squeeze the leftover fleshy membrane over the bowl to obtain any remaining juices, about 1 T

1 1/2 T walnut oil

kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Herbes de Provence or Bouquet Garni

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the orange juice, walnut oil; add salt and pepper to taste. Dump the greens on top of the vinaigrette and toss lightly. Add orange segments and a sprinkling of Herbes de Provence or Bouquet Garni; toss again. Divide the salad between the plates and serve.

squirrel bread original!