Alright, this one is going out, predominantly, to the guys out there!
On this weeks Big Wild broadcast, we discussed the delicate yet vital concept of cookin’ for your baby on the Day of Love. I’m gonna briefly flesh out some suggested we explored.
First and foremost, if you plant to cook for your sweetie on Valentines Day, then be you male, female, married, dating or trying for one or the other, heed this advice if you heed no other:
DON’T COOK WHAT YOU WANT OR WHAT YOU THINK THEY WANT TO EAT – Ask the love of your life some pointed questions and base your plan upon their answers, OK? And if you don’t know how to cook what they want, ask us or search elsewhere, find out and make it! There truly are few things nicer than cooking for someone you love, but listening to them and cooking what they really want is one of those…
That is lesson and job #1 for today.
Now, the second thing that came up was, well, errr, food that could possibly have certain advantageous side benefits, as in, in so many words, food that could make you and yours frisky; is there such stuff? The answer is a resounding Yup! As mentioned above, making what your love wants is the best plan; that said stuff like sparkling wine, oysters and chocolate are all reputed to get your motor running, so if your baby likes any or all of those…
Lets start with sparkling wine.
“Come quickly, I am tasting stars,”
That quote from the most famous Monk is a pretty good description of what the first taste of a good sparkler aughta be. Only those wines produced within the region of France that bears the name may rightfully be called Champagne; anything called that from somewhere else is simply false advertising.
I am recommending that you try something from the U.S., and that will be sparkling wine. Try something you’ve not tried before. I am not calling upon y’all to break the bank, but if you go this route, one or maybe two decent bottles in the $20 to $30 a pop range aughta do.
As discussed briefly, know what you’re getting before you spring for it. When it comes to sparklers, the terms you see thereon, such as Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Demi Sec and Sec are speaking to the level of sugar in that particular bottle. This stuff can be a bit confusing, so just remember that in this instance, The ‘Extra Brut’ is the least sweet and the ‘Sec’ the sweetest. Brut will serve you very well for paring with dinner, and yes, you sure can do just that!.
When you open sparkling wine, do NOT shoot the cork across the room. Not only is that potentially dangerous, (Specially after the first bottle when your aim sucks), but it does the wine no favors. Cover the cork with a cloth, grip it firmly and gently turn the bottle, allowing the cork to slowly loosen; if you do it just right, you just hear a little sigh of compressed gas as the cork leaves the bottle. Voila!
Last but not least, a decent, non-vintage sparkler should be not be served freezing cold, as doing so defeats much of the magic of complex flavors and tastes. Serve yours at around 42º to 45º F, and vintage stuff between 45º F and 50º F.
Here are some great choices.
The Sharffenberger Brut Rose from California is a fantastic wine with a touch of still red wine added to the mix. The result is tasty, complex and very refreshing. Around $20 a bottle
The Gruet Sauvage from New Mexico is a fantastic, dry complex sparkler often found for under $20 a bottle. Gruet also makes a wonderful rose sparkler fueled with 10% Pinot Noir.
Ted Marks owns my namesake Atwater Vineyards in the Finger Lakes region of New York State; in addition to some amazing still wines, their Cuvee Brut, (Especially the ’08) is a traditionally crafted wine with amazing depth and presence; around $30 a bottle.
The Mountain Dome winery is a tiny operation nestled in the hills east of Spokane, Washington; their non-vintage Brut is, in my opinion, among the finest sparklers from any country and far and away better than anything else you can find for around $20 a bottle.
For your own back yard, if you’ve not tried the Champagne Method sparkling Cider from AEppelTreow (Apple True) Winery & Distillery in Burlington, Wisconsin, you need to! Available from the makers.
Now, as for oysters, I have to be slightly defeatist and say that, if you don’t live reasonable close to a coast, then finding good, fresh oysters is tough and expensive. If you can get them and your baby loves them, then spring for as fresh as you can get; in fact, order ’em from the Gulf Coast and do those folks a favor! Simply shuck ’em and serve ’em on the half shell, (AKA sliders). A little chopped shallot, course salt, fresh lemon, or Tabasco are all allowable but anything more than that would be uncivilized…
So, on to chocolate. Here again, I must encourage you to go outside the norm; we’re not talking Hersheys or M & Ms, guys… It is easier than ever to find very decent chocolate in your local grocery, so go and do that. Chocolate nowadays is often rated for it’s cacao content. If you’re not familiar with this stuff, you can end up scratching your head wondering what’s what.
So when you’re cruising the aisles and see, fer instance, a bar of Sharffen Berger that reads 62% Cacao Semisweet, what the hell does that mean? It means that 62% of the total content in that chocolate bar is derived from the cacao bean, (As some combination of chocolate liquor, cocoa butter and cocoa powder), and the other 38% would be sugar, vanilla and stuff like that. Ya get it? So milk chocolate is gonna be low cacao percentage and real nasty dark chocolate is gonna be real high. Be forewarned, more is not necessarily better – The darker the chocolate, the more bitter takes over from sweet, so unless you and your squeeze really like that, stay below say 70% to 75% cacao.
Sharffen Berger, (No relation, as far as I know, to the wine folks), is readily available and very good chocolate.
Lindt is another very popular popular and is also good stuff.
Green & Black, and Dagoba are other premium brands you should be able to find without too much hassle.
Pair chocolate with fresh fruit as a wonderful desert course. Sliced apple, pear, berries, and even grapefruit make a fresh, tasty finish to a fine meal.
Now, as to all that stuff about whether or not any of this will further your chances of getting lucky, well… That’s up to y’all.