We’re glad you could join us in the big, cozy kitchen at the Double M Ranch—one of two main Colorado settings for Once a Marine (#1 in Loree's “Those Marshall Boys” series with Heartwarming)—where former Marine turned self-defense instructor Zach Marshall is whipping up a surprise Valentine’s dinner for Summer Lane. Pull up a stool and feast your eyes on the delicious recipes he’s cooking up for his sweetheart.
Loree: So Zach, why are you preparing the meal here, rather than in your apartment above Marshall Law Self Defense Studio?
Cerella: So you’re going to serve Valentine’s Day dinner to Summer here, at your parents’ house? Not very romantic with your mom and dad, cousins, aunts and uncles roaming around….
Cerella: Yeah, and I can’t name a person who doesn’t admire how hard she’s trying to overcome what happened to her that horrible night.
Loree: Very true. And it takes a strong man to love a broken woman.
Zach: <frowning slightly> Doesn’t take much strength, really. She’s easy to love.
Loree: Still, it can’t be easy for you, wondering if something you do or say will remind her of that night.
Cerella: Loree’s right. You’re an admirable man, Zach Marshall!
Zach: <looking uncomfortable> How ‘bout handing me that SPATULA? over there….
Loree: <exchanges knowing glance with Cerella> Well, if you two are going to eat the whole meal outside on the porch, I hope you have a space heater to warm things up! There’s snow on the ground in Vail!
Zach: <nodding> It’s more like a…like a mini-fireplace.
Loree: Oh, wow, Zach, how thoughtful and romantic! And if Summer doesn’t agree, I think she might need to have an eye exam!
Cerella: <laughing> So what will you serve?
Zach: Thought I’d make Lobster Colorado.
Cerella: Sounds delicious! And how perfect, since you were born and raised in Colorado! Summer is one lucky girl!
4 (8 ounce) beef tenderloin filets
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 slices bacon
1/2 cup butter, divided
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
8 ounces lobster tail, cleaned and chopped
Set oven to Broil at 500 degrees
Coat tenderloins with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Wrap each filet with bacon and secure with a toothpick.
Place on a broiling pan and broil to desired doneness (8-10 minutes per side for medium rare).
While tenderloins are broiling, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat with 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Stir in chopped lobster meat and cook until done (meat will be opaque and no longer translucent).
Spoon lobster meat over cooked tenderloins and return to broiler until the lobster begins to brown.
While the lobster is in the oven, heat remaining 1/4 cup butter in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until it turns the color of hazelnuts.
Spoon browned butter over steaks and sprinkle with remaining Old Bay.
Loree: With a main dish like that, you won’t need anything but a side salad! But what’s for dessert?
Zach: <slides another recipe across the counter>
Loree: Ah-ha, my parfait cupcakes are one of my grandkids’ favorite sweet treats. I happen to know Summer loves chocolate, so she should enjoy these!
1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 can fluffy white frosting
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening
heart-shaped decorative sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for dark pans)
Place baking paper cup in each of 24 muffin cups
Make and bake cake as directed on box for cupcakes.
Cool 10 minutes, then remove to cooling racks.
Tip: Canned frosting will taste lighter and look fluffier if you beat it first.
Spoon frosting into a zipper bag and cut off a lower corner. Swirl frosting onto cupcakes.
In microwavable bowl, melt chocolate chips and shortening for 1 minute. When melted and well-mixed, drizzle chocolate onto cupcakes. Sprinkle with decorative sprinkles and cover loosely until ready to serve.Cerella: You’d better be careful, Zach, or you’ll spoil that girl!
Loree: She’s right. You’d better watch it, pal, or she’ll expect a feast like this again next Valentine’s Day!
Zach: <winks and grins> Can’t think of anything I’d like better. <begins rummaging in fridge>
Well, looks like Zach has zoned out on us, friends, at least for the time being! We hope it’s warm and cozy wherever you are on this blustery February day! Be sure to check in with us again next month when, as a result of our talking to ourselves—and one another—we’ll have yet another cool surprise for you!
For now, be sure to comment, below (perhaps with a favorite Valentine’s Day recipe of your own!), and you could win a copy of Once a Marine!
And if you haven’t already commented on the big Heartwarming blog giveaway, click this link and you could win books, chocolates, roses…or all three!
Happy Valentine's Day!
Cerella Sechrist lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. She has won various competitions and a scholarship for her writing, which include devotionals, full-length plays, and novels. She divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. Her novels exhibit her love for both the written word and food in fiction. You can find her online at her website www.cerellasechrist.com where she pens “Literary Fare: Fiction & Food”, a blog for readers.