Yes, the Frazzled Mad Woman in the Kitchen is Indeed Trying to Seduce You

27 Sat, 2010 § 3 Comments

Dave & I were in Flagstaff on Wednesday for his 2nd 3rd 4th interview.  These guys were serious about finding someone who fit into the culture of the company.

Apparently he does, because they offered him the job.  He starts next Wednesday.

🙂

This calls for some celebrating.

I think he deserves to be seduced.  😉  Which is perfect because Project Tasteless’ 5th challenge calls just for that.

A little unconventional that his celebration dinner fell on Thanksgiving; but he is what I’m most thankful for, so I suppose it fits.

They say the surest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  Not exactly going for his heart here, but I think the saying still holds true.

There are some dos & do nots to keep in mind when trying to seduce through food though.  Don’t worry, because if you do what I say & not always what I do, you should find yourself satisfied & satisfied at the end of the evening.

Consider Your Menu & plan

Yes, plan, because kitchen timing — or rather mistiming — can kill your evening & libido.  There is also a delicate balance to consider: you want a delicious meal that highlights the sexy culinary goddess that you are; but it also needs to be appropriate for your intentions.  It should be tasty, impressive & on the “lighter” side — think like the French [or most Europeans for that matter].  I could make Dave a heaping plateful of cheesy, oozy pasta & win his heart hands down; but would that get me what I want [& ultimately what he wants]?  You don’t want your man stuffed, bloated & spending more time in the bathroom than the bedroom.  Does “lighter” mean salads?  No.  Does it mean you can’t do pasta?  Of course not, but really consider portions & the entire meal when plating & planning.

My game plan was a sexy, vegan feast.

Sexy may have gone out the window when I spilled tears over the roasted chestnut soup fail…

but our feast was more than salvaged.

Ginger Roasted Kabocha Squash

&

handmade Sweet Potato Gnocchi & Fried Eggplant with Green Tea Cashew Cream

[recipes below]

The squash was surprisingly filling with the gnocchi.  We weren’t stuffed but definitely full.  I didn’t realize how closely I played the line here.

Seduce Your Own Tastebuds Too

He loves pasta; but I am slightly intolerant to wheat.  You don’t want any digestive discomfort to kill your own libido for the sake of his taste buds.   Believe me, he won’t resent a little selfishness on your part here. 😉

Think Sexy

When I think sexy food, I think fresh, clean, simple but with a little flair, hence the Green Tea Cashew Cream.  Appealing appetizers & finger foods can be oh.so.sexy.  What comes to your mind when thinking “sexy food”?  Sexy for me does not come from a box, but you have to decide what works for you.

Speaking of you, your sexy thoughts can’t be limited to food.  You have to own your own sexy.  It has to be legit or he’ll see right through it — don’t try too hard — make it real.  Guys dig a confident woman.  Do whatever you need to do to know you are sexy.  Love your arms?  Fit in some weight training/toning earlier in the day & dress to show them off.  Do you have the cutest toes ever?  Paint them the sexiest shade of red you can find.  Don’t dwell on insecurities!  Play up your best feature.

Set the Mood

Lighting.  Once, Dave draped a t-shirt over the lamp.  It was the sexiest red lighting…& his shirt sports the burn scar to prove it.

Music.  It doesn’t have to be cliche, what makes you feel sexy?  Sometimes a little groovy electronica meets alternative…Idon’tknow, think Kenna – Free Time…does it for me.

Picnic by the Fire.  It’s difficult to feel sexy if I’m freezing.

Drinks.  [Proceed with caution; we’re not looking for a hangover here.]  A little Reed’s ginger brew hit the spot for us.

It doesn’t have to be this generic — set your sexy mood.  If burning candles arouse a deep-rooted fear of an ensnaring inferno, don’t burn candles.

Make Him Feel Like a Man.

Ask him to help with something manly — even if it’s reaching that serving bowl on the top shelf [why would you have put that there? ;)] or lighting the fire.

Don’t Forget Dessert

You might need a sweet palate cleanse, but remember the first rule & keep it delicate.  I debated making truffles to feed each other — remember what I said about finger foods? — but opted for simple coconut ice cream with mandarin oranges & a small, soft ginger cookie.  If dinner left you both on the verge of too full though, maybe you should scrap the sweets for the time being & opt for a different course of dessert…followed by the sweets of course. 😉

Connect

Cooking for others can be stressful; it’s easy to distract yourself with all the logistics of the meal.  I tested it out to see if the stressed out, perplexed mad woman in the kitchen is indeed sexy.  She’s not.

So, slow down, include him, enjoy your time together  & connect —

there’s something fun & sexy about working with your hands together — even if he’s shelling chestnuts that didn’t roast quite right, which means no soup = no first course.  Don’t cry over fails.  Again, the sobbing lady in the apron: not sexy. Then again, it did give him a knight-in-shining-armor-moment…but, in general, I wouldn’t risk it.

Seduce

So the food is finally ready & you can relax.  Now don’t get so caught up in the delicious food, good conversation…that you forget the art of seduction.  Touch his hand.  Meet his eyes.  Smile.  Take charge.  You just planned this entire, slammin’ evening because you.are.amazing.  This isn’t the time to turn timid.

So put on that apron…just so you can take it off!

Green Tea Cashew Cream

[I’m proud of this & think I might be obsessed with tea-infused dishes now.]

Makes ~2 cups,

plenty for a lot of other uses which I’m discovering.

  • 1 ¼ C cashews, toasted
  • 1 C water
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 T Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Matcha green tea
  • pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender & blend to desired consistency.

Drizzle over finished gnocchi & eggplant.

Ginger-Roasted Kabocha Squash

Serves 2 – 4

  • 1 kabocha squash, halved & seeded
  • ½ – 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • s & p

Preheat oven to 325*F & line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Rub the squash with olive oil & season with salt & pepper.  Using a zester [or fine grater] grate the ginger over the squash & rub it into the flesh.

Transfer the squash to the prepared baking sheet, cut side down & roast for ~15 minutes, until the squash starts to soften.

Turn the squash cut side up & roast ~17 minutes longer, until tender; transfer to a work surface & let cool slightly.

Increase the oven temperature to 425*F.

Cut the squash into 1 ½-inch-thick wedges.  Lightly rub the foil with oil & arrange the squash on the baking sheet.

Roast ~25 minutes, turning once halfway through, until golden & crisp along the edges.

We garnished with quick-pickled dried blueberries — which were really good — then drizzled the squash with the pickling liquid.  I didn’t love the pickling dressing, so I will dress is with a gingery vinaigrette next time.

This is definitely one of my favorite ways to cook squash — the long roasting process is worth it & I love the ginger.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

serves 2 – 4

[My first time making my own gnocchi, & this was tasty!  The texture wasn’t perfect, but with practice I’m sure it eventually will be.]

  • 2 sweet potatoes, baked & peeled [save the skins, fill them with pecans & maple & bake again for a yummy appetizer/treat]
  • 1 scant C bread flour [the high gluten content will help the pasta set up while it’s cooking better than regular flour]
  • (No salt!  salt in the dough will make your gnocchi mushy)

While the squash roasts, prepare the gnocchi.

Shred the potatoes with a fork — the hotter the potatoes are during this step, the better the gnocchi will be — over a wide, flat surface to maximize contact with the air to help them dry out better [I forgot his part & think it would have helped make lighter gnocchi].

Let the potatoes cool/dry for 10 – 15 minutes, while you prep the eggplant.

Gather your cooled potatoes into a flat disc & sprinkle about ½ the flour over it.  Work the dough with your hands, adding more flour if needed, until just combined.  Do not overwork it!  You probably won’t need the whole cup of flour.  It should be soft, not sticky or crumbly.  You must shape the dough immediately.

Roll some of the dough out into a long snake, about as thick as your thumb.

Cut the snake into little “pillows” & dust them with flour.

To shape, simply roll one of the pillows down the tines of a fork.  The gnocchi should curl around your thumb: one side will be ridged, & the other side will have an indent in it, which helps to catch sauce.

Gently place the gnocchi into salted, boiling water.  After a minute or two, the gnocchi will float to the surface.  About 30 seconds after they begin floating, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water, draining them well.

I then tossed them into an oiled pan to fry just a bit, [optional].

Plate with the eggplant & drizzle with cashew cream.

Fried Eggplant

[adapted from Food & Wine, December 2010]

serves 2 – 4

  • 1 small Japanese eggplant or half a regular eggplant, sliced into ½-inch rounds [quarter if using a regular eggplant]
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs), crushed
  • 2 flax”eggs” [2T ground flax + 6T warm water, whisk & allow to thicken]
  • scant 1/3 C arrowroot
  • oil for frying [I used grapeseed oil]

Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt & let stand on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Rinse & pat dry.

In a medium bowl, whisk flax “eggs” with the arrowroot powder.

Put the panko in a shallow bowl & season lightly with salt.

Dip the eggplant quarters in the arrowroot mixture, spreading it thinly with your fingers.  Dredge the eggplant in the panko, pressing to help the crumbs adhere.

Transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet.

In a large skillet, heat ¼ inch of oil until shimmering.  Add eggplant [in batches if necessary] & fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden & crisp, ~5 minutes.

Drain the eggplant on paper towels & sprinkle lightly with salt.

Transfer the eggplant to a wire rack and keep warm in the oven.

~

Do you have any special dishes for those special occasions?

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