Thursday, October 30, 2008

the seduction of food

If any of you have any inclination to must must must must must try your hand at one of the fabulous recipes in this very yummy, somewhat "dirty" cookbook. Tee hee. Actually it isn't dirty at all. is seductive. Check it out here: The New Intercourses: an aphrodisiac cookbook

Lauren kindly let me drop by her office and steal this for a few days
so I could prepare a kick booty meal for Mike's bday last night. I
was torn on what to make...there were so many tantalizing options. I
settled on the following: Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus, Coffee Rubbed
Lamb Shoulder Chops, and Creamy Stuffed Figs.

To properly attack these recipes, I had to make sure I had all the
ingredients. I rummaged through our kitchen cabinets, refrigerator,
etc to make sure I didn't already have something or the things I knew
I had were still usable. You know, I am on a budget and stuff. After I
did my investigation of the kitchen, I took my "crap I don't have"
list to the Central Market, cause yeah I am on a budget...and Tom
Thumb doesn't carry some of this stuff, and careened through the
aisles in search of edible bliss. Stopping only for the most tempting
"try me" options, I blazed a path through the store without buying
ANYTHING that was absent from my list. I am so proud of myself.
Usually, I get sidetracked...and have to pick up something additional.
BUT NO! I forged ahead.

Armed with a bag of goodies and a bottle of the sommelier's choice
wine Zestos (50% tempranillo, 50% granacha - at $8.95 a pop!), I came home. With Chupa at my side, a glass of wine in my hand and some excellent cooking music wafting through the air....I began my cooking journey.

I started by creating the coffee rub for the lamb. The directions in
this book are simple and straightforward. The rub was incredibly easy
to make and smelled outstanding. I used a Mexican Chocolate coffee
ground up very fine (Turkish style) in the rub. In fact, I am making a
cup of coffee with that stuff right now. I took the slabs of lamb and
gently massaged the rub into the meat. Rosemary, thyme, coffee, salt,
pepper, paprika, and garlic powder....I never thought my mouth could
water so much from the scent of dried ingredients fastening to a moist
piece of lamb. I set the lamb aside to rest for a while and started on the
asparagus. This was initially designed to be an appetizer, but ended
up being a side...our meal was kinda out of order, but worked out
fabulously. I made the shallot vinaigrette first, mixing white wine
vinegar, shallots, fresh garlic, Dijon mustard, and olive oil into an
emulsified flavor delight. I might use this for dressing or
something, it kicks arse. (OH SNAP! This coffee is GOOOOOOOOOD). Once
the shallot concoction was completed, I blanched my asparagus in
boiling water then drowned them in ice water to stop them from cooking
any further. Bright green, tender, beautiful stalks...I was impressed
with the quality of ingredients I was able to work with. Not unlike
giving an awards acceptance speech, I feel I need to thank all of the
ingredients for really helping me step my cooking game up to the next
level. :) To assemble the tasty treats, I simply smeared some cream
cheese on a piece of prosciutto, rolled it around the asparagus...then
when I had them all done, I drizzled that shallot vinaigrette all over
it and tossed some minced chives over that. I just had to try I did. And it was
aaaaaaaaaaammmmmmmmmmaaaaaaaaaaaaazzzzzzzzzzzzing. :)

I had to let the lamb rest for a while prior to grilling it, so I
started on the filling for the figs. Now, I have never had fresh I had no idea what to expect here. The filling was a simple
mixture of cream cheese, cooked/chopped pancetta, and minced, fresh
chives. Lemme tell ya this much....those ingredients stand on their
own. YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY. I am thinking this mixture can be used as a
dip was miraculous. I then took the figs, small Turkish
variety, and cut them open. I should have read the directions closer,
but all ended well on this. You were supposed to just open the top
into four quarters then put the filling in..but I quartered the figs
completely. Sigh. Luckily I could stick the quarters together with the
cream cheese filling and it looked like it was supposed to. I topped
with the freshly toasted, chopped walnuts (also a new favorite) and
ooooohed and ahhhed at my stunning culinary ability. Time for another
glass of wine? Yes, I think so.

I created an immaculate, if I do say so myself, array of pre-dinner
munchies...including those nummy asparagus rolls, chunks of parmigiana
reggiano, roasted bell pepper strips and marinated olives. I took a
picture. Or two. Or three. I also took a picture of the stuffed figs
in all their glory.

Yay! Time to grill the lamb. I enlisted the help of grill-master, and
I have to say, incredibly fabulous Mike to handle the grilling of zee
lamb. While I was handling all the kitchen details, he had been
assisting a friend via phone with a work emergency. He is such a great
guy. I love him. (Mike...not the friend, although he is a good guy too
and I like him as a While Mike grilled the lamb, I
worked on dressing for the salad...what salad, you say? Well, I wanted
to make sure we had enough food...hahahah so I thought a salad would
be a good idea. Mike kinda looked at me in amusement and indicated we
had plenty of food. He was spot-on, cause neither of us finished all
the food I made even without having a salad. So...I saved the salad
makings for another meal. Once the lamb was off the grill, we saddled
up the table with that Spanish wine, grilled lamb, asparagus rolls,
sundry snacks, and stuffed figs.

I was awash in palate giddiness. The flavors were all different, but
wonderful. Some were subtle, like the chives and pancetta dancing
around in the cream cheese....or the coffee being a whisper of flavor
holding back some of the gamey-ness of the lamb. I am not usually the
biggest advocate of lamb, because of the gamey nature of it...but this
was by far the best lamb I have ever had. The They were
these little pockets of juicy, sweet delectable greatness that carried
the creamy mixture really well. These two dishes were phenomenal...I
have to say that...but the prosciutto wrapped asparagus...with the
drizzle of shallot vinaigrette...stole the show. Hands down.

Sigh. Dessert of toast with nutella and sliced bananas will wait to become breakfast in the morning. I am pretty sure Mike enjoyed his birthday dinner, but I KNOW I did!!!

Many hugs....and kisses...and all that jazz...


trishka said...

Damn, I just ate lunch and now i'm hungry again. That asparagus looks amazing!

KK said...

OMG those are just beautiful photos. Man! YOur boy likes you for sure now, chica!