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...
We all anticipate with special delight dining at a restaurant that is consistently touted as "one of the best" or the newcomer that is the "hottest spot" in town. Whether you are celebrating with friends or a loved one or you are on a hot date, there is always the hopeful expectation that whatever you order is going to live up to the hype. And when it does; when you are truly blown away by a meal so spectacular, it just makes your day. You can't wait to share the news with all your friends. That is how I learned of Jardiniere in San Francisco. A friend just happened to have dinner there while passing through town, and this "foodie" friend just LOVED it.. I was told I had to put this on my list of places to try and that Jardiniere is a perfect place for sharing a special Romantic Meal for Two.
Take a look at some of the dishes featured on their web site. If
you've eaten there, we'd love to hear from you. Please comment on this
post and let us know about your experience.
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Jardinière 300 Grove St (between Franklin St & Gough St) San Francisco, CA 94102 (415) 861-5555 www.jardiniere.com
Chef/Co-Owner Traci Des Jardins' award-winning restaurant, Jardinière features elegant dining with talented Executive Chef Craig Patzer in the kitchen, Sommelier Eugenio Jardim in the wine cellar, a hot lounge with creative mixologists, and a tempting cocktail menu.
Housed in a beautiful landmark building in San Francisco's chic Hayes Valley neighborhood, Jardiniere, opened in 1997. Highlights of the elegant setting, designed by Pat Kuleto, include a gorgeous bar and stunning staircase. The highly refined and sensual food of Chef/Owner Traci Des Jardins is a celebration of Northern California's best seasonal bounty prepared with classic French technique. The J Lounge features a full list of specialty cocktails and wines, and offers a variety of creative lounge food and small plates. Its proximity to the theaters makes it an excellent place to dine before or after a show. (OpenTable.com)
From Thomas Keller's Cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home, comes this amazing Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe.
"If there's a better fried chicken, I haven't tasted it. First, and critically, the chicken is brined for 12 hours in a herb-lemon brine, which seasons the meat and helps it stay juicy. The flour is seasoned with garlic and onion powders, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. The chicken is dredged in the seasoned flour, dipped in buttermilk, and then dredged again in the flour. The crust becomes almost feathered and is very crisp. Fried chicken is a great American tradition that's fallen out of favor. A taste of this, and you will want it back in your weekly routine." --Thomas Keller.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken (Serves 4-6)
Two 2 1/2- to 3-pound chickens (see Note on Chicken Size)
The key ingredient here is the lemon, which goes wonderfully with
chicken, as do the herbs: bay leaf, parsley, and thyme. This amount of brine will be enough for 10 pounds.
Combine all the Brine ingredients in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil.
Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat
and cool completely, then chill before using. The brine can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Full Recipe Below
Ad Hoc at Home was voted by Amazon.com as one of the Best Books of the
Month, November 2009. As reviewed on Amazon: "You don't often see the
name Thomas Keller mixed with words like "accessible" or "home cook,"
but with Ad Hoc at Home, the award-winning chef presents a collection
of recipes destined for the center of the table at casual family
gatherings. Don't throw away your whole notion of "quick and easy,"
though, as this is still a casual cookbook filtered through the genius
mind of the man behind The French Laundry Cookbook, but the sense of
whimsy and the pure joy of Keller doing his version of comfort food
proves irresistible. The inspiration for his restaurant Ad Hoc was the
simple family meals created and served by the staff at his
restaurants. As he says in the introduction, "here is food meant to be
served from big bowls and platters passed hand to hand at the table."
And with dishes like Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Pineapple Upside-Down
Cake, who's going to argue with that?
Maria Hunt, also known as The Bubbly Girl, is the author of The Bubbly Bar, the ultimate guide to entertaining with sparkling wine cocktails. One of her favorite sayings, it's always better with bubbly! is true to my heart.
"Champagnes and sparkling wines are my passion and I want more people to pair these joyful wines with every day meals and especially when entertaining".
We are honored as Maria shares with Seduction Meals one of her favorite recipes: Champagne Brie Spread which she tells us pairs well with any brut sparkling wine with crisp acidity, such as cava, Prosecco, or brut champagne. "This decadent appetizer created by Fleming's Steakhouse isn't served at the restaurant any more, but they were kind enough to share the recipe." Thank you Maria!
Champagne Brie Spread Makes 1-1/2 cups spread
8 ounces brie, cut out of the rind
6 ounces cream cheese
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
3 ounces brut champagne
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon butter, cut in pieces
2 teaspoons chopped Marcona almonds
2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives
6 or 7 Morello (brandy-soaked cherries), cut in half
1 teaspoon sun-dried tomatoes
Directions: In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the brie and the cream cheese. Mix on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until smooth. Add the Parmesan cheese, champagne, white pepper and butter. Continue to blend for 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 3 minutes.
Divide the spread into 5-ounce ramekins. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until just set. Remove from the refrigerator just before serving, and let the spread warm up slightly. Garnish one of the ramekins with almonds, one with chives, one with cherries and the fourth with sun-dried tomato. Serve with assorted crackers.
Looking for a unique, restaurant-quality recipe for your next Seduction Meal? Here is one that is received with rave reviews every time I present it to my guests: Beef Tenderloin with White Peppercorn Sauce. The meat is tender and juicy and the sauce divine! Serve this with mashed potatoes or thin-cut home-made fries.
Beef Tenderloin with White Peppercorn Sauce Serves 4, so cut recipe in half for an intimate dinner for 2 This recipe can be found in the Dean & DeLuca Cookbook
1. Prepare the beef: Trim the tenderloin of all fat and sinew; then tie it with a string at 1 inch intervals to keep the round shape. (or ask your butcher to do this for you). Coat the meat with freshly ground white pepper and salt. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours 2. Prepare the poaching liquid: Place the beef stock in an oval Dutch oven (one that will hold the tenderloin snugly). Add the leeks, carrots, onions, turnips, black peppercorns, brandy, and cloves. Bring to a boil; then, simmer gently for 2 hours. 3. When ready to cook, make sure that the poaching liquid is at a very gentle simmer. Lower the tenderloin into it, and picking up the poaching vegetables from the liquid with a slotted spoon, strew them over the beef. Cook until very rare, about 20 minutes. Remove tenderloin from the liquid, returning any vegetables to the pot. (This very flavorful liquid can now be used for other soups, stews, or sauces.) Let stand for 5 minutes before carving. 4. While the beef is poaching, prepare the sauce. In a small, heavy saucepan, cook the white wine, shallots, and a tablespoon of whole white peppercorns over moderately high heat until the wine is reduced to about 4 teaspoons. Place the crème fraiche and egg yolk in a bowl, whisk together, and slowly strain in the white wine reduction. Pour crème fraiche mixture into the saucepan, and cook over very gentle heat until the egg yolk thickens the sauce slightly. Add the grated nutmeg, and season to taste with salt and ground white pepper. 5. When ready to serve, slice the beef and plate it. Pour the sauce over and around the beef. Crack coarsely the remaining ½ teaspoon of whole white peppercorns and sprinkle over the beef. Garnish with chives. Serve immediately.
It is always good to learn a few recipes that are easy to prepare for impromptu moments. Here we have a simple yet delicious recipe for Salad Nicoise--perfect for a light dinner or a lunch time treat. This dish is a healthy medley of potatoes, tuna, asparagus, radishes, and kalamata olives topped with a simple dressing. I also like to add a sliced hard boiled egg. .You can use canned tuna, or grill a tuna steak. Pair this with nice crisp white wine, and if the weather is in your favor, this is best served outdoors. Enjoy!
Salad Nicoise 4 Servings
8 small red potatoes, uniform in size (about 1 pound)
1 6-ounce can white tuna in water, drained
12 steamed asparagus spears
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons minced red onion
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Leave skin on potatoes, quarter and place in large pot; pour over enough water to cover. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender; drain.
Arrange potatoes on platter with tuna, asparagus, radishes, olives and onion. In small bowl, whisk vinegar, parsley, and oil; drizzle over salad.
This intriguing recipe is sent to us by fellow blogger, Jenna Short-- Mini Squash Cakes with Creme Frâiche. The squash is sweetened up with vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon; and we have an interesting guest ingredient--beer! As Jenna puts it, "....this is more of a "Cuffin"... Say wha? Mini squash cupcakes that you can ice and serve for dessert or prepare a basket of them for a brunch party! They're delicious, nutritious and super easy to make!" - Jenna, shortbreadnyc.com
Photo and Recipe by Jenna Short
Mini Squash Cakes with Creme Frâiche Yeilds 6
2 cups 3/4-inch cubes squash
1 cup milk
1 tbs vanilla
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup light beer
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine squash and milk in heavy small saucepan, add bean. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Partially cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain squash. Place in processor and blend until smooth. Chill.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray six 3/4cup ramekins or muffin tin with nonstick spray. Place 1/2 cup squash puree in large bowl (reserve remaining puree for another use). Add sugar, oil, beer, and egg to puree and beat to blend. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt over; beat to blend. Divide batter among prepared ramekins or muffin tin.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Cool cakes in ramekins. Serve with whipped creme frâiche and raw sugar topping.
If you don't have the time to prepare your sweet treats, Shortbreadnyc.com offers Jenna's wonderful recipes such as Peanut Butter Jilly Times: A Dairy free Peanut Butter Frozen Bar Treat. Absolutely to Die for. Comes in a huge batch of over 2 dozen. They Freeze perfectly and taste best right out of the freezer! Dive in.
Another delicious Italian recipe from the cookbook: Ciao Italia: Five-Ingredient Favorites, where Mary Ann Esposito shows you how to turn just five ingredients into an easy, delicious dish bursting with Italian flavor. Here we have an Italian classic--Coal Miner Style Spaghetti or Spaghetti alla Carbonara.
"Just about everyone I know has a recipe for spaghetti alla carbonara. This simple but heavenly dish is said to get its name from the coal miners who could easily make it with readily available ingredients: eggs, cheese, and guanciale, cured and salted, pig's jowl and cheeks. A likely story, but the fact is that this dish is superb when made correctly and a completely balanced meal. The eggs should be of the highest quality and at room temperature so they will mix well with the spaghetti. The cheese should be none other than true Parmigiano-Reggiano, or pecorino Romano. Today, the more readily available pancetta is used in place of guanciale. And a pepper mill is essential for the right grind of black pepper."
Coal Miner Style Spaghetti: Spaghetti alla Carbonara Recipe Courtesy of Mary Ann Esposito Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounce chunk pancetta, diced
1/2 pound spaghetti
3 large eggs at room temperature and lightly beaten
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Good grinding coarse black pepper
Salt to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and stir in the pancetta. Cook until crispy. Set aside and keep warm.
Cook the spaghetti until it is al dente, in 4 quarts of rapidly boiling, salted water. Al dente means still firm but no uncooked flour is visible when a strand of spaghetti is broken in half.
Drain the spaghetti in a colander, and save 6 tablespoons of the water. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved water to the sauté pan with the spaghetti and toss well for a few minutes over low heat to get the spaghetti really hot. Remove the pan from the stove top and rapidly stir in the beaten eggs, 2 more tablespoons of the reserved water, and half the cheese. Combine well. If the spaghetti seems dry, add the last 2 tablespoons of the cooking water.
Add the reserved pancetta and any drippings. Stir well. Add a good grinding of the pepper. Add salt if needed.
Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Serve immediately.
This recipe is from Ciao Italia : Five-Ingredient Favorites by Mary Ann Esposito. For another delicious treat, try her Cheesey Stuffed Meatballs.
Authenticity, history, and tradition. Those three words define Mary Ann Esposito and the signature cooking style that has made her one of America's best-known and most loved television chefs. In her latest book, Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites, Esposito, best known for her authentic and inspired take on rustic Italian cooking, has taken a crack at the ubiquitous quick/easy genre offering 75 recipes that focus on five main ingredients.
Here we share one of Mary Ann's delicious recipes. Turn meatballs into a gourmet treat with very little extra effort, then sit back and enjoy the meal and the compliments!
Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs
Makes 8 Meatballs
Recipe Courtesy of Mary Ann Esposito
"Can you make a better tasting meatball? Absolutely! Just stuff them with a creamy, melting cheese like Fontina! This may be a little unconventional way to make them, but the taste elevates meatballs to elegant and they can be served alone or in tomato sauce. Achieve great flavor by using a combination of ground chuck and ground sirloin because the fat in ground chuck is essential for moistness, while the sirloin provides great texture" -- Chef Esposito
1/2 cup good quality bread crumbs
1/3 cup heavy cream or half/half
1/2 pound ground chuck
1/2 pound ground sirloin
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
Grinding coarse black pepper to taste
1/2 pound Fontina or mozzarella cheese cut into 8 small pieces
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Put the bread crumbs in a medium size bowl and pour the cream over them. Mix with a fork; the mixture will not be soupy.
Add the ground chuck, sirloin, and salt and pepper. Mix just to combine the ingredients. Divide the mixture into 8 equal pieces and roll each in the palm of your hand to make compact 2 1/2-inch balls.
Insert your thumb into the middle of each meatball and push in a piece of cheese. Close the meatball encasing the cheese and smooth the top.
Place the meatballs on a rimmed, nonstick baking sheet. Bake them for 20-25 minutes or until they are nicely browned. Serve hot as is or put them in tomato sauce and serve with pasta or as a second course.
Variation: make the meatballs miniature size and bake them for 10-12 minutes. Serve as an antipasto. Leftovers make great sandwich filling too!
Cook's Secret: If you wet your hands between making each meatball, the meat mixture will not stick to your hands.
Ciao Italia : Five Ingredient Favorites by Mary by Ann Esposito
In my family when its someone's birthday they get to choose the homemade cake of their choice to celebrate the occasion. This weekend, we got to celebrate with an American classic adored by young and old, strawberry shortcake. While this is typically a summer dessert, we enjoy this year round. So easy to make and always a delightful treat.
Strawberry Shortcake Recipe Courtesy of King Aurthur Flour
Biscuits: Yield: 9 biscuits.
3 1/2 cups (14 7/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup dried buttermilk powder*
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter or margarine, or1/2 cup shortening
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup (8 ounces) milk*
2 quarts hulled strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup (8 ounces, 1/2 pint ) whipping cream
*Or substitute 1 cup buttermilk for the buttermilk powder and milk.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Whisk together the dry ingredients, and cut in the cold butter, margarine or shortening.
Whisk the vanilla and egg with the milk, then add all at once to the dry ingredients and stir until the liquid is absorbed.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times, just until it holds together. Pat the dough out until it's about 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick, and cut it into circles (using a sharp cutter for the highest rising biscuits).
Place the biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet, brush the tops with milk or egg white for a shiny surface, sprinkle with sugar if desired, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before serving.
To Assemble Shortcake:
Mash 2 cups of the strawberries. Slice the remaining strawberries, and mix all of the berries with the sugar and lemon juice. Let rest 1 hour.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form.
Just before serving, split open the biscuits, spoon half the berries and whipped cream on the bottom half, top with remaining biscuit halves, and spoon on remaining berries and cream.