Epicurean is defined as a connoisseur of food and wine. Come enjoy the ultimate in gastronomical delights. The best that food has to offer will be the basis of this romantic and aphrodisiac meal. Dishes prepared will have lobster, caviar, truffles, and champagne as the central ingredient. They are known to tantalize the eater with love and lust. Indulge in the best that life has to offer. You deserve it because you only live once. Happy Valentine’s Day! Save the leftovers for breakfast in bed. If you work together on this meal it will take under 1 hour. If you are doing it solo it will take around an hour and half. Good luck and they say the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. Indulge in Gluttony, at least for one day.
Epicurean Decadence Menu
- Salmon Pate with French Bread
- Tostones with Sour Creme and Caviar
- Lobster Ravioli with a Vanilla Butter Sauce
- Asparagus with Truffle Oil
- Carrots in Champagne and Dill
- Truffles Nutella
- Champagne Punch
Smoked Salmon Pate
Makes 2 cups
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup heavy or whipping cream
1 scallion (green onion, white part and 3 inches green), thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
dash Tabasco sauce
4 ounces. smoked salmon, gently shredded
2 tablespoons red salmon caviar
Gently MIX the cream cheese and cream in a mixing bowl. STIR in the scallion, lemon juice, and Tabasco sauce. Gently FOLD in smoked salmon and caviar until well combined, but do not over mix. The shreds of salmon and the caviar should remain whole.
This spread is prefect brunch fare on black bread or bagels or hollow out a thin loaf of French bread, fill it with the mixture and slice it for an hors d’oeuvre.
Traditional Tostones with Sour Cream and Black Caviar
2 cups corn oil
3 green plantains, peeled and cut into 1-inch circles
black or red caviar
In a deep heavy skillet, HEAT the oil until it is very hot but not smoking. DROP in the plantain slices and BROWN on all sides. REMOVE with a slotted spoon, but maintain the oil temperature. Using a tostonera or two pieces of waxed paper, FLATTEN the plantain slices to ¼-inch thick. REFRY until golden brown on both sides. REMOVE and DRAIN on paper towels. NOTE: For a more sophisticated dish, arrange the tostones on a platter and top each with 1 teaspoon of sour cream and ½ teaspoon black or red caviar. Delicious!
Lobster Ravioli with Vanilla Butter Sauce
Makes 4-6 servings
3 small cooked lobsters, meat removed
¾ pound chantarelle mushrooms or brown button mushrooms
4 teaspoons butter
3ounces crème frâiche
2 teaspoons chopped chives
pasta dough or wonton skins
VANILLA BUTTER SAUCE
2 teaspoons butter
5 shallots, diced
3 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1cup dry white wine
½-1 cup butter, cut into cubes
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
LOBSTER: DICE the lobster meat (you can use shrimp or scallops for this or a mixture which is what I do). CLEAN the mushrooms and DICE and SAUTÉ in butter in a large sauce pan. ADD the shallot and MIX in the crème frâiche and quickly BRING to a boil. SEASON to taste with salt and pepper. ADD the chives and lobster meat. Gently BLEND. SIMMER for about 5 minutes. REMOVE from heat and COOL to room temperature.
VANILLA BUTTER SAUCE: MELT the butter in a small saucepan. ADD the shallots and SIMMER until soft. ADD the vinegar and white wine, COOK, uncovered, at a low boil until the mixture reduces to about 2 tablespoons. LOWER the heat to moderate and ADD a few cubes of butter, REMOVE the pan form the heat and WHISK vigorously until the butter is blended in. Continue to ADD the butter this way-on the heat, off the heat. SEASON to taste with salt and pepper and REMOVE from the heat. SCRAPE the vanilla bean and WHISK it into the sauce. STRAIN the sauce into a clean saucepan, using pressure with a wooden spoon to make sure that as much of the vanilla and shallots goes through as possible.
Putting it together: ROLL out your pasta dough by machine or hand and LAY flat. It should be about 5 inches across. PLACE about ½ tablespoon of lobster mixture, 4 to a row. REPEAT and TOP with a fresh sheet of dough. PRESS down with hands and CUT into squares. CRIMP with a fork. REPEAT. You can use won ton wrappers if you prefer. PUT ravioli into a boiling pot of salted water-they cook very fast. When they float to the surface they are done. REMOVE, DRAIN and PLACE in a serving dish, topped with the sauce. By the way, I double the sauce!
Asparagus with Truffle Oil
Makes 6 servings
2 pounds asparagus stalks, washed and trimmed
2 tablespoons white truffle oil
1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon sea salt (fleur de sel)
few grindings black pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, WHISK together while truffle oil, olive oil, champagne wine vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper; SET ASIDE or REFRIGERATE until ready to use. If refrigerating, BRING to room temperature before using
ROAST asparagus at 450°F for 5 minutes until bright green. Do not over cook. TOSS asparagus with enough truffle vinaigrette to lightly coat. ARRANGE asparagus on serving platter or individual serving plates.
Carrots in Champagne and Dill
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ cup basic brown soup stock
½ cup champagne
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried dill weed or 1 tablespoon fresh dill weed
MELT the butter in a heavy saucepan. SAUTÉ the carrots for a few minutes over medium heat until they begin to brown. ADD the beef stock and champagne and cover. COOK until barely tender but still a bit firm. REMOVE cover and PLACE on high heat until the liquid is almost cooked away. ADD lemon juice and dill weed and SERVE.
about 24 truffles
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
9 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons Nutella
6 ounces chocolate
5½ ounces skinned and toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
MIX the cream, butter and corn syrup together in a saucepan. PLACE over medium heat and bring to a full boil. TURN OFF heat. ADD 9 ounces of the chopped chocolate, and gently SWIRL the pan. Do not stir. Allow to REST for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, ADD the nutella and WHISK slowly to combine. TRANSFER the mixture to a bowl and REFRIGERATE for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. In the meantime, LINE baking sheets with parchment paper. After 45 minutes, the mixture will start to thicken quickly, keep refrigerated another 11 to 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Using a mini ice cream scoop or two spoons, FORM the mixture into 1-inch balls and PLACE on the prepared sheets. CHILL until firm, about 10-15 minutes. While the balls are chilling, MELT the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate. After it is completely melted, allow to COOL slightly before continuing.
PLACE chopped hazelnuts in a small bowl. REMOVE the balls from the refrigerator. Using one hand, DIP the balls into the melted chocolate. ROLL it around in your hand, allow the excess to drip back into the bowl. PLACE the truffle in the chopped hazelnuts. With your clean hand, COVER the truffle with the nuts.
LIFT it out and PLACE on the baking sheet. REPEAT with the remaining truffles. PLACE back in the refrigerator for 5-8 minutes to set. May be stored up to one week in an airtight container.
1 cup triple sec
1 cup brandy
½ cup chambord
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
1 quart chilled ginger ale
2 750-ml bottles dry champagne, chilled
In a bowl, COMBINE the triple sec, the brandy, the chambord, and the pineapple juice and CHILL the mixture, covered, for at least 4 hours or overnight. In a large punch bowl, COMBINE the triple sec mixture, the ginger ale, and the champagne and add ice cubes.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, menu planning for love or libido are of the essence. My attitude is to make sure the meal preparation is easy yet memorable. This easy appetizer uses curry, a bit of salt, rough ground garam masala spice, and olive oil to sear jumbo, wild shrimp. The sauce is made from equal parts The Gracious Gourmet’s Tropical Fruit Spread (you can use mango chutney or a tropical jam to substitute), mayonnaise and grainy mustard. I have garnished with basil to enhance this aphrodisiac Amuse-bouche or starter which literally means mouth teaser in French. Let this be your opening to a thoroughly romantic meal.
Moqueca is a Brazilian seafood stew. Since it was Fat Tuesday this week and right before Carnival, it seemed appropriate to plan to make a dish from such a sensual country. Flecked with tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, and chives, Moqueca is sultry, easy, and reddish to hint of passion and love. I based my version on the Bahia state which uses coconut milk to add a rich silkiness and draws its’ culinary inspiration from Africa. Everyday should be like Valentine’s Day but hopefully this day is especially filled edible love.
1/3 cup lime juice
1/2 teapoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1 pound large shrimp
1/2 pound scallops
1/2 pound squid
2 tablespoons extra – virgin olive oil
2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 ½ cup red pepper, finely chopped
3/4 cup green onions or chives, minced
7 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
14 oz diced canned tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh cilantro , minced
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups clam juice
1 cup light coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound of mussels, cleaned
1 lobster cut in half
4 teaspoons fresh cilantro, minced
1/3 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound large shrimp (21-25 count)
1/2 pound scallops
1/2 pound squid
Marinate seafood in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Heat a large Dutch over medium heat and add two tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. When oil has heated, add onion, red bell pepper, green onions or chives , minced garlic , bay leaves and cook vegetables for about six minutes stirring occasionally. Then, increase heat to medium-high and add diced tomatoes and cook for two minutes adding 1/4 cup cilantro, chicken broth, clam juice bringing to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer ten minutes. If using a hand blender, puree vegetables in the pot until smooth. If using a blender, allow to cool to room temperature and place one-third of vegetable mixture in a blender, and puree until smooth. Pour pureed vegetable mixture into pan. Repeat procedure with remaining vegetable mixture. Add to vegetable mixture 1 cup light coconut milk and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for three minutes then mix in marinated fish mixture, top with mussels and lobster. Cover pot and cook 5 – 10 minutes or until seafood is done and mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that have not opened Sprinkle with remaining cilantro.