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...
There are certain moments in history when America has proven itself to the world: Neil Armstrong setting foot on the Moon; the US Men's Hockey team beating the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics, and this year Michael Phelps winning 8 gold medals. One such moment; however, never got the recognition it deserved. In 1976, a small American winery bested the exalted French wines of the time and sent the wine industry into a tizzy--putting California wines on the map for good. Since its premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, Bottle Shock has won the hearts of critics and festival audiences alike. Based on a true story, Bottle Shock chronicles the events leading up to the famous "Judgment of Paris" tastings, told through the lives of father and son, Jim and Bo Barett. A former real estate attorney and novice vinter, Jim Barrett (Bill Pulman) sacrificed everything to realize his dream of creating the perfect hand-crafted chardonnay. Meanwhile in Paris, struggling wine seller Steven Spurrier came up with an idea for a publicity stunt to help his floundering shop. Little did Spurrier and Barrett realize they were about to change the history of wine forever.
Enter Steven Spurrier (Rickman), a British expatriate trolling Napa in
search of bottles for his upcoming wine tasting event arranged to take place
in France, pitting his favorite French wines against up-and-coming vintages from California. His goal: to promote the diversity of offerings in his
failing Paris wine shop. Spurrier is surprised by the quality of the
wines he encounters, among them Barrett's Chardonnay. But Barrett, put
off by Spurrier's snobbish attitude, refuses to participate in the
contest. Against his father's wishes, Bo delivers two bottles of
Chateau Montelena Chardonnay to Spurrier for the contest, just as the
wine salesman is about to board a plane back to Paris.
The move angers the elder Barrett, but he is far more devastated when he discovers that his entire vintage, though exceptional in taste, has mysteriously turned brown. It's the last straw for Barrett, who decides to have the discolored wine hauled away, quit the business and beg for his old job back. But when Sam looks up a viniculturist who explains that the discoloration is a rare but temporary condition--a result of the Montelena winemaker's perfectionism--the race is on for Bo and Sam to tell Barrett the good news before the wine gets dumped and Chateau Montelena falls into the hands of its creditors.
"Wine lovers won't just sip but guzzle a lot of this down." Robert Koehler, Variety
"Be on the lookout for "Bottle Shock," a hugely entertaining movie fresh out of Sundance and the film festival circuit. It's a winner". Peter Travers, Rolling Stone Magazine
"Bottle Shock is more than the story. It is also about people who love their work, care about it with passion and talk about it with knowledge" Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Judgment of Paris TIME June 7, 1976
Americans abroad have been boasting for years about California wines, only to be greeted in most cases by polite disbelief - or worse. Among the few fervent and respected admirers of le vin de Californie in France is a transplanted Englishman, Steven Spurrier, 34, who owns the Cave de la Madeleine wine shop, one of the best in Paris, and the Academie du Vin, a wine school whose six-week courses are attended by the French Restaurant Association's chefs and sommeliers. Last week in Paris, at a formal wine tasting organized by Spurrier, the unthinkable happened: California defeated all Gaul.
The contest was as strictly controlled as the production of a Chateau Lafite. The nine French judges, drawn from an oenophile's Who's Who, included such high priests as Pierre Tari, secretary-general of the Association des Grands Crus Classes, and Raymond Oliver, owner of Le Grand Vefour restaurant and doyen of French culinary writers. The wines tasted were transatlantic cousins - four white Burgundies against six California Pinot Chardonnays and four Grands Crus Chateaux reds from Bordeaux against six California Cabernet Sauvignons.
Gallic Gems. As they swirled, sniffed, sipped and spat, some judges were instantly able to separate an imported upstart from an aristocrat. More often, the panel was confused. "Ah, back to France!" exclaimed Oliver after sipping a 1972 Chardonnay from the Napa Valley. "That is definitely California. It has no nose," said another judge - after downing a Batard Montrachet '73. Other comments included such Gallic gems as "this is nervous and agreeable," "a good nose, but not too much in the mouth," and "this soars out of the ordinary."
When the ballots were cast, the top-soaring red was Stag's Leap Wine Cellars' '72 from the Napa Valley, followed by Mouton-Rothschild '70, Haut-Brion '70 and Montrose '70. The four winning whites were, in order, Chateau Montelena '73 from Napa, French Meursault-Charmes '73 and two other Californians, Chalone '74 from Monterey County and Napa's Spring Mountain '73. The U.S. winners are little known to wine lovers, since they are in short supply even in California and rather expensive ($6 plus). Jim Barrett, Montelena's general manager and part owner, said: "Not bad for kids from the sticks"
Jack is an occasional restaurant that it is only occasionally in existence. Recommended by a friend and run by a fellow food blogger, I took a ride to Brooklyn to support and explore this interesting concept restaurant. I love the idea of restaurants, clubs, and bars that move from place to place or come and go as they please. You have to "know someone" to find out where these hot spots are. This is one to check out.
Run by Danielle and Dave, I asked this highly creative culinary couple why the name Jack? "We spent a while thinking about names before settling on simply naming it "Jack". Being "jacks of all trades" ourselves; you need Jacks. We are the elements of change that lets the world happen. For us, Jack is just another expression of that --doing as much as we can and keeping ourselves active and interested in what we do. And a nod to the fairy tale archetype. Also, it happens to have been Dave's grandfather's name."
Lawyer by day--food blogger by night. Danielle got into blogging a little over two years ago when she started Habeas Brulee. "I was reading a lot of food blogs at the time and just itching to create my own and take part in the community and teh discourse about food and cooking that was starting to develop. The name of my blog comes from habeas corpus, a legal term used primarily in criminal defense law meaning "you should have the body", and creme brulee, the creamy custard dessert with the crunchy burnt sugar on top".
Danielle is an attorney with a general practice (http://www.sucherlaw.com) and while she loves her legal practice, it is not the only way she likes to spend her time. Her co-chef and fiancé Dave is programmer and feels the same about his work. They spend a lot of time cooking and experimenting in the kitchen together. "We love feeding people and have always loved serving elaborate multi-course meals for friends and family. Running the restaurant sounded like fun, a way to push ourselves to constantly experiment with food and reach out to share it with more people".
Amuse Bouche fava beans, seaweed pop rocks
Ramp Udon Soup bacon consommé, asparagus tempura
Roasted Marrow Bone radish watercress salad, toast
Pan-Seared Red Snapper soupy saffron rice, braised leeks with hazelnuts and balsamic vinegar
Jack is open for one seating per night at 7 pm on Saturday nights, once a month or so at the Brooklyn Lyceum in Park Slope. Check out their web site for details. They serve a fixed multi-course tasting menu changes that changes each time. Menus are posted in advance on this site, BYOB, and reservations are absolutely required. You can find the complete list of dates when Jack will be open in 2008 on their web site.
The cuisine is eclectic, innovative, and very tasty. The service impeccable. The ambiance...100% theatrical, I felt as though I was dining on a stage. The food delicous and wildly creative.
Rosé wines are getting more and more consideration from American drinkers then ever before. Regarded as somewhat feminine drinks 5 to 8 years ago, wine lovers from all horizons and genders have realized how pleasing rose wines can be and how versatile they actually are when it comes to food pairing.
It is often heard from would be rosé-drinkers that the style of wine they enjoy most is one that is "not too sweet". Nowadays, rosés are indeed made on the dry side, far, far away from the "blush" white zinfandels and their cloying sweetness. Rosés are now for the most part, lively summery wines, elegant, and of course a touch "feminine," and pair well with various kinds of dishes from seafood to risotto, nicoise salads to roasted chicken with herbs and paella.
Today we will take a look at one of the most respected wine regions that produces some of the best Rosé in France--the Provence region. Located in southeastern France on the Mediterranean sea, la Provence is know for its warm climate, sun-drenched fields, and savory dishes. A food lover's heaven, Provence is known for its unforgettable flavors. Dishes are cooked with love using the best indigenous ingredients such as olives, olive oil, fish (some of the best being Loup and Rouget), lamb, as well as local fruits such as peaches, apricots and melons, and of course its wines. La Provence is indeed home of the best expressions of some of the fuller bodied and driest French Rosés.
When selecting the rosé of your choice it is important to understand the difference between "sweet" and "dry". A wine can be dry, as opposed to sweet, if it contains a very small amount of diluted sugar, so small it is not perceptible by our senses. But this is not the only reason one can feel some sweetness to a wine. It is also important to understand that two identical wines with the same amount of residual sugar can taste more or less dry depending on their acidity level. Indeed, the higher the acid, the driest the wine. Example: when mixing water and sugar, the result is a very sweet, almost undrinkable liquid. Here the acidity of the drink is very low. Add some lime juice to the mix. By boosting the acidity of the drink, the sweetness becomes much less perceptible.
Conclusion: when a wine is drier than another it does not mean that it contains less sugar. Its acidity might simply be higher. Provence wines tend to ally the best of both worlds: low residual sugar and high acid, for a very dry style of wine.
So what Rosé would I suggest for your Seduction meal? Try the 2007 Commanderie de Peyrassol Rosé
The Commanderie de Peyrassol is located in the heart of Provence, near routes traveled by Crusaders in the early Middle Ages. It was founded by the Knights of Templar who were dedicated to protecting the Crusaders en route to, and in, the Holy Land. The first recorded harvest took place in 1256 and wine-making has continued uninterrupted throughout the centuries. The current proprietor, Francoise Rigord, has been making the wines at Peyrassol since 1981 and has now been joined by her son, Francois. The estate is surrounded by 165 hectares of Mediterranean forest with 65 hectares of vineyards being cultivated on this dry, rocky clay and limestone based soil. No synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or fungicides are used in the vineyards.
The 2007 Commanderie de Peyrassol Rosé is made from a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Cinsault. A pale watermelon-pink color, the nose exhibits aromas of orange peel, lime and dried flowers. The wine is full bodied on the palate, dry, well balanced with flavors of tangerine and strawberries. Acidity is high. The wine finishes on notes of caramel. It is a definitely very good showing and a great value as well.
So for your next Seduction Meal pair your 2007 Commanderie de Peyrassol Rosé with your favorite Bouillabaisse, Salad Nicoise, Ham or Proscuitto, Roast Chicken, or Mezze Vegetable dishes.
Cost: About $16 a bottle.
Where to find it? Contact importer Neal Rosenthal 800.910.1990 firstname.lastname@example.org
Next time you want to celebrate in style, try this captivating Carribbean lobster dish made with an equally enticing rum butter dipping sauce. Perfect for a first time date you want to truly impress, an anniversary celebration, or for a gourmet feast.
caribbean lobster with rum-jerk butter recipe by Mount Gay® Rum
two to three 1-2 lb lobsters (or tails) halved and cleaned 1 tbsp melted butter ½ cup chopped onion 1 tbsp jerk seasoning ½ cup chopped sweet pepper ¼ cup Mount Gay Eclipse Rum 2-3 tbsp butter ¼ cup fresh lime juice ¼ cup chives and parsley chopped ½ cup tomato concasse* for garnish
* tomatoes that have been peeled, seeded (seeds and membranes removed), and diced in small chunks
1. Parboil the lobster until bright red, then put into a 300 F oven with a little melted butter until the sauce below is done. 2. Sauté onion, jerk seasoning and sweet pepper in remaining melted butter and cook until onion turns translucent. 3. Removing from heat pour in the rum and add butter stirring until it has melted evenly and turns creamy. 4. Add lime juice and herbs, stirring together
plating the dish
Take each lobster tail and cut in half keeping shell in place. Pull all lobster meat from the rest of the lobster. Keep the body shell for plating your dishes.
Place a bed of greens on each plate. Next place a hollowed lobster shell on each plate (as seen above) on top of the greens. Add lobster meat in a mound next to shell opening and place lobster tails on plate. Pour sauce over lobster and serve the rest in dipping bowls. Garnish with chopped tomato concasse.
You can add grilled asparagus to this meal --it will work well with the dipping rum butter sauce or served plain with some fresh squeezed lemon juice and a dash of sea salt.
For an elegant simple dish that offers a creamy texture with a slight salty bite under a golden crisp crust, saganaki is a wonderful choice for a midnight snack, a starter for your Seduction Meal, or a simple lunch. The word saganaki is a diminutive of saganiki, a frying pan with two handles, (a mini version of the paella pan of Spain), which comes from the Turkish word sahan. Serve this grilled cheese dish with a light Greek white wine or a glass of ouzo, a side of taramasalata and warm pita bread. OPA!
halloumi® saganaki courtesy of chef Michael Psilakis and CheeseEU serves 4-6
6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin Greek olive oil 8 oz Halloumi®, sliced into six 1⁄2-inch thick rectangles Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 1⁄2 tablespoons) plus 1 lemon, sliced sea salt and black pepper to taste 1 head frisée, trimmed and torn into pieces (about 2 cups) 1 cup arugula 1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large nonstick pan over moderate heat until hot.
Add halloumi® and sauté until browned, about 45 seconds a side.
Whisk together lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper to taste and remaining olive oil.
Combine frisée, arugula and oregano, add 6 tablespoons of the dressing and toss well.
Transfer halloumi® slices to salad plates, drizzle with the remaining dressing.
Top each portion with a mound of salad and some lemon slices.
A mojito is traditionally made of five ingredients:
white rum, sugar (traditionally sugar cane juice), lime, carbonated
water and mint. When preparing a mojito, lime juice is added to sugar
(or syrup) and mint leaves. The mixture is then gently mashed with a
The mint leaves should only be bruised to release the essential oils
and must not be shredded. Then rum is added and the mixture is briefly
stirred to dissolve the sugar and to lift the mint sprigs up from the
bottom for better presentation. Finally, the drink is topped with ice
cubes and sparkling water, and mint leaves and lime wedges are used to
garnish the glass.
For a tasty side dish to snack on while enjoying your Mojito, try jazzy mango chicken wings. Cuba is the birthplace of the Mojito, although the exact origin of this classic cocktail is the subject of debate. One story traces the Mojito to the 16th century when the cocktail was known as "El Draque," in honor of the English Explorer and Trader Sir Francis Drake. If this is indeed true, the Mojito could be considered as the world's first cocktail. The Mojito was made with "tafia," a primitive predecessor of rum, with the other ingredients used to hide the harsh taste. The drink improved substantially in the 19th century, with the introduction of copper stills and the aging process that led to the modern form of rum. Some insist the Mojito's name comes from mojo, a Cuban seasoning made from lime and used to flavor dishes. Perhaps as a reference to its lime ingredient, the drink became known as the cocktail with 'a little mojo' - in Spanish, 'mojito'. (source: wikipedia)
mojito recipe for 1 mojito from Mount Gay®
1 1/2 oz. Mount Gay® Rum Eclipse Silver 12 fresh mint leaves 1/2 lime 2 tbsp. simple syrup (or 4 tsp. sugar) Top off with club soda Garnish: lime wedge and sprig of mint
Muddle mint leaves and lime in tall glass. Cover with simple syrup and fill glass with ice; add Mount Gay® Rum and club soda; stir well. Garnish glass with lime wedge and sprigs of mint.
Note: Simple syrup is made by stirring granulated sugar into hot water in a sauce pan until the sugar is dissolved and then cooling the solution. Generally, a ratio of two parts sugar to one part water is used.
We all know how sexy it is to serve up a finger-licking delicious appetizer for two and this recipe for mango chicken wings is no exception. Serve this up with two chilled rum cocktails like the Bajan Star Shine below, and you are set for a fun evening appetizer, a midnight snack (if you have the foresight to marinate earlier in the day), or late afternoon delight.
jazzy mango chicken wings recipe from Mount Gay Rum
note: leave time to marinate the chicken overnight, or at least 4 hours
10-12 chicken wings jerk seasoning fresh mango or pulp ½ cup Mount Gay Eclipse Rum
Marinate chicken in jerk seasoning and mango pulp, Mount Gay Eclipse Rum, salt and pepper overnight. Pre-heat oven to 350 F and bake for 25-30 minutes. Garnish with fresh herbs and mango slices.
bajan star shine
Ingredients for one drink:
1 oz Mount Gay Eclipse Silver Rum 2 Slices of Star Fruit cut in fours 1 tsp of Grapefruit Marmalade 1 oz Guava Nectar 1/2 oz Simple Syrup* Juice of one key lime or one quarter ounce of bottled key lime juice
Method: In mixing glass, muddle the quarters of Star fruit well. Add remaining ingredients and ice. Shake vigorously, then strain into chilled cocktail glass or coupe filled with cracked ice. Garnish with slice of Star Fruit.
*Simple syrup is made by stirring granulated sugar into hot water
in a sauce pan until the sugar is dissolved and then cooling the
solution. Generally, a ratio of two parts sugar to one part water is
For a light, sexy seduction meal this simple lobster salad will impress, especially when you spend some time plating your dish with a dash of seduction. This salad can be served for lunch, a light dinner, a picnic, or when visiting your loved one with a meal for two and a bottle of wine in hand.
All you have to do is whip up this luscious lobster salad, add some height by layering the ingredients, create your dish with an array of color, and visually tease with a colorful, fun garnish. For the best
texture and taste be sure to purchase fresh lobster tails from your local seafood
market the same day you plan on serving this dish....and voila! you're good to go. Bon Appetit!
3 lobster tails 1 yellow or orange pepper, sliced in whole rings cherry tomatoes 1 ripe mango, diced into small cubes 1 avocado, diced into small cube a large handful of mixed greens 1/8 cup olive oil 1/4 tsp mustard a dash of balsamic vinegar 1/2 of a fresh squeezed lemon salt and pepper to taste chives for garnish
Take one medium sized lobster tail and chop up into bite sized pieces. Add to a bowl with diced mango and avocado. Whisk together olive oil, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Drizzle 3-4 tbs of the dressing over the salad and toss together.
Plating the dish
Place mixed greens on each plate and top with 1-2 slices of pepper--I used an orange pepper for color and taste. Drizzle a little more dressing over the salad.
Top the pepper rings with the lobster salad. Add cherry tomatoes around the mound of salad over the mixed greens. Place 1 small lobster tail over the lobster salad and insert a few stalks of chives in the center of the lobster tail as seen in the photo. Serve with a chilled bottle of white wine.
But let's say you have questions about preparing your meal like: Should I use a dry rub verses a BBQ sauce? What's the difference between Texan BBQ vs.Tennessee style? What type of grill should I use? And, how do I work with flavored BBQ chips? Look no further. findingDulcinea has put together the ultimate resource for summer grilling tips and links to web sites and blogs that feature an abundance of
recipes and tips to help perfect your BBQ skills. Whether you prefer your BBQ from Texas, North Carolina, or Tennessee, we've got you covered.
Barbecue is a summer staple for virtually every American, but for some dedicated enthusiasts, life is a full-time cook-off. findingDulcinea takes a look at American barbecue and the devotees who keep the grill flame lit all summer long.
photo: copyright Terry Dagrosa
celebrity grill master Some barbecue lovers channel their enthusiasm into popular books, recipes and television shows. Here is a grill master who has won fame and fortune over the flame.
Bobby Flay tells you everything you need to know about grilling: mainly, that to grill good food you don't have to know a whole lot. This celebrity chef offers basic advice on what to have on hand when you start barbecuing and how to keep your cool as the meat heats up. If you're lacking confidence in your grill skills, Flay's laid-back guidance could help put your fears to rest. One of his main pieces of advice: don't feel beholden to recipes. Do what feels right. Check out Bobby Flay: The Official Web site
stickin' to your ribs down south Barbecue enthusiasts are all over the country, though none so proud as those in the South. Although arguments abound about where exactly barbeque originated and what variations of vinegar marinades or spicy rubs are best to dress a cut of meat, one thing is certain: every region of the American South has its own barbecue style.
The North Carolina Barbecue Societycalls its state "The Cradle of Cue." The site's Historic Trail features barbecue pits across North Carolina, which can be visited via a virtual map or in person if you find yourself in the Tar Heel State.
The Southern BBQ Trail Web site profiles Alabama barbecue. Alabama barbecue is drawn from the traditions of surrounding states, the site explains, so there are many popular cooking and marinating techniques. The Oral Histories section of the site documents some of the foremost Alabama pit masters at work today.
Although barbecue abounds across Tennessee, no place is better known for its pits than Memphis. This collection of photos and essays from Southern Food Ways offers a glimpse at some of the city's most famous barbecue joints.
When people think of Texas barbecue, brisket generally comes to mind. But Texans are equally skilled at making smoked sausage, Gourmet Magazine presents a photo exhibit s artistic as it is appetite-inducing.
By taking "the best of both worlds"--Carolina rubs and Texas marinades--Kansas barbecue enthusiasts have created a special combination of spices and flavors unique to their state. Experience Kansas City explores some of the state's best-known grill masters.
As they say on their site: When it comes to lip-smackin', finger-lickin', chin-dribblin',
literally rib-stickin' barbecue, Kansas City holds its own. The
Carolinas can rightfully claim to be the cradle of American barbecue
and Texas is by far the brisket capital of the world. But Kansas City
brings it all together with more than 90 barbecue joints - from little
bitty eateries to full-blown, nothing-but-barbecue restaurants.
finger lickin' up north The North has its fair share of finger lickin' food, too. But as BBQ wasn't originally a Yankee staple, some effort is required to seek out the best of the barbecue best. Fortunately, a number of enthusiasts have made Northern barbecue a life's pursuit.Pig Trip reviews barbecue joints from Boston to New York, "and everywhere in between."
barbecuin' across the U.S.A. Many barbecue enthusiasts love to talk about their passion. Fortunately, the Internet has given them limitless space to muse about the merits of their favorite forms of grilling, marinating and food presentation. For a truly anthropological look at American barbecue today, check out what some of these enthusiasts have to say about cooking and eating BBQ.
The BBQ blog is run by a serious barbecue man: the creator of an award-winning spice rub and frequent barbecue contest competitor, he also has more than 600 published articles to his credit. You'll find a mess of interesting discussions on this site, with topics ranging from "Starting a BBQ rub business," to "BBQ food cost calculation."
The Homesick Texan is a Lone Star lady with a longing for rice, beans
and other barbecue accompaniments. Although currently living in New
York, this chef cooks up Southern staples like brisket and strawberry
shortcake and provides detailed pictures of her creations.
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