Month: November 2014

Chez moi ou chez toi? {My house or yours?}


Chez Moi ou Chez Toi - Coq au Vin

Baby, it’s cold outside and ‘tis the season to cozy up.  One of the best cold weather comforters is a hearty bowl of steamy stew.  I recently made a coq au vin and served it with egg noodles.  It’s the French version of chicken noodle soup.  I not only wanted to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau with this dish but I also wanted to help soothe the long, dark, harsh, bitter cold days that are upon us.  The aroma created by the fusion of thyme, garlic, onions, carrots and chicken simmering in a savory broth of burgundy wine is like an invisible whisper to the psyche that triggers feel-good memories with each whiff.  From just the smell of the stew brewing, feelings of satisfaction are produced.  The brain releases oxytocin, the cuddle hormone in anticipation of getting our needs met, in this case, the need to be warm and comforted.  Of our five senses, smell is the most emotionally powerful and the most elusive.  It cannot be seen, tasted, felt, or touched, rather, it sends its messages to the limbic system, a mysterious part of the brain that arouses emotions and feelings instead of thoughts.  Smell’s connection to seduction is natural and innate.  So in cooking coq of vin with the intention of soothing, it’s good to understand that the reminiscence of this healing soup generates a smell that is synonymous with tenderness and warm feelings of trust.  Drawn to the scent, one is drawn to the person preparing the food.  “Lured by sensations that cannot be expressed in words, one is tempted to suspend natural thought and follow the lead of emotion” says Elaine Sciolino author of La Seduction about the power of a scent.  The association of the cook to the meal produces feelings that linger long after the coq au vin is gone.  Its allure is a manipulation of time.  Subtle, yet this is one of the relationship connections between cooking and seduction.  Allow the bitter cold to heat up your kitchen with irresistible aromas powerful enough to comfort and heal and delicious enough to more than satisfy.

Bon appetite,

Honey L’Amour

RECIPE

Coq au Vin chez L’Amour

This recipe is inspired by the classic ingredients for coq au vin.  French cuisine is often prepared with wine and while at the Food Network open cast for Season 11 of Food Network Star I met a wine expert.  She and I struck a conversation while we waited for our number to be called.  Based on her wine pairing expertise she gave me a list of recommendations for a burgundy after I shared with her that was preparing Coq au Vin.  Unfortunately, the two wine shops that I visited did not have her recommendations in stock (list  below); however, they recognized the value of the Josephine DuBois burgundy on the list, apologized for not having it and offered Le Bon Viveur Vin de Bourgogne instead.  I couldn’t argue with a wine that calls for living a good life.  I’ll drink, cook, and seduce to that.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 slices Black Forest bacon
  • 2 ½ pounds chicken thighs
  • Spices: garlic powder, onion powder, creole blend, dried thyme
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 1 pound Parisian Carrots (Carottes Parisiennes), Trader Joe’s freezer
  • 3 cubes crushed garlic (Dorot)
  • ¼ cup Cognac
  • ½ bottle burgundy wine (Le Bon Viveur Vin de Bourgogne)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1 ½ tablespoons flour
  • ½ pound frozen pearl onions
  • ½ pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed

1 package egg noodles, prepare separately according to package instructions

COOKING DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven.  Add bacon and cook until lightly browned.  Remove bacon.

Meanwhile season the chicken on both sides with spices.  Brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer, turning to brown evenly.  Remove the chicken and set aside.

Add the carrots and onions to the pan and cook until the onions are lightly browned.  Add the garlic and cook for a minute.  Add the Cognac and put the bacon and chicken in the pot.  Add the wine, chicken broth and thyme and bring to a simmer.  Cover the pot and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.

Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew.  Add the frozen onions.  In a medium saute pan, add the remaining butter and cook the mushrooms until brown.  Add to the stew.  Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.  Serve hot.

Served with: I paired this serving with Trader Joe’s Camebert Cheese and Cranberry Sauce FilloChez Moi ou Chez Toi - Fillo Wraps Bites instead of a traditional French baguette.  It was a new product in Trader Joe’s freezer section and I’m always game for sampling new products.  I also didn’t have a dessert so I hoped this fillo bite would satisfy both the sweet and bread craving that comes with dinner.  They served the purpose well.

Burgundy Wine Recommendations

Eat Up & Wine Down 

  • Joseph Drouhin
  • Josephine DuBois
  • Laboure-Roi
  • Louis Jadot
  • Louis Latour

 

Cherry on Top


 

11-27-2014 Cherry on Top - Tabletop

I reveled in a wonderfully delicious Thankgiving feast, reflecting on all that I’ve been blessed to receive and give in 2014 as I spent 2 days preparing a meal of gratitude.  A meal that lingers well beyond one sitting.  I get just as much pleasure from the post-feast mini-meals and dessert sample plates as I do the main supper.

11-27-2014 Cherry on Top - Cherry L'Amour Cream Pie

Lustrous thoughts of gratitude swarmed my mind while licking the cream from a heart shaped spoonful of Cherry L’Amour Cream Pie.  I am especially thankful for the 6 simple cherry picked ingredients that make up the recipe for this taste of lust.  The sweetened condensed milk mixed with cream cheese, vanilla, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, graham cracker crust and red filling amuse my appetite.  The fleshy drupe wild cherry evokes images of a sensual delight.  The dangling berries have testi similarities and are laden with sexual inspiration as they stimulate the production of attention-grabbing pheromones.  Just the thought that I become more attractive with each bite of this pie is satisfying enough. This dessert is the cherry on top of any meal.  Add it to the menu of your next seduction supper.

Sensuously yours,

Honey L’Amour

Cherry L'Amour Pie - Slice

RECIPE

 Cherry L’Amour Cream Pie

The simplest things in life are sometimes the best.  This is one of those things, it is a 6 ingredient KISS (Keep It Simple Sexy) recipe.  Makes 1 pie.

  •  1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 4 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste (Nielsen-Massey)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 21 ounce can cherry topping
  • 1 prepared graham cracker pie

In a medium mixing bowl whip the cream cheese, condensed milk, vanilla bean paste, and lemon juice until smooth.  Pour the mixture into the graham cracker pie crust, cover and freeze for an hour.  Remove pie from the freeze and top with cherry filling.  Slice and serve.

A Man’s Heart


Cafe L'Amour - Tablescaping - Table - Little Italy

The well-known adage, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” is on the kitchen table for deeper understanding.  By practicing the ways of a seductress, studying human sexuality and drawing parallels between food and sex, the true wisdom in this old wives’ tale is revealed. 

Cafe L'Amour - Tablescaping - Placesetting and Center - Little Italy

Culinary art is like a seduction, both involve stimulation of all of the senses.  This is as important as the meal itself.  My favorite seduction supper was inspired by the ambiance of an old school Italian restaurant.  Everything was red.  The color of passion.  I built the tablescape using a red and white checkerboard table cloth.  The center of the table glowed with red pillar candles, red roses, a classic bottle of Chianti in a raffia basket, a bottle of Pellegrino sparkling water and scattered tealights.  A round, red placemat, with a white plate and a playing card, representative of each diner, marked our spots.  The cards had double meaning.  Not many people know the esoteric interpretation of playing cards.  They have meaning related to your birthdate, similar to the zodiac, but moreover, the playing cards foretold of events destined for the evening.  While the artichoke stuffed chicken finished baking, my guest and I nibbled on an antipasto platter that I prepared, caprese salad, bread sticks, sipped on wine and played strip poker with the Kama Sutra designed playing cards.  Simple 5-card draw.  It was clear to see that I won.   But in the final hand, my opponent laid down all four kings and the ace of spades, which is his birth card, let’s just say that dessert was done before dinner.

Cafe L'Amour - Tablescaping - Placesetting - Little ItalySeduction is 99% psychological as is our number one erogenous zone, the mind.  Seduction Suppers are designed for pleasure and the indulgence of a good appetite.  Take into high consideration the things your beloved enjoys and include them in abundance.  Their favorite food, colors, scents, and music will arouse their senses, assure their good time and make you irresistible.

 Monteleone's Cannoli

Whatever the recipe, the basic ingredients of a seduction supper are always the same and rooted in sensuality.  With a heavenly aroma filling the air, a gorgeous tablescape, candlelight flickering, and a glorious melody playing in the backdrop, the lovecraft, that is amorous cooking, indeed fills the heart with love and satisfied cravings.

Sensuously yours,

Honey L’Amour

RECIPE

Stuffed with Amore by Moll Anderson, “Seductive Tables for Two”

I prepared Moll Anderson’s artichoke stuffed chicken because of the aphrodisiacal lore of artichokes and the bold flavors that comprise this recipe.  Aside from this wonderful dish, Moll’s tablescapes are inspiring and her sensual decorating tips charming.

  •  1 jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons drained, chopped roasted red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pesto (Moll has a recipe, which I made, but you can also use Dorot’s basil cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon thawed spinach, squeezed dry
  • 2 (5-ounce) boneless, skin skinless chicken breasts (I used bone-in, skinned chicken breasts)

 MARINADE

  • Artichoke marinade
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt to taste

Additional olive oil for sautéing

Combine the artichokes, cheese, pepper, and spinach in a small bowl.  Cut a pocket into the side of each chicken breast, working the knife along carefully.  Divide the artichoke mixture between the pockets.  Press the edge together to enclose the filling.

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a shallow baking dish.  Add the chicken and turn to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Turn the chicken.  Refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute the chicken for 2 minutes.  Turn the chicken.  Put the skillet into the oven and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 45 minutes for bone-in chicken breasts, they are generally thicker or    to 15 minutes for boneless

TABLE ELEMENTS