By Kim Dannies
“I think careful cooking is love, don’t you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone, who’s close to you, is about as nice a Valentine as you can give.”
Today’s the day, but no worries if you haven’t got your act together yet. Why not keep the Valentine vibe going all weekend with this luscious meal?
Lover’s Rum Cake
Start with the cake: preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray Pam over a Bundt pan. Sprinkle 1 cup chopped pecans onto the bottom of the pan. With an electric beater, mix one 18-ounce package yellow cake mix, one package instant vanilla pudding, 4 eggs, 1/2 cup cold water, 1/2 cup canola oil, 1/2 cup dark rum; beating 1 minute. Pour the batter into pan, bake 45-60 minutes. Cool baked cake for 10 minutes; invert onto a serving platter. Lightly score the top and spoon the glaze slowly and evenly over the top, in 3 cycles, for maximum saturation. Serve with grilled pineapple and vanilla ice cream. Serves 10.
Melt 4 ounces of butter in a medium saucepan; add 1/4 cup water, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup dark rum. Boil 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Rib Eye & Cheesy Shrimp Grits
Choose desired amount of rib-eye steak and lightly coat with Montreal Steak seasoning. Grill to desired doneness. (While you have the grill going, throw on some fresh pineapple to caramelize for the rum cake.) Cover meat and let set for 20 minutes. To serve, slice into thick strips and pair with steamed broccoli and grits.
Cheesy Shrimp Grits
Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon chopped garlic and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup stone-ground grits (or polenta) and cook, stirring well, until water is absorbed, 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon butter, and 4 ounces of bleu (or other) cheese. Fold in 6 ounces of cooked, chunk-cut shrimp. Taste for seasoning. Top with 2 more ounces of bleu cheese. Serve immediately; serves 2-4.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.