Mooka in the house!

I need to brag on my friend and co-worker Larry Crosby real quick. Last week I asked him how his Valentine’s Day was. His easy-going reply, “It was good, how was yours?” I told him nice, but unfortunately had to work and then we ventured into crazy hotel talk. Later, I asked him where he went to dinner and it wasn’t until then that he unleashed on me his unbelievable Valentine’s Day. Larry cooked up a 4-course meal from scratch for his fiance AND paired each course with his homemade beer (Check out Mooka Brewery)! I was over the top impressed and I admired so much his modesty that I begged him to do a Friday Feature. So! Coming to you now….MOOKA’S VALENTINE’S DAY!

“Valentine’s. An epic day of love (or lack of) for many people. It’s probably my least favorite holiday for all the obvious reasons, but I am in a quite awesome relationship myself so I try to embrace the day as much as the next man – Just get through it.

But seriously, I thought to myself, my fiancée and I are tying the knot soon and I’m over the elaborate, pre-fixe, $125 per person affair that seems to encompass the 14th of February. One thing that separates the men from the boys, isn’t some notion that you can throw chocolate and a few flowers at your sweetie in hopes of making your Valentine’s Day special. Nope, it’s the guys that approach the day with a uniqueness of style that makes her say, “Oh shit!”

So, since I consider myself a decent cook (and I was on a budget :)), I decided to up the ante and whip up a nice 4-course meal of my own. One thing I know is, the key to someone’s heart is FOOD.

I head to Harris Teeter and to no one surprise, the place is flooded. Not your usual, after-work, Friday crowd. Instead, guys are running around everywhere buying wine, last-minute roses, chocolates, you name it. I couldn’t help but smile ear to ear when I entered the store gazing at the amount of guys that may not be all about Valentine’s Day but knew they couldn’t go home empty-handed. Let’s just say, they better have brought something, or else.  Anyways, I pondered over the week what I would make so, I was plenty prepared.

The menu:

1st Course – Rice Noodle Soup with mustard greens, red pepper, garlic, soy ginger broth


2nd Course – Lump Crab Cakes with tomato, okra, dill


3rd Course – Grilled Prime Rib with garlic potatoes

prime rib

4lh Course- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Oops! No pics of the cheesecake, but it came out very well. I don’t bake so I considered it quite the accomplishment!

I paired everything with beers (Yes, Beers!) instead of wine. The pairings go amazingly well and it’s definitely a different touch.

I did a Ranger IPA for the first course to match with the ginger and cut through the spice.

A Belgian Blonde (Leffe) was for the crab cakes to complement the citrus in the dish but also provide sweetness to accompany the crab.

The steak was paired with Bell’s Amber ale. The caramel sweetness goes perfectly with the charred and caramelized sear on the steak. But also, the carbonation cleans the fat from the palette to get you ready for the next bite!

Finally, the cheesecake was paired with Duck Rabbit Milk Stout. It’s a sweet stout that goes great with dessert. Chocolate and Chocolate. Not much better than that!

couple pic

WOW! Thank you so much Larry for sharing!! All I gotta say is ….Gentlemen…hope you took notes 😉