The Persnickety Chef: That’s Amore

The Persnickety Chef

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie – that’s amore.

  As the above lyrics prove, the connection between love and food has long been understood, even going back to ancient times Many foods have the reputation of being aphrodisiacs. Some gained their notoriety due to their shape or appearance such as asparagus and artichokes.  Other foods have legendary reputations as aphrodisiacs such as oysters. The Italian lover Casanova consumed 50 oysters every morning for breakfast. Now that’s Amore.

   Scientific research is inconclusive on whether oysters are really an aphrodisiac, but their reputation may be more influential than the science behind the legend. Oysters are high in zinc, which reportedly increases the male libido.

   Champagne & strawberries have been rumored to arouse passion in the fairer sex and most definitely add an aura of romance to an evening for two. Cacao and its offspring, chocolate have long been associated with passion and romance and were used in ancient Aztec fertility ceremonies.

   So what does this mean for the guy who wants to impress the lady in his life on Valentines Day? This information may lead one to believe that combining several of these ingredients would be a major turn on.  Be careful. I doubt chocolate covered oysters or asparagus would stimulate anything but indigestion. Even if you don’t think you can cook, you can conjure up a meal that will make her melt like a Hershey Bar on a hot summer day.

   First set the mood and the table. A bouquet of flowers is a good place to start. Multi-colored roses make for a lively table.  Candles will allow you to keep the lights low so she can’t see the chaos in the kitchen. Important note: Do Not Use scented candles around food. It takes away from the sensuality of the meal.

   Have wine glasses on the table. Greet her at the door with a glass of champagne or sparkling wine (Champagne, strictly speaking, only comes from the Champagne region of France. There are plenty of good sparkling whites and even rosés available.)

   Rim the glass with a fresh strawberry. Bite the berry, then sip the champagne for a sensory overload experience.

   Have soft music in the background.

   For a simple first course, oysters on the half shell are nice. If you are ambitious, try Poached Oysters in Champagne Cream over Wilted Spinach. Follow this with a simple salad. All varieties of mixed greens can be found in any supermarket. Elevate with some grilled lobster, sliced mangoes and a lemon chive vinaigrette. Or go classic winter with some dried cranberries, crumbled goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. Lightly toss the salad in the dressing. Pile it in the center of the plate and fan the sliced lobster tail around.

   Next serve a sorbet. HINT: Häagen Dazs has several varieties of sorbets available in stores. Pick her favorite flavor. Serve in a champagne glass and top with a splash of champagne and a mint leaf. For the adventuresome, pick lemon sorbet and cut a base off the lemon so it sits flat on a plate and cut off the top ¼ way down hollow and fill with sorbet top with mint leaf.

   For the entrée, Filet Mignon is always a winner (if you are married to or dating a vegetarian, my condolences.)  Try it with a Cabernet and Oyster Sauce Artichoke, Potato Hash and Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes.

   And now for the big finish. If you are gun shy about tackling dessert, go to a bakery and pick an assortment of dessert miniatures. Serve with fresh berries. Chocolate is always a good place to start. For a simple homemade ending, try Chocolate soup with Fresh Raspberries and Marscapone. Yes, it sounds weird, but think of it as adult hot chocolate. The liqueurs in it will add some more warmth to the evening.

   Take a risk. Cook her a meal she will remember. A man who can cook can turn a women on. If you want to excite her even more, clean up and take out the trash. Until next month, bon appétit.

Poached Oysters in Champagne Cream over Wilted Spinach

Jon Davies
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Seafood
Servings 2 people


  • 6 large shucked oysters save and clean shell
  • 1 Shallot minced
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup champagne
  • ½ cup cream
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives
  • 2 cups spinach cleaned and rough chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon


  • In sauté pan, melt butter. Sweat the shallots until soft. Add champagne and reduce by half.
  • Add the oysters to the pan. Cook 2 minutes.
  • Remove the oysters from the pan and add cream. Reduce over medium heat until sauce thickens.
  • Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and lemon. Finish with chives.
  • In a separate pan, melt the remaining butter and wilt the spinach. Season it with squeeze of lemon, salt, and pepper.
  • To serve, place spinach in the oyster shells. Top with oysters. Drizzle with sauce.
Keyword Valentine’s Day

Chocolate Soup

Jon Davies
Course Dessert
Servings 2 people


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup Kahlua
  • 6 tbsp mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • fresh raspberries, for garnish


  • In a saucepan, heat milk and cream. Add chocolate. Whisk over medium heat until smooth.
  • Add liqueur.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the mascarpone cheese and honey until smooth.
  • To serve, pour chocolate soup in a bowl. Place a dollop of the mascarpone and honey mix. Sprinkle with fresh raspberries.
Keyword Chocolate, Valentine’s Day