How To Host A Blind Wine Tasting

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How To Host A Blind Wine Tasting

This is the perfect date night for those looking to experience several different wines at once. This provides the opportunity to enjoy a variety of tastes, compare wines, and educate your palette. Rather than your normal 8 ounce pouring, you will choose between three and six different wines and serve each in 2 ounces glasses. 

You should pick a theme for your tasting. Common themes include red, white, sparkling, or dessert wines. You can sample wines from one region (ie: all wines grown in Rioja), taste the same varietal from across the world (ie: Chardonnay wines from different regions), or choose an eco-conscious theme (biodynamic or organic wines). Here we will provide our top picks for red and white wines. 

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Cooking For Your Date’s Personality Type

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Cooking For Your Date’s Personality Type

In my previous article, Can Your Dateability Be Written All Over Your Face?, I discuss underlying biological processes and how they influence appearance and behavior. I found that testosterone and estrogen play major roles in facial feature development and how it affects personality traits. Dr. Helen Fisher, Biological Anthropologist, labeled individuals with high levels of testosterone as “Directors” and those with high levels of estrogen “Negotiators.” In this article, we introduce two more personality types; the “Explorer” driven by the dopamine neurohormone, and the “Builder” driven by the serotonin neurohormone. 

This article is a guide on how to cook for your date’s personality type, based on Dr. Fisher’s 4 personality types model: Explorer, Builder, Director, or Negotiator. I outline Fisher’s descriptions for each personality type so you can decipher your date’s cooking preference, then provide favorite foods and cooking recipes to get you started!

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Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

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Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

This dish is so light, refreshing, and incredibly simple to make! This chicken salad recipe is the best I've had, complete with grapes and walnuts. It's perfect if you are heading to a picnic, potluck, or want to whip up a light lunch or dinner. You basically throw all of these ingredients into a huge bowl, mix together, and serve on romaine lettuce. Lettuce wraps are the perfect alternative for those trying to cut out bread from your diet! 

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Filet of Beef with Oysters & Wild Mushrooms

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Filet of Beef with Oysters & Wild Mushrooms

This is the perfect man's dish. One of the closest links between man and animal is the mutual love for meat. There is a precise art to grilling the perfect filet, and it is an incredibly useful skill to master. Just as men like to impress ladies with being able to grill the perfect steak, women alike strive to cook their way into their man's heart, hence the old adage, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach." Well, you picked the perfect dish to do just that. I love how this dish combines meat and seafood. Oysters compliment the beef fillet perfectly, especially with the addition of wild mushrooms. 

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Chicken Marsala Recipe

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Chicken Marsala Recipe

Chicken marsala is an Italian-American dish made from chicken cutlets, mushrooms, and Marsala wine (who doesn't like a recipe with wine as an ingredient?) The dish originated in the western Sicily region, where Marsala wine is produced. The art of cooking this dish lies in the Marsala wine sauce, made by reducing the wine to nearly the consistency of syrup while adding shallots, mushrooms, and herbs. The sauce is then poured to smother the chicken and completing the dish! I love the challenge of getting the consistency and taste of the sauce just right. Are you up for the challenge?

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Throw A Wine & Cheese Potluck

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Throw A Wine & Cheese Potluck

Whether you want to host your first get-together as a couple or just want to enjoy the company of good people,  invite your friends and your friends of friends over for a Spring Wine & Cheese Potluck! Potlucks are one of the least stressful and budget-friendly ways to throw a party, allowing you to relax and enjoy everyone's company (isn't that what parties are all about?)

Below outlines how to host a Wine & Cheese Potluck, including how it works, the party essentials, and suggested wine and cheese pairings. If you are more on the controlling side and prefer not to leave the success of the potluck in other people's hands, feel free to do it all on your own!

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Spanish Seafood Paella

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Spanish Seafood Paella

After living in Spain for a year, one of my favorite dishes (besides Tapas) is Paella, a Valencian rice dish widely regarded as Spain's national dish. The three best known types of paella are Valencian paella, seafood paella, and mixed paella. Because I'm a huge seafood lover, this recipe will be the seafood paella version. 

Total cooktime: 65 minutes
Servings: 4

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Lazy Man's Guide to Lamb & Couscous Tagine

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Lazy Man's Guide to Lamb & Couscous Tagine

The tagine is a historically North african dish that is named after the type of earthenware pot in which it is cooked. I became familiar (and a bit obsessed) with tagine after my one month stay in Morocco. My first taste was in the Sahara Desert where a family had cooked us chicken and root vegetable tagine. The presentation was spectacular; a huge tagine pot formed entirely of a natural clay and covered with a dome-shaped lid was lifted to steaming chicken and root vegetables laying vertical atop the mound of couscous.

While traditionally all of the ingredients are cooked inside the tagine over hot charcoal, you can also cook the tagine in a conventional oven or stove top. For the purpose of ease and quickness, this "lazy man" recipe will direct you to cook the couscous stovetop in a pan while thawing frozen lamb koftas, then combining everything inside the tagine to cook in a conventional oven. I made videos of the process but then decided I sipped too much wine and would skip the embarrassment. I posted photos instead. Enjoy!

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Wine 101: Becoming a Wine Geek

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Wine 101: Becoming a Wine Geek

In this blog series of Wine 101: Becoming a Wine Geek, we teach you how to pick out the perfect bottle of wine based on you and your date's taste. 

Have you experienced walking around the wine shop aimlessly while overwhelming yourself with the amount of wines to choose from? Red, white, rose? European, South American, Napa Valley? Full-bodied or light-bodied? High tannin or low tannin? High, moderate, or low acidity? Flavors? Aromas? Will you be pairing wine with a meal? Is that meal heavier with stronger, more robust flavors? Or is it a lighter dish? Especially if you are on a wine mission with your date, it is very useful (and impressive) to have a bit of wine knowledge beforehand. We are here to help you! 

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Wine 101: Slow-Carb Wines

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Wine 101: Slow-Carb Wines

Timothy Ferriss, Author of the Four Hour Chef, has assembled a list from three wine experts to show you the top slow-carb wines: five white and five red. The experts include Spago wine director, Chris Miller, WinelibraryTV wine blogger, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Terroir co-owner, Paul Grieco.

What does 'slow-carb' mean?

Foods with a low glycemic index are considered slow carbs, which include most vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans, peas and legumes. They do not cause a rapid elevation in blood sugar like most fast carbs. Fast carbs include breads, cereals, sugars, fruits and some starchy vegetables). Wines that are considered slow-carb have a low residual sugar level, making it perfect for your 1-2 glasses a night.

Ready for the list?

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Roll Your Own Sushi

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Roll Your Own Sushi

There's nothing more fun than picking a theme for your date night in the kitchen. We are going to walk you through a Japanese themed dinner complete with sushi recipes and drink pairings! We are focusing on three sushi recipes: sweet potato roll, chicken teriyaki roll, and a spicy tuna cone roll.

Drink Pairings

While we would like to suggest sake to continue with the Japanese theme, it is actually a myth that sushi is the only pairing for sake. In fact, it is quite difficult to pair sake with sushi, because they both have the same main ingredients – rice and sugar. Pitting sushi and sake against one another is like a rice and sugar showdown, rather than a complementary experience. If you do want to pair sake with sushi, Junmais are the best option. Rather, let's look at the best option to complement your sushi recipes...

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Spanish Pinchos

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Spanish Pinchos

After living in Spain for most of 2013, I absolutely fell in love with Spanish cuisine. More specifically, pinchos and tapas. A pincho (or pintxo) is a small snack, traditionally eaten in northern Spain, especially in the Basque country and Navarre. Similarily, tapas are a wide variety of appetizers or snacks in Spanish cuisine. The difference between pinchos and tapas are that pinchos are specific to northern Spain and are spiked with a toothpick to a small piece of bread. Pincho, translated from Spanish, means ‘spike’. 

I am going to focus on pinchos because, well, I am in love with the Basque country, and in my opinion pinchos are really fun and easy to make. You can put absolutely anything on top of a piece of bread, spike it with a toothpick, and call it a pincho. However, after roaming northern Spain and visiting Spanish cuisine heaven, located in San Sebastian, I have a good idea of what really stands out on the palate. 

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Mulled Wine Recipe

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Mulled Wine Recipe

Love wine? Love warm or hot drinks in the winter? Say no more! Here is one amazing mulled wine recipe for you and your date. For those of you not familiar with mulled wine; it is a warm or hot beverage usually consisting of red wine with various spices and raisins. Feel free to add or remove spices listed in this recipe because... we all know that experimenting in the kitchen is half the fun! Read on and enjoy!


Ingredients

  • 2 clementines 
  • 1 lemon 
  • 1 lime 
  • 200 g caster sugar 
  • 6 whole cloves 
  • 1 stick cinnamon 
  • 3 fresh bay leaves 
  • 1 whole nutmeg, for grating 
  • 1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways 
  • 2 star anise 
  • 2 bottles Chianti or other Italian red wine

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Eggplant Stuffed with Lamb and Pine Nuts

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Eggplant Stuffed with Lamb and Pine Nuts

ingredients

*4 medium eggplants (about 2 ½ lb/1.2 kg), halved lengthwise
*6 tablespoons/90 ml olive oil
* 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
*1 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
*1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
*2 medium onions, (12 oz/340 g in total), finely chopped
*1 lb/500 g ground lamb
*7 tablespoons/50 g pine nuts (I used chopped walnuts instead)
*2/3 oz/20 g flat leaf parsley, chopped
*2 teaspoons tomato paste (I used homemade ketchup instead)
*3 teaspoons superfine sugar
*2/3 cup/150 ml water
*1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
*1 teaspoon tamarind paste
*4 cinnamon sticks
*salt and freshly ground pepper

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Walnut and Herb-Stuffed Salmon with Spicy Tahini Sauce

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Walnut and Herb-Stuffed Salmon with Spicy Tahini Sauce

ingredients

  • Two 1 lb salmon fillets, skin on, center-cut and trimmed to be the same size
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped coarsely
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 hot red chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Kitchen twine

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Egyptian Ful Medames

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Egyptian Ful Medames

ingredients

  • 2 cups small Egyptian fava beans (ful medames), soaked overnight (and left unpeeled)
  • Salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 lemons, quartered
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4–6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Chili-pepper flakes
  • Cumin

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Israeli Falafel

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Israeli Falafel

ingredients

For tahini sauce

  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For falafel

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, refrigerated overnight in water to cover by 2 inches, then drained, or 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • About 6 cups vegetable oil for frying

To serve

  • 5 to 6 pita breads, top 1/3 cut off each
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • Pickled turnip*
  • Mango amba (pickle)*
  • Harissa hot sauce

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