If you're tired of teary holiday stories, we
about Luigi, the great Italian lover. One day, Luigi takes
his beautiful neighbor Maria on a picnic. As they settle onto
the blanket with the picnic basket, Maria leans over to Lugi.
"Kiss me," she demands. Luigi leans back and grabs a bottle of
Chianti and splashes it on Maria's lips. "What are you doing?"
she asks. "I am Luigi!" he grins. "I like my red meat with red
wine!" And he plants an enormous, heart-pounding kiss on Maria's
Later, as their fingers twine together over the antipasti plate,
Maria nestles closer to Luigi. "Kiss me lower," she coos. Luigi
tears her blouse open and douses her chest with Pinot Grigio.
"What did you do that for?" Maria gasps. "I am Luigi!" he says.
"I like to enjoy white meat with white wine!"
When the picnic is nearly finished, and the two are licking
tiramisu off of each others fingers, Maria whispers: "Kiss me
even lower!" Luigi rips off her underwear and pours cognac in
her lap. In a flash, he strikes a match and lights the congnac
on fire. Maria begins to shriek. "What the hell are you doing?"
"I am Luigi!" he roars. "When I go down, I go down in flames!"
A LETTER FROM SAN FRANCISCO CHEF ANDREA FRONCILLO
For the past few weeks, I've been in the
process of moving into my new home. Moving is never fun, but
what can I say? I absolutely love the place. The space is bright
and airy, with beautiful views from every angle. I feel like I'm
walking in to a penthouse suite every time I step inside. But
the thing I'm most happy about is that I have someone special to
share it with... and yes, I can assure you that sex and romance
DO go together, and in the most wonderful way. Not to mention
the food, which makes it that much better!
Whenever I talk about my new place and all the good things
that are happening in my life, I have to pinch myself to
make sure it's real. For so many years, I dreaded the holiday
season; when I was growing up in Napoli, the winter months were
frigidly cold and our apartment had no heat. We used a round
metal container called a braciere to warm up the rooms of
our cramped little aparment; it had a hollow chamber inside
which we filled with whatever we could find - old papers,
branches from shrubs, wooden panels from discarded wine crates.
The heat didn't travel very far, so we placed it in the center
of the floor, and rubbed our hands over it until the fuel burned
up and turned cold.
November and December weren't exactly a season of fun and
games while I was growing up; however, I feel extra lucky
today because after so many years I can now look back and
appreciate how far I've come. And it is real far... Every
fable ends differently, doesn't it?
On Thanksgiving Day this year, Tracy (she's the special
person I mentioned above) and I spent a wonderful evening at the
home of Mario and Stephanie Ascione, two of my dearest friends.
Stephanie made a turkey and put on an amazing spread; I brought
a huge slab of prime rib, cooked to perfect juicy tenderness. I
stopped by Rulli on Chestnut Street the night before and picked
up a dessert called "mignonette," which is a collection of
miniature Italian pastries. The meal was the kind you see in
fancy magazines - food on every inch of the table, wine in every
glass, people telling jokes and stories. Have I mentioned how
lucky I feel?! Don't you dare pinch me!
Now I have something for you: I've created a two-part
menu for an incredibly romantic holiday meal. Below is Part One,
with three recipes; Part Two will have the rest. Let me tell
you: making this dinner will bring you closer to the person you
prepare it with. Each dish is special and indulgent to make the
meal a true celebration. I recommend that one of you doesn't
make it for the other one, but that you make it together. I
know, I'm always saying that. But do you really do it? Have you
ever taken my advice and actually made a date of going to the
market together? What are you waiting for? A kick in the butt?!
I do have a big foot...
So go on! Really do it this time. No matter what else you
have going on this month, it couldn't be as good as this. I
absolutely insist that you give yourself the best gift of all:
one day - or half a day - that you set aside just for you and
the person you enjoy being with. Spend a fun hour in the market
finding all of your ingredients, and then go back home... slip
into something comfortable. Turn off the phone and TV, put on
your favorite CD's, open up a bottle of wine... hey, no
complaints about the food or the service!! You just may find
yourself creating a memory that you will look back on for months
to come. Or it may motivate you to cook together again soon;
it's addicting, you know!
Look for Part Two within the next few days! These three
recipes will get your shopping list started, and the rest will
soon follow. Put a date on the calendar...
Here's hoping you get to go down in flames this month! Luigi
recommends it...and so does Maria! Ciao for now!
the head bartender at Bobo's, recently created this holiday
cocktail, and everyone loves it. A frosty martini glass filled
with this ruby-red cocoction is the perfect way to begin your
• 6 ounces Belvedere vodka
• 3 ounces Cointreau
• 4 rounded tablespoons pomegranate seeds
• 1 lime, cut in half
• 4 teaspoons superfine sugar, plus enough to coat the rims
• 2 round orange slices, cut in half
• 1/4 cup POM Wonderful (pomegranate juice)
Chill two martini glasses and sugar the rims. Place one
rounded tablespoon of pomegranate seeds into the bottom of each
In the bottom of a martini shaker, muddle one rounded
tablespoon of pomegranate seeds with one half orange slice. Fill
shaker with ice. Add 3 ounces Belvedere and 1.5 ounces
Cointreau. Add a splash of pomegranate juice.
With a citrus squeezer, squeeze the juice from one lime
half into the shaker, then drop the lime into the shaker. Add 2
teaspoons of sugar. Shake vigorously for approximately 60-90
seconds. Strain into a martini glass.
Repeat for the second glass. Garnish each martini with
one of the remaning orange halves.
Here's to a memorable meal! Cheers...
Search the Recipe Database...
WATERCRESS SALAD w/ FUJU PERSIMMONS &
'Tis the season for Fuju persimmons - the
round, flat ones that look as if someone just stepped on them.
The skin is tangerine in color and the flesh is slightly soft,
with the aroma of custard and the delicate, sensual flavor of
cinnamon and apricots. They'll disappear before you know it, so
take advantage of their availability and enjoy them in this
gorgeous, delectable salad.
• 1 bunch watercress, washed, with the roots clipped away
• 1/2 lemon
• Organic extra virgin olive oil
• Salt & freshly cracked black pepper
• 2 Fuju persimmons, stems removed & scrubbed clean
• 1 round (6 ounces) fresh whole milk mozzarella
• 3 tablespoons roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
• 1 cinnamon stick
Place the watercress in a bowl and toss with 2
tablespoons of olive oil. Squeeze the lemon half over the
leaves; toss again. Season with salt and pepper.
Slice the persimmons into thin rounds - just as you would
slice a ripe tomato. Cut or tear the mozzarella into irregular
chunks. Heap the watercress onto a salad and arrange the
persimmon & mozzarella on top. Drizzle a few drops of olive oil
onto the visible pieces of mozzarella. Sprinkle with roasted
hazelnuts. Grate cinnamon over the top until the fruit and
cheese are lightly dusted.
Serve with warm bread and more olive oil for dipping.
Eat off of one plate, alternating bites... enjoy the softness of
the fruit and cheese contrasted with the crunch of the nuts. Mmm...
LOBSTER CARBONARA w/ FRESH PAPARDELLE NOODLES
carbonara is a wonderful indulgence when it is made with fresh
ingredients and served piping hot. I've made this one even more
delicious with the addition of lobster and fresh papardelle
• 8 ounces fresh papardelle noodles
• 3 slices pancetta, chopped
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1/8 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
• Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly shaved nutmeg
• 6 oz lobster meat* (see below)
• 1 egg
• 1 tablespoon chopped chevril or Italian parsley
Fill a heavy saucepan 2/3 full of water; add a teaspoon
of salt and bring to a boil ove high heat. Add the papardelle
noodles and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until al dente. Drain.
In a deep skillet, brown the pancetta over medium heat
until it becomes crispy around the edges, about 3 minutes.
Slowly add the cream. Add the papardelle noodles and toss to
coat. Immediately add the parmigiano and nutmeg; season with
salt and pepper. Crack the egg and toss the noodles with tongs
to distribute evenly.
Remove from heat and stir in the lobster meat. Place the
noodles in a deep bowl and sprinkle with chopped chevril. Stick
your forks in and go to it!
* Buy lobster meat at the meat counter of your local market, or
do it the old-fashioned way: Get a 1 lb. New England lobster and
boil for 6 to 8 minutes; cool; crack the shell to remove the
meat and chop into bite-sized pieces. A 10-ounce Australian
lobster tail can also be used; prepare it the same way as above.
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