I consider myself a good cook. But, even though I am not a vegetarian, I am more comfortable cooking vegetarian dishes, and they are usually pretty tasty. Cooking meat (and fish too) is my weak link. I get nervous about touching the meat, spreading bacteria, cleaning up properly, and whether or not it is done.  Because of these distractions, I often overcook it so it is tough or dry. My husband politely eats it, but suggests I stick with vegetarian fare or take a cooking class on meat. 😉

As is tradition with my husband and I, I cook a multi-course meal for him on Valentine’s Day, and this V-day I decided to get over my fear of cooking meat, and go all out with NY Strip Steaks, and it was fabulous!

Over the summer, we purchased locally raised strip steaks from Vacchiano Farms in Washington, N.J. at our Farmers’ Market. They had been sitting in the freezer for a while, and I knew they were just going to waste, so I called up my friend Tara, who is a phenomenal home cook, and asked her how to prepare the steaks.  “Salt and Pepper them, and then put them in the fridge for a while to tenderize,” she said. Easy enough. While they were getting ready, I assembled the rest of my Valentine’s Day meal:

Starter: Tomato and Baby Mozzarella Salad with Basil and Balsamic Vinegar, with a Garlic Crouton

Salad: Arugula with toasted Pine Nuts and Shaved Parmesan Cheese in a Mustard Vinaigrette

Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts and Parmesan

Entrée: NY Strip Steak with a Mushroom Shallot Sauce & Shoe String Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli

Dessert: Passion Fruit, Orange and Assorted Truffles from Sweet Home Montclair, a local chocolate shop.

Everything was fabulous and fairly easy to make, not at all time-consuming. I felt great about this delicious meal I made, and my husband loved it too!  I don’t think I am banned from making meat anymore, but I will still choose to eat meat less frequently than vegetarian meals, just because I think it is healthier. Either way, sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone can result in a delicious creation.