Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Creating A Romantic Tryst For Two (with recipes)

Valentine Day is always special. While it’s nice to go out to dinner, some just love to make a nice romantic evening of it at home. Cold and snowy outside, warm and cozy inside with no fuss or worry about travel in inclement weather.

With a little preparation, an evening at home can be a special romantic tryst; no matter how long or short of time you’ve been together. An early dinner, followed up with some favorite romantic movies. It sets the mood for love and romance.

I thought I’d share a restaurant quality dinner that is special in our house. You can make it fancy or relaxed.

A candlelight dinner with a nicely set table makes it special.

Fillet Mignon


  • 2 (4 ounce) filet mignon steaks

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste
    salt to taste.

  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar

  • ¼ cup dry red wine (I used a Merlot instead or for different taste you can use sherry)

  • ¼ cup of crumble blue cheese (or you can use Gogonzola)

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (I used brown sugar but white works too)

  • 2 cloves of garlic-minced

Let the filets rest at room temperature for an hour prior to cooking. Salt and pepper. Broil to desired taste. Place on a warm plate to rest and distribute the juices evenly.

In a saucepan add Balsamic vinegar, wine, minced garlic, sugar and reduce to a thick syrupy mixture—about 10 minutes. (Don’t reduce too far or it could burn) About half way through this process, lightly top the fillets with cheese and place it in the broiler a couple of minutes until the cheese melts.

Place steaks on a warmed plate, drizzle some of the balsamic syrup mixture over the top of the steaks and serve. You can put the remainder of the mixture in small serving cups and place beside the plates.

  • Side suggestions:
  • I served it with Steamed Asparagus and Red Potatoes. It would go well with a salad and baked potatoes too or a nice rice dish.
  • Wine:
    A nice Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Strawberry Tiramisu for Two


    • 1 pint fresh strawberries
    • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
    • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur
    • 18 ladyfingers
    • 1/3 cup chilled espresso
    • 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

    • Cut off the tops of the strawberries and slice the berries. Reserve 2 large whole berries for garnish.

    • In a blender, place 2 cups of strawberries and 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar; blend to puree and set aside.

    • In a medium bowl, combine mascarpone cheese, 1/4-cup cream, 1/4-cup sugar, and liqueur; beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until thickened.

    • Place 6 ladyfingers on a serving plate and brush each with approximately 1-teaspoon cold espresso coffee. Spread or pipe out 1/2 of the cheese mixture over the ladyfingers, and layer with half of the sliced strawberries.

    • Repeat with the next 6 ladyfingers, espresso, remaining cheese mixture, and sliced strawberries; top with remaining 6 ladyfingers.

    • In a small mixing bowl, combine 1/4-cup heavy cream with 2 tablespoons sugar; beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until just whipped, approximately 1 minute. Spread cream evenly over top layer of ladyfingers.

    • Dust cocoa over whipped cream, and garnish with 2 reserved strawberries. Pour strawberry puree onto two serving plates. Cut tiramisu in half, and place onto puree.

    There is actually enough left over for seconds or for later. Nice with a good cup of coffee snuggled up watching some movies.

    Romantic Movie Suggestions:
    Sleepless in Seattle


    Lake House


    Princess Bride

    50 First Dates

    • What are some of your favorite Romantic Recipes or Movies?
    • WRITERS: How you add sensual touches (using the senses) to your writing when writing Romance?

    Friday, I'll share a few more recipes for a special dinner Tryst.

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Confessions Of A Romance Author--WHY I Write Romance

    My guest is, Holly Jacobs, award winning Romance author writing for Harlequin and Avalon.

    Have you ever wondered: What draws an author to a certain genre? Holly talks about why she loves to write Romance.

    I’m going to make a confession here...I love science fiction and fantasy. Love it. Battlestar Galactica was one of my favorite shows, and I’m hoping Caprica lives up to its predecessor’s reputation...oh, there is a good chance some of you are zoning out right about now. And you’re asking why a sci-fi geek is here to talk about romance. I’ll confess, I love science fiction, but I write romance.
    • Why?
    Because it’s all about the people. And as a writer, that’s what I want to explore. Frankly, I could spend a lifetime trying to figure out love. And no dissing of science fiction here–but I think that understanding love is so much harder than understanding aliens.

    Why do two people fall in love? Why will they work so hard to overcome obstacles? It’s a mystery. One I try to unravel for two characters at a time. No more. No less. Because each relationship has it’s own magic. Two people who are so similar they belong together. Two people who are so dissimilar, and yet the belong together. People who have to overcome horrendous obstacles to be together. People who are together so easily as friends only to discover they are more than that...and that discovery tends to beget new problems they never faced as friends. People who make love work despite crazy families, despite kids in the mix, despite...
    Okay, you get the pictures. Love is inexplicable. It’s hard. It’s never the same.

    • That’s why I write romance!

    Think about your friends. People you swore would be together for life and aren’t. People who had everything stacked against them and do make it. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. And that’s what I love to explore as an author.

    This month’s release, A ONE-OF-A-KIND FAMILY features Liam, who’s shouldered the burden of caring for a very special brother, Colm. He’s created a comfortable life for them both–a safe life for them. Then Anna Chapel enters their lives and encourages Colm to expand his horizons.

    Can Liam expand his horizons, too? Expand them far enough to include Anna?

    Happy Valentine’s!

    Confession time: What draws you to romance?

    PS. I do love science fiction, but I do love reading romance, too! I wanted to be clear about that! LOL

    Since selling her first book in 1997, Holly Jacobs has sold more than thirty books. Her first sale to Harlequin was a 2001 Duets book, I Waxed My Legs for This? and she's gone on to write for Silhouette Romance, Harlequin Flipside, Signature Select and Harlequin's new Everlasting Love line. Her category romances have made Waldenbooks' Bestseller List and won numerous awards, such as the Holt Medallion, Booksellers' Best, Golden Quill, Golden Leaf and Madcap Awards. Her 2004 book, Found and Lost, won Romantic Times BOOKreviews' award for Best Harlequin Flipside of 2004, and that year Holly received the same journal's prestigious Career Achievement Award for Series Love and Laughter. She's presented more than thirty workshops on a variety of writing related subjects ranging from topics like writing romantic comedy to time management across the U.S.