Month: August 2014

The Pleasure Principle


Breakfast in Bed

I couldn’t be happier than I was this past Saturday. There are few things in life that bring me as much joy as the simple pleasure of having breakfast in bed. I woke up to the birds chirping. The little song birds sounded so sweet as I made my way toward the kitchen. I bought two dozen beautiful pink roses the night before and had them waiting for me in the windowsill, always a delightful sight. I took my time warming up Cafe L’Amour. I started a pot of coffee, I simply adore my percolator, the nostalgia of it, my mother gave it to me. The French dark roast beans from Trader Joe’s released a heavenly aroma into the atmosphere. I prepared a cup with sugar, cream and Kahula and placed it at its side, put on the jazzy sounds of Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and the like and started amorous cooking. I began with preparing the grits, I couldn’t find the old school yellow grits, but the slow cooking Quaker grits worked just fine. I mixed in New York sharp white cheddar cheese and swirled a bit of heavy cream through them, covered the pot and set them on the backburner while I prepared the shrimp and Andouille sausage mixture to go over the top. With the diced sausage sizzling, I added crushed garlic and the shrimp and let that go for a minute before adding a little pilsner and chicken broth to simmer.

Shrimp & Grits

I prepared heart-shaped pancakes and an egg over easy. Next, I prepared my fruit plate, broiled the grapefruit (grapefruit brulee) with a little sugar, rinsed off the champagne grapes and raspberries and dressed up my breakfast tray by adding a celebratory glass of mimosa.

L'Amour Hot Cakes

L’Amour Hot Cakes

It’s Saturday! I ordered myself to forget the dishes and to immediately get back in the bed! Always a great destination for pleasure. As I stretched out in my silky pink chemise, surrounded by pink roses and happy to be alive, I reflected on all of the wonderful things in my life with each delicious bite. Viewing life through rose colored lenses of pleasure, I realized that pleasure serves as the centerpiece of living life as a love affair.

Breakfast in Bed

In fact, I decided to stay in bed pretty much all day, only getting up to soak in a divine bubble bath.  Before that, I caught up on the episodes of Masters of Sex that I missed the last two weeks. Very interesting series. I’m drawn to it for the obvious reason. It’s a series about the first doctor to actually study the pleasure of human sexuality and in particular, the study of female sexuality. Its the striking parallel between Dr. Masters’ assistant and I are blaring, not to mention the subtle eroticism of our names.  Someone once told me that ‘Gina Johnson’ is a stripper’s name.  I had to think about that for just a moment. Then it occurred to me, you can’t spell vagina without Gina and we all know that a play name for a penis is ‘Johnson’. Then you have Virginia Johnson, Dr. Masters’ assistant. Again with the vagina, it is often called ‘Ginny’, which is how Dr. Masters often references his assistant, and professionally, he’ll call her, ‘Ms. Johnson’.  It’s lively word play to say the least, but the irony of our names and our areas of interest, keep me absorbed in the series.

Cooking is an art of enjoyment and sensuality. Café L’Amour is a place of seduction, a temple of love.  A pursuit of pleasure for its own sake, which I trust was also the reason for Dr. Masters’ study.  Seduce yourself with graceful surroundings, excellent food and wine, beautiful objects and a sexy breakfast and sexy TV.  I encourage you to make time to savor the best life has to offer, big and small, it’s The Pleasure Principle.

To your sensual appetite,

Honey L’Amour, a culinary seductress

COUNTRY GRITS WITH A CITY TWIST

 Ingredients:

Grits

  • 1 cup of yellow grits (not instant)
  • 1 cup of grated sharp New York white cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • Ground black pepper to taste

 Shrimp

  • 1/2 cup of cubed chicken Andouille sausage (Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 3 cubes of Dorot’s crushed garlic (love these; stock them in your freezer!)
  • 1 pound of shrimp (I used pre-cleaned and cooked shrimp)
  • 1/4 cup of beer (I used a pilsner)

 Amorous Cooking:

Grits

Follow package directions for grits. Stir in cheese, butter and then cream.

 Shrimp

Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add sausage. Add garlic and shrimp. When garlic begins to brown, add beer and chicken stock. Simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook your eggs over easy or sunny side up and make your pancakes.

 REVIEWS:

Masters of Sex, Showtime

 

She’s a Peach


08-10-2014 She's a Peach - Cobbler - Bellini - Peach

I enjoyed a leisurely afternoon this past Saturday at the farmer’s market in Union Square. I love going to farmers markets. Fresh from the vine fruit and veggies, just caught fish, wild flowers, and custom, hand-curated specialty foods enhance my pleasure in cooking and eating homemade food. I am soo thankful for the greenmarket and the world of deliciousness it brings to my table! As I wandered from stand to stand, I took special care in selecting the peaches I would use to make a peach cobbler and a white peach Bellini recipe from the “Fork Me, Spoon Me” sensual cookbook by Amy Reiley. The abundant sight of the plump juicy fruit was alluring. I talked to the farmers about their luscious peaches,  these little lovers are born from a single ovary of a flowering fruit tree native to the rose (rosacease) family, making them all the more desirable.  I took my precious time strolling by the fruit, inhaling their sweet scent, squeezing their firm flesh.  Their fuzzy skin pleasant to the stroke, reminiscent of gently petting a kitten.   Fully rounded peaches with defined clefts and pursed red lips were among my choice selection. I purchased the prettiest peaches the market had to offer.  A sacred treasure that I safely tucked in my canvas shopping bag, delicately placing them so that they would not bruise.  I walked around the market with a half grin on my face, roused by the erotic secret I kept on the nature of a peach. In addition to August being the peak harvest month for peaches, it is also Romance Awareness month, making this an opportune time to connect yet another intricate link between love and food. The Peach is a favorite association of the female form. Round, fleshy, juicy, and firm, yet, when ripe and ready to eat, it is giving and wonderfully sweet.

Union Square Farmer's Market

Union Square Farmer’s Market

My mind went further, a poet once made the statement that he determines the sexual capabilities of a woman by the way she eats fruit. When he is testing a potential bedmate, he gives her a piece of fruit to see how she eats it. This is a direct transfer of pleasant expectancy between eating and making love. The mouth, the lips, the tongue, and the genitals are the most sensitive parts of our bodies.  They have the same neural receptors, apparently there is a line that runs through the body and connects the lips to the labia in females and the tongue to the penis in males. This is a Freudian identification, which believes that lips imitate genital behavior.  Interesting connection.  It is true that men transfer testosterone to women in intimate French kissing.  So, before I got busy peeling, slicing and pureeing my peaches, I took into consideration the school of thought of the poet and Dr. Freud.  I beheld the beauty and wonder of a single peach when I got home, deeply took its peachy aroma, licked its fuzzy skin, which excited my tastebuds and explored the different textures of the peach.  Its juicy flesh delighted as the juice dribbled down my lips and all over my fingers. I caught the nectar with my tongue, licking every drop from my lips as to not to allow its sweetness escape me. Relishing in the wetness of its tender flesh, I savored the flavor of  late summer. What a delicious a K.I.S.S.  It’s the simple things that keep the sexpot hot. With my peach cobbler and Amy’s white peach Bellini, it shouldn’t be hard to discover the pleasures of your own mouth. Prince seems to get the connection too.  Listen to how he croons over the fruit in his song, She’s a Peach!…The sexy nibblers from 91/2 Weeks also get it.   Watch and learn how to enjoy foreplay with food.

To your sensual appetite,

Honey L’Amour, a culinary seductress

SHE’S A PEACH COBBLER

Ingredients:

  • 10 farmers market fresh Peaches, peeled and sliced into thin wedges
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of granulated white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • frozen pie crust

 Amorous Cooking:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  •  In a large pot, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, butter, and a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Toss to coat evenly, and bring to a boil and then simmer.
  •  Meanwhile, prepare the pie crust. Roll it out on a floured countered top, and cut into 1/4 inch strips.
  •  Pour the peach mixture into a rectangular baking dish, topping with the pie crust strips in a lattice formation. You can sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture if you would like. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

WHITE PEACH BELLINI

Puree

  • 2 very ripe white peaches
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • Sugar to taste
  • Puree in a food processor

For your Chilled Champagne Flutes

  • Add 2 ounce of fresh white peach puree
  • 3 ounces of Procecco sparkling wine [I used a dry French white sparkling wine, Blanc de Blanc]
  • Chilled champagne flutes

 REVIEWS:

She’s a Peach Cobbler, Honey L’Amour

White Peach Bellini, The Sex Life of Food, Fork Me Spoon Me by Amy Reiley

Union Square Farmer’s Market, Manhattan

Sexy eating scene, 9 ½ Weeks

She’s a Peach, Prince

Chocolate Obsession


08-04-2014 Chocolate Obsession - Nipples of Venus - Cafe L'Amour

I should have known that something erotic would result after submitting my $69 payment for a cooking class at Sur La Table that I attended last Saturday.  Chef Gisselle led the class through recipes for Chocolate Soufflés, Grand Marnier Truffles and Nutella Biscotti.  She knows her stuff about chocolate.  I really appreciated her tip on tempering chocolate to the temperature of a kiss.  This creates a harder, shiner finish for your bon bons.  That’s exactly what I did for my white chocolate version of “Nipples of Venus.  You see, I’ve been obsessed with chocolate lately.  It may have a lot to do with its complex chemical makeup and its intriguing history.  Originating in the Amazon some 4,000 years ago, the Aztecs considered the cacao tree to be food of the gods.  It was so revered that it was used as currency and was reserved for warriors, nobility and priests.  Cacao was also used in sacred rituals and festivities associated with birth and marriage.  Esteemed as a symbol of holiness and power, the indigenous people added hot peppers and dried chili to the ground bean to add to the release of adrenaline and the euphoric uplifting experience that chocolate causes.  Even science reveals that intrinsic properties of chocolate are a stimulant that turns on the pleasure sensors.  It releases phenylethylamine (PEA), the same hormone released in sexual intercourse.  This neurotransmitter stimulates motivation and drive.  Other chemical compounds in chocolate act like THC, the active chemical in marijuana.  THC sparks dopamine production in the brain and is responsible for that “high” feeling.  So I can see why priests, who are the conduits of communication to higher beings and warriors, who defend the land, were fed chocolate for their specific purposes in these ancient times.  I can also see why chocolate is a key ingredient in seduction.  It has a profound effect on the libido and is erection medicine according to a recent article in Men’s Health magazine.  In fact, chocolate almost had Vianne Rocher, from the fiction novel turned movie, “Chocolat”, thrown out of the Village of Lansquenet because of its pleasurable powers.    She arrived in the prudent Village on Mardi Gras, the day of feasting that precedes Lent.  The winds of change had blown the nomadic gypsy and her daughter into the town as they searched for a place to call home.  She knew the mystical secrets of the chocolate trade very well and immediately opened her chocolaterie without regard to Lent.  This was very off-putting to the townspeople.  She was considered a temptress, but in reality, all she wanted to offer was delight through her confections.  It was an uphill battle for Vianne, but eventually her charm and her chocolate won the Village over and “La Celeste Praline” was beloved in Lansquenet ever after.

 “Chocolat” movie clip: Vianne sets up shop…watch for the ‘Nipples of Venus’, hers are dark brown with white nips. ♥

Vianne is one of my culinary seductress heroines.  Her story is the inspiration for the “Nipples of Venus” recipe I tested this weekend.  It is an old recipe and incorporates old methods of preparation.  I stayed true to it, hoping that the “old time magic” would still work in these modern days. It helped curb my chocolate obsession and I put the little confections to work in New York City.  We’ll see what unfolds.

These exotic stories and mysteries of the cacao plant continue to fascinate and inspire romance and pleasure.  Indulge in a little chocolate hedonism. After all, August is national romance awareness month… if you need a reason to let a delicious bit of heaven melt on your tongue.

To your sensual appetite,

Honey L’Amour, a culinary seductress

 NIPPLES OF VENUS

 Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces of Ghirardelli 60% Cacao chocolate, chopped
  • 12 ounces of Lindt white chocolate, chopped
  • 16 ounces canned whole chestnuts, drained
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup of brandy
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste
  • 1 dash of pink concentrated gel icing color
  • 1 dash of Christmas red concentrated gel icing color

Amorous Cooking:

  • Place the dark chocolate into the top part of a double boiler over simmering water, and let the chocolate melt. Turn off the heat and let the chocolate cool.
  • Place the chestnuts into the work bowl of a food processor, and process until the chestnuts are smoothly pureed, about 1 minute.
  •  Whisk together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, stir in the chestnuts, brandy, and vanilla bean pasted until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the chocolate, and pipe 1 tablespoon of filling per truffle onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, shape into 1 inch diameters and chill in the freezer. If the mixture is too soft to hold its shape, chill for several minutes in refrigerator.
  • Reserve about 1 ounce of white chocolate for tempering, and about 1 ounce for coloring. Melt the remaining 10 ounces of white chocolate over simmering water in a double boiler until the chocolate is melted and warm but not hot. Remove the pan containing the melted chocolate from the double boiler, and add about 1 ounce of chopped, unmelted white chocolate. Stir the chocolate until the unmelted pieces of chocolate melt, and the temperature drops to the temperature of kiss, 80 to 82 degrees.
  • Carefully dip ½ of the centers in the melted white chocolate, and gently place the truffle onto a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper to cool and harden, returning to the freezer for about 15 minutes.
  • Melt the remaining 1 ounce of chopped white chocolate over simmering water in a double boiler until the chocolate is melted and warm but not hot. Divide in half and stir in a very small amount of gel icing coloring until you get a desired shade of pink and red. Dip a little colored chocolate out with a spoon, dot each the white truffles with a pink dot and the brown truffles with a red dot, and allow the chocolate dots to set, about 15 minutes. Place the truffles into paper candy cups to serve.

*makes 60 bon bons

 REVIEWS: