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...
Haute cuisine, culinary alchemy or perhaps both? Grant Achatz is a master of seduction. See for yourself in the slide show below as one flirtatious dish after another is presented, leaving you to smile in amazement and wonder at this chef's incredible skill.
My initial response was full praise for Grant's culinary artistry and provocative presentations. Next I imagined how one would actually eat each dish. Fingers, fork, knife, spoon, spear, or using some contraption he has devised; how intriguing. How fun! And, my fascination is done through mere photographs from his beautifully designed cookbook--Alinea, a "must-have" book for your collection. How I long for my next trip to Chicago so I can experience this in person.
Photography by Lara Kastner, Courtesy of Alineabook.com
Alinea, the cookbook has all the ingredients to become the "hot" coffee table book / gift of the moment. Between the story of Achatz' meteoric rise as culinary superstar, his fascinating food creations and techniques, to the seductive photographs by photographer Lara Kastner--you can't help bring this book to your lap and slowly devour each page. Grant and his partner Nick Kokonas have created a web site to go with the book that features demos, recipes, and techniques. What the videos to witness the passion behind each dish.
I will say, this is not a cookbook for home chefs, the 600 recipes are complex and require special equipment , ingredients, and patience. Consider this a beautiful book that shares a glimpse into the world of Grant Achatz, molecular gastronomy or hyper modern cooking, and need I say--perfection.
Bruschetta can be served as an appetizer, a side dish, or a simple snack. Pronounced bru'shet'a in English, and brus ket'a in Italian, this dish dates to at least the 15th century from central Italy.
It is so easy to prepare; all you need is fresh, ripe ingredients and a very good extra virgin olive oil. Here's how easy it is: Cut a few slices of Italian or French bread and toast about 1 inch thick and toast it to a golden brown color. Take a piece of garlic and lightly rub it on one side of the toast. On this very side top each slice of toast with the tomato basil mixture (see recipe below) and top this with a dash of sea salt and cracked black pepper. That's it!
A hearty meal for a cold balmy night, this recipes for Spaghetti Carbonara blends the sweet taste of sun dried tomatoes and salty pancetta with a creamy parmesan cheese sauce I like to serve this with a tomato basil bruschetta and a bottle of chilled white burgundy like Domaine Vocoret 2006 Chablis. I typically do not add salt to this dish as the pancetta is salty. The best things about this delicious dish--including the wine and bruschetta, this Seduction Meal is less than $40 for two, and it can be made in less than 1/2 hour.
I am a big fan of Bobby Flay and absolutely love Mesa Grill. I recently had lunch there with a friend and being a beautiful Fall day in New York, I was intrigued by the pumpkin soup on the menu. As the bowl of soup was placed before me, and the smell of cinnamon and spices came my way, I knew this was going to be special. With the very first taste, it was as though all conversation in the room ceased as I lovingly devoured this dish in complete self-indulgence. My poor friend had no idea I tuned out--if only for a few moments. Needless to say, this is the perfect fall/winter soup for a Seduction Meal for two.
After a long, hectic day I welcomed the opportunity to have dinner at
The James Beard House with executive chef Carmen Quagliata of renowned NY restaurant, Union Square Cafe. While I've had many
wonderful meals at JB events, this meal was something else. After
tasting one seductive morsel after another, savoring the vast array of flavors and
artfully prepared dishes, I realized that food can in fact alter your
being as I was whisked away from a chaotic day to a state of
At that very moment I decided the title of my story..."divine
intervention". Thank you Carmen!
The title of the dinner hosted at the James Beard house--Quintessentially New York: An icon of American gastronomy and hospitality for more than 20 years,
Union Square Cafe recently reclaimed the top spot in Zagat's list of
the most popular NYC restaurants (a distinction it has held no fewer
than eight times). Find out why when executive chef Carmen Quagliata visits the Beard House
What do you get when you mix together seductively dark chocolate, spicy chili peppers, thyme, golden flax seeds, and crisped rice? An exotic love potion sure to attract... like bees to honey! And the best part, you don't have to whip this up in a cauldron over a hot stove, someone's done all the hard work for you. All you need is someone to tempt.
From Belgium chocolatier, Newlife, comes ALPHA-- a mix of deliciously dark chocolate with golden roasted flax seeds and crisped rice. A tempting crunchy treat, ALPHA gets a healthy boost with Omega 3 from the flax seeds. Comes in in three flavors: Pure, Chili Pepper, and Thyme. You can order Alpha Chocolate online at NewTree.com
A Seduction Meal does not have to be a full blown gourmet feast nor does it have to cost a lot of money. The scallop recipe below is the perfect example. Seared scallops that are basted with a thyme butter sauce, served over a bed of savory vegetables sauteed in butter, topped with a simple, flavorable jus. This scallop dish can be served as an appetizer or a main dish and is sure to please.
The secret to this dish is to not to overcook the scallops or they will become tough. As soon as
they turn opaque and white they are done. As with all seafood, buy fresh. Scallops have a distinct, sweet odor when they are fresh. Between taste, quality ingredients, texture, and flavors the simplicity of a dish will shine on its own.
Continue Reading for the Recipe which was supplied by MarxFoods.com
If you are looking for a quick and easy snack, or a starter for your Mexican meal, quesadillas are a good choice. They can be stuffed with crab, steak, lobster, vegetables, or as in this case, just cheese and basil.
Avocado Relish with Mozzarella Quesadilla Martha Stewart Magazine
3 ripe avocados, pitted and cut into chunks 1 1/2 cups halved ripe cherry tomatoes basil sauce (see recipe below) 1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn into small pieces salt and pepper to taste 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, room temperature, thinly sliced 10 - 12 flour tortillas
1. Combine avocado, tomatoes, 1/2 of the basil sauce (see below), and basil leaves in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, set aside. Note: While it says 1/2 of the basil sauce, slowly add the basil sauce to your liking, I found 1/2 to be too much.
2. Spread 1/2 of the tortillas with remaining half of basil sauce, and cover tortillas with sliced mozzarella. Cover with remaining tortillas.
3. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook one quesadilla at a time until tortilla starts to brown and cheese melts, 3 - 5 minutes. Turn quessadilla over, cook until golden brown, melted and heated through. Repeat with remaining quesadillas. NOTE: I think you can also bake the quesadillas in the oven on a cookie sheet if you prefer to cook them all at once. Serve immediately or keep warm in a low oven until ready to serve. Serve with avocado relish.
Basil Sauce Makes about 1 cup
2 cups loosely packed basil leaves 1 clove of garlic 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (optional) 1 finely chopped chipotle pepper (from a can) - I added this to the recipe to spice it up!
Combine all ingredients but the olive oil, in a blender. Slowly add the oil until incorporated and the sauce is green and smooth. Keep covered in refrigerator until ready to use.
I am a true fan of a juicy rib eye steak or a filet mignon that is dipped in a flavored sauce such a port based sauce or a cognac cream sauce. I haven't worked with a flank steak in years and wanted to try this recipe as created.
Best known for its use in recipes for London Broil, flank steak is a lean, full flavored cut of beef. Many flank steak recipes suggest marinating for hours or overnight to tenderize the meat. The steak is tenderized by the acids found in marindate ingredients such as lemon juice, vinegar, tomatoes, and/or ginger. Grilling or broiling gives this thin cut the best results and cutting against the grain into thin slices will ensure tenderness.
Adobe Flank Steak with Corn and Tomato Relish recipe from Cooking Light / can be found on MyRecipes.com 5 servings (serving size: 3 ounces steak and 1/2 cup relish)
Steak: 1 teaspoon black peppercorns 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 2 whole cloves 1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 2 teaspoons brown sugar 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1 garlic clove, peeled 1 (1 1/4-pound) flank steak, trimmed Cooking spray
Relish: 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears) 1 cup chopped seeded tomato 1/4 cup chopped bottled roasted red bell peppers (I passed on this ingredient) 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt Fresh thyme leaves (optional)
To prepare steak, cook the first 3 ingredients in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat for 45 seconds or until toasted. Place the peppercorn mixture in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground.
Remove 1 chile from can; reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Place peppercorn mixture, chile, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and the next 4 ingredients (vinegar through garlic) in a blender; process until smooth, scraping sides occasionally.
Combine vinegar mixture and steak in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 24 hours. Remove from bag; discard marinade. The sherry vinegar gives the relish lots of flavor, so choose a good one.
Prepare grill or broiler.
Place steak on grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray; cook 6 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.
To prepare the relish, heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add corn; saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from heat; stir in tomato and remaining ingredients except thyme leaves. Place on top of steak. Garnish with thyme, if desired.
There are a few magazines that I relish reading for recipes, photo essays, travel stories, and food and wine pairings: Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Wine Spectator, Gastronomica, and Saveur. I dog ear recipes I want to try, save images that are inspiring, and visit restaurants that are featured--in this country and abroad. Here is a recipe that I saved from Bon Appetit Magazine years ago (1998) for Shrimp Madras which can be found on Epicurious.com. (everyone loved this dish!)
Madras curry or Madras sauce is a fairly hot curry sauce, red in color. It originates in the south of India and gets its name from the city of Madras now known as Chennai. Madras sauce goes great with poultry, pork, lamb, seafood and vegetables and can be used at any stage of cooking; use it to marinade, grill or finish. When you are looking for a quick Seduction Meal (this dish can be made in less than 30 minutes) and your significant other is a fan of spicy, curry dishes I highly suggest this Shrimp Madras recipe. I served it with rice pilaf and a mixed green salad. Fast, easy and delicious--everyone loved it.