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...
Fresh blue cultured mussels, also referred to as PEI Mussels, are a wonderful ingredient to plan a romantic meal around. Grilled, steamed, dipped in butter or cooked in a curry or wine based broth, mussels are a Seduction Meal in the making. I always wondered why it never made the Aphrodisiac list next to oysters and other shellfish. Simple, healthy and delicious--now that's a great combo!
Here we have Mussels Marinara. The first time I had mussels in marinara sauce was in Italy when I was staying in a tiny fishing village and the owners of the restaurant made a special dish for us. It was magnificent! You can serve this on its own with crusty white bread to dip the sauce or you can serve this over a plate of pasta.
Spicy Mussels Marinara Serves 2
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white onion, diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp red wine
1 3⁄4 tomatoes, crushed
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 small bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 pinch salt and pepper
24 fresh cultured blue mussels
Rinse fresh blue mussels in tap water.
Sauté onions and garlic in oil until onions are transparent.
Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute.
Add half the wine, reduce, then add remaining wine, tomato, herbs and seasoning. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove bay leaf. Cover and steam mussels in small amount of water over high heat until open (5-8 minutes).
Lately, I've been writing a lot about overseas cooking classes, but I know we don't all have the time or money to jet off to an exotic location. But that doesn't mean you can't indulge in some gourmet cooking right in the US. Look up some local classes in your city or if you can spare a few days, try the very best classes at the CIA. And no, it's not what you're thinking - I'm talking about culinary intelligence.
Unfortunately this boot camp isn't going to help you toughen up or lose any weight. Rather the Culinary Institute of America holds culinary "boot camps" at each of its three locations - the Hudson Valley (NY), the Napa Valley (CA) and San Antonio (TX) to sharpen your cooking skills. The classes are perfect for those wishing to learn how to cook a certain type of food (think baking, Mexican fare, or making homemade confections). Here you learn from expert chefs and dine in award-winning restaurants while meeting fellow food enthusiasts along the way. They even supply you with a chef's hat, jacket, pants and neckerchief, so you'll feel like a real pro.
Here is an example of some of their classes and some of our favorite picks:
This two-day class offers a twist on your favorite recipes to help you cook up the most delicious comfort food. You'll learn the fundamental techniques for preparing each dish - everything from how to use a knife correctly to presentation techniques. Who can say no to a day of mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and apple pie?
Mexican is a very popular cuisine - full of flavor, spice and vibrant colors. This class will teach you how to master the small plates, dishes like salsas, tacos, tamales and tortillas, giving you great ideas for appetizers for your next house party!
Calling all wannabe domestic goddesses and Martha Stewarts! Learn the fundamentals of baking, including baking bread, muffins, scones and pies. The detailed four day course features lectures and demonstrations before they allow you to try your hand at the recipes. And you'll come out of the class smelling amazing.
We'd all like to eat more healthy meals, but sometimes we need some inspiration! This four day course teaches you how to create delicious yet healthy and nutritious meals. It covers alternative seasoning and flavoring techniques, how to cut the fat out of your dishes and how to maintain variety in your food choices. Plus you get access to the CIA Recreation Center, including tennis courts, a fitness center and a pool - the perfect way to kick start a new diet!
The mother of all boot camps! This five day marathon class explores food, recipes and ingredients from around the world. On the last day, you revisit each country's street foods. The class also teaches you how to use special equipment such as woks and tangines to prepare various foreign foods.
Bloomsberry & Co. is a fun chocolate company from New Zealand, available in the US, with all kinds of fun designer chocolate bars proven to tantalize the taste buds, seduce the senses, and evoke a smile or two. Great for gift ideas or a sweet get together for two. Serve with Champagne, Strawberries and Cream. Enjoy!
No-Cook dishes are a blessing when you don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen and Carpaccio is a quick dish that is loved by many. Carpaccio is a dish of raw fish or meat that is very thinly sliced and generally served as an appetizer. Here we have paper thin sliced beef, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, baby field greens and a hint of truffle oil, making this a wonderful option for a starter to your romantic meal for two.
A little bit of research on Wikipedia reveals the origin of Carpaccio: According to Arrigo Cipriani, the present-day owner of Harry's Bar, Carpaccio was invented at Harry's Bar in Venice, where it was first served to the countess Amalia Nani Mocenigo in 1950 when she informed the bar's owner that her doctor had recommended she eat only raw meat. It consisted of thin slices of raw beef dressed with a mustard sauce. The dish was named Carpaccio by Giuseppe Cipriani, the bar's former owner, in reference to the Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio, because the colors of the dish reminded him of paintings by Carpaccio.
Mediterranean Food is by far my idea of a perfect meal. With so many fresh, wonderful ingredients used to make dishes that range from complex fare to simple, sublime dishes....this is the food I could live on for the rest of my life. With that said, here is a restaurant I just heard about, located in Philadelphia called Barbuzzo. The brainchild of Chef Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran, who own and operate six restaurants and boutiques on 13th Street in Philly, these two entrepreneurs have transformed a once desolate neighborhood into a trendy downtown village.
A modern Mediterranean bar and restaurant, located on 13th Street between Chestnut and Sansom, Barbuzzo prides itself on making homemade charcuterie, sausage and pasta. They have a wood-burning stove so you know the pizzas are outstanding. And Barbuzzo is a semi-finalist in the 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards Restaurant and Chef Award. Barbuzzo is a play on a Tuscan word for "full belly". Definitely on my list of restaurants to visit next time I am in Philadelphia. And an added plus--the kitchen is open until midnight!
A Sampling of the Barbuzzo Menu
Barbuzzo "Pig Popcorn" Yes...Pig Popcorn! That would be pork skins boiled for four hours in aromatic broth, scraped of excess fat, smoked and dehydrated, and then fried to perfectly puff up the best rinds you'll ever dip in horseradish aioli.
Sheep's Milk Ricotta & Fett' Unta With fresh figs, extra virgin olive oil, vin cotto, herbs, sea salt & grilled bread
Chicken Liver & Foie Gras Mousse With Brandied Cherry, pistachio salt & radish sprouts
Burrata fro Pulglia With bartlett pear, arugula, extra virgin olive oil, saba & candied hazlenuts
Barbuzzo Uovo Pizza Brussel Leaves, Guanicale, Caciocavallo, House Stretched Fior Di Latte, Truffle, and Farm Egg
Pacherri Pasta With Sunday supper pork ragu, greens, burrata & basil
Grilled Spanish Rock Octopus With housemade chorizo, potato confit, lemon & Pimeton
Fideua, My Way With smoked chourico sausage, calamari, shrimp, mussels, greens, roasted shrimp noodle & aioli
Meet Chef Marci Turney as she prepares Beet Ravioli with Hazelnut Brown Butter
The restaurant is tight, comfy and a bit noisy but the food is supposed
to be outstanding. SEND US YOUR REVIEW if you happen to go.
Sexy, Domestic Goodess, Cookbook author, and now lover of a world renown chef, Suzanne Pirret is making headlines.
According to the Daily Mail: 'In love with food and sex': Suzanne Pirret is now dating chef Heston Blumenthal. Blumenthal, 45, is now romancing actress turned cookery writer Suzanne Pirret, who has been billed as a 'goddess' by critics after writing The Pleasure Is All Mine: Selfish Food for Modern Life.
From Eater.com: "According to the Daily Mail, British chef Heston Blumenthal has left his wife for the American cookbook author Suzanne Pirret. Blumenthal, the chef at The Fat Duck (three Michelin stars and ranked #5 in the world) and the recently-opened Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in London, had been married to his wife Zanna for twenty years. A spokesperson for the Blumenthals confirmed to the Daily Mail that "their marriage is over." Apparently Pirret lives in London, and she and Blumenthal are dating." Read More
With The Pleasure is All Mine, anyone can enjoy a Steak au Poivre with Frites, Three-Cheese Ravioli, Coconut Fish Curry with Homemade Naan Bread, or a Wild Blueberry Free-Form Tart without the expense and hassle of restaurants or fussy dinner guests.
The 100 uncomplicated, exquisite recipes in this collection are simple to prepare and require no fancy equipment. With just a skillet, bowl, knife, and a few perfect ingredients, Pirret makes great solo dining effortless-and she offers inspired wine and cocktail pairings, too, to make dinner complete. Edgy and bursting with personality, The Pleasure is All Mine is also filled with a wealth of devilishly entertaining stories based on her experiences living in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and London.
Source Eater.com: Pirret once wrote for the London Evening Standard's ES Magazine: "Images of food and sex have become one long billboard of licking, sucking, dripping and drooling. Food porn is ubiquitous... Food and sex. Two of my favourite things, and the most powerful of all human drives. Best one after the other in either order, I'm not picky."
"100 excellent recipes-for-one" Wall Street Journal
"There's nothing domestic about this goddess" Evening Standard Magazine
"I couldn't put this book down" Bobby Flay
"Wickedly funny" Marie Claire
"Sexy, single, and good with a souffle" Esquire, Women We Love
Who can say no to this refreshing treat: Mocha Madness Ice Cream, oh yeah! The following recipe is from the wonderful archives of King Arthur Flour, who was inspired by Cuisinart company, whose ice cream machine booklet inspired this recipe. Thank goodness for collective inspiration!
Mocha Madness Ice Cream Yield: about 6 to 8 servings Recipe and photo courtesy of King Arthur Flour
2 cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream or whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 Oreo cookies, broken into small pieces
Whisk or mix together the milk, sugar, espresso powder, and cocoa till the sugar has dissolved.
Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.
Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.
Stir cookie bits into soft ice cream, and serve immediately.
For firmer ice cream, place in a covered container. Place in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours, until ice cream is as hard as you like it. Note: Freezing longer than this will make the ice cream rock hard; plan on softening at room temperature for 15-20 minutes or so before serving, if the ice cream has been in the freezer longer than a few hours.
Don't have an ice cream maker? Simply pour the chilled mocha cream into a bowl, place the bowl in the freezer, uncovered, and stir the cream every hour. After about 4 hours or so, it'll be soft-serve consistency. Continue to stir and freeze till it's the consistency you like. While it won't be as creamy as churned ice cream, it'll be absolutely delicious. After 6 or more hours in the freezer, it'll become quite hard.
To serve, simply remove from the freezer for 15 minutes or so, to soften it enough to make it "scoopable."
Serve in bowls, cups or cones. And as you can see in this photo you can get as fancy or simple as you like.
Originating from Argentina, Chimichurri is a delicious sauce simply made from chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. It is typically served with grilled steak, but can be served over chicken, fish and roasted vegetables. For all those garlic lovers out there....this is your sauce! You may even consider it your all time favorite, or just... the BEST sauce ever!
It is said that in the mid 1800s, an
Englishman and bon vivant, Jimmy Curry arrived in Argentina. Deeply
interested in importing Argentine meat to the United Kingdom, he
was welcomed with a traditional criollo Argentine barbecue. He quickly
fell in love with the aroma and taste of the roasted meats and set
about to create a spicy accompaniment to show his appreciation for
the tasty barbecue. He gathered spices such as chili pepper, sweet
red pepper, tomatoes, onions and garlic, and combined them with
rosemary, oregano, thyme and salt. He boiled the concoction, together
to create a sauce to scent and flavor the meat. The sauce caught
on quickly, and today has become the traditional sauce of Argentina.
After Jimmy's departure, his landlady forgot his name, but
remembered the recipe for the popular sauce. So as legend has it,
Jimmy Curry's sauce became what it is today "Chimichurri".
And Wikipedia says: "...The sauce was popular and the recipe was passed on. However, 'Jimmy McCurry' was difficult for the native people to say. Some sources claim Jimmy's sauce's name was corrupted to 'chimichurri', while others say it was changed in his honor."
When preparing Chimichurri sauce you can adjust the consistency from smooth to thick (like a salsa), although you want to keep some texture of the herbs and onions as opposed to pureeing them to a creamy texture. You also can try different variations by using cilantro instead of parsley (as I did), and other spices such as oregano, cumin, or thyme. And lastly, this versatile sauce can also be used as a marinade.
2 Cups of fresh parsley and/or cilantro, stems and all
2 small shallots, chopped
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tablespoon of lemon
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Sea salt to taste
fresh thyme leaves (garnish)
Using a food processor or blender, add the onion and garlic and pulse or chop. Do not over do it, you want texture in the sauce, as opposed to a puree. Remove and place in a bowl
Add parsley or cilantro, and pulse or chop, until finely chopped. Add to the bowl with the onion/garlic mixture
Add the olive oil, oregano, lemon, vinegar, salt and red pepper to the blender or food processor (this will help get all the herbs left in there) and mix together.
Pour into a covered jar or a seal in a bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 or more hours until ready to serve.
Grill your steak and pour over the top.
Plating the Dish Here I sliced 1/4 avocado into thin slices, put sliced steak on the plate, spooned a steam of chimichurri sauce over the steak, and garnished with a slice of red pepper for color and a sprig of Thyme. Soooo Good!
If rum is your preferred taste here are a few suggestions for cocktails to serve at the start of your next romantic meal for two. All with a bit of a twist using rum, the first is a cocktail called The Sidecar: A classic cocktail traditionally made with Cognac, orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier or another triple sec), and lemon juice. Here we use Rum and an orange liquor. Next we have a Rum based Creole DAiquiri and the classic Pompadour.
CLÉMENT SIDE CAR / Serves One
1 1⁄2 oz. Clément V.S.O.P. Rum
1 oz. Clément Créole Shrubb
3⁄4 oz. fresh lemon juice
Mix all ingredients together in a shaker, pour into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a twisted lemon peel
CLÉMENT CRÉOLE DAÏQUIRI 1 1/2 oz. Clement Premiere Canne 1 oz. Clément Créole Shrubb 3⁄4 oz. fresh lime juice dash of orange bitters
Pour al ingredients into a cocktail mixer and
briskly shake the ingredients to blend well. Strain into a chilled
cocktail glass and garnish with a sliced orange.
CLÉMENT POMPADOUR / Serves One
1/2 ounces Clément Rhum agricole V.S.O.P.
1 1/2 ounces A. Hardy Coq D'Or Pineau des Charentes
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Pour Clément Rhum Agricole V.S.O.P., the Pineau des Charentes, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and cracked ice into a cocktail mixer and briskly shake the ingredients to blend well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon peel.
What is one of my favorite things about summer in the city? Rooftop bars. After a sweltering summer day, after work cocktails on a rooftop where the breeze is cooler and the view is stunning is the perfect way to relax with friends or a lover. Only problem is that Manhattan is full of them, and some are
A word of warning: anything situated on a rooftop is no cheap night out. Prepare to pay for the view!
107 Rivington Street, Lower East Side (between Ludlow and Essex Street)
If you can get past the difficult doormen and make your way through the slick hotel to the penthouse, you'll be rewarded with three-floors of views. The third floor even has a large hot tub if you're not too shy! Call ahead before planning your night, as the space frequently tends to host events.
33 W 37th st, Midtown East (between 5th and 6th Avene)
The star attraction at this bar, situated on top of the Strand Hotel, is its view of the Empire State Building, standing literally right in front of you in all its glory. The perfect place to take out-of-towners looking for the New York wow-factor without the escalated drink prices.
On the fifth floor of the W Downtown Hotel is this ultra-modern rooftop bar with a metallic warped ceiling and wraparound terrace for warm nights. Great views of the construction going on at Ground Zero, soon to be a view of the Freedom Tower, and never too crowded. The menu features items from the BLT Bar & Grill.
17 W 32nd St, 14th Floor (between 5th Ave and Broadway)
I hesitate to even mention this one, because it is (supposedly) such a secret, but thank god, this bar hidden on the 14th floor of La Quinta Inn in Koreatown proves that there IS such thing as a non-pretentious rooftop bar. After you recover from the shock of the reasonable drink prices, look up and see the Empire State Building towering above.
145 E 50th St, 31st Fl, Midtown East (between Lexington and 3rd Avenue)
At the top of the Kimberly Hotel lies this bar with 360 degree views of Manhattan. The atmosphere is charming with string lights and a breathtaking view of the Chrysler Building. Come back in the morning to try the very popular brunch.