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...
Spring time was in the air while shopping at the farmers market this weekend. Finally sunshine and blue skies. Daffodils, Narcissus, and Hyacinths. And luscious spring vegetables like ramps, asparagus, baby artichokes and fresh peas. So to celebrate I happily picked up two dozen Narcissus flowers-pale yellow with bright orange centers that put a smile on your face; they look so lovely. For my springtime meal I whipped up a quick but simply delicious dinner: pan fried lamb chops, boiled baby red potatoes, and fresh peas garnished with mint. Yum!
Pan Fried Lamb Chops for Two
Six lamb chops, about 1 inch thick
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon of dried, crushed Rosemary
1 teaspoon of country style dijon mustard
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
garnish: 4 mint leaves, roughly chopped
Place lamb chops on a cutting board and salt and pepper both sides
In a small bowl add garlic, rosemary, mustard and 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Brush this mixture all over the top of all lamb chops
In a deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil, when hot, add all lamb chops - garlic mixture side down, and cook for 3 minutes
Turn chops over and cook for 3-4 minutes for medium rare chops, test to ensure doneness by cutting one chop in the center
Place three chops on each plate and garnish with mint
Peas with Fresh Mint
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small white onion, cut in half, thinly sliced
2 cups of fresh peas, shelled
4 tablespoons of water, enough to cover bottom of pan
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sweet butter
8 mint leaves, roughly chopped
In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent.
Add peas and water, cook for three minutes
Add mint leaves, salt and pepper
Lower heat to medium, cover the skillet, and cook until peas are tender, about 3-4 minutes.
Serve as is, or add a tab of sweet butter if you prefer.
We tend to think of side dishes as an optional, if-you-have-time or special-occasions-only part of a meal. But in Italian cuisine, where every meal is a special occasion, skipping the contorni is like skipping dessert - unthinkable! Contorni are usually a fresh vegetable, prepared simply and elegantly to bring out the fullness of the flavor. Feel free to experiment with in-season local produce, or try one of these fabulous recipes.
Everyone I know is always looking for ways to enhance the simplicity of a bowl of steamed or roasted brussel sprouts. This recipe answers that call brilliantly. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranraisin in a Balsamic glaze. Both the brussel sprout prep and the balsamic glaze can be made ahead of time. For the sprouts, place all ingredients in a large sealed container until ready to roast. I LOVED this dish....let us know what you think!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries in a Balsamic glaze
A wonderful salad any time of year -- Quinoa with black beans, avocado, cilantro, sweet bell peppers, carrots and crispy tortilla strips served over a bed of arugula in a light dressing. This dish pairs well with summer burgers, grilled lamb chops, steak or grilled seafood. And of course, you can make this with our without the tortilla strips but they provide a nice flavor and texture. Serve with a chilled bottle of bear and enjoy!
Black Bean, Avocado, Quinoa Salad with Toasted Tortilla Strips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 small corn tortillas
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, cut in quarters and sliced
2 medium sized carrots, finely diced
1 orange or red pepper, diced
2 scallions, sliced in rings
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon country or dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups baby arugula
Heat vegetable oil in saucepan over medium heat. When hot add onion and garlic, saute until lightly browned.
Mix Quinoa into the saucepan and add vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes
While the Quinoa is cooking, toast the corn tortilla strips. Stack 2 tortillas on top of each other and slice into 1/4" wide strips. Spread strips on a non-stick baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until lightly brown and crisp for 4-5 minutes.
Dressing: Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, mustard and salt and pepper to taste, set aside
Place cooked Quinoa in a large bowl, add diced pepper, carrots, 1/2 cilantro, and black beans. Add 1/2 of the salad dressing gently mixing together - set aside
In serving bowl place baby arugula, remaining salad dressing, salt and pepper to taste and mix together.
Place Quinoa salad over arugula, top with remaining cilantro and toasted tortilla strips.
My latest love - Kale Salad. I am experimenting with all kinds of recipe variations and different kinds of Kale. Here is a recipe for kale avocado salad topped with rosemary infused white beans and parsley.
Kale Avocado Salad with Rosemary infused White Beans Serves Two
2 cups of curly Kale, chopped fine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons of dried rosemary
1/2 can Great Northern White Beans, drain
1/8 cup of pine nuts, toasted
1/2 avocado, cubed
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
splash of light agave nectar
salt and pepper to taste
Place kale in a large bowl and sprinkle sea salt over kale, add lemon juice and using hands, mix kale to thoroughly coat. Add cucumber, toss together, set aside
In a small skillet, over medium-high heat, add olive oil and rosemary. When hot, add white beans, reduce heat and sauté for 5 minutes, gently stirring occasionally
Add beans over kale salad
Dressing1 : Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil and mustard - whisk
together and pour over kale salad, mixing together all ingredients
Wipe skillet with a paper towel to remove oil. Add pine nuts and toast for a few minutes over medium heat, until slightly brown / toasted. Add pine nuts to the salad.
Dressing #2: Next, mix together balsamic vinegar, olive oil and agave nectar, whisk together an pour over entire salad, lightly mixing all ingredients together
Once you experience the superior taste of homemade apple sauce or compote, I can't imagine a desire to go back to the standard apple sauce found in your local supermarket. With one taste, you will agree how fresh ingredients and the true flavor of fruit enhanced by the right seasoning will seduce your palette; and it is super easy to prepare. For this meal I made an apple-pear compote served with a juicy pan-fried pork chop and sauteed mushrooms. Needless to say, there weren't any leftovers : )
Apple Pear Compote
2 large apples, I used Granny Smith
2 Green Anjou pears (do not use overly ripe, mushy pears)
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Core, peel, and cut the pears and apples into large chunks.
In a bowl, mix together lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon and maple syrup; toss in apples and pears, mix together to evenly coat.
Add apples and pears to a medium sized pot, cooking over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 15 minutes until the fruit is tender but not mushy.
Stir and cook 5 minutes, cover removed.
Taste and add more sugar, cinnamon and/or lemon to suit your taste.
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Pan Fried Pork Chops with Sauteed Onions & Mushrooms
2-4 pork chops
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 small onion
1 cup of mushroom caps, thickly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ C white wine (or water)
Remove pork chops from refrigerator and bring to room temperature, about 20 minutes
Heat oven to 450 degrees F
Pat pork chops dry with a paper towel, add salt and pepper to one side
In a heavy, oven-proof skillet, over medium high heat, melt the butter
When the butter begins to brown, add the pork chops, salt side down to the skillet, cook for about 5 minutes, browning the pork chop
Add salt and pepper to the top side of the chops and flip over, cooking for about 5 minutes.
Remove the pork chops from the pan and set aside, covered
In the same skillet over medium heat add a butter and olive oil. When heated, add onions and garlic cooking for about 5 minutes until onions are translucent.
Deglaze the pan by adding the white wine and scape all bits from the pan. Turn the heat off and add the pork chops
In a separate skillet over medium high heat, add butter and olive oil,
when hot add sliced mushrooms and cook until golden brown for about 15
While the mushrooms are cooking, place the oven-proof skillet in the oven for about 5 minutes. If you are using thick cut pork chops, check the pork by using a thermometer to be sure its done (thermometer should read 150 degrees F).
Remove pork chops from oven and let stand while the mushrooms finish up
Plate the dish with a pork chop, apple pear compote and top with mushrooms.
Who doesn't love bacon? This recipe was submitted to Seduction Meals by George of NYC. Not only is the asparagus greatly enhanced by the enticing flavor of bacon, this recipe is also visually captivating and a wonderful finger food to serve your bacon-loving spouse.
Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Rolls
about 9 slices of bacon - three slices per bundle of asparagus
1 bunch of thin asparagus spears, preferably thin, ends removed
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
Blanch asparagus to al dente
Drain and place on a cutting board or plate to cool down.
Take 5-6 asparagus spears and wrap the spears from top to bottom in layers of bacon, slightly over wrapping bacon the edges
Repeat until all vegetables have been wrapped in bacon
Salt & Pepper to taste
Heat skillet over medium high heat. Add butter and oil. Place asparagus spears in skillet and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side, browning bacon to taste
Turn up heat on the skillet and cook the bacon until crisp, about 2-3 minutes
Place the asparagus on a cutting board and cut into 1" rounds from top to bottom
Sauteed spinach with toasted pine nuts, golden raisins and crumbled bacon is a simple, side dish that pairs well with grilled lamb chops, a juicy steak or chicken. I also use this recipe for a bruschetta appetizer: Take fresh sliced French bread, toasted and rubbed with fresh garlic (after it is toasted) and top with this spinach recipe and crumbled bacon.
Spinach with Pine Nuts, Raisins and Bacon Serves 4
1/4 cup of pine nuts
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 small onion
2lbs or 1 bag of baby spinach
1/4 cup of golden raisins
4 strips of bacon, cooked
Fry the bacon and set aside
In a small frying pan, toast the pine nuts over medium heat with nothing in the pan for 3 minutes, until golden, stirring constantly. Place toasted nuts in bowl.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 4-5 minutes
Add the spinach, cook until wilted about 5 minutes, gently stirring often with a wooden spoon.
Add the pine nuts and raisins and carefully toss in with the spinach
I found this recipe on MarxFood.com and wanted to share this as a simple, tasty side dish for your next romantic meal for two. These poached baby artichokes taste a little bit like the marinated artichokes you find in the store, but with a cleaner flavor, significantly better texture. This recipe combines sour, sweet, and the unique flavor of artichokes into a great side dish that can be served hot with white fish like Pacific halibut fillets, swordfish fillets, and black cod fillets. Once cooked, they can also be chilled and served on salads.
Poached Baby Artichokes Serves 4-6 Ingredients:
12 baby artichokes
1 clove garlic
2 lemons' juice, freshly squeezed
2 cups dry white wine (Greco di Tufo used)
5 thyme sprigs
Peel off the artichokes' outer leaves.
Trim off the bottom scales and much of the stem so that the artichoke body tapers off into the stem to a point. Quarter them.
Peel the garlic and dice fine.
Coat the bottom of a pan with olive oil and add the minced garlic. Sweat briefly, then add the quartered artichokes, lemon juice, white wine and thyme.
Bring the liquid to a simmer, and simmer until tender. (Test by inserting the point of a knife into what remains of the stem, it should go in and come out with little pressure)
For a simple, sensational side dish you've got to try this recipe. I used Purity Organic Buttercream potatoes, fresh rosemary, finely sliced garlic, and sea salt. This was the star of our Seduction Meal which consisted of grilled swordfish, roasted potatoes and a simple mixed green salad, served with white wine. This wold also be delicious served with two sunny side eggs and a spicy Bloody Mary with fresh grated horseradish.
Roasted Rosemary Garlic Potatoes
One bag of purity organic buttercream potatoes, sliced 1/4" thick rounds
4 large sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves removed from the stem, roughly chopped
1 tsp coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, using your hands, mix all ingredients together except the garlic slices
Place the potatoes on a cookie sheet, flat, making sure they are not overlapped
Cook for about 1 hour until the potatoes begin to turn golden brown.
Take the potatoes out of the oven, let rest 10 minutes.
Just before serving turn the oven on broil
When the oven is nice and hot, add the potatoes to the oven and cook until they are brown on edges and in towards middle
Flip the potatoes and add garlic slices and extra rosemary
Cook for another 5 -8 minutes until potatoes are evenly golden brown being careful not to burn the garlic slices.
Here is an interesting side dish made with root vegetables: roasted sweet beets, parsnips and pumpkin, kissed with in a bit of rum--yummy! Serve this with your favorite lamb, pork or steak dish.
Roasted Beetroot and Pumpkin
3 Medium Beets 1 lb Pumpkin cut into ¾ inch cubes 2 large parsnips sliced in 1 inch rounds 3 tbsp Mount Gay Eclipse Rum ½ Cup Fresh Bean Sprouts sweet cream butter fresh cut parsley
Method: 1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F. 2. Wrap beets and parsnips in foil with a little oil, salt and pepper and roast until beets are tender. In a separate oven proof dish, toss pumpkin with oil, salt and pepper, and the rum. Place in oven and roast for 25- 30 minutes. 3. Let beets cool enough to remove skin from beets, quarter and add a dollop of sweet cream butter. 4. Add a bit of butter on the parsnips
Plating the dish: Arrange beets on the plate. Next to beets place the parsnip and a bunch of fresh bean sprouts. Place pumpkin on the plate and serve while everything is still hot. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt (preferably sea salt flakes).
When preparing your Seduction Meal have a little fun with your creativity, specifically in how you plate the dish. Think of contrasting colors, architectural treatments (adding
height), positive and negative space, mixing textures, and enhancing the dish with garnishes and sauces. For inspiration pay special attention to how chefs present the dishes served
at your favorite restaurants. And take a look a the various styles and techniques of "plating" as seen on TV food shows and in the pages your favorite food magazines like
Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Saveur.
prepared a brunch for two: a simple smoked salmon dish served with creme fraiche potatoes garnished with capers and diced cornichons; and I have plated the dish using two different presentation styles.
For added color, and the opportunity to serve up a playful finger food,
add a bowl of ripe juicy strawberries to your table or
breakfast try. For added effect take advantage of this lovely time of
year and move to an outdoor setting such as a patio, a luscious
green lawn surrounded by flowers, or a boat moored in a remote
location--what better way to enjoy a romantic meal for two?
Smoked Salmon with Creme Fraiche Potatoesrecipe recipe from 86 San Francisco (with some minor modifications) Restaurant 231 Ellsworth
Creme Fraiche Potatoes The potatoes are delicious on their own and can be served as a side dish to accompany many main dishes.
8 baby yukon potatoes 1 cup creme fraiche 2 diced cornichons 1 tbsp chervil, minced 1 tbsp chives, minced 1 tbsp parsley, minced 2 finely diced shallots (optional) 1 lemon, juice and zested salt and pepper to taste
Smoked Salmon 1/2 lb smoked salmon, thinly sliced
Garnish capers finely diced or snipped parsley and/or dill
Preparing the Potatoesand Salmon Add potatoes to a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring to boil and then lower heat, simmering until done. Drain and let cool until you can handle them. While the potatoes are cooking, combine the creme fraiche-potato ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
Next, cover the middle of 2 large plates with thin slices of smoked salmon. Exactly how you arrange the slices is up to you and your preferred presentation. Set aside until ready to serve.
Mixing the Potatoes When cool, peel the potatoes (it is easier while they are slightly
warm). Slice or cut them based on how you choose to present this dish. When you are ready to serve, place the potatoes in a large bowl with creme fraiche mix and carefully combine until the potatoes are covered in the creme fraiche.
Plating the dish Take the salmon plates and place a portion of the potatoes on top of, or on the side of the salmon. Again, this will depend upon how you prefer to plate your dish. Sprinkle salt and pepper and a good squeeze of fresh lemon on top of the salmon. Garnish with capers and snipped parsley and/or dill Serve with toast points or sliced baguettes.
This dish goes perfectly with the lamb and roasted tomatoes posted on Seduction Meals: November 27, 2007
2 tablespoons butter, divided into 1-tablespoon pieces
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (1/4")
1/2 cup grated Gruyere
2 cloves garlic, minced
freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Directions Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Butter a 13 x 9" casserole dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Arrange a layer of potato in the baking dish, add a pinch of salt and pepper, a bit of the garlic and ground nutmeg. Add a handful of the cheese evenly over the potatoes. Continue layering potatoes, spices and cheese until you've used up all potatoes and cheese, ending with a layer of potatoes.
In a small bowl, whisk the cream with the salt and pepper; pour this over the potatoes. Dot the remaining butter over the top and sprinkle with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bake for about 1 hour or until the potatoes or cook through. Do not over cook, it will become mushy. The potatoes should be tender and golden brown on top. Let stand for 5-10 minutes to cool down before serving. Add a sprig of fresh rosemary as a garnish and sprinkle with grated Gruyere cheese.
A reputed aphrodisiac, this delicious vegetable is a Seduction Meal on its own when served to each other dripping in lemon-butter sauce for a sensual, finger-licking treat for two. Given it's phallic shape, asparagus have been often referred to as a libido enhancer but only you can be the judge of that. This easy to prepare, yet tasty side dish complements a wide variety of main meals.
asparagus + lemon butter
one bunch of thin asparagus 2 - 3 tablespoons butter, melted Juice of 1 lemon thinly shaved lemon peel Sea Salt
Wash and trim asparagus spears by cutting off the tough bottoms (1 to 1 1/2 inches) In a steamer add salt water to the bottom (about 3 inches deep), place asparagus spears in the top strainer and steam until tender but crisp (about 4-5 minutes). Test taste one to be sure. Do not over cook the asparagus otherwise it will be mushy. Individual spears should remain stiff when you hold it--limp asparagus is a turn-off.
Remove spears from the heat and let air dry for a couple of minutes. Next melt the butter on the stove or in the microwave, squeeze in 1/2 of the lemon juice and stir.
Plating the Dish Arrange the spears on a serving dish. Pour the lemon / butter mixture over the asparagus. Squeeze the other half of the lemon over the dish just before serving. Add a pinch of sea salt. Garnish with lemon peel. This dish should be served right away.
You can also fill a tall shot glass, or similar vessel, with melted lemon-butter sauce to hand dip each asparagus before serving to each other for a more dramatic experience.
"Cooked with rosemary, garlic cloves, Parmesan cheese and sunflower seeds, this side dish is a pure mix of aromatic pleasures and is sure to seduce the palette. You can serve this as a side dish for lunch or dinner, or serve it up with your favorite eggs for breakfast".
Rosemary Parmesan Potatoes
1.5 lbs mixed small red potatoes, mini Yukon's, fingerlings
A wonderful, savory dish that is sure to enhance any Seduction Meal. This one is all about taste, texture and presentation. I typically serve this with grilled rosemary lamb chops.
First; I hope to spare you the mistake I made the first time I prepared this dish. I never worked with leeks before and had no idea what was to follow. While not complex, this is time consuming process. I painstakingly followed the recipe to a "T". The aroma filled the room; the anticipation was great. I had 6 people over for dinner--everyone commented on how beautiful the dish looked. We all lifted our forks and savored the moment the food would hit our palette. To my horror, I had an unexpected mixture of mushroom, sherry, leeks and sand in my mouth. It was devastating! Thank goodness it was my family so (to this day) we all laughed it off.
A little bit about leeks. A member of the onion family, leeks are grown in sandy soil. It is very important to thoroughly wash the leeks as dirt and grit can be found in the white section from the base up. Buy fresh, healthy looking leeks--preferably younger ones. The best flavor is the white part of the leek, which has a sublime sweet, earthy flavor, much milder than cooking with onions. When cooking leeks be sure not to overcook or brown them, rather, saute leeks until soft and remove them from the stove.
Mushroom + Leek Beggar's Purse
4 Leeks, washed thoroughly
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lbs of mushrooms (mixed is fine), I used shitake and button mushrooms. You can use chanterelles or criminis too.
Crumbled Gorgonzola blue cheese (optional)
1-2 tablespoons of fresh crushed thyme leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup of sherry or Madeira Wine
6 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed in refrigerator
8 tablespoons (1 stick), unsalted butter melted
Long stemmed chives (use for ties)
1. To prepare leeks, cut away the blue/green leaves on top and trim the base. Peel away the first layer. Slice the leeks in 1/4" rings from top to bottom. Using your finger, push through each sliced ring and drop into a colander (this results in a bunch of smaller rings--see photo). Take the colander to the sink and rinse with cold running water. Place the colander in a bowl (or better yet use a salad spinner), and fill with cold water. Let stand so sand/grit falls to bottom. Lift colander out of water, throw out sandy water, rinse leeks again in cold running water. I do this process three times. Lastly, shake away any water and set aside to dry for a few minutes.