Recipe file: Valentine’s Day family feast

Posted on February 13, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun

By Leslie Nicholson | Sonoma Sun —

Sharing Valentine’s Day dinner with family is something that Sonoma sisters Charlotte, twelve, and Evelynn Neves, nine, look forward to every year. They also love including their younger brother Sammy, two, in helping with the meal. “Sammy makes a mess, so we give him small jobs like stirring,” says Charlotte. Their favorite Valentine’s menu includes Rib-eye steaks, roasted potatoes,  roasted asparagus, and cheesecake.

 “I love spending time at the table with my family and baking things for Valentine’s Day,” says Charlotte. While Evelynn helps in putting the meal together and she loves eating the baked goods she and her older sister make, “I love Valentine’s Day because we get to share sweets, like chocolates with caramel. my favorite!”

One thing that the sisters are missing, like most kids, is the fun of Valentine’s Day at school. “I don’t know what Valentine’s Day will be like without my friends,” says Evelynn. “But at least I get to be with my family and grill steaks with my Dad. Charlotte says she’ll miss the fun of exchanging cards at school, “but we still plan to go to the bakery with my parents and buy cookies, so that will be something to look forward to.”

Rib-eye Steak  (from

Servings: 4. Prep time: 35-40 minutes. Cook time: 10-15 minutes.


4 Rib-eye Steaks

2 tablespoons Montreal Steak Seasoning (a Neves family favorite, but any seasoning will work)

4 teaspoons salt, optional

2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Pat the steak dry using a paper towel, and liberally rub the salt or seasoning on both sides. Let the steak rest for 20 minutes or so.

2. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until oil is shimmering.

3. Add steaks to your skillet, cook 4 minutes per side. Try not to move them around too much, you want the steak to sear!

4. Check the internal temperature with your meat thermometer. To use, just push the thermometer into the thickest part of the steak (next to the bone if there is one).

5. Flip the steak again and cook about 3 minutes. Repeat this process, checking the temperature each time you flip.

6. If you’d like butter, add it (and a sprig of rosemary) to the skillet now, coating the rib-eye each time.

7. Once the steak has reached the desired temperature (I like 140F) remove the steaks to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest 2 minutes.

Onion-Roasted Potatoes (from

Servings: 4. Prep time: 10 min. Cooking time: 35 min


1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secret Onion Soup Mix

4 medium potatoes, cut into large chunks (about 2 lbs.)

1/3 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine all ingredients into a 13×9 baking dish or roasting pan. Bake, stirring occasionally until potatoes are tender and golden brown, about 35 minutes.

Classic Cheesecake (from

Servings: 10 slices. Prep Time: 40 minutes. Cook Time: 1hour and 5 minutes

Ingredients for the graham cracker crust:

1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup granulated sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup granulated sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for the cheesecake filling:

32 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs room temperature

To make the graham cracker crust:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine the crushed graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Add the melted butter and mix until all of the crumbs are moistened.

2. Scoop the mixture into a 9-inch spring-form pan and firmly press it down into one even layer. Bake at 325 for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly while you make the filling.

To make the filling:

1. Set a large pot of water to boil for the water bath before getting started with the filling.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese on low-medium speed until smooth. Add the sour cream and mix until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Then add the granulated sugar and pure vanilla extract and mix until well combined.

3. In a separate small mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the beaten eggs to the mixing bowl with the cheesecake filling and mix on low speed until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to turn the filling a few times to make sure everything is fully mixed together. Set aside.

4. Wrap the spring-form pan with the pre-baked graham cracker crust in aluminum foil, then place into a large oven bag. Fold the oven bag down the sides of the spring-form pan.

5. Pour the cheesecake filling into the spring-form pan and smooth it out into one even layer. Tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to bring any air bubbles to the top, then use a toothpick or skewer to remove any large air bubbles and smooth them out.

6. Add the boiling water you started before filling to a large roasting pan until it is about 1-inch deep. Carefully place the wrapped springform pan into the roasting pan.

7. Transfer the roasting pan with the cheesecake to the oven and bake at 325 degrees for 60-65 minutes or until the edges of the cheesecake are set and the center is still slightly jiggly. Turn the oven off, crack the oven door slightly, and allow the cheesecake to cool in the warm oven for 1 hour.

8. After the cheesecake has cooled for 1 hour in the oven, remove it and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, cover tightly and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 5-6 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, run a thin knife around the outside of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan, carefully release the spring-form pan, then slice into pieces, serve, and enjoy!


Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA