Month: December 2011

Savor Delicious


Kissing Fishes - The Feast of the Seven Fishes

It’s the day after Christmas 2011 and for me; it begins at dawn with a honeyed kiss goodbye from my Lover.  He has a pit bull named Suga that misses him from his overnight stay away from home.  I don’t blame her as I reflect on the glorious day before.  He was the sweet cherry on top.  The Sunday (sundae) was built with more blessings and goodness than I could ever hope for or imagine.  The Feast of the Seven Fishes started with lox made with smoked salmon re-gifted to me from a colleague’s Harry & David gift basket, grapefruit brulee and mimosas made with freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juice garnished with a strawberry.  This pleasantly prepared me for hours of conversation with my children, mother and new-age family via Skype and best-good girlfriends on the cell phone.  Before I knew it, I drank the entire bottle of bubbly.  Feeling quite cheery, I advanced to preparing the rest of the two-person and two-beast feast, starting with bowls of tuna for my kittens, Simba and Nala (the beasts) then to the menu of lovers – crab cakes, miso glazed salmon, fennel apple slaw and seafood hors d’oeuvres; shrimp with cocktail sauce and a sardine, olive and cheese platter.  As I prepared this feast, I blared Messianic Jewish music, I played “The Lord Bless Thee” at least 3 times and classic soulful Christmas music, wonderful “Winter Night” candle burned, releasing the very essence of winter, scents of fir tree, warm cypress, clove bud and cedar, all while the flames danced to the rhythm the music.  I greeted my dinner guest with a glass of Moscato, we cheered to the birth of the new born son, the new sun and all of the blessings in our lives and enjoyed.  Over stuffed and full of holiday cheer, we made our way to a Christmas night movie, a great antidote for the digestive system.     Upon our return, we did what lovers do, talked about our aspirations and future plans over more holiday cheer,  and as the night grew later and we gazed at each other in wonder,  verses from “Merry Christmas Baby” by Charles Brown played in our subconscious.  Underneath the mistletoe, baby. ..

Cherry Pie ~ The Day After

Cherry Pie ~ The Day After

There is something extraordinary about the day after meal for the cook.  All of a sudden, I can taste all of the flavors that I couldn’t yesterday.  It could be that my taste buds were de-sensitized by the abundance of flavors presented all of that once, I’m a taste as I go cook, this way I know that what I’ve seasoned and combined is on point.  But by the time we sit down to eat, my taste buds are on overload.   But today, with a fresh palette, I am taking it all in.  The miso glazed salmon is blowing my mind.  The sweet and salty, along with the natural flavor of salmon is a beautiful combination.  The crab cake is doing it to me, the extra fresh garlic added a delightful flavor that marries well with the lemon juice and lemon zest.  The apple fennel slaw combined with bites of the red pepper cracked wheat is simply delicious.  We didn’t get to the cheese cake bites yesterday after the movie (The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo), nor have I gotten to them today, but I’m thinking this might be a reason for a mid-week dessert date with my lover.  I have a fabulous bottle of Black Forest, Chocolate Cherry wine (from Kandiland) that will pair nicely with the chocolate cheese cake bites.  Not to mention the opportunity to slip a micky.  Kandiland’s gift is still effect.  She gave to me an aphrodisiac tonic purchased from a health food store in Seattle.  I’ll have to report back on this “Dessert Date”.       

I had a delicious cup of Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee from my good-girlfriend Kandi, who completely spoiled me this Season, as is normal of any gift from “Kandiland” with a slice of cherry pie topped with extra-creamy whipped cream as I savor this delicious holiday. 

 Eat, drink and be merry!

 Love always,

Honey L’Amour

05 Merry Christmas Baby

 HOLIDAY GRATITUDE:

 Lovely – Thank you for the fun, sassy snake print peek-a-boo heels and dazzling necklace!

 Michele my Belle – Thank you for the sexy Sevens and glamour piece, this only adds to the L’Amour appeal, only for the sexy, you dig!

 Kandiland – Thank you for doing what you do so well!  You have all of the power in love.  My gift box is a reflection thereof – homemade cookies, Emerald City cookies, Chocolate Cherry Wine, Aphrodisiac Tonic, Starbucks coffee, awesome pictures and video coverage of the boys playing football, Christmas music and even a Bartell’s ad to lure me back home, you something else, I love you!

 Lover – Thank you, for being you, what you give is the essence of the City of Brotherly Love, an angel disguised as my personal tour and city survival guide.

 The Law Firm – Thank you for flow of Holiday Cheer.  We trimmed the tree, decked the hall, exchanged treat, a holiday breakfast, a cocktail party, shared gift baskets and received a spot bonus.  Life is good.

 Erin, My Cubie – Thank you for the delicious French wine, Charte D’Assemblage, as I sip it now, gratitude flows through my relaxed finger tips.  The Christmas Ornament from the Christmas Village at Love park is also a beloved treasure, it’s a keepsake for my Christmas tree trimming.

 Alex, Attorney at Law – Thank you for the tickets to the Eagles game.  Awesome seats!  They won, handed the Jets ass to them!  Everyone in the stadium won a free pizza from Papa Johns!  And I sat in front of the most spirited and sweet child, that filled me with his genuine joy, despite the guy in front of me who rocked the “Asshole” jersey…LOL.  It was a luck day =)

 Stuart, Attorney at Law  – Thank you for the gift card that afforded my Feast of the Seven Fishes!

Feast of the Seven Fishes Breakfast - Lox, Grapefruit Brulee, Fresh Squeeze Mimosa

Cooking with Class


by Chef Christina Dimacali

Mise en Place

 I come sliding in the door “Kramer” style, 30 minutes late to a cooking class that I painstakingly planned to attend.  I carefully reviewed the bus routes, schedules and city map, only to arrive at the wrong address.  I promptly took a taxi to the correct address.  Class in session, led by Chef Christina Dimacali of Clean Your Plate Personal Chef Service and Cooking Instruction.  Her classroom inviting.  In the contemporary Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia, the first thing I noticed, was her popcorn strung Christmas tree and a leopard print accent chair.  I rested easy knowing that I was in the hands of a culinary artist with flair. Well organized, cheery and about the business of cooking, I knew this would be a great class.  There were two couples, Lisa, my assigned cooking partner, and me.  Chef Christina led the intimate group into a seafood cooking bliss.  We prepared crab cakes, shrimp scampi, blackened tilapia, miso salmon, fennel apple slaw, and red pepper cracked wheat.  The Chef covered many things including how to purchase seafood, communicate with your fish monger, handle, season, prepare and serve seafood.  If you were an astute student, you would have also picked up on the knife handling tips and other kitchen mastery skills she shared.  Everything was divine.  Exotic ingredients like miso to the most tried and true spices were used to flavor our raw filets.  The “je ne sais quoi” ingredient that we each brought to the table, however, was the joy of cooking.  Our collective inspiration in attending a cooking class is to learn how to best prepare delicious and wonderful food that we can share with those we love. Lisa was there to learn a new seafood dish for her family’s celebration of the “Feast of the Seven Fishes”.  This intrigued me, the number of faith, seven, and the symbol of life and prosperity, fish.  A commemoration of Spirit and material, God on Earth, Jesus the Christ.  There is no greater love!Seafoodery Cooking Class    

With my newly acquired recipes and insight on fish in the Christmas season, I will prepare the lemony crab cakes – Northeastern shoreline style, miso glazed salmon, fennel apple slaw and red pepper cracked wheat paired with Sauvignon Blanc by Sunday Bay in honor of the Beloved, the greatest love I know. 

 Eat, drink and be merry!

Very truly yours,

 Honey L’Amour

P.S. For cooking classes with Chef Christina visit her website CYPlate.com

Eat Oysters, Love Longer


Dearly Beloved,

Aphrodisiacal Powers of OystersDespite the widely known aphrodisiacal powers of oysters, this quality seemingly has been reduced to a marketing tactic for copy use in modern day society.  With names like “Shooting Star”, “Naked Cowboy”, “Mystic” and “Moonstone”, to describe the various oysters across the United States, I can’t help but wonder if the old wives tales have any validity.  It has been said that the world’s most famous lover, Casanova, lapped raw oysters from the breasts of legions of romantic interests to sustain his sex drive.  Oysters have been crowned the King of Aphrodisiacs.   I dare to test ancient wisdom and so the journey begins.   

 On my path in the City of Brotherly Love, I discovered that Di Brunos Brothers, a gourmet grocery store, was having an Oyster event for the holidays.  Excited to learn of a place to purchase oysters for my test kitchen and to do more research on the mysterious sea creatures, I attended.  Upon arrival, I hear the call, “Fresh oysters on the half shelf, $2 a piece”.  I willingly follow the voice to arrive at a station complete with a fisherman,  that shucked your oysters for you, a variety of topping sauces, oyster dressing and a sweet and smokey oyster chowder that blew my mind.  I had a little bit of everything.  Each oyster had it distinctive characteristics.  The dressing was good, but it was the combination of the chocolate oyster topper and the shooting star that took me by surprise.  Again, I wasn’t so much surprised that chocolate was offered as a topper.  Naturally, if Oysters are the King of Aphrodisiacs, then Chocolate is the Queen.  They belong together.  But does that mean they are a natural match?  This seems to be an acquired taste combination.  I eventually convinced myself that if anyone had this acquired taste, it was I.  I sucked the oyster from its half shell, and then backed it with a douse of chocolate sauce.  Magical things happened.  Number 1, it worked!  It was a beautiful combination.  And, number 2, it enhanced the psychological effects of these famed libido enhancers.   When I asked the fisherman for his take on the aphrodisiacal qualities of oysters, his response was “it is what it is, if you believe it is…the sky is the limit”…I guess it would be when consuming a shooting star.   

 The Oyster House, a raw oyster bar on 15th and Sansom, was an entirely different experience.   The oyster bar is prominently positioned in the center of the restaurant encased in ice behind glass with three “shuckers” masterfully handling the oysters.   The vibe is sophisticated and hip.  Lively music filled the room, unique oyster serving plates from all over the world covered the walls and the crowd primarily consisted of thirty to forty somethings that had just gotten off of work to meet friends for a little end of the week digression.  I knew by the glimpses of conversation I overheard.  And then there was me.  Likewise in the demographic described, but without the friends.  That particular Friday evening (12/9/2011), the oysters were my friends.  I was there for the sole (soul) purpose of discovery.  The menu rocked my world.  So many oysters from which to choose.  My intention was to try a few raw, a few prepared, and to pair them with a nice champagne.  I started of with an oyster shooter, the New Englander, a horseradish infused vodka, tomato juice and oyster shot.  That was an awesome beginning to digression.  I then, initially requested the “Naked Cowboy”, but naturally that oyster was sold out.  “Why?'”, I asked?  “The name”.  Is marketing truly that powerful?  So I went with the “Mystic” from  Fisher’s Island, CT, “Moonstone”, from Point Judith Point, RI and the “Little Shemogue” from New Brunswick.  I deliberated stuck to the Atlantic ocean oysters to expand my horizon of oyster experience.  The “Mystic” was my favorite, of couse.  It is mild with a subtle oceanic taste.  Combined with Chateau de la Dimerie Muscadet from Loire, France, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  The bitter, limestone oceanic minerality of the oyster combined with the dry wine gave new meaning to suckin’ oysters.  I also had the Roasted Oyster Sampler consisting of Oysters Rockefeller, Oysters Bayou and Oyster Toscana.  Each true to form for which it represents.  The Toscana was especially herb-a-licious.  I asked my waitress, Roxanne, the same question I asked the fisherman at Di Bruno’s, “What is your knowledge or experience with oysters as an aphrodisiac?”.  She wasn’t shy in answering, although her response was more health focused.  “They are raw, simple, a good source of protein, and good for you”.  With that answer, I do know that a healthy diet is paramount to healthy loving and that anything raw, is sexy.  This still leaves too much ambiguity.  These little seducers are drawing me in deeper into their mysticism, and the fact that I didn’t leave home with a Casanova lapping oysters from my breast leads me down the road to even more discovery.  But just as well, I walked out of the raw oyster bar satisfied with my “been there done that” T-shirt.  “Eat Oysters, Love Longer”!

Truly yours,

Gina