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Executive Chef Mason Recipe: Valentine’s Day Dinner

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Roses are red, violets are blue… need an idea for Valentine’s Day? We’re calling on Chef to the rescue! Whether you’re in a time crunch and scrambling for ideas or want to avoid the restaurant crowds this Valentine’s Day (or weekend), this delicious and simple three course meal, prepared by none other than Executive Chef Craig Mason is sure to be a hit!

Course 1:

Spring mix with mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, roasted walnuts and crumbled goat cheese. Serve with Raspberry vinaigrette.

Course 2:

Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Ragout, with sautéed asparagus.

Course 3:

Balsamic Strawberries


Beef Tenderloin:

  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. coarsely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-lb. beef tenderloin roast, preferably from the thicker end


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 250°F.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, thyme, garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and several generous grinds of black pepper. Put the tenderloin on a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet or in a small roasting pan and rub the oil mixture all over it.

Roast the tenderloin until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 120°F for medium rare, about 1 hour. Transfer to a carving board, tent with foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Cut the tenderloin crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Serve with the mushroom ragout.



  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 oz. cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼  cup finely chopped shallot
  • ¼ cup dry Marsala
  • 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh thyme
  • ½  cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley


In a 10-inch straight-sided saute pan, heat 1 Tbs. of the butter with the olive oil over medium heat.

Add the cremini and 1 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened and released their liquid, 5 to 8 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring more frequently, until the mushrooms are shrunken and very well browned, 8 to 10 minutes more.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallots and the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and cook, stirring, until the shallots are softened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the Marsala, and thyme. Cook and stir until most of the liquid evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cream and cook until reduced to a saucy consistency, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.


Balsamic Strawberries:

  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, stemmed and quartered
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Grand marnier
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • Balsamic glaze as needed


Soak the strawberries in 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon grand marnier.

Mix remaining sugar and Grand Marnier with sour cream

Place strawberries in a bowl, and top with a small amount of balsamic glaze, then top with sour cream.


Tweet us your photos at @nccmeet or upload them to Instagram with hashtags #nccmeet #nccfoodie!

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One Response to “Executive Chef Mason Recipe: Valentine’s Day Dinner”

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