Wanderlust

restaurant reviews, food tours, cooking classes, wine tastings, etc.

Whipping up Bliss – Amorous Cooking Workshop


01-24-2015 Cooking with Love and Chocolate - Honey L'Amour TablescapeBrrrrrrrr, it was nippy in Brooklyn this past weekend.  The crisp air and howling winds whispered freezing threats, warning us all to stay in.  But that didn’t stop me and my HangWiz friends from participating in my first amorous cooking experience, “Cooking with Love & Chocolate at Café L’Amour”.  I woke up early to prepare for the workshop.  I had to finish typing up the handouts with the recipes and other fascinating stories about the aphrodisiacal power of chocolate.  Then of course everything had to be “mise en place”.  It was my vision that everything would flow like a Food Network cooking show.  All of the ingredients for the Nipples of Venus bonbons were measured out on a display table with the proper cooking tools.  On a separate table, I prepared a Valentine’s Day tablescape of pink and red to demonstrate that cooking with love is more than just cooking.  Engaging all of the senses equally is the sensuous activity of this craft.  The mood fit the learning occasion as I lit candles from the doorway to the kitchen and played Andre 3000’s “The Love Below” in the background to emphasize that every day truly is the 14th (of February), which is designated as “lover’s day”.  To warm up my guests as they arrived, I offered them a hot cacao martini served up with whipped cream and one of my charming butter Kinky Kookies.  A class I’ll offer at a later date.  The presentation answered the why and how chocolate is an aphrodisiac, which led into the rich history of where the Nipples of Venus bonbons originated.  We melted chocolate over simmer water, tempered it until it was perfect for coating our bonbons, played with food coloring to change white chocolate pink and red.  We even thought to write sweet nothings for our Valentines to accompany our handmade goodie bags.  My guests and I genuinely enjoyed an atmosphere filled with the magic of romance and learned much about the joy of cooking with love.  I hope that you will join me in a future session on a mission to nurture lovers in intimate relationships, from the stomach to the heart.

Sensuously yours,

Honey L’Amour

01-24-2015 Cooking with Love and Chocolate - Nipples of Venus - White01-24-2015 Cooking with Love and Chocolate - Honey Kookies Nipps

Seductress in the Kitchen


09-09-2014 Seductress in the Kitchen - Served II

Picture her, long-legged, wearing nothing but black fishnet stockings and a tiny curved apron tied around her waist.  We see her in three-quarter profile from the rear.  She’s bending over the oven, her legs straight and her bottom all round and curvy.  She looks back at us, smiling, as she takes something hot out of the oven, whatever it is, it is mouthwatering.  With wisps of steam curling in the air, she carries it at breast level, to serve us.  This might be the fantasy you imagine if you think of Sophia Loren in her prime, as your muse in the kitchen.

Sophia Loren - In the Kitchen with Love

This weekend I tested Sophia’s recipes for ‘polpette’ (meatballs) and a marinara sauce from her cookbook, “In the Kitchen with Love”, published in 1972.  Her cookbook is written in a conversational style with very little, if any, specific instructions on how to prepare the recipes.  Rather, she’s more like a cooking guide, informing us of foundational ingredients and offering us preparation advice. Her cookbook allows our creativity and taste buds free range.  I also appreciate that she uses her native Italian tongue to describe some of the cooking methods, ingredients and to name her recipes.

To set the mood for amorous cooking at Café L’Amour (my test kitchen), I focused my intention on making a delectable dish to share with a beau I’m sweet on.  I poured myself a glass of the California red table wine, that would eventually find its way in my sauce, and turned on the mesmerizing sounds of Herbie Hancock, a jazz artist that the beau and I both enjoy.  Hancock’s music is fantastic for cooking!

09-09-2014 Seductress in the Kitchen - Ingredients

It was amusing to prep the ingredients ‘mise en place’ following Sophia’s wisdom that, “ …everyone who cooks or loves good cooking will have his own formula, so a meatball mixture will always have a personal touch about it and some special ingredient.”  I proceeded with the base of ground beef, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and bread crumbs and then added spicy Italian sausage, half and half to soak my bread crumbs, a diced onion, garlic, cracked black pepper, and a little basil and oregano considering that she also advised, if I felt like Love Apples - First Dateadding “various herbs so much the better”.  The marinara sauce is where the love is!  The recipe is based on two well-known food aphrodisiacs, basil and tomatoes.  Tomatoes are amorously known as love apples.  Based on looks alone, the seductive harlot-red color and sensuous flesh of love apples is enough to arouse a sexy appetite.  And the lore of sweet basil to draw love, encouraged me to add a little bit more than the “good amount” Sophia recommends.  This symbol of love is called “bacia-nicola” or “kiss me Nicholas” in Italy.  Sub in the name of the lover you desire to kiss.  I also included a diced onion, garlic, minced anchovies, a few capers, oregano, cracked black pepper, and a pour of that wine.
I savored the essence of the kitchen as things got cooking.  The infusion of the hypnotic rhythm from the sound of snare drums, the dizzying effect of the trumpet combined with the thick aromas bubbling from the stovetop and the roasting oven was a sensuous affair.

09-09-2014 Seductress in the Kitchen - Stovetop

I sliced a fresh baguette from the Italian bakery, Mazzola, in my Brooklyn neighborhood and prepared a little olive oil dip for sopping.  I hope I made Sophia proud.

As the title of her cookbook conveys, cooking is an act of love.  And seduction.  By opening “In the Kitchen with Love”, I was personally invited to eat with Sophia Loren, an intimate encounter disclosing memories from her childhood, worldwide travels and emotional attachments to food.  My mission as a culinary seductress is to give love and pleasure through cooking.  Sophia embodies all that is a culinary seductress, a luscious lady cooking to delight and giving of herself because that’s what she wants to do.

Ciao for now.

Honey L’Amour, a culinary seductress

CAFÉ L’AMOUR POLPETTE (MEATBALLS) AND MARINARA SAUCE

(adapted from “In the Kitchen with Love”)

INGREDIENTS

MARINARA SAUCE

  • 2 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (love apples)
  • 1 teaspoon of tomato paste (love apple paste, passion pantry stable)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cubes of Dorot’s crushed garlic
  • 3 anchovies with capers, diced
  • 3 cubes of Dorot’s chopped basil (love herb)
  • 3 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of dried basil (love herb)
  • ¼ cup of red table wine
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • A little cracked black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Gently sauté your onions, garlic, anchovies, and capers in olive oil; add diced tomatoes (you can smash the tomatoes if you like), salt, pepper, oregano, basil, tomato paste, and wine.  Simmer for a good 45 minutes to allow the flavors to marry in bliss.

MEATBALLS

  • 1 pounds of ground beef
  • ½ pound of Italian hot sausage
  • ¾ cup of breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup of half and half
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cubes of Dorot’s crushed garlic
  • ¼ cup of Italian parsley, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Cracked pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Combine half and half and breadcrumbs in small bowl and set aside while preparing he rest of the meatball mixture.  Whisk the egg, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and parsley in a large mixing bowl.  Combine the ground beef and sausage and then add the meat to the egg mixture.  Add the onions, garlic and soaked breadcrumbs to the meat and mix thoroughly into the meat with your fingers.  Pinch off a piece of meat mixture and roll between your hands to form 1 ½-inch meatballs.  Arrange the meatballs, space slightly apart, on a baking sheet.  Cook for 20 to 25 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

You can add the meatballs to the marinara sauce and simmer for 30 minutes.  I did not combine the two recipes in this test.  I wanted to taste each recipe independently; however, I did plate them together.

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