Compliments and Quandaries

My husband gave me probably the nicest compliment ever the other night.  He said that no matter how crappy his day is at work, he knows he can always look forward to coming home and having a great dinner.  Wow.  That is a pretty heavy responsibility.  I guess the old adage, "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach," is true. 

Honestly, though, I've found this to be true for both men and women (and small rescue dogs).  Try taking food to work or just putting a bag of candy on your desk.  Suddenly everyone is your friend.  There are worse ways to win people's affections.  Food is a great icebreaker; in fact, I was attending a class not too long ago (about how to run and organize an effective board of directors - what I do in my real life) and the instructor told the group to never run a meeting without having food - even a bowl of m&m's will grease the skids and warm the hearts.  

Hmmm...back to hearts again.  Valentine's Day commeth and I traditionally make a big, fancy dinner for my husband as my "gift."  I stew over what to do each year and choose and reject many candidates until I pick just the right thing.  I've made everything from homemade gyros (including the flat bread and the tzatziki sauce) to my personal favorite - Alton Brown's Strip Steak with Pepper Cream Sauce (but I used filet mignon).  It was AMAZING (and the reason I still have a nearly full bottle of Hennessy Cognac in the cupboard next to the Apple Brandy I bought to make a delectable apple cake and the coconut rum I bought for my pineapple upside down rum cake - yummy).  By the way, the first time I made this dish, it was perfect.  The second time I almost set the kitchen on fire and burned off my eyebrows when reducing the cognac.  Oops.  

But, this year I have a quandary.  I need to make something new and fabulous and not just for the family; we are having a friend come in to town for the weekend and I have never cooked for her.  I have yet to decide what it will be and should break out the Cook's Illustrateds and have a look.  Perhaps chicken marsala?  Why not!  I have room for yet another partially used bottle of booze in the cupboard.   

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