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...
Here is a chicken dish with a little pizazz--something a little more
special that just roast chicken. I remember having
this dish prepared for me when my Parisian friend came to visit: Sauteed
Chicken with Apples in a brandy-based cream sauce. My version includes sauteed mushrooms, and a less heavy, but still seductive sauce. Here is my take on it:
Sliders are fun mini sandwiches that can be served for lunch or dinner, or at a gathering of family and friends. Fish Sauce, cilantro, green onions, and soy sauce impart a Thai flavor to the salmon, and red chili flakes gives it a little "kick". Topped with a mango red pepper salsa--this unique slider is a good choice for a casual romantic meal for two. If you are a salmon lover consider buying quality seafood in bulk to save money.
In the spirit of the Holiday, remember homemade always tastes best, and for blueberry lovers everywhere, this desert will add a nice touch to the end of any seduction meal. Blueberry apricot pot pies - delish!
Blueberry Apricot Pot Pies four servings
1 9-inch round refrigerated pie crust (from a 15-ounce
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup dried apricots cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 375°F; lightly butter four 3/4-cup (6-ounce) baking cups.
Place pastry flat onto a floured board
Invert a baking cup 1/2-inch from the edge of the pastry
With a small sharp knife, cut out a circle 1/2-inch larger than the cup; repeat to make 4 rounds;
Cut a small hole in the center of each.
In a medium bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch; add blueberries and apricots; toss to coat; divide equally among the buttered cups.
With water, lightly moisten the rim of the each cup
Place a pastry round on each cup, fold under the edge and crimp. Repeat.
Place cups on a rimmed baking pan.
Bake until the filling just begins to bubble, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool 5 to 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Or, bake earlier and reheat in a 375 degrees F oven until warm.
Walk into any artisanal cheese shop and I am sure you've been tempted to try, and of course buy, each perfectly presented morsel that appeals to your senses. There is a beauty and alchemy in how cheese is paired, presented, and consumed. Sweet, salty, tart, creamy, hard, spicy -- you name it, there are choices to satisfy all desires.
Creating you Platter: Cheese platters can be served as a main course with your favorite wine, champagne or beer, or as a interlude between the main course and dessert. In creating a cheese platter think texture, color, aroma and taste. You can go with a themed approach such as French, Italian, or Spanish selections, or you can mix it up. It's best to select cheese varieties that are different in texture and taste to keep things interesting. Pair your cheese platter with fresh fruit, warmed nuts, dried berries, sweet jams, drizzled honey, and specialty breads such as Crostini, Panzanella flat bread, or my all time favorite, fresh baguette. You can also serve cheese with grilled vegetables, such as artichoke, asparagus, or peppers. And, a mixed green salad with a simple dressing such a good quality olive oil and a bit of fresh lemon juice, is always refreshing.
Cheese & Wine Pairings: There are many books and online resources for suggestions on cheese and wine pairings. Check out Gourmet Slueth where you can look up a specific cheese and review their wine, champagne and/or beer suggestions. Arisanal Cheese lets you type in the wine you are serving and they suggest the perfect cheese pairing.
Mix it Up. Below is a list of themed cheese platters with suggested pairings. Have fun experimenting with your creations. Some fascinating
combination include: Fresh figs with Manchego or goat cheese.
Apricots with Camembert. Floral honey drizzled over brie or goat cheese, and one of my all time favorites; Manchego with Membrillo or quince paste. .
Online Resources: And for those that do not have access to local cheese shops, I have provided links to online resources where you can purchase specialty cheese platters. I also found an online resource that offers a glossary of cheese terms.
French Cheese Platter Gruyere de Comte, Boucheron, Roquefort, Fromage d'affinois. Camembert, Comte, Brie, and Brillat Saverin to name a few. Serve with sun-dried cranberries or cherries, pears, saucisson (naturally dried pork sausage), pâté de foie gras or country pate, cornichon, and french baguette. Click on the image below for more details on Dean & DeLuca's French cheese platter.
English Cheese Platter Cotswald, Farm House Cheddar, Morangie Brie, Blue Shropshire, Lincolnshire Poacher, Winterdale Shaw, and English Blue Stilton. Serve with pears, dried cranberries, warm hazelnuts, English butter crackers, cornichons, and lavender honey.
Spanish Cheese Platter
Manchego, Drunken Goat, Valdeon, Campo de Montalban, Mahon, Nevat, Roncal and Mirableu. Nevat:Serve with quince paste (pairs perfectly with the manchego), figs, royal Medjool dates, Marcona Almonds, Jamon Serrano, and Catalan Olives. Dean & Deluca has a wonderful manchego cheese and quince paste platter.
American Cheese Platter
Smoked Gouda, Monterey Jack, Carmody, Buttermilk Blue, and Cheddar. Pair your platter with grapes, sliced apples or pears, walnuts, and sliced sausage, smoked ham, or Proscuitto. Dean and DeLuca offers An American cheese platter.
Italian Cheese Platter
Taleggio, Fresh Mozzarella di Buffala, Grana Pardano, Sharp Provolone, Asagio, fresh Parmigianno-Regianno, Gorgonzola. Pair well with olives, Proscuitto de Parma, caramelized pecans, roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes and pignoli notes. Dean & DeLuca's Italian Cheese Plate can be purchased online.
Some dishes are more complicated and take time, but the end result is well worth the praise and adoration you will experience; and this dish falls under that category. Braised lamb shanks with artichokes, tomatoes and fava beans is the mastermind of Chef Pano Karatassos from Kyma Restaurant in Atlanta--a definite contender for your next romantic meal for two.
Braised Lamb Shanks with Artichokes and Fava Beans 8 servings Preparation time: 30 minutes Cook time: 3-1/2 to 4 hours
8 American Lamb shanks
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves plus a bundle of thyme
4 cups chicken broth
16 cloves garlic, sliced
4 medium onions, sliced
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Roma tomatoes, blanched in hot water 1 minute, peeled, center and seeds removed; cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
12 fava bean pods, beans removed from pod, boiled in water for 4 minutes, cooled, shelled and thinly sliced
The winners of The 2009 Davey Awards have been announced by the International Academy of the Visual Arts today and Seduction Meals is thrilled to have taken home a gold award for out Seduction Meals Video.
With over 4,000 entries from across the US and around the world, the Davey Awards honors the finest creative work from the best small firms, agencies and companies worldwide.
The Davey Awards is judged and overseen by the International Academy of the Visual Arts (IAVA), a 200+ member organization of leading professionals from various disciplines of the visual arts dedicated to embracing progress and the evolving nature of traditional and interactive media. Current IAVA membership represents a "Who's Who" of acclaimed media, advertising, and marketing firms including: Sotheby's Institute of Art, Yahoo!, Estee Lauder, Wired, Insight Interactive, The Webby Awards, Bath & Body Works, Brandweek, Polo Ralph Lauren, ADWEEK, Alloy, Coach, , MTV, Victoria's Secret, HBO, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Myspace.com, and many others.
I somehow inherited two very large heads of cauliflower that were taking up a lot of space in my refrigerator. Determined to come up with something other than steamed or roasted cauliflower, I decided to create a recipe for a creamy winter soup. I've had cauliflower soup before but always felt it was just too bland. After scouring my pantry I found some interesting ingredients, such as Porcini Mushroom powder (D'artagnon), a bit of curry and water chestnuts. It all came together for an incredibly tasty recipe: Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Water Chestnuts. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.
2 heads cauliflower/ cut into 1" florets, about 10 cups
3 large garlic cloves, cut in half lengthwise
1 medium-large yellow onion, cut in half and quartered
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup of carrots, finely diced
1 cup of celery, finely diced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tsp porcini mushroom powder
1 bay leaf
4 tbsp sweet butter
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup coarsely diced water chestnuts (1 small can)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut cauliflower into 1" florets
In a large bowl, using your hands, mix together 4 cups of cauliflower, garlic, onion and 4 tbsp olive oil. Place on a tray and place in hot oven, roasting for 25 - 30 minutes until golden brown.
While this is roasting, place butter in a dutch oven or 4 quart kettle, heat medium high. Add carrots, celery, Porcini mushroom powder and curry, stirring to blend together.
Add chicken broth and water, stir.
Add roasted vegetables to the pot when ready (reserve 6 -8 cauliflower florets for garnish), and Simmer of medium heat for 30 minutes
Discard bay leaf and in a blender puree soup in batches until smooth, pouring pureed soup into a large bowl.
Transfer puree soup back into the kettle. Simmer over medium heat stir for a few minutes.
Add cream, salt and pepper to taste and stir until blended and warm, about 3 minutes.
Plating the dish
Place soup in a serving bowl.
Garnish with cauliflower florets, water chestnuts and snipped fresh chives. Top with a dash of cayenne pepper that runs the length of the bowl. Be careful not to be heavy handed with this pepper--its very hot!