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...
As a finale to my Seduction Meal I wanted something sweet, seductive and sensational when I hit upon the idea of Tiramisu; a delightful dessert with a blend of luscious sensations...mocha, cream, rum, coffee, and of course, the delicate tease of the lady fingers--mmmm! This dessert certainly fit the bill.
So I set about with my online search for the right recipe. After a few minutes, I came across a site called Heavenly Tiramisu which is filled with everything you every wanted to know about Tiramisu. The history of the dessert, restaurants are rated on tiramisu served across the country, and there is a very good collection of Tiramisu recipes featuring three types: Basic Tiramisu, Tiramisu Varieties, and Healthy Tiramisu (...is there such a thing?). Who ever put this site together is one BIG Tiramisu fan! Here's a line from the site that caught my eye:
Stories are told about how Tiramisu was the favorite of Venice's courtesans, who needed a "pick me up" (the literal translation of "tirami-su") to fortify themselves between their amorous encounters. True? Probably not. But it makes for a colorful history.
While I found many delicious recipes on Heavenly Tiramisu and other sites, the recipe that grabbed my attention is adapted from The Palm Restaurant Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Classic American Steakhouse by Brigit Legere Binns, which I found on AARP's web site.
All I have to say: I would proudly serve this up to any courtesan in Venice, and better yet, to the love of my life.
Tiramisu Serves 8 Note: For the best results, make this 24 hours in advance of serving
1 cup heavy cream 4 large egg yolks 1 tablespoon dark rum, Amaretto, Kahlua, or Godiva liqueur (I used dark rum) 1 scant tablespoon chocolate syrup 1/3 cup superfine sugar 1 2/3 cups mascarpone, soften at room temperature for 1 hour 3 (3 1/2-ounce) package lady finger cookies 3 cups very strong, cold coffee Cocoa powder, for dusting
In a large, cold bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the tiramisu.
In the bowl of an electric standing mixer, combine the egg yolks, rum, chocolate syrup, and sugar. Beat the mixture at a high speed for 2 minutes. It should be quite thick and leave a trail when the beater is lifted away. Place the softened mascarpone in a large mixing bowl, and gently fold in the beaten egg-and-chocolate mixture. Fold in the chilled whipped cream.
Dip each ladyfinger briefly into the coffee, and arrange in rows on the bottom of a rectangular (preferably 6-inch x 12-inch) baking dish. Gently spread an even layer of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers, and top with a second layer of coffee-dipped ladyfingers. Spread with the mascarpone mixture, make a third layer of ladyfingers, and end with a layer of the mascarpone. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for no less than 24 hours, and up to 36 hours. Cut into squares for serving, and dust each one generously with cocoa powder.
Steak Diane is the perfect choice for the meat lover in your life. With a luscious brandy tinted cream sauce and grilled mushrooms sauteed with a mix of seductive flavoring--this dish is sure to make hearts flutter. You can use any cut of steak--I prefer filet mignon, which I used here, or rib eye. Serve with your favorite bottle of red wine.
For my Seduction Meal I choose to balance this sinfully rich meal with
a simple salad of mixed greens and cherry tomatoes served with toasted
bread and goat cheese with herbs. For a heartier meal you can also prepare creamy mashed potatoes or crispy French fries.
Steak Diane This recipe comes from the always charming, master chef Emeril. Here is the link to his original Steak Diane recipe as I've made a few minor adjustments
4 (3-ounce) filet mignon medallions 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 4 teaspoons minced shallots 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 1/2 cups of white mushroom caps and shitake mushrooms, sliced 1/3 cup Cognac or brandy 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1/3 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup beef stock 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 2 drops hot red pepper sauce 1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions 1 teaspoon minced parsley leaves
Season the beef medallions on both sides with the salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook for 45 seconds on the first side. Turn and cook for 30 seconds on the second side, searing both sides to slightly brown. Add the shallots and garlic to the side of the pan and cook, stirring, for 20 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until soft, 2 minutes. Place the meat on a plate and cover to keep warm. Keep cooking the mushroom mixture until mushrooms start to brown/caramelize.
Tilt the pan towards you and add the brandy. Tip the pan away from yourself and ignite the brandy with a match. (Alternatively, remove the pan from the heat to ignite, and then return to the heat.) When the flame has burned out, add the mustard and cream, mix thoroughly and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the veal stock and simmer for 1 minute. Add the Worcestershire and hot sauce and stir to combine. Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the pan and turn the meat to coat with the sauce.
Remove from the heat and stir in the green onions and parsley. Divide the medallions and sauce between 2 large plates, sprinkle with a little bit of chopped parsley and rings of scallions. Serve immediately with a good bottle of red wine.
For your Seduction Meal arsenal, it's a good idea to learn a few simple yet flavorful dishes that you can serve up for a refreshing "quickie" or as a side to a main dish. A simple Greek salad, this recipe is from the cookbook New Greek Cuisine from Jim Botsacos, the Chef of Molyvos Restaurant in NYC. Jim brings the vegetables from his garden to the table and prepares this dish with room temperature ingredients to maximize all flavors. Botsacos explains that in Greece greens are often not added to summer salads, except for perhaps a Romaine salad.
3 beefsteak tomatoes 1 hothouse cucumber, seeded (I like my seeds), scored and quartered lengthwise, and cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick 1 small red onion 20 kalamata olives, pitted, and thinly sliced (I prefer mine left whole) 1 cup diced feta cheese 1 Tbsp well-drained capers Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe follows) 1 tsp dried Greek oregano Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce (if you like)
Red Wine Vinaigrette makes about 3/4 cup
1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed 1 tsp dried Greek oregano 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste
Combine the vinegar with the garlic and the oregano in a small mixing bowl. Add the oil and using a wire whisk, beat constantly until the mixture is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside until ready to use.
Preparing the Salad. Core the tomatoes. Cut each tomato in half crosswise, then cut each half into 5 pieces.Place the pieces in a mixing bowl. Add the cucumber.
Cut the onion in half lengthwise and then slice each half lengthwise into thin julienne. Add the onion to the bowl.
Add the olives, cheese and capers. Take the red wine vinaigrette and briefly whisk ingredients . Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Taste and season with oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
Plating the Dish Place an equal portion of the lettuce (if you choose to add this ingredient) on a salad plate or bowl. Top with equal portion of the tomato salad/mixture. Sprinkle lightly with oregano and serve immediately.
Making a great cup of coffee is a somewhat of a balancing act.You have to find the right equipment, the best beans to match your preferred taste, and the perfect ratio of coffee to water. I've always heard Kona coffee is the best so I went right to the source and placed an order for fresh coffee beans shipped directly from Hawaii.
Athena of Hawaii to be exact. Athena was recently awarded the prestigious
"Hawaii Seal of Quality". Not many quality locally grown items can be
found anymore in the 50th state. Only 25 agricultural producers passed
the stringent tests so far, and ATHENA of HAWAII is the first and only
single estate 100% Kona coffee farm admitted.
Their coffee is grown in the shadow of a volcano, hand picked, sun dried, and beautifully packaged before being shipped to your door. You can choose from three different blends: American (light), Vienna (medium roast), and French (dark roast). I preferred the French dark roast. It took a few tries to find the right mix of coffee to water. The secret for me was using less of the ground Kona than I typically used for my standard morning cup of coffee.
My Sunday breakfast in bed, with a cup of fresh Kona coffee, a bowl of mixed fruit and cream, and a basket of croissants for two was the perfect way to start the day.
For those that prefer a little more spirit in life, I have pulled together a few recipes from a site I discovered called Best Coffee News which is filled with all kinds of tidbits on coffee. Here's a sample of some of their coffee and liquor recipes found on the site:
Cafe Grand Marnier 2 ounces Grand Marnier 1 teaspoon sugar 6 ounces hot freshly made black coffee Lightly whipped double cream Slices of thinly sliced orange zest
Warm a brandy glass and add the Grand Marnier with the sugar. Add the hot coffee and give it a good stir. Pour the whipped cream over the back of a spoon onto the coffee and decorate with slivers of orange zest. Drink through the cream without mixing.
Coffee Calypso 2.5 pints hot freshly made black coffee 2 tablespoons rum 2 tablespoons Tia Maria 2 tablespoons Cognac Whipped cream
In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cream. Heat gently. Do not bring to boil. Pour into 4 warmed brandy glasses and top with whipped cream.
Hot Mocha Cognac 2 ounces cognac 1 teaspoon sugar 8 ounces hot strong freshly made black coffee 8 ounces hot cocoa 6 tablespoons double cream chocolate curls
Warm two brandy glasses. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently. Do not bring to boil. Pour into the glasses. Whip the cream. Spoon onto the hot mocha mixture and decorate with chocolate curls.
If you are interested in ordering Kona Coffee you can do so online at Athena of Hawaii, or contact the owners directly:
Heat up the flames of passion with this wonderful Greek classic--saganaki. When saganaki is served in a Greek restaurant, often the waiter or chef brings the dish to the table and pours an ouzo-based sauce over the grilled cheese then ignites the dish for a dazzling effect. As you bask in the fiery glow, the waiter and patrons give a festive shout out --OPA, a Greek word used to express joy or approval. A real show stopper, this recipe is sure to win the heart of that special someone.
I fell in love with this dish while dining at Molyvos in NYC. I had to buy the cookbook to learn how to make this classic dish with a twist: the added seduction of a butter lemon sauce poured over the cheese doused in ouzo.
Saganaki can be served as an appetizer or as part of a mix of meze or tapas dishes. Or better yet, as a main dish for a sexy midnight snack for two. Now that will definitely set the tone of what's to follow.
Three 8-oz pieces of Haloumi Cheese
1 cup cornstarch
About 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
about 1/2 cup blended olive oil
6 Tbsp Ouzo
2 cups Chicken Stock
Juice of 2 lemons
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Cooking the Cheese Start by cutting each piece of cheese with a serrated knife in equal size slices (3 per serving). Place the cornstarch on a shallow dish. Lightly coat each piece of cheese on all sides. Set aside.
Place the oils to a depth of 1/4" in a large skillet and heat over very high heat until very hot but not smoking.
Add the coated cheese slices without crowding the skillet. You may have to do this in batches. Fry for about 2 minutes or until golden. Turn and fry the other side for another minute or two until golden brown.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cheese to a double layer of paper towels to drain. Prepare the lemon sauce.
Lemon Sauce - Makes about 2 cups 2 cups Chicken Stock
Juice of 2 lemons
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Place the stock in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to boil, Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until reduced by half
Add lemon juice along with a pinch of salt. When hot, begin whisking in the butter a few pices at a time.
When the butter has been completely incorporated and the sauce is emulsified cover, reserve, and keep warm. When ready to serve, fold in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Plating the Dish / Fire it Up! Heat up the lemon sauce again to get it hot. Turn the flame off. Place
3 pieces of cheese in a HOT saganaki (or other heat proof) dish. Plate
both dishes in this manner. The key to getting a good flame is that the
dish is hot. Take the dishes to the table and spoon a tablespoon of
ouzo over each one. Be sure there is nothing above or near the dish
that will catch fire. Using a fireplace match oro a long butane
lighter, ignite the ouzo, allowing it to burn out.
hot lemon sauce over the top and enjoy the spectacle. Repeat with your
second dish. Pour yourself a really good bottle of Greek white wine,
toast and give a good shout- OPA!
No doubt about it, there is something special about being served
breakfast in bed. As you lie there barely awake savoring
images of the night before, your lover is in the kitchen
creating the next interlude for seduction.
The aroma of brewing coffee
permeates the room--a cup is delivered your way with a kiss. Soft sounds of slow, enchanting music
ease you into the day. New aromas waft from the kitchen. In anticipation of something special to come,
twisted sheets are smoothed out, pillows are propped up, blinds slanted to let the daylight in.
Breakfast is served and it is indeed special. On a serving tray with flowers and champagne, sit a plate of Corn and chipotle pancakes with grilled lobster and roasted corn pico de gallo topped with crema for two. A glass of champagne is poured. Now that's a Seduction Meal!
While this recipe is enough to serve six, I assure you the flavors get better the next day so you will LOVE that fact that you can cook up more pancakes and have it again. For this breakfast-in-bed soiree, I highly suggest preparing everything the day before, allowing all flavors to settle in, and giving you more time to enjoy the late morning in bed before and after this memorable meal. The only thing you will have to do is make the pancakes and plate the dish.
And for those who like to dance into the wee hours, once all the elements of this dish are prepared, this can easily be served up as a truly seductive midnight snack after your night out on the town.
Basic Crema (needs to set overnight) Makes 2/14 cups 2 cups heavy cream 1/4 cup buttermilk 2 canned chipoltle chiles in adobe, pureed 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
In a small saucepan, heat the cream to about 90 degrees F. Pour the cream into a bowl, whisk in the buttermilk, and cover with a cheesecloth or dry, clean towel. Set in a warm place such as a gas oven with just the pilot light on, overnight until thickened. (My pilot light isn't always on, however, I placed the bowl in my oven after having been cooking all night and this worked fine). If still not thickened in the morning, leave in for 2-4 more hours. Stir well, cover and refrigerate.
Note: Just before serving the pancakes you will combine the crema, pureed chipotle, and lime juice. Season to taste with salt.
Roasted Corn Pico de Gallo 3 cups roasted corn (use 1 cup for recipe above) 1 cup diced tomatoes 1/2 cup diced red onions 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves 1/4 cup diced jalapeno chiles 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice 1/4 cup olive oil kosher salt
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the corn and saute until the kernels are lightly browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Reserve 1 cup for the pancake batter below.
In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups of corn with the rest of the Pico de Gallo ingredients, season to taste with salt, cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.
2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose-flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
5 large eggs
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp melted butter to brush on lobster and griddle
4 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup roasted corn (See below)
2 chipotle chiles (from a can), chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
To make the batter, in a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, milk, eggs, 6 tablespoons of the butter, and the honey. Whisk together until smooth. Stir one cup of corn (reserved from the Pico de Gallo prep), the chipotles, and the cilantro into the buttermilk mixture, add the dry ingredients, and mix just until blended. Cover the batter and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using.
Lobster 3 1lb lobsters (I went to my seafood market and bought fresh cooked lobster meat)
If you are cooking fresh lobster, in a large pot bring at least 4 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil. Add lobsters, cover the pot, return the water to a boil and cook for about 7 minutes, or until the shells are bright red. Remove the lobsters. Let cool. Gather the tail and claw meat whole, and any remaining meat from the shells. Cut the tails in half lengthwise. Set aside.
Next Morning Seduction: Bringing it all together!
In the morning, all you have to do is heat up the lobster meat, spice up the crema, and cook the pancakes, and plate the dish.
1. Take the meat and brush lightly with melted butter,
season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat up a skillet, saute briefly in the skillet to
warm and slightly brown the lobster meat. Remove from heat.
2. Remove the crema from the refrigerator. Combine the crema, pureed chipotle, and lime juice. Season to taste with salt.
3. And now for the pancakes. Heat a griddle or large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with a little butter and ladle on enough batter to make 3- to 4-inch rounds. (I had to add a bit more milk to make it creamy enough for a ladle). Cook the pancakes until bubbles form on the surface and the bottom is golden brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. (Be careful, as your skillet or griddle gets hot, this will cook faster). Turn with a spatula (press down gently), and cook the second side until golden brown. Prepare 2 pancakes for each person.
Plating the dish On each plate, serve 2 pancakes, one garnished with half a lobster tail, and the other with a claw. Spoon on some Roasted Pico de Gallo, drizzle with Crema, garish with watercress sprigs, a bit of cilantro leaves, and serve.
It doesn't get much better than this! Thank you Scott Linquist!
The one thing about attending an event at the James Beard House is the endless creativity and inspiration unleashed by each chef starting with the event's menu and the unique selection of food and wine pairings, the use of exotic spices and flavors, to the way in which they plate each dish. This modern Peruvian dinner was hosted by Jean Paul Desmaison of La Cofadia (Coral Gables, FL). Who would have thought that goat cheese ice cream would be so delectable? And the very idea of saving the lobster shell to use as an adornment for my seduction meal will be remembered.
Rooted in one of the world's oldest cuisines, Jean Paul Desmaison's modern Peruvian cooking reflects the ancient culinary traditions of his Latin American homeland and his classical French training, all wrapped up with a dash of contemporary American flair. Take a look at this slide show to witness modern gourmet Peruvian splendor. By the way --Breaking News: Check out the newly designed James Beard Foundation's web site. Great Job!
Hors d'Oeuvre Peruvian Corn Anticuchos with Huancaina Sauce Scallops Bloody Mary Slow-Braised Pork and Grapes with Pisco Champagne Gosset Brut Excellence NV
Dinner Peruvian Ceviche with Spicy Lime Juice-Marinated Lemon Sole, Octopus, and Shrimp S.A. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett Riesling 2005
Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Beef, Pork, Peanuts, and Raisins with Creamy Rosemary-Parmesan Sauce Marchesi di Barolo Ruvei Barbera d'Alba 2004
Risotto del Cofrade Peruvian Yellow Chile Risotto with Sautéed Florida Lobster Tail Jean-Luc Colombo La Belle de Mai Saint Peray 2004
Duck Confit with Couscous and Black Currant Gastrique Grand Clos Finca El Puig 2001
Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Port-Sautéed Berries and Balsamic Reduction
For a luscious quickie that will satisfy all senses, this seduction meal will delight the eyes, tease the imagination and grab you with its divine taste. A sure winner that can be made in 1/2 hour.
crab ravioli in saffron cream sauce
saffron cream sauce 2 tbsp butter 1 shallot, minced 1/2 cup dry white wine 2 good pinches saffron threads 2 cup whipping cream 1/4 tsp of cayanne pepper salt and pepper to taste fresh chives
crab ravioli 1 dozen crab ravioli
I used all natural crab ravioli from The Ravioli Store
lobster 1/2 lb of fresh, cooked lobster meat, preferably with two small lobster tails cut the lobster tails in half lengthwise 2 tablespoons of butter
1/8 cup of dry white wine
preparing the dish
saffron cream sauce Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallot and cook until translucent. De-glaze by ading wine; cooking and stirring until wine evaporates--about 3 minutes. Add cream and saffron. Lower heat and simmer, cooking until sauce has reduced to just about half. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Finish with a pinch of cayenne pepper. Stir. Set aside.
ravioli Cook lobster ravioli per directions. Drain
lobster While ravioli is cooking, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add lobster pieces and toss to coat with butter. Add wine. Cook until you have nice medium brown color on the white meat, carefully flipping the skillet, or stirring, to cook lobster on all sides--about 3 - 4 minutes. Set aside
plating the dish Reheat the sauce, if necessary. Add 3-4 tablespoons of sauce on each plate. Place 3-5 ravioli on top--depending upon whether you are serving this as an appetizer or a main course. Spoon the sauce over ravioli. Top with a few pieces of the lobster meat. Garnish with snipped chives and a strand of chives that you will a lay on top and across the entire dish. If you like a little kick, sprinkle with a tiny bit of cayenne pepper. Another great garnish would be caviar or tobiko--I'll have to try that next time.
Serve this with a chilled bottle of Chablis and wait for the praise and adoration to follow.
Chef John's Most Memorable Seduction Meal Here is the very true, and amazing story behind Chef John's best
ever Seduction Meal.
ultimate seduction meal would have to be "fireplace salmon." Many years
ago, I took my wife for a romantic getaway in Mendocino, CA. I promised
to arrange everything, but being a typical male, I procrastinated, and
just assumed dinner reservations would be no problem. Much to my
horror, there were only a handful of restaurants open that time of
year, and they were all booked! I was panicking trying to think how I
was going to get out of this one!
Luckily the B&B we were
staying at had a fireplace. I had a brainstorm...I would tell my wife I
had a surprise for her, and that I was going to cook her a romantic
dinner in the room, in the fireplace. She loved the idea! Now, I had to
find the food. Fortunately, this area features great salmon fishing,
and a local store had some amazing wild salmon. I bought some
heavy-duty aluminum foil and did a simple, yet fabulous salmon filet
with butter and fresh herbs. I also wrapped up some baby potatoes. I
tossed these foil pouches into the hot ashes and soon we were enjoying
the sexiest, most romantic meal of our lives.
the adventure didn't end there. I also bought a zip lock bag of wild
huckberrries at a fruit stand, and a single frozen piecrust at the main
store. I poured the berries into the pie crust, and opened all 12 of the
little sugar packets from our coffee kit, and added them. This was
carefully wrapped in lots of foil and placed on the dying coals.
we waited for dessert, we finished what was one too many bottles of
wine, and both fell asleep. I woke up about 4 hours later to the smell
of burnt pie crust. Oh, no! I had burned the pie. I pulled it out of the
still warm ashes and tore it open. Much to my amazement it was
perfectly cooked! The burned smell was from some of the syrup that had
leaked out into the ashes, but the pie itself was a perfectly crisp,
golden brown, and the sugared berries had caramelized into a beautiful
woke up my wife and we ate the pie with coffee, and toasted this
incredible evening. So, the next time you are away and the room has a
fireplace, maybe you can try what I consider the ultimate seduction
* * * * * * * .
Chef John graduated with honors in Culinary Arts/Chef Training. After 20 years in the food industry, Chef John went on to teach at the California Culinary Academy. His reputation among those who've had him as a teacher at culinary school is second to none. His students universally enjoyed his insightful lectures. Along with his legendary sense of humor, his ability to reach and inspire others made him one of the most popular Chef's at the school. Now, Chef John has taken this same engaging approach to the online culinary realm and has quickly gained a large and loyal following of foodies that anxiously await his daily video recipes.
Walking along Park Avenue I came upon one of my all time favorite contemporary Mexican restaurants--Dos Caminos. I was immediately drawn to a brightly colored book in the window-- Mod Mex: Cooking Vibrant Fiesta Flavors at Home by Executive Chef Scott Linquist. Needless to say, I rushed in to purchase my very own copy.
If you love Mexican food this is a must-have cookbook for your collection.There are over 125 recipes that highlight food from the regions of the Yucatan to Oaxaca with the creative flair Scott Linquist is famous for. I knew this book would be a keeper for my Seduction Meal library.
Flipping through the pages there were so many recipes I wanted to try. For my Mexican Seduction Meal I chose to serve "el amor de mi vida" Grilled Portobello Mushroom Tacos, Guacamole and chips, and Pico de Gallo. Served with a chilled glass of beer and a wedge of lime...let the fiesta begin!
Grilled Portobello Mushroom Tacos + Guacamole
served with Salsa Pasilla and Queso Fresco
For this meal I break the prep into 4 tasks. First I made the Mushrooms which need to marinate for at least one hour. Next I made the Salsa Pasilla; this salsa is pure heaven. The tomatoes, garlic and onions are roasted and then pureed with a blend of mesmerizing flavors. You will love it! Next I made the Pico de Gallo and ended with the Guacamole. Note: The first three tasks call for refrigeration for at least one hour, so be sure to make this 1-2 hours before your meal. If you prefer, you can make everything but the guacamole the day before.
Ingredients and Tasks
Tacos 12 six inch corn tortillas, purchased or home made (I bought mine and had to use flour tortillas) 1 cup very thin sliced romaine lettuce 1 cup of crumbed queso fresco (I had to substitute a mild goat cheese)
Mushroom 1/2 cup of olive oil 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves 1 Tbsp chopped garlic 1 serrano chile, stemmed and chopped 1/2 tsp kosher salt 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 6 large Portobello mushrooms, stemmed
In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, chile, salt, and pepper. Add the mushrooms, turn to coat evenly, and let stand for at least 1 hour. I had to add a bit more olive oil to coat them all.
Salsa Pasilla (this sauce is heaven!) 4 medium whole plum tomatoes 1 small yellow onion, quartered 3 cloves of garlic 6 pasilla chiles 2 chipotle chiles 2 tsp dark brown sugar 2 bay leaves 1/2 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves 1/4 cup white vinegar 2 tbsp kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spread the tomatoes, onion, and garlic on a baking sheet, and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until the onion is slightly brown. Toast and rehydrate the pasilla and chipotle chile. In a jar of an electric blender, and working in batches if you need to, add the drained rehydrated chiles, roasted tomatoes, onions, and garlic along with the remaining salsa ingredients, except the salt, and puree until smooth. Add salt to taste, transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Pico de Gallo 6 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into small cubes 1 medium red onion, chopped 1 to 3 serrano or jalapeno chiles, chopped 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice Kosher salt
Mix all ingredients together. Season with about 1/2 tsp of salt (or to taste), and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves 2 tsp finely chopped yellow onion 2 tsp minces jalapeno or serrano chiles, seeds and membranes removed, if desired Kosher or coarse salt 2 large ripe avocados, peeled and seeded 1 small plum tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped 2 tsp freshy squeezed lime juice Warm tortilla chips for serving
Mash together 1 Tbsp of the cilantro, 1 tsp of the onion, 1 tsp of the chile and 1/2 tsp of salt in the bottom of a Molcajete (a lava-stone mixing/serving bowl) or a medium sized-bowl. Add the avocados and gently mash with a fork until chunky smooth. Fold the remaining cilantro, onion, and chile into the mixture. Stir in the tomato and lime juice, adjust the seasoning to taste, and serve with a basket of warm corn tortilla chips. Make this just before you are going to serve it, but before preparing the tacos so the flavors can settle in.
Preparing the Tacos Heat a barbecue or gas grill until hot. Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and put them on the grill to warm. Lift the mushrooms from the marinade and discard the marinade. Place them individually on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes, and then turn and cook the second side for the same amount of time. Remove and but the mushrooms into 1/2 inch wide strips.
Serve 3-4 strips of mushrooms to each tortilla and top with a generous pinch of lettuce, 2 tablespoons of Pico de Gallo, 1 tablespoon of Queso Fresco, and 2 tablespoons of the absolutely delicious Salsa Pasilla. Fold in half and serve 2 tacos on each plate.