Oh Valentine’s Day – what a funny holiday… I’ve never been a huge fan, but being the lover of a good celebration, I do think it is kind of fun to make or do something special whether or not a special someone is involved. Last year I made these for my girlfriends and two years ago I made this for dinner. This year, for the first time in quite some time, I will be having dinner with my boyfriend, enjoying a night at home, and prepping for a vacation – all the things that I love most: great company, good food, frequent travel.
During my trip to Europe last summer, I had a healthy amount of time with friends and family, but still toured around a lot of the time by myself and had to good fortune to rent an entire apartment in Brussels for a weekend. I took full advantage of having a nice terrace and even a full kitchen as I cooked an impressively simple steak dinner one night. A single piece of filet mignon called my name in the grocery store and I swear I was out the door for under 10 euros with that, a few potatoes, green beans and a bottle of wine in my bag. After a little research, I decided to cook the steak with some red onion, finish it in the oven and reduce some of the wine down for sauce. So so so good.
It may seem that it’s a bit weird to be posting my ‘steak for one video’ for Valentine’s Day, but I think it’s good to remember on this funny little holiday that even if there is no special someone, there can still be pleasure found in doing things alone or treating yourself to something nice. Not to mention that while the video does showcase a meal for one, it is easily adapted for two and would make the perfect simple weeknight Valentines Day meal to show your someone you care.
[vimeo https://vimeo.com/59129251 w=700&h=500]
Steak recipe inspiration here ,tips:
- I used red onions instead of mushrooms, both would be great.
- My piece of steak was thinner than in the recipe, so it would have actually been cooked after a sear on both sides, gauge if your piece is thick enough to warrant a trip to the oven.
- I don’t generally have demi glace with me on vacation, so I just used red wine to deglaze the pan and reduced it thicken, use a good amount, not just a splash like in the video
- Finishing with butter is always the right thing to do.
Potatoes: place in cold water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender. Mash into a chunky mixture with cream, butter, salt and pepper.
Beans: boil until tender, finish with garlic, butter and salt in a saute pan.
Well, let me tell you, making a video for a two-week trip is quite a task… But I was determined to continue to develop this new-found hobby and have spliced together some of the best moments (ie. the moments I remembered to capture as moving pictures) of the trip. As we are our own worst critics, I always feel like there’s room for improvement, editing choices that could always fit a little bit better, but it is amazing how a quick little video does bring an entire vacation to life.
My father has said he’d like to see more of me in the video; however, I’m holding to the claim that it is hard to video oneself (on a train, walking in a strange city, drinking Belgian beers) while traveling without a tripod. So for now, please enjoy the lovely sites (my favorites are from the air) and wait patiently in anticipation of my next travel video, where I may or may not be making an appearance…
[vimeo https://vimeo.com/52669746 w=700&h=500]
song: RJD2 – Ghostwriter
Every time I go back to Europe I try to do something or go someplace new. After living in Germany and traveling pretty well for a year, I’ve checked most major cities and sights off my list, but feel like it’s a waste to go all that way and not try to see something special and new each time I go.
When I was first planning this trip, I had grand visions of hopping down to Portugal’s beaches, or Frances west coast, but at the end of the day in the spirit of an easy relaxing vacation, I decided to keep all my distances just a train’s trip apart, which led me to Belgium. I had been to Antwerp for lunch on a road trip several years back just so I could say I’d been there, but I felt like the land of waffles, beer and chocolate could use another tour. I stayed in Brussels, in a fabulous Airbnb apartment, and spent one day touring that city and the next in Bruges. Bruges is an absolutely charming town one hour west of Brussels and is definitely worth a visit. Yes, it was very touristy, especially on a Saturday, but the canals and Dutch style buildings won me over.
All in all, I was definitely happy with my solo time in Belgium. I did love the waffles, tried a ton of new beers and relaxed the way I do best.
- Musée Magritte, Brussels – get the audio tour, as most of the museum is in French or Flemish
- Bruges – walk around, soak it in, have lunch
- Lunch boutique, Bruges – cool, trendy lunch spot away from the main square
- Spotting cartoon murals in Brussels
- You must try the waffles, beer and chocolates – you can’t go wrong!
cartoon murals throughout Brussels
Manneken Pis – why he is famous and costumed this day, I don’t know
St. Gilles neighborhood where I stayed, away from the beaten path
sunset from my host’s kitchen