Duos in the restaurant industry dish on their favorite recipes and pairing tips for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner at home.
Silvana Santos Broadhead and Patrick Broadhead
It was love at first sight. That’s how Silvana Santos Broadhead and Patrick Broadhead describe their first meeting, while at a Max Restaurant Group business conference in South Florida. Patrick, then a manager, and Silvana, a Brazilian-born hostess, soon began dating; there was an eventual Napa Valley proposal, a wedding and a baby boy. They’ve since prospered at Max Restaurant Group; Patrick is now a partner and Silvana is an operations manager.
When the duo isn’t dining out at the Group’s many restaurants, they cook at home. Lobster Shepherd’s Pie with an arugula and citrus salad is a Valentine’s Day favorite. Paired with a full-bodied, Napa-style Chardonnay boasting lush, round vanilla notes and a long finish, it makes for an equally delicate and decadent meal.
“Some time on new French oak adds toasty, brioche elements, and wines that have undergone malolactic are a dream with buttery lobster,” says Patrick. For those who prefer red, he suggests Domaine Drouhin 2008 Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley.
Lobster Shepherd’s Pie
1 large or 2 small New England lobsters (about 2 pounds total)
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
2/3 cup half and half
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 small leek, halved, washed and cut into ¼-inch dice
Corn from 1 ear
6 shiitake mushroom caps, sliced into strips
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
Leaves from 2 thyme sprigs
2 ounces brandy or dry Sherry of your choice
Grated Parmesan cheese, to top
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Cook the lobsters in a large pot of boiling water for 6–7 minutes. Remove and place in an ice bath for about 10 minutes. Crack the claws and shells, remove the meat, then dice into large pieces.
In another pot, cook the potatoes in salted water over medium-high heat until tender, then drain. Mash the potatoes (preferably with a ricer or food mill) and stir in the half and half, 1 tablespoon of butter and salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook the leek in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until softened slightly but not browned. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the corn and mushrooms, cooking until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the lobster meat and any captured juices, peas and thyme. Deglaze with the brandy or Sherry, cooking for 1–2 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Season to taste.
Spoon the lobster mixture into 2 individual casserole dishes and top with mashed potatoes (piping with a star tip creates an elegant look). Top each with a light dusting of Parmesan.
Place casserole dishes on a baking sheet; bake on an upper rack for 10–12 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot. Serves 2.
Jo-Ann Makovitzky and Marco Moreira
Jo-Ann Makovitzky and Marco Moreira, who met more than 20 years ago while working at a Dean & DeLuca store, opened the Manhattan restaurant, Tocqueville, together 12 years ago. Marco, head chef, collaborates with Jo-Ann, restaurant manager, to create the American fare menu.
While they can’t celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 14th (a busy day in the restaurant industry), they head to their home kitchen on their first night off to whip up a romantic, at-home meal. “I like to do pot roast and other braised things,” says Jo-Ann. “Marco sometimes cooks small birds, like squab or pheasant for us, or he’ll make some great pasta dish.” But their favorite is Sweet and Sour Short Ribs with Dried Cranberries, which is served with roasted root vegetables, blue cheese polenta or butternut squash purée.
The couple’s go-to wine pairing for this dish is a Ribera del Duero from Spain, with tannins that cut through the richness of the short ribs in an elegant way. Notes of coffee and baking spice in the wine compliment the dinner for two.
Sweet and Sour Short Ribs with Dried Cranberries
1½ pounds bone-in short ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into ½-inch diagonal slices
1/8 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup water or beef stock
½ cup dry red wine
½ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 bay leaf
¼ cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Brown the ribs evenly on all sides then place in an oven-proof braising pan.
In a large skillet set over medium heat, sauté the onion in olive oil until golden brown. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Add the carrot, tomato sauce and tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add the water, wine, vinegar, sugar, bay leaf and clove to the mixture, and bring to a simmer. Transfer the mixture to the braising pan with the ribs, cover tightly with aluminum foil and the lid, and bake for 1½–2 hours, until ribs are fork tender.
Transfer the ribs to another pan and let cool. Once cool, remove bones and excess fat. Skim fat from the liquid, discard the bay leaf and clove and simmer briskly until reduced by ¼. Add the dried cranberries and season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the ribs to the liquid and chill overnight.
To serve: Scrape off and discard any congealed fat. Cover the pan and heat in an oven set to 375°F until hot, about 35–40 minutes. Serves 2.
Lori Baker and Jeffrey Banker
Lori Baker and Jeffrey Banker fulfilled a joint dream in 2009 by combining their culinary skills—he’s the chef and she’s the pastry chef—as well as their names to open the San Francisco restaurant Baker & Banker. Together, they maintain the restaurant, care for their 14-month-old baby and still make time for intimate dinners together.
“I like it when [Jeffrey] cooks for us. He keeps it pretty simple—a nice salad, homemade pasta or roasted chicken,” says Lori. For dessert on special occasions, Lori bakes their favorite, Belgian Chocolate Mousse. She presents the warm mousse in martini or wine glasses, garnished with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
They pair the decadent dessert with Banyuls, a French dessert wine. “It’s a fortified Grenache, and the bright red fruit flavor, spice and a note of cocoa go really well with chocolate,” says Lori.
Belgian Chocolate Mousse
18 ounces bittersweet chocolate
9 ounces milk chocolate
¾ cup warm milk
5 egg yolks
9 egg whites*
2 cups heavy cream
Whipped cream, for garnish
Fresh raspberries, for garnish
Break the chocolate into squares or chunks, then melt in the microwave (30 seconds at a time, stirring before continuing) or in the top of a double boiler. When melted, transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk until completely incorporated, then mix in the yolks.
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture. Beat the cream to soft peaks and fold into the mixture. Pour the mixture into martini or wine glasses. Serve with whipped cream and chocolate shavings or with fresh raspberries. Serves 12.
* If using raw whites is a concern, combine them with a little sugar in the top of a double boiler and warm to 140°F. Cool and proceed as described in the recipe.
Toni Lydecker is a food journalist whose latest cookbook is PIATTO UNICO: When One Course Makes a Real Italian Meal. She writes an Italian food blog called www.tavolatalk.com.