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...
Meatless Mondays: If you love Mac and Cheese you will love this recipe: Cheesy Gnocchi made with a mix of gruyere and freshly grated Parmesan cheese topped with sauteed mushrooms and baby arugula. Admittedly this is a rich dish so I would serve this as an small appetizer to whet the appetite to complement a lighter main course. Or you can serve as a main course with a simple salad as a side dish.
Cheesy Gnocchi with Mixed Mushrooms and Arugula
Serves six as a small appetizer / Serves 4 as a main course
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
2 shallots or 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
salt & fresh cracked pepper
3 cups of mixed mushrooms (I used shiitake, white button and portobello) - sliced
1/4 cup of dry white wine
1 cup of baby arugula
1 Package of Gnocchi
1 Tbsp of unsalted butter
1 cup of grated gruyere cheese
1/4 cup of grated fresh Parmesan
1/8 cup of cream or half & half
Option: Crushed red pepper flakes
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat
Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic slices and salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with thyme and cook for 2-3 minutes
Add mushrooms and saute for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes until all water from mushrooms are released and nearly disappeared - reduce heat to low heat.
After the Gnocchi has been cooked, drained and cheese added, add the white wine to mushroom mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes until wine is absorbed. Add baby arugula and toss until slightly wilted. Remove from heat
While mushrooms are sauteing, boil water for Gnocchi and cook as per directions
When Gnocchi raises to the top of the pot, do a taste test, but in general this is when they are done. Do not overcook or they will be too soft and mushy.
Drain the gnocchi and return to the same pot.
Over low medium heat and working quickly, add butter and both cheeses, stirring to allow butter and cheese to melt. Add a bit of the cream or half and half for desired consistency
Salt and Pepper to taste
Plating the Dish
Place a small scoop of gnocchi on the center of the plate, top with the mushroom/arugula mixture
Now that you've picked out your appetizer and your soup or salad course for your red-hot Valentine's dinner, it's time to take a look at a few entree options. Whether you prefer steak, seafood, poultry or vegetarian, we've got you covered - four fabulous dishes, each with an aphrodisiac twist (naturally). It's all part of our mix and match Rhapsody in Red.
With only four nights left until Twelfth Night, Remy and I decided to switch things up. For tonight's gift exchange, we'll be eschewing the material gift exchange in favor of a seductive date night at home. We've collaborated to put together some good background music, a sumptuous home-cooked meal, and a romantic movie. We're dressed to the nines - me in my new Free People dress, Remy in his sharpest suit (with some very special cufflinks!) - and we've got our sparkling seasonal cocktails mixed up and ready to go.
First, we'll light a few candles, dim the lights and set the atmosphere with one of our favorite albums, March of the Zapotec by Beirut. It's moody, romantic and perfect for waltzing around the kitchen while we prepare a delicious raw food dinner.
We found a recipe for Supercharged Raw Zucchini Pad Thaiat SuperChargedFoods.com and instantly agreed that we had to try it. Several of the ingredients - almonds, coconut milk, garlic, and ginger, to name a few - are known to be aphrodisiacs when used raw, so we should be feeling pleasantly frisky by the time we're ready to snuggle up for a movie!
I chose the music, so Remy picked the movie, and he couldn't have picked a more delightful one. L'Amie de Mon Ami, a French film by director Eric Rohmer, is romantic, clever, and fun: the perfect choice for dinner and a movie at home.
2013 has only just begun, but I feel so certain that the love and light that have filled these last nine days will set a pattern for the rest of the year... and beyond. Wishing you all as much joy.
* * * *
ENTER THE TWELFTH NIGHT LOVE STORY SWEEPSTAKES TO WIN GREAT PRIZES!
Remy and I have been talking about visiting London together for practically the entire time we've been dating. We're both big fans of British invasion rock, mod fashion and the BBC, and we've both been to England before but didn't really get to experience London the way we wanted to. When we go together, I know we'll do it right.
In the meantime, I got Remy this awesome book, Birth of the Cool, about London's hippest '60s scene photographer, David Bailey. It's a biography as well as a collection of Bailey's work, and just the kind of thing I can see my guy getting engrossed in for weeks.
To top off the evening, I'm going to whip up a special meal for us tonight as well. Pomegranate is said to be a powerful aphrodisiac with those luscious red seeds... Hmmm. Anyway, here's a link to the recipe I'm using if you want to try it for yourself. Bon appetit!
ENTER THE TWELFTH NIGHT LOVE STORY SWEEPSTAKES TO WIN GREAT PRIZES!
In keeping with the holiday spirit, we'll also be giving away fabulous prizes to three lucky readers through a Random Drawing: (1) A signed copy of the deliciously sexy cookbook INTERCOURSES, (2) a customizable pair of cufflinks, and (3) a very intimate piece of artwork.
A delightful salad, sweet red beets are pair perfectly with crumbled creamy goat cheese and your favorite choice of nuts (I used pistachio but you can choose from pistachio, walnuts or pecans). The final touch is a light drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a dash of sea salt. I went for the deconstructed look and scatter the ingredients on a serving dish.
Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese & Chopped Pistachios Serves Two
1 bunch beets (5-6 medium size), trimmed
goat cheese, crumbled
1/8 cup chopped pistachio, walnuts or pecans
Sea salt & fresh cracked epeep to taste
(option) fresh chopped chives
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Wrap beets in foil and roast in middle of oven until tender, 1 hour or until you can easily pierce a knife into a beet. Unwrap beets and let cool.
Place nuts in a small skillet over low heat and toast for 3-4 minutes to release flavor.
Using a paring knife, peel skins from beets and cut into quarters, place on a serving dish. Top with chopped nuts
Add small pieces of crumbled goat cheese
Drizzle olive oil and vinegar (or fresh lemon) over the beets.
Sometimes simpler is better and this recipe proves it. Your taste buds will agree as you relish the peppery flavor of arugula combined with the sweetness of fresh pink grapefruit and the seductive taste and texture of shrimp. With three key ingredients, it doesn't get much easier than this, although peeling the grapefruit may be a bit time consuming for some.
For the best flavor cook shrimp with the shells on and peel just before serving leaving the tails intact. Shrimp can be sauteed in a skillet (with or without additional flavoring such as red pepper flakes and/or minced garlic), or grilled. In either case be sure to cook them over medium-high heat and quickly to optimize its subtle sweet flavor. Shrimp are cooked when they turn pink, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Be sure not to overcook or they will became too firm and rubbery.
Arugula Grapefruit and Shrimp Salad Serves 4 as an appetizer or side dish, 2 as a main course
1 tablespoon olive oil (to cook the shrimp)
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
2 cups of baby arugula, washed and stems trimmed
1 medium to large grapefruit, peeled and membrane removed, but in half or thirds depending upon size
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (for salad)
1 lb jumbo shrimp (8 - 10 pieces)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
In a skillet, add the olive oil, pepper flakes and a dash of sea salt, let sit for 10 minute
While the flavors are infusing the olive oil, begin peeling the grapefruit. You can also do this anytime and store grapefruit sections in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Place the arugula and grapefruit in a large bowl, add extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to evenly coat and set aside. You won't need vinegar or lemon juice as the grapefruit is sweet / acidic and will complement the olive oil perfectly.
Turn up the heat to medium-high; when the oil is hot add the shrimp and cook until pink and no longer translucent - about 3-5 minutes on each side. Scrape the juices from the pan with a spatula, tossing the shrimp to coat in whatever is left of the seasoned oil.
Place the salad in a serving bowl or individual plates. Add shrimp and serve immediately with a glass of chilled white wine. Enjoy!
This recipe was sent to us by Virgina in NYC. Here we have one of her favorite breakfast dishes which was inspired by leftover potatoes from the night before. A Spanish omelet or tortilla. In Spain you will find this dish served in tapas cafes. It is served hot or cold and enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Spanish Tortilla Serves 4-6 depending on serving sizes
4 sliced potatoes, 1/4" rounds (in this case the potatoes were cooked leftovers)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Whisk the eggs with milk
Grease an 8" baking dish and add a single layer of potatoes.
Next add a layer of the vegetables
Add another layer of potatoes and continue layering until potatoes and vegetables are all used
Pour the egg/milk mixture over layers
Sprinkle with paprika
Place in oven and cook for about 15 minutes until eggs are cooked through. Turn heat up to 500 and cook until moderately browned. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Potato pancakes or Latkes, are simply made of grated potatoes and onion with eggs and flour. It can be served on its own (a wonderful vegetarian dish) or with any meat such as grilled lamb or your favorite sausage; and can be served for brunch, lunch or dinner.
Photograph: Terry Dagrosa / SeductionMeals
6 large apples, peeled and cored
1/2 - 1 cup of sugar (or more if necessary)
1-2 fresh squeezed small lemons
1/2 - 1 cup water
Place apples in a large pot, add water, cover and bring to boil over medium-high heat.
Uncover pot when the water boils and stir mixture from time to time until the apples breakdown, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place apple sauce in a bowl, taste and add sugar and lemon* to taste.
Freeze or refrigerate
*Use lemons for a bit of tartness but not too much. If you are using apples that are tart, like granny smiths you might not need the lemons at all, although they do also prevent the apples from turning brown.
Photo: Terry Dagrosa / Seduction Meals
POTATO PANCAKES Serves 4
6-8 medium potatoes, Idaho or Russet are best
2 medium onions
1/8 cup of flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Option: Garnish with snipped chives
Peel potatoes, cut into quarters
Peel onions, cut into quarters
Place potatoes and onions, in batches, into a food processor using the shredder blade. Alternately, you can also grate both by hand.
Place a cotton cloth (or dish rag) in a strainer, place the strainer in a large bowl, and pour the apple mixture into the cotton cloth. Bring the ends together and twist firmly squeezing all juice out of the potato/onion mixture; working quickly so potatoes do not brown.
Place mixture in a large bowl, add eggs, salt and pepper to taste and mix together
Add flour and mix together
Heat 1/8 layer of oil in a large, flat skillet, over medium heat. When the oil is hot
begin adding potato pancakes which are made by dropping two large heaping spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan - pressing down to flatten a bit.
Cook until golden brown on both sides, 7-10 minutes
Place pancakes on paper towels and place on a serving plate. You can keep them warm in the oven as you work, using an oven proof platter.
My first time making home-made dumplings inspired me to look into Asian Cooking and I am now on an adventure to find a great cookbook - easy Asian cooking for beginners so if you have any suggestions please send me the info.
Here is the recipe for the Mushroom Dumplings I made that same night.
Fried Mushroom Dumplings
2 tablespoons of oil
1 lb of mushrooms (any combination will work)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup of finely chopped water chestnuts
1/4 cup of finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons rice wine
Round Dumpling Wrappers or Wonton Skins
small bowl of water
Sesame oil for cooking
3 stalks of scallions, cut into rings
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat add oil and cook until hot. Add mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes until the liquid has evaporated.
Add garlic and mix together cooking for another minute or two
Remove from heat. Stir in ginger, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine and water chestnuts. Set aside to cool.
Making the Dumplings
Place a small bowl of water next to your assembly spot.
Place a dumpling wrapper or wonton skin on a flat surface.
Add 1 teaspoon of the shrimp mixture in the center.
Dip your fingers in the water bowl and run it along the outer edges of the dumpling wrapper.
over the two edges of the round dumpling to create a 1/2 circle. Pinch
the center together, sealing together. Continue to seal the edges of the
entire dumpling by making small pleated folds from the outer edges to
the center - two on each side.
The sealed edges are the top of the dumpling the bottom will be flat.
Continue to prep all dumplings and cover with a lightly damp cloth or saran wrap to prevent from drying.
Cooking the Dumplings
Over medium-high heat, add sesame oil to a large non-stick pan or wok and get pan nice and hot. Reduce to medium heat.
the dumplings flat side down and fry for 1-2 minutes until the bottoms
are a golden brown. Remove from pan and place on paper towel to drain.
This recipe was made for me by a friend who is a sensational cook. She made a 3 course meal and this salad was outstanding. With so few ingredients, it perfectly balanced the rest of our dinner. I thought I had fresh thyme on hand, but to my surprise, I didn't, so we used fresh chives instead. While this was very good, I am told the thyme is preferred. Be sure to use the best olive oil you can get and all fresh ingredients.
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Thyme Serves 4
4 medium sized heirloom tomatoes (preferably a mix of colors)
1 small log of goat cheese
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
fresh thyme, flowers only (stems removed) - or in this case, I used Chives
Wash tomatoes and pat dry. Cut into 1" pieces
Place tomatoes on individual plates
Drizzle with Olive Oil followed by squeezed lemon juice
Portion goat cheese on each plate, arranging over the tomatoes
Light, clean, fresh; Chilean Sea Bass with Cilantro Sauce is one of my favorite fish recipes. Serve this with a crisp white wine and slow roasted plum tomatoes or grilled yellow squash, and you'll have a healthy, seductive romantic meal for two. Chilean Sea Bass with Cilantro Sauce
1 pounds sea bass
1 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Garnish with Micro greens
Cilantro Sauce • 1 cup of firmly packed, chopped fresh cilantro, about 1 full bunch, rinsed • 1/2 cup of grapeseed oil or virgin olive oil, more as needed • 1/4 tsp lemon zest • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice • 1/2 large clove of garlic or 1 whole small garlic clove • salt to taste
Blanch the cilantro for 10 seconds in boiling water, drain. Place all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. Set Aside
In a small saucepan over medium heat, or in a microwave, melt the butter
Remove from heat when the butter has melted, and set aside.
Heat the grill, medium/high
Lightly brush the grill grate with oil
Grill fish for 5 minutes, then turn and brush with butter. Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.
Drizzle with cilanto suance and garnish with micro greens
Seafood and summer seem to go hand-in hand as more people opt for
lighter meals. Swordfish kebabs are so easy to make and quite delicious
marinated and grilled with cherry tomatoes. You can also add yellow or orange peppers to the mix for added color and flavor. This dish takes less than
an hour to prepare and pairs perfectly with grilled summer peaches.
Swordfish Kebabs and Grilled Summer Peaches Ingredients Swordfish& Peaches
1 pound of swordfish, cut in 1 1/2 inch cubes
2 peaches, halved and pitted
1 tablespoon sugar, in the raw (or regular white sugar)
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
Soak bamboo skewers for 1/2 hour or use Metal Skewers
Whisk together all ingredients of marinade
Place swordfish in a plastic bag or a bowl and pour in marinade, and set aside for 1/2 hour.
Grill over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, turning to evenly cook all sides. Do not overcook
Spray the grill rack with nonstick spray
Sprinkle the sugar over the cut sides of the fruit.
Let stand until the sugar dissolves, about 10 minutes.
Place the fruit cut side down on the grill and cook over medium-high heat, until caramelized, about 5 minutes.
Each season there are special foods that drive foodies to the market and into their kitchens eager to prepare and serve exotic dishes made with noted delicacies like Squash blossoms, soft shell crabs, pomegranates, and fiddlehead ferns. I was thrilled when I went to the market and stumbled upon a basket of spiraling fiddlehead ferns. I had a party to attend and was asked to bring a side dish, so I opted for a pasta salad made with fiddlehead ferns, caramelized mushrooms, dandelion leaves, and cherry tomatoes. There were a few people at this gathering of friends that never heard of, or have seen fiddlehead ferns. With one bite they were hooked.
Fiddle head ferns look like the scroll of a violin or fiddle--a tighly coiled fern frod with a stem trimmed to a two inch length from the coil. Very high in nutrients, the taste is reminiscent of asparagus, with a firmer, somewhat crunchy texture and a hint of a nutty, earthy undertone Be sure to wash thoroughly to remove any dirt or grit. You find Fiddlehead ferns in early May (the same time we are blessed with sortshell crabs), and only for a two, maybe three week period. So when you see them, grab them up!
1 box of pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup Fiddlehead ferns, tips trimmed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 package button mushrooms, sliced
8 large dandelion leaves (about 4 inches x 2 inches), 4 roughly chopped, 4 set aside
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
parsley for garnish
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/8 cup Tamari Soy Sauce
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook pasta al dente according to directions. When done, drain and set aside to cool. This salad can be served cold or warm.
In a skillet, over high heat, add olive oil. When hot, add garlic and turn down to medium heat. Add mushrooms and fiddlehead ferns and cook until mushrooms are caramelized (a nice golden brown color), about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. When the olive oil disappears add a tab of sweet butter.
Prepare the Dandelions, parsley and the cherry tomatoes, set aside
In a large bowl, toss together the pasta and all ingredients, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Place pasta in a large serving bowl. Add parsley as garnish and serve.
Here is an enticing recipe that is so tasty and healthy, made with all fresh ingredients, AND its super easy to prepare. I could enjoy this meal all summer long. It is also a fun dish to serve for your romantic meal for two since you prepare each taco as you desire. Take a look at the photo below to see your plate of seductive flavors to enhance the fish tacos: Chopped cilantro, cherry tomatoes, sliced roasted poblano peppers, sliced avocado, grilled onions, fresh limes, and mango. End this meal with creme brulee or Flan for a full night of culinary delights.
Simply grill the swordfish, onions and poblano peppers to your liking, warm the taco shells, and chop all fresh vegetables and herbs. Plate your dish and serve. Add chipotle sauce to each taco. That's all there is to it! Easy, delicious, and healthy. Can't beat that combo!
I had a craving for Indian food and put together this menu for tonight's Seduction Meal. The inspiration for this meal was inspired by a cookbook that I own called Fresh Indian, that included a sauce I've wanted to try for some time--and I have to say, it is the fabulous! Cilantro Mint Coconut Chutney by Sunil Vijayakar; it truly is the BEST variation on a mint/cilantro sauce I've ever had. This sauce went so well with both the vegetable samosas and the salmon. I can't wait to hear what you think of it.
Indian Seduction Meal
Vegetable Samosas Cilantro Mint and Coconut Sauce Grilled Salmon with Mango Chutney
You will savor the aroma and taste of this easy-to-prepare meal. Stating with the salmon. The salmon steaks were simply grilled using one of my favorites:
Stonewall Kitchen's Mango Chutney. It is so good, why make your own? A
little spicy, a little sweet, and completely delicious! Next, vegetable samosas. Crispy triangles filled with potatoes, peas and Indian spices. This is a wonderful choice for a quick snack or appetizer.
Tip: Samosas are a great way to use left over potatoes and other vegetables. I love this combination of potatoes, curry and peas and have served this as a side dish on its own, although I top this with extra olive oil or tab of sweetened butter so its not as dry.
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!
These savory little tarts are a tasty addition to the hors d'oeuvres tray. Serve these for a Cocktail party for two with a pitcher of martinis, as tempting midnight snack, or as a starter for your multi-course Seduction Meal. .
Mushroom Cheddar Tarts Yield: 24 tarts.
1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) cold butter, cut into pats
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Sometimes simple is best. Here is an easy recipe that can be whipped together in minutes once you have all the ingredients lined up. Mixed Mushroom soup with a Kiss of Sherry pairs perfectly with an open-faced grilled gruyere cheese sandwich.
Mixed Mushroom Soup with a Kiss of Sherry Serves 4
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)
I read this wonderful tale of food & romance in the Korean Herald, by Samia Mounts and had to share it. This story spoke to me... it is the true essence of what Seduction Meals is
all about. Showing your love for someone through a carefully orchestrated
meal--hopefully one that is memorable for years to come; and as Samia tells
it, this man plays his part perfectly. Many years ago, when I was a single, carefree lass, I used to hang out with a lovely Moroccan princess. Well, the lovely princess, who I will call Samira, was involved with a young, vibrant Russian fellow who fell in love with her. He invited both of us to a lamb with artichoke heart dinner. He was trying to impress her with his culinary talents, and I was definitely the third wheel that night. I remember thinking he must have put a lot of energy into choosing what to prepare for this woman. I thought it was adorable that he decided on artichoke hearts as a way to symbolize his wish to give her his heart. The gesture was sweet and romantic, but the story ends sadly. Samira went back to Morocco without him, because her family refused to accept their relationship. I still remember that candlelit dinner, at which I played the part of the observer who saw real love in his eyes for my dear friend. My love, however, was for his marinated artichoke hearts, and that's what this column is all about.
Mother's Day is just around the corner. Why not whip up a sexy souffle omelet with balsamic strawberries and serve your wife a celebratory breakfast in bed. To show how much you really appreciate everything she does for you and your children make this day extra special by setting up the breakfast tray with two glasses of champagne, two creamy chocolate truffles, and for that magical touch, add a love note and small vase of roses. Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's out there. Soufflé Omelet with Balsamic Strawberries
1½ cups (about 8 ounces) fresh California strawberries, stemmed and quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs, separated
¼ teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons butter
Confectioners' sugar, as needed
In bowl, combine strawberries, mint, vinegar and 1½ teaspoons of the granulated sugar; set aside.
In small bowl, whisk egg yolks with vanilla and remaining ½ teaspoon granulated sugar for 1 minute or until slightly thickened.
In bowl of electric mixer, beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. With rubber spatula, fold yolks into whites until no streaks remain.
In 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt butter. (To make 2 individual omelets, use 6-inch nonstick skillet.)
When butter is sizzling, add egg mixture, spreading it into an even layer with spatula. Cover pan; reduce heat to low. Cook omelet 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown on bottom and barely set on top.
Spoon strawberries down center of omelet; with spatula, fold omelet in half over filling.
Slide omelet onto plate; dust with confectioners' sugar.
Recipe courtesy of California Strawberry Commission
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.
As we welcome the warm weather, sunny skies and Spring flowers, we begin to favor lighter meals made with fresh ingredients. Here is an intriguing recipe: Strawberry gazpacho served over a mound of jicama salad, topped with goat cheese and a sprig of thyme.. The picture below says it all. Enjoy! Strawberry Gazpacho Serves 24
6 lbs. Fresh California strawberries, stemmed and chopped
2 1/4 pounds plum tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 pounds English cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
9 cloves garlic
3 jalapeño peppers
1 1/2 cups Sherry vinegar
Salt and black pepper as needed.
8 cups Jicama, peeled and julienned
2 bunches chives, cut in 1 1/2-inch length
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper as needed.
1 1/2 pounds fresh goat cheese
Directions To make Strawberry Gazpacho, in blender, purée strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, jalapeños and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. yield: 24 cups
To make Jicama Salad, combine jicama, chives, oil and thyme; season with salt and pepper. yield: 8 cups
Plating the Dish Mound 1/3 cup Jicama Salad in center of soup plate. Carefully ladle 1 cup Strawberry Gazpacho around salad; top with 1 ounce goat cheese, formed into a ball and garnish with a small sprig of thyme
Recipe courtesy of the California Strawberry Commission.
I am honored to present a truly seductive recipe straight from Italy, complements of Chef Simone, from Lucca.
He creatively combines courgettes, or zucchini as we call them in the US, and a Béchamel sauce for a
twist on an all time favorite comfort food--lasagna. If zucchini isn't your thing, you can substitute this with a vegetable of your choice such as
mushrooms, artichokes, eggplant, or asparagus. Chef Simone's vegetable lasagne is made with alternate
wide pasta, vegetables, cheese, and a bechamel sauce.
Remember lasagna is a
dish that taste even better the next day so you have a very good reason
to extend your date.
After a healthy hike in the woods, an outdoor sports event, or a walk through the park, this bright flavored soup will warm up your body head to toe. A cream-based soup made of assorted greens--you can use any combination of greens such as watercress, broccoli and red chard; served with grilled halloumi cheese sandwiches. Perfect!
cream of assorted greens soup with Halloumi toast Recipe courtesy of Christine Cushing Makes 6 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 quart chicken stock
1 Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
3 cups loosely packed spinach, trimmed and washed (4 oz)
This recipe was submitted by Beth Aldrich, Beth Aldrich, Integrative Lifestyle & Nutrition Coach, Chicago. www.RestoringEssence.com
"My favorite seduction meal is my raw lasagna! It is alive, full of
vibrancy and makes you tingle when you eat it. When I first tried raw
food preparation, I was a bit overwhelmed at all of the preparation
that was required for some recipes, however when my friend Bonita
shared this recipe with me, I realized that I LOVE making raw meals
and they love me too, by the vibrant, healthy way they make me feel.
NOW, I seduce people to try raw by making this dish for them! They are
usually surprised and delighted when they taste how delicious it
is...and they always ask for seconds!" Enjoy!
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.
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).
Rick from Philadelphia sent this vegetarian seduction meal, Middle Eastern Rice with Black Beans and Chickpeas served with roasted eggplant with shrimp and mushroom stuffing.
Why is this a seduction meal to me? After 40-plus years on this god-forsaken planet, I finally realized that the most important thing to a woman is to make her feel not just special, but that she is the most important thing to you. If all comes down to the little thoughts and considerations. So, when I found out that my girl was a vegetarian and one of my favorite meals included a mix of rice, beans, and meat (turkey)....I just tweaked the recipe to accommodate HER needs. I am a simple man-beast and will eat everything, so this "flexibility" allowed me to give her something that is important to her--a delicious vegetarian meal cooked with love.
1 tablespoon olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1 cup uncooked basmati rice 2 teaspoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons ground coriander 1 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper 1 quart chicken stock 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey 2 (15 ounce) cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro (optional) 1 bunch chopped fresh parsley (optional) 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional) salt to taste ground black pepper to taste
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute. Stir in rice, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, then pour in chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. 2. Place the turkey in a skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown. 3. Gently mix cooked turkey, garbanzo beans, black beans, cilantro, parsley, and pine nuts into the cooked rice. Season with salt and pepper.
1 small eggplant 1 tablespoon salt 1 small onion, chopped 1/4 cup butter, cubed 3/4 cup soft bread crumbs 1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley Dash pepper 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-in.-thick shell. Set shell aside. Chop pulp; place in a colander over a plate. Sprinkle with salt; let stand for 30 minutes. Blot moisture with a paper towel. 2. In a skillet, saute eggplant pulp and onion in butter until tender. Add the bread crumbs, mushrooms, parsley and 3. Place in a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese; bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Serve this with your favorite white wine and a little candle light.
Walking along Park Avenue I came upon one of my all time favorite contemporary Mexican restaurants--Dos Caminos. I was immediately drawn to a brightly colored book in the window-- Mod Mex: Cooking Vibrant Fiesta Flavors at Home by Executive Chef Scott Linquist. Needless to say, I rushed in to purchase my very own copy.
If you love Mexican food this is a must-have cookbook for your collection.There are over 125 recipes that highlight food from the regions of the Yucatan to Oaxaca with the creative flair Scott Linquist is famous for. I knew this book would be a keeper for my Seduction Meal library.
Flipping through the pages there were so many recipes I wanted to try. For my Mexican Seduction Meal I chose to serve "el amor de mi vida" Grilled Portobello Mushroom Tacos, Guacamole and chips, and Pico de Gallo. Served with a chilled glass of beer and a wedge of lime...let the fiesta begin!
Grilled Portobello Mushroom Tacos + Guacamole
served with Salsa Pasilla and Queso Fresco
For this meal I break the prep into 4 tasks. First I made the Mushrooms which need to marinate for at least one hour. Next I made the Salsa Pasilla; this salsa is pure heaven. The tomatoes, garlic and onions are roasted and then pureed with a blend of mesmerizing flavors. You will love it! Next I made the Pico de Gallo and ended with the Guacamole. Note: The first three tasks call for refrigeration for at least one hour, so be sure to make this 1-2 hours before your meal. If you prefer, you can make everything but the guacamole the day before.
Ingredients and Tasks
Tacos 12 six inch corn tortillas, purchased or home made (I bought mine and had to use flour tortillas) 1 cup very thin sliced romaine lettuce 1 cup of crumbed queso fresco (I had to substitute a mild goat cheese)
Mushroom 1/2 cup of olive oil 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves 1 Tbsp chopped garlic 1 serrano chile, stemmed and chopped 1/2 tsp kosher salt 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 6 large Portobello mushrooms, stemmed
In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, chile, salt, and pepper. Add the mushrooms, turn to coat evenly, and let stand for at least 1 hour. I had to add a bit more olive oil to coat them all.
Salsa Pasilla (this sauce is heaven!) 4 medium whole plum tomatoes 1 small yellow onion, quartered 3 cloves of garlic 6 pasilla chiles 2 chipotle chiles 2 tsp dark brown sugar 2 bay leaves 1/2 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves 1/4 cup white vinegar 2 tbsp kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spread the tomatoes, onion, and garlic on a baking sheet, and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until the onion is slightly brown. Toast and rehydrate the pasilla and chipotle chile. In a jar of an electric blender, and working in batches if you need to, add the drained rehydrated chiles, roasted tomatoes, onions, and garlic along with the remaining salsa ingredients, except the salt, and puree until smooth. Add salt to taste, transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Pico de Gallo 6 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into small cubes 1 medium red onion, chopped 1 to 3 serrano or jalapeno chiles, chopped 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice Kosher salt
Mix all ingredients together. Season with about 1/2 tsp of salt (or to taste), and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves 2 tsp finely chopped yellow onion 2 tsp minces jalapeno or serrano chiles, seeds and membranes removed, if desired Kosher or coarse salt 2 large ripe avocados, peeled and seeded 1 small plum tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped 2 tsp freshy squeezed lime juice Warm tortilla chips for serving
Mash together 1 Tbsp of the cilantro, 1 tsp of the onion, 1 tsp of the chile and 1/2 tsp of salt in the bottom of a Molcajete (a lava-stone mixing/serving bowl) or a medium sized-bowl. Add the avocados and gently mash with a fork until chunky smooth. Fold the remaining cilantro, onion, and chile into the mixture. Stir in the tomato and lime juice, adjust the seasoning to taste, and serve with a basket of warm corn tortilla chips. Make this just before you are going to serve it, but before preparing the tacos so the flavors can settle in.
Preparing the Tacos Heat a barbecue or gas grill until hot. Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and put them on the grill to warm. Lift the mushrooms from the marinade and discard the marinade. Place them individually on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes, and then turn and cook the second side for the same amount of time. Remove and but the mushrooms into 1/2 inch wide strips.
Serve 3-4 strips of mushrooms to each tortilla and top with a generous pinch of lettuce, 2 tablespoons of Pico de Gallo, 1 tablespoon of Queso Fresco, and 2 tablespoons of the absolutely delicious Salsa Pasilla. Fold in half and serve 2 tacos on each plate.
If you are looking for an unforgettable mushroom dish, this recipe will satisfy your hunger and desire. Cooked with wine, herbs, and butter, this mushroom medley is a classic combination that elegantly tops a rich, cheesy polenta elevating a simple polenta dish to an extraordinary edible delight!
Grilled Polenta Recipe Serves 6 as a starter, 4 as a main dish From Seasons, A Year of Great Tastes
5 tbsp of olive oil 3 cups whole milk pinch of grated nutmeg 1 1/2 cups instant polenta 5 oz Gruyere cheese, grated salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 4 shallots, finely diced 1 garlic clove, finely diced 6 oz shitake mushrooms, destalked and ripped into chunks 8 oz cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 6 oz oyster mushrooms 3/4 cups dry white wine 5 tbsp mixed chopped parsley, chives and thyme 4 tbsp unsalted butter
Polenta Grease a large gratin dish with a tablespoon of oil. Put the milk and nutmeg into a large pan over low heat. Just before the milk boils, pour in the polenta, stirring constantly as it thickens. Lower the heat and stir for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in 2/3's of the cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly in the dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
Mushrooms Heat the remaining oil in a wide pan over low heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft. Add the shiitake and cremini mushrooms. After 1 minute, add the oyster mushrooms. Once soft, add the wine and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the wine reduces by half, then stir in the butter.
Meanwhile, heat the broiler to medium high, put the dish of polenta under it and broil until golden and bubbling. Cut into slices and serve at once with the mushrooms spooned on top.
Mediterranean fare is my absolute favorite. Lemons, figs, olives, almonds, eggplant, tomatoes, cheese and pomegranates--all wonderful tasty morsels and healthy food choices. Throw in lamb, seafood, pasta, a bottle of wine, and some fresh baked bread and I could live on this food forever.
If you love vegetables, you will LOVE this dish. Oven roasted eggplant, mushrooms, olives and tomatoes bring out an intense flavor for this Seduction Meal. This garlic infused vegetable medley can be served over polenta or pasta as in the recipe below.
1lb of your favorite pasta, I used Gragnanese
5 baby eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch slices and cut in half
9 large button mushrooms, quartered
¼ cup of olive oil
2 cloves of crushed garlic for the vegetables
2 large tomatoes, quartered and cut in half lengthwise
1 cup of pitted Kalmata olives
½ cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed for the olive oil sauce
"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.