Seduction Meals is about food + romance and the premise that everyone should learn to master one dish that is their signature dish—a Seduction Meal, to enchant and captivate that special someone in your life...
This wonderfully prepared Lobster dish was sent to Seduction Meals by Tony in Dallas...now that's a Seduction Meal! Thank you Tony
"Picture this...A while ago I decided to make a romantic dinner for two on Valentines Day; Lobster Thermador, that traditional dish of a lobster shell filled with cooked lobster meat, mushrooms, and cheese. Found a great recipe, followed it to a 'T', extracting all of the raw lobster meat from the shell by using a meat mallet to crush the shells, remove the meat, and cook it. Well, low and behold, who knew lobsters bleed??? There were red specs all over my white kitchen tiles! I didn't notice this until after dinner when my partner asked, 'what the heck did you slaughter in this kitchen?'--a little exaggeration of course, but true. With that in mind, when you remove the inner body cavity from the shell, as my recipe instructs, you may see a little red blood. Don't panic. For the light hearted, you can always ask your butcher to kill the lobster before you take it home."
The following recipe is derived from an original recipe for Lobster Thermador but redefined to create a lighter, healthier version; or so I'd like to think. Serve with your favorite side dish or salad and a fine chilled white wine.
Lobster with Chardonnay Sauce 1 ½ - 2 lb Maine Lobster 4 oz sliced mini Portobello mushrooms (cut into 2" x 2" semi-circle halves) 3 tbsp Olive Oil 1/3 cup minced shallots 2 tsp minced garlic 1 tsp fresh, coarsely chopped parsley ½ tsp dried thyme 1 bay leaf 2 oz tomato paste 2 ½ cups Chardonnay wine 1 cup heavy cream 1 T shredded Mozzarella or Emmental cheese, optional Salt and white pepper to taste
Note: A good pair of kitchen shears will help cut the lobster shells, as opposed to a knife.
Eating out is a great inspiration for learning how to impress your loved one. Whether aroused by an exotic delicacy, captivated by a creative presentation, or enchanted by the overall mood of the experience--the lighting, music, or the decor; you can learn a lot from the masters.
The James Beard Foundation has been at the forefront of America's culinary revolution for over 20 years. Throughout the year chefs from America's finest restaurants and hotels cook in the kitchen of James Beard's legendary Greenwich Village home, presenting their culinary art to Foundation members, guests and friends.The lunch events are less expensive then the dinners and are a great way to sample the goods so to speak, before becoming a member and attending lunches, dinners and other James Beard Events--all of which you will want to do.
I attended a wonderful food and wine tasting prepared by chef Roberto Lamorte of Trattoria Dopo Teatro. Born in Pisa, Italy, Roberto's food-loving family inspired his culinary passion. After working at two highly acclaimed NY restaurants, Le Cirque and Da Silvano, Lamorte now pays homage to the regional cuisine of Tuscany.
It was a lovely Friday afternoon and a welcomed opportunity to enjoy an outdoor cocktail reception in the James Beard Garden.
Chicken Liver Pâté Crostini
Tuna Tartare with Avocado
Arancini with Green Peas and Parmesan
Beef Carpaccio with Arugula, Parmesan, and Truffle Oil
Sausage, Spinach, and Gorgonzola-Filled Fried Ravioli with Tomato Sauce
Wine Served: Mormoraia Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2006
We moved inside for the main meal. The food served was exquisite and creatively presented, each coarse perfectly paired with select wines.
Lunch Porcini and Ricotta-Filled Homemade Crêpes with Four-Cheese Sauce Firriato Altavilla della Corte Grillo Bianco 2006
Stracci all'Aragosta Homemade Pasta Ribbons with Lobster, Cherry Tomatoes, and Tuscan Pesto H. Lun Sandbichler Pinot Noir 2004
Osso Buco alla Milanese Braised Veal Shank with Saffron Risotto and Citrus Zest Fontodi Chianti Classico 2001
Sfogliatina di Mele Puff Pastry Layered with Baked Apples and Chantilly Cream, Served with Chocolate Sauce Icardi La Rosa Selvatica Moscato d'Asti 2006
Trattoria Dopo Teatro is a unique combination of extraordinary Italian cuisine, exquisite décor and affordable prices. Appearing deceptively small from the outside, this Theater District favorite is home to one of the most beautiful interior gardens in New York City,
Address: 125 West 44th St. NYC (betw 6th & B'way) (212)869-2849 Saturday Brunch 12:00-3:00pm Pre & After Dinner Menu ushrooms
Another great flea market cookbook find: Recipes: The Cooking of India by Time Life Books which you can find at Amazon.com. While perusing the book I landed on the page for this recipe and happily paid my two dollars. Three hours later I am in the kitchen surrounded by the wonderful aroma of curry. This dish makes a wonderful appetizer or served as a main course over rice pilaf. The recipe below serves 6 to 8. Accompanied by wine or beer, this is surely a savory Seduction Meal.
26 whole blanched almonds 1 tsp saffron threads 1 tbsp boiling water 2 pounds ground lamb (you can use a mix of lamb, beef or pork) 1 egg 1/3 cup of chick pea flour 1 cup finely chopped onions 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger 2 tbsp garam marsala 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 2 tsp salt 3 tbsp cold water vegetable oil for deep frying
Preparing the meatballs
Place the almonds in a bowl of water, add enough cold water to cover them by 1 inch and soak for at least 4 hours
Drop the saffron into a small bowl, pour in 1 tbsp of boiling water and soak for 10 minutes. Meanwhile in a deep bowl combine ground meat, egg, 1/4 cup of flour, onions, cilantro, ginger, garam masala, cayenne pepper and salt.
Knead the mixture vigorously with your hands. Pour the saffron and its soaking liquid over the meat and stir together thoroughly.
Shape the Koftas, or meatballs, in the following fashion: Divide the mixture into 26 portions and pat each one in a slightly flattened round. Drain the almonds and place one in the center of each of the flattened patties. Shape the beef around the nut into a ball, enclosing the almond completely.
Make a thick, smooth batter with 4 tbsp of the flour and 3 tbsp of cold water. Mix together well. With your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the batter evenly on all sides of the meatballs. Arrange the Kofti/meatballs side by side on a sheet of wax paper.
Pour two cups of vegetable oil (oil should be about 2-3 inches deep)
into a large frying pan or wok. I used two pans to keep things moving
and used 2 cups of oil in each. Heat the oil until it is very hot,
lower heat to medium high. Place meatballs in batches of 7 or 8,
deep-fry the koftas in the oil, turning them about with a slotted spoon
for 3-4 minutes, or until they are richly brown on all sides. As they
brown transfer them to paper towels to drain.
Tradition. It stays with you your whole life. The rituals, memories, scents, tastes and sounds hopefully all conjure up feelings of love and comfort. My family tradition--every Sunday was Pasta Day. My entire family would gather at my grandfather's house in Brooklyn to share the day and feast on a 5 course meal.
We would start with a mix of artfully prepared appetizers such as stuffed artichokes, shrimp croquettes, and stuffed mushrooms. Coarse two: Pasta. This would be accompanied by a meat platter filled with hot and sweet Italian sausage, the best meatballs, and pork so succulent it would fall apart as you tried to fork a piece. This was followed by a light green salad. And the grand finale: A mix of Italian pastries and fresh fruit served with coffee and Sambucca. You can just imagine the aromas that filled this house every Sunday.
For my Seduction Meal of today, and in honor of my Italian heritage, I am preparing a simpler version of our Sunday Italian feasts.
Olive oil, bite-sized pieces of fresh Parmesan Cheese, and Ecci Panis European Baguette
Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil Salad
Macaroni served with Mushroom Tomato Sauce and Succulent Pork
Cannolis, coffee and Sambuca
The macaroni is served with slow-cooked pork that simmers in a tomato sauce for about 3 hours. At the last hour of cooking I add sauteed Portabella mushrooms. This dish is served with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and served with a nice red wine like Barolo or Chianti Classico Reserve. The recipe that follows serves four hungry Italians.
As part of your culinary seduction quest, you will be happy to know Arugula (also known as rocket) has a long history of being referred to as an Aphrodisiac dating back to the ancient Romans and Egyptians.
Arugula has a peppery, somewhat bitter taste. It is typically sold with its roots attached and tends to have dirt/grit on the leaves so it needs a good cleaning. When buying arugula, look for bright green leaves that are not wilting. Baby arugula leaves are preferred for salads, while mature arugula leaves are larger, darker green and spicier. The thinner the leaves the better the taste.
In this salad, the arugula is enhanced by the flavors of freshly squeezed lemon juice, sun-dried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese. This is a light, refreshing salad that is easy to prepare and can be serve with any meat, seafood or pasta dish; or simply eaten alone.
Arugula Salad with Lemon Coriander Dressing
1 small bunch of arugula, enough for two, leaves only.
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coriander powder
4 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
fresh parmesan cheese, 8-10 thinly shaved slices
salt and pepper to taste
Thoroughly wash and dry the arugula. Place dry leaves on serving plates. Set aside.
For the dressing: Mix together the olive oil, coriander powder, sun-dried tomatoes and lemon juice. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Stir or whisk until well blended. Set aside for 10-15 minutes to allow the sun-dried tomatoes to absorb the dressing. Pour the dressing over the arugula salad, add the parmesan slices, salt and pepper to taste. Pour a glass of wine, get some sexy tunes going, light the candles and dig in.
I recently discovered a very cool food blog and on it this beautifully shot and wonderful recipe for Arugula Salad with Figs. The blog is called Big City Small Kitchen. Great name and very cool blog--check it out and bookmark that recipe.
There are many varieties of gourmet salts to aid in your culinary seduction. The best salts are mined from seawater and evaporated in the sun, imparting more flavor and enhancement to your gourmet creations.
On a recent shopping excursion I discovered the beautifully designed packaging of Victoria Taylor's Seasonings and decided to experiment with a few different salts. The three salts I carried home include: Australian Flake Salt, Celtic Sea Salt and Anglesey Sea Salt. I absolutely LOVE the Australian Flake Salt.
When I got home I ventured over to Victoria's web site to learn some more. You can purchase sea salt and other exotic seasoning as well as sampling kits such as the Culinary Salts of the World Gift Set on her site. I recommend experimenting with salts and moving away from common table salt as soon as you dare for a more exotic cooking experience. I learned that most gourmet salts are best used as finishing salts at the end of cooking. Here is the information I found.
Australian Flake Salt- The brine that is the source of this salt comes from the Murray River, fed by the Australian Alps. When harvested in their natural form, the salt flakes retain trace minerals giving them a pinkish color. This salt has a delicate texture that comes from the fluffy crystals that are reminiscent of snowflakes. Use this to "finish" a recipe by crumbling the delicate crystals between your fingers to provide a finishing touch that will add a wonderful dimension to any dish.
Celtic Sea Salt - Praised by culinary professionals for its flavor and quality and by health professionals for its unrefined purity and naturally occurring minerals. Celtic Sea Salt is a product of natural crystallization of the ocean waters near Brittany, France. Use Celtic Sea Salt for finishing and baking.
Anglesey Sea Salt--The saltiest of the three, this crystallized salt from the Isle of Anglesey is a gourmet finishing salt from the cleanest ocean water off the west coast of Wales, UK. Anglesey Sea Salt has a soft, flaky texture and retains many trace minerals and elements important for good health.
I will use these salts in upcoming recipes and hope to learn the delicate intricacies and characteristics of each. I've already tried the Australian Flake Salt--I poured some olive oil on plate, sprinkled some Australian Flake Salt and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes over the oil, brought out a fresh baguette to dip into the oil. There were four of us--we tore small pieces from the loaf of bread and dipped right in. Everyone loved it!
"This Seducer's Breakfast was served to me the morning after by my very first lover---he was quite a bit older and taught me a thing or two. Since then I have served it to a few lovers of my own!"
Most important is the serve the eggs with mimosas using very good champagne and fresh squeezed orange juice. For the Eggs Benedict the real trick is to get everything ready at the same time. Start by making the Hollandaise Sauce. You will need:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 beaten egg yolks
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of water
salt and white pepper
Cut the butter into thirds and bring it to room temperature. In the top broiler (or just a pan or bowl sitting on top of a saucepan of boiling water) combine egg yolks, lemon juice and water. Add a piece of butter.
Cook, stirring rapidly with a whisk until butter melts and sauce begins to thicken. Add the remaining butter a piece at a time, stirring constantly until melted. Continue to cook and stir for 2 - 3 minutes until sauce thickens. Immediately remove from heat. If sauce is too thick or curdles, immediately whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of hot water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Now for the rest--The Eggs. You will need:
2 English muffins, toasted
4 slices of Canadian Bacon, cooked to your liking
You can poach the eggs in an egg poacher, or if you don't have one you can use a pan of simmering water. Carefully slide the cracked eggs into the water (I use a cup). Simmer the eggs uncovered for 3-5 minutes cooking until egg whites are completely set and yolks are not too hard.
Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and place them on toasted English muffin halves which have been covered with 1-2 slices of Canadian Bacon which has been broiled or warmed in a frying pan for a couple of minutes. You can get the toasting + broiling done while the eggs are poaching but you have to keep moving! Top each egg with that delicious Hollandaise Sauce and a dusting of paprika, pop the cork and you'll soon be ready for the next round!
For your creative morning pleasures, I found these variations on Eggs Benedict on wikipedia:
I had my eye on a recipe I wanted to try--a special mushroom seduction meal-- and lucky me, the market was filled with mushrooms galore.The mushrooms I used are photographed below and include portabello, crimini, shiitake and white button.
Other mushroom varieties include: maitake, oyster, beech, enoki, chanterelle, the odd looking morel mushroom, and edible wild mushrooms. And let's not forget my all time favorite--truffles. Here's the recipe I was dying to try.
I went to my cookbook / magazine library and took out my copy of Vol 4 Issue 7 of delicious. magazine for Tobie Puttock's Open Lasagne of Mushrooms with Fontina Cheese recipe. After converting the ingredients from grams to cups as best as I could; and altering the recipe slightly...I made this amazingly seductive dish. I share with you Tobie's recipe as printed in the magazine.
Mushroom and Fontina Cheese Lasagne
2 lbs of mixed gourmet mushrooms
3 tbsp of unsalted butter
3 tbsp of olive oil, and 2 extra tbsp
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp marjoram, or a small handful of fresh marjoram
1/3 cup of dry white wine
2 tbsp veal glaze or beef stock
3-4 fresh lasagne sheets, cut to make twelve 3" x 5" rectangles (I used regular boxed lasagne sheets)
3 cups fontina cheese, thinly sliced. Plus extra grated for top
Preheat oven to 350. Wipe mushrooms using a damp towel. Cut into thick slices.
Melt olive oil and 2 tsp of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until tender. stirring often. Add more butter if needed. When mushrooms are done remove to a bowl. With same skillet heat extra oil over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic, stirring, for 3 minutes until just starting to brown. Add marjaram and wine and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to low, stir in mushrooms and glaze and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place pasta in salted boiling water and cook until al dente, then drain. Place 4 pasta pieces on a greased baking tray. Leaving space inbetween each one. Use a slotted spoon (save any mushroom liquid you may have) and top each sheet with mushrooms, then some cheese. Repeat process ending with top sheets of pasta and grated cheese on top. Bake for 10 minutes to heat through and melt cheese.
Boil the mushroom liquid over medium heat for two minutes (terry:I didn't have any left). Serve lasagne drizzled with mushroom sauce.