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Valentines'24 Dinner for 2 Inspiration: Meal Three ~ The ASG Cobb

Essentially this meal's core is the Cobb Salad ~ a theme we've been running for this series is to stay light, with bright notes, and keep it romantic. This Cobb is that - instead of heavy meats, we've replaced two proteins - bacon and chicken - with brussel sprouts and Portobello strips. We also sought out varying leaves for the salad to flair its base, while you load up, artistically, the grilled vegetables that will surely check off what is wanted in a solid dinner.

The highlights for us were the Cobb salad dressing, fresh and tangy with only a few ingredients. The other was the avocados, when grilled with robust olive oil, taste buttery and filling.

Cobb is a process of assembly - so watch the pointers on how to best sequence and prep to knock this out quickly.

Preparation ~ get enough for two and to suit your tastes, the notes below are approximations; items are in order of best prep:

  • Cobb Salad Dressing

    • 1 shallot, in thinly sliced rings

    • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar

    • 5 tablespoons olive oil

    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard½ tsp granulated sugar

    • Course Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

    • Mix all in a single bowl and whisk well

    • Refrigerate as you work on the next steps

  • 4 eggs - boiling recipe we follow is here - carefully shell, cut in half lengthwise

  • Homemade croutons - take an old loaf of bread, cut pieces to create 1-inch cubes, get a large skillet, fry bread cubes in butter, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and dried basil, and cook until golden brown

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts - cleaned well, remove unclean leaves, cut in half

    • Get the grilled pan up to heat, we use robust olive oil, set sprouts across the pan to cover the grill lines, and allow to cook for 20 minutes or so, leaves will indicate how they cook

    • After you get good grill lines, move the pan to a large frying pan and continue to cook, folding the sprouts until cooked

  • 1 bunch asparagus tips - clean well, allow to dry, pick off tips, clip three inches, discard very bottom of stalk

    • Use the same frying pan as the Brussel sprouts and cook the asparagus well until tender, with a combination of oil and light water until satisfactorily softened

  • 2 Portobello mushroom caps - cleaned, pat fully dry with paper towels, cut lengthwise, sloe to preparation

    • In a warm and olive-oiled pan, fry on its length edge until well cooked -we like to use truffle salt, pepper, and pinches of sugar throughout, drain excess water as you go

    • Dry on paper towels after well-cooked

  • 2 whole avocados - cleaned well, cut in half, seeded carefully - cut closer to their preparation

    • Like Brussels, sit the avocado half on the grill marks, allow the oil and time to give nice sear marks, and do not re-position or move

    • Every 10 minutes or so, check to make sure they are cooking and not burning

    • Remove after 25 minutes and lay face up on a plate

  • Handful of colorful cherry tomatoes - watched well, cut in half, and allow time to sit in a strainer to run off excess liquid

  • Gorgonzola - save for garnish at the end

After your components are all ready and maturing in their respective places, take the following greens and use a salad spinner for best results. If you don't have a spinner, you'll want to shake them out and use a paper towel to get them to dry - nothing worse than a soggy salad.

  • Butter Lettuce - hand rip into bite-sized strips

  • Red Lettuce Butter - as above

  • Dandelions - remove stems, break along its length

  • Pepper Lettuce - we found this at our local 99 Ranch, they are already bite-sized, but remove stems

  • Chives - clean and chop into garnishing


Breadsticks / Butter - we like to have butter warming to room temperature before the meal, breadsticks are a cheat, but we like them with our Cobb and steaks

Steak Frites -

  • 1 or 2 Ribeye, 10 to 12 ounces

    • Salt and cracked pepper on both sides and allow to either sit on the counter while working on other components or allow it to sit in the fridge for an hour or two before cooking

    • Start oven at 425 and allow to come to temperature as you sear the steaks

    • Bring the grilled pan up to Medium-High heat for 5-7 minutes

    • Use a pair of tongs to lay the steak down on the grill and you will not disturb it

    • We go for 3 minutes on both sides, and we like to stand it on its sides as well for a minute

    • Move steaks to an oven pan and further cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, with ovens as inconsistent as they are, you will know best

    • Remove steaks from pan and onto a dish and allow to rest


Berry Mojito - there is a sweet spot, as the steak is resting and before assembly to sneak in a cocktail

  • Ingredients:

    • Rum

    • Club Soda

    • Simple Syrup - we make our with 2 parts granulated sugar to 1 part water, simmer, allow to cool, refrigerate

    • Ice

    • Mint - a bunch

    • Blackberries, Blueberries, Strawberries - for garnish

  • Preparation: - Muddle mint in a tall glass, line the bottom, add ice, muddle blackberries, and add them atop the ice

    • 3 parts soda to 1 part rum, a teaspoon of simple syrup, or to taste

    • Strawberries, cut in slices, drop through-out, and for garnish

    • Whole blackberries, add a few

    • Garnish with mint


Cobb Salad Assembly

  • Like a good Cobb, elements will be 'stripped' along the plate by ingredient - we like the more artistic method of layering where they look best

    • At the start of eating, we will lightly toss in the respective serving dish

  • We wished we had a larger serving dish, so use the biggest you have

  • Layer all of the varying types of salad by their leaf, and by color to start a very green base

  • Layer the components atop of the lettuce to enhance, we like to clump like items in areas to even out color, textures, etc

    • Eggs can be spaced apart to balance the overall look

    • Avocados, cherry tomatoes, and croutons provide some bright colors

    • The more muted green will be harder to place, but it'll come together

  • Lastly, drop your gorgonzola and dressing - both should be sparingly used as they may overpower it, but the dressing's shallots are another light-tone

  • Take photos!

  • Serve the steak frites on the side, but, of course, they can be added to the salad as well

  • Breadsticks can be dipped in the butter and make a snappy touch to the whole affair

  • Kiss your partner mwah


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