My father is a big Marilyn Monroe fan so I couldn’t resist the title. But really, some do like it hot, hot food, hot… We’ll leave it at that. After all, this is a food blog.
Juggling careers, children, and family is a whirlwind. But when does the romance get its turn? Where’s the lost spice? Well, ladies and gentlemen. I’m bringing spicy back, and I’m going to show you how to create a mood with candles, wine (from the thevinepost.com of course), and great good. Just after the kids are tucked in and I can ensure they are in REM.
I say go crazy. Wear his favorite high heels or nothing at all. But let’s not be gender biased. Guys, if you are doing the cooking, you know what she likes. Do it. Your call. Just make it spicy. Life is too short to put the heat on the back burner. Believe me. Even if you’re sleepy, the jalapeño will wake you up. Just think, you’ll have something to daydream about at your 8am meeting.
In keeping with that theme I’ve decided to make only three courses this time. Nobody wants to be too full for fun. We started with an Arugula Manchego Cheese, and Marcona almond salad with Rambutans (it’s an exotic fruit), Pluots, and Apriums (I promise to explain later) topped with a chili oil and honey dressing. For the main course I prepared grilled chicken breast served atop a fava bean puree, topped with pepper encrusted goat cheese, and spicy jalapeño salsa. For dessert I made a strawberry and apple fruit salad dusted with cinnamon and topped with homemade organic caramel sauce.
Note: Before dinner, I put candles all over the house and put on some light jazz. The heat, the wine, the candles, the music….. It was a great night.
Spicy Arugula Manchego Salad … Paired with Raventos i Blanc “de nit”, Brut Rose, Spain 2012
Really cool sparkling rose from Spain, compliments the sweetness of the fruits and acidity of vinegar.
This salad had a lot of heat to it. It was very unique and fun to make while learning about these exotic fruits.
- 1 pluot
- 1 aprium
- 6 to 8 rambutans (peeled, deseeded, and chopped)
- Arugula (3 to 4 cups)
- 1 Yellow Heirloom Tomato
- 1/2 cup of shredded manchego cheese
- 1/4 cup of chili oil
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- Crushed marcona almonds (I crushed it in between two paper towels)
- 4 tablespoons of sherry vinegar (add more or less to taste)
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Below is a picture of Rambutans. You have to peel the outside layer and pop out and round fleshy egg shaped middle. There is a big seed inside. It is not edible. You have to cut the flesh off of the seed for this salad. Otherwise you can nibble around the seed. Pluots and Apriums are simply hybrids of a plum and apricot. The Pluots have a reddish colored flesh seen on the top of the salad and the Apriums are orange. They are delicious and I’m so glad I stumbled on them in Whole Foods.
Steps for Salad Dressing
- In a small bowl mix honey, lemon, vinegar, chili oil.
- Whisk ingredients until integrated and store or set aside.
Steps for Salad
- In a large bowl mix arugula, tomatoes, pluots, apriums, and toss with dressing.
- Plate the salad, grate the manchego over the salad mixture, top it with diced rambutans and add crushed marcona almonds. Drizzle more dressing on the top.
Spicy Grilled Chicken, Fava Bean Puree, Goat Cheese, Jalapeno Salsa, and Grilled Sweet Potato … Paired with Syvain, Bourgogne Rouge (Pino Nois), France 2011
This Bourgogne held up well to the goat cheese and was light enough to dance with the heat from the jalapeños.
- 1 lb of chicken breast
- 1/2 lb of dried peeled fava beans (or fresh if you can find it)
- 1 cup of fresh parsley
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Juice from one lemon
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1. 5 cups of olive oil
- 1large sweet potato
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of dried chopped chili pepper
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1 jalapenos chopped
- 1 red and 1 yellow sweet peppers chopped
- 1/2 lb of pepper encrusted goat cheese
Steps for Fava Bean Puree
- Boil fava beans for 1.5 hrs. until soft and drain.
- Put fava beans (once cooled to room temp.) in a blender with parsley, cumin, crushed garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.
- Blend until smooth in consistency and add salt and pepper to taste.
Note: you can refrigerate this mixture, make it the night the before and before serving just heat in microwave to room temp or slightly warm. This does not need to be hot.
Steps Grilled Chicken
- Marinate chicken breasts in olive oil, lemon juice, red chili peppers (dried), olive oil, garlic powder, and black pepper. Salt to taste.
- Grill chicken, flip chicken over. Once one side is grilled, top with slices of goat cheese and chopped jalapeño, onion, and sweet pepper mixture (you can sauté this ahead of time to shorten the grilling time).
- Remove chicken from grill.
- Plate by layering fava bean puree, then placing chicken breasts on top. Arrange sweet potatoes on the side and drizzle with olive oil.
Steps Sweet Potatoes
- Peel and slice sweet potatos to desired thickness.
- Boil until soft.
- Remove from boiling water, strain, and drizzle with olive oil, mustard powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Arrange potatoes on the grill while cooking chicken.
- Remove when you see char lines through the potatoes slices.
Note: This can be done the night before. You can put the potatoes in the fridge overnight before grilled, but have them boiled and seasoned, ready to go.
Strawberries & Apples Salad with drizzled with organic caramel sauce
Steps For Caramel
I used a straight recipe for the caramel from website below. I only added a teaspoon of vanilla in addition to the recipe. I also left out the teaspoon of salt at the end. For this recipe you just cut up the fruits in a nice glass and drizzle caramel. It is easy, light, fancy, and delicious. We continued drinking the Bourgogne from the dinner and it was a great contract of tastes with the dessert. It transitioned surprisingly well from the main dish to the dessert.