Valentine’s Day – From Head to Toe

Valentine’s Day offers plenty of options for dining out in northern NJ. Two Bergen clients, Bibi’z in Westwood and Session Bistro in Maywood, have a fine array of dishes to choose from.

Singles over 40 can tie on an apron (or not) at the Friday, February 8th Love at First Bite mixer and cooking class at WannaBee Chef in Englewood. The event is $65 per person and available to the first 15 men and same number of women who register by calling 201-784-1818. Registration can also be handled by clicking on the WannaBee Chef link and visiting the Events page. New Jersey’s Matchmaker Julianne Cantarella will be on hand to provide mini-consultations on love and relationships.

Love at First Bite Singles Mixer and Cooking Class at WannaBee Chef in Englewood
Love at First Bite Singles Mixer and Cooking Class at WannaBee Chef in Englewood

The annual WINE & CHOCOLATE WINE TRAIL WEEKEND will be February 9-10 at Wineries throughout the Garden State. The trail features wine tastings and chocolate samplings from noon-5 p.m. at participating wineries, showcasing the award-winning New Jersey wines being produced by the more than 40 wineries now operating throughout the state. From the Skylands in Northern Sussex County to the tip of Cape May, six different wine trails await you. Each winery along the way will offer wine tastings, tours, live music and other entertainment and special food preparation or dinners. Visitors can also ask for the New Jersey Wine Passport at their stops by bringing the passport to participating wineries to be stamped. Those having all of the pages stamped, and thus having visited all the wineries in the state, will be eligible for a drawing for a trip for two to wine country in Portugal. To access maps to the six trails and to learn what special event each winery has to offer, visit www.newjerseywinetrails.com.

Chocolate Heart Shaped and Filled Box from Legends
Chocolate Heart Shaped and Filled Box from Legends

Looking for a way to ward off the no-date-blues on Valentine’s Day? Join singles over 40 for a 6:30-8:00PM free Valentine’s Day mixer, Thursday, February 14th focusing on fitness and finding love at the PGA Tour Superstore in Paramus at 295 Route 17 (where Einstein Moomjy used to be). Gerard Bochese, Tenafly fitness instructor and owner of FuelFit, will give golf conditioning and fitness tips to singles looking to get “Back in the Game” while Julianne Cantarella, aka New Jersey’s Matchmaker, will give a talk about finding love after 40. This event is free; advance registration is required. Call 201-784-1818 to hold your spot.

Gerard Bochese, FuelFit fitness trainer, will show singles over 40 how to use fitness to get "Back in the Game" at the PGA Tour Superstore on February 14th from 6:30-8:00PM.
Gerard Bochese, FuelFit fitness trainer, will show singles over 40 how to use fitness to get “Back in the Game” at the PGA Tour Superstore on February 14th from 6:30-8:00PM.
New Jersey's Matchmaker Julianne Cantarella will speak about finding love after 40.
New Jersey’s Matchmaker Julianne Cantarella will speak about finding love after 40.

If you are looking to stay home for a cozy evening, consider making a meal with some aphrodisiac ingredients, namely:

1. Artichokes
2. Asparagus
3. Shellfish
4. Red wine
5. Chocolate
6. Avocado
7. Almonds
8. Carrots

It’s been said that the #1 aroma in terms of stoking fires of love in men is pumpkin pie with vanilla being a close second. Here’s Paula Deen’s recipe for this Thanksgiving favorite, y’all.

Pumpkin pie's aroma while baking is said to be the leading sexual turn on aroma for men.
Pumpkin pie’s aroma while baking is said to be the leading sexual turn on aroma for men.

And before turning in to bed, lavender, the relaxing herb, long prized for its sensuality enhancing properties, is an ideal scent to enjoy. A few drops of lavender essential oil in a warm bath or shower (aim bottle or dropper at the wall near the water spray) will usher in a good night’s sleep and maybe more…

Lavender field in the south of France.
Lavender field in the south of France.

Chef Christopher Holland’s Healthy Parsnip Puree – Session Bistro, Maywood, NJ

 

Chef Christopher Holland’s Healthy Parsnip Puree

Ingredients:

4 large parsnips

2 1/2 cup chicken stock

1 cup of water

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 T Salt

3 – 4 sprigs of Thyme

3 – 4 peppercorns

1 Bay Leaf

1/4 vanilla bean (seeds scraped out)

2 cloves Garlic

1 shallot halved

pinch nutmeg

2 T unsalted butter

Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-Heat oven to 350º

1.  Peel and chop parsnips into 2 inch pieces.

2.  Make bouquet garni with Thyme, Peppercorns, Garlic, and Shallot.

3.  Bring 2 cups of chicken stock plus 1 cup water to boil.  Add bouquet garni.

4.  Add parsnips and boil until a knife easily passes through about 25 min.

5.  Strain parsnips and remove bouquet garni.

6.  Place parsnips back in pot and put in oven for 15 minutes.

7.  In small saucepan add butter, vanilla seeds, nutmeg, and 1/4 cup heavy cream and 1/4 cup chicken stock. Reduce by half, about 15 min on low heat.

8.  Place cooked parsnips and infused cream mixture in food processor.   Puree until smooth.

9.  If necessary add chicken stock until desired consistency is reached.

Chef Christopher Holland’s Pan-Roasted Red Snapper

Ingredients:

1 T unsalted butter

1 T Canola Oil

1 6 oz portion Red Snapper or other firm flesh white fish

2 T AP flour

Squeeze of fresh lemon

pinch lemon zest

1.  In non-stick pan add 1 T canola oil and 1 T butter.

2.  Heat pan on high until butter stops bubbling.

3.  Add fish and cook 2-3 minutes.

4.  Flip fish and put pan in oven for 5-7 minutes.

5.  Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a pinch of lemon zest using micro-plane grater.

Garnish

1.  Brown Butter – Heat 4 T unsalted butter in pan on low.  Milk solids in butter will turn brown.  When you begin to smell a nutty aroma, remove from heat

2.  Fried Capers – Heat pan on medium high heat.  Add 2 T canola oil to hot pan and add 1 T capers  Fry to crisp.  Allow to drain on paper towel

3.  Spinach – In hot pan add 3 cups of spinach and 1/4 cup of chicken stock or water.  Cover and allow to simmer for 2 min.  When spinach is wilted add 1/2 T butter, pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

http://www.sessionbistro.com

Maywood, NJ

Chef Christopher Holland, Session Bistro, and Michele Santo, Whole Foods Market Paramus

Chef Christopher Holland, Session Bistro, and Michele Santo, Whole Foods Market Paramus

Gearing up for a cooking demo at Whole Foods Market Paramus, NJ. The program was offered as an educational service to customers. The demo covered Chef Christopher’s delicate pan roasted red snapper fillet served in a brown butter sauce with fried capers atop vanilla bean scented parsnip puree.