It's Wednesday, you've made no plans for Valentine's Day (which is Friday by the way), and you've got a special a lady (or guy) who you'd like to impress. Relax. Don't panic and pay through the nose for a last-minute reservation; as long as this person has been in your apartment before (or you're comfortable asking her/him over) you should make dinner. This only requires the ability to read a timer, a cast iron (or oven safe) pan, and another medium-sized pan or pot. Also, she or he has to like steak. As long as you can meet the requirements above and have about 20 minutes you can create a delicious steakhouse-style meal that will be sure to impress. --Brown
Porterhouse with creamed spinach
1 16 ounce Porterhouse or T-Bone steak (get aged beef if you can splurge) 1 large bag or bunch of spinach (about 11 ounces), rinsed, dried, and roughly torn 3-4 cloves garlic, minced (depending on how comfortable you are with your guest) 2 Tablespoons butter (plus more for finishing) 1 small shallot, diced 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/3 Cup heavy cream 1 Tablespoon canola oil (you can use vegetable oil in a pinch but not olive oil) Kosher salt Ground black pepper
About 30-45 minutes before you're ready to eat take your steak out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature. This is important to make sure it cooks evenly and you're not serving raw meat (unless your date is into it).
About 15 minutes before you're ready to eat, preheat your oven to 500° F and put your pan in there once it's come to temperature. You want to get that thing as hot as possible so try to leave it in the oven for at least 10-15 minutes.
Put your other pan or pot over medium heat on the stove and melt the butter. Add in the shallot and garlic and cook them down for 1 minute.
Add your spinach and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook it down for 3-4 minutes and add in the cream and nutmeg. Stir for another 4-5 minutes until the cream has thickened; you can add a pinch or two of flour if it's not thickening up, just be sure to stir it in so there are no lumps. Check your seasoning and add more of whatever you need, if anything. If it tastes good, drop the heat to a simmer and stir the spinach occasionally while you're searing your steak.
With potholders remove your cast iron pan from the oven and place it on the stove over high heat, but don't turn the oven off. Salt and pepper your steak generously, this is all the seasoning you're going to need/use so don't be shy.
Put your hood vent on (it's gonna get smoky) and pour a tablespoon of canola oil in the pan. Add the steak and sear it on one side for 1-1 1/2 minutes just to get a nice brown crust on it. Flip it over and sear for another 1-1 1/2 minutes. Keep everything in the pan and immediately pop it back in the oven and cook it for 2 minutes; this will give you a perfect medium rare steak.
Remove the steak from the oven and let it rest for at least 5 minutes so the juices can redistribute. I recommend pre-slicing the steak from the bone so your date doesn't have to. Less cutting time means more staring-lovingly-into-her-eyes time. Serve it up with a nice side of your spinach et viola! Love on a plate.