It’s been said that women are more attracted to men who can cook, and for that reason, what better time is there than Valentine’s Day to show off a little prowess in the kitchen. Food, after all, is another way to share intimacy. It’s a way to show her your creativity. It’s also a multi-sensory way for both of you to remember that special time together.
But what if you took it up a notch, something a little out of the box? We’re suggesting this: Open that liquor cabinet, find something interesting to use in a dish, and splash it in, like those pro chefs on TV! Now that’s cool factor ten thousand.
Here are five different alcoholic beverages you can use (like a boss) in cooking that perfect V-Day dinner, that will make her go “oh, wow!”
One of my favourite vodkas is Luksusowa Vodka, a Polish potato vodka, and that goes doubly for cooking. Two things I make with it are penne alla vodka, and chicken thighs. The recipes are embarrassingly simple, so you don’t have to be a wizard chef to pull it off.
Penne alla vodka: Cook your penne in one pot. In another pot, simmer two finely chopped heirloom tomatoes, three cloves of chopped garlic and half a chopped onion. Once simmered, add two shots of vodka, a tablespoon of heavy cream, and a teaspoon of parmesan. (Various recipe blogs say that the vodka brings out flavors in the tomatoes.) Now place the penne in the second pot, stir, wait a few minutes for the flavors to absorb, and enjoy.
Chicken thighs: season the four boneless thighs with a sauce comprised of a tablespoon of olive oil, ¼ cup of vodka, 3 tablespoons of lime juice, sprinkles of basil and rosemary, and two finely chopped cloves of garlic. Cook for an hour at 365 degrees.
Et voila. Delicious chicken or penne – or both!
Tia Maria is a sweet liqueur with a strong coffee taste. For dessert, enjoy a chocolate Tia Maria parfait (essentially a cross between frozen mousse and ice cream). Start with dissolving a half cup of sugar in the same amount of water, by simmering them in a pot together. Then vigorously stir in, one by one: four egg yolks, two tablespoons of Tia Maria, a cup of heavy cream, and finally, a half cup of finely chopped dark chocolate. Stir for about three minutes. The final product is poured into glass drinking cups, and placed in the freezer for at least two hours. Take out about twenty minutes before you’re ready to eat, so it’s soft enough to scoop with a spoon.
Woodford Reserve bourbon
Woodford Reserve is known as one of the best-tasting high-end bourbons. If you like zesty finger foods, try this chicken wing recipe that has a sweet-n-spicy kick with charred oak notes. For 2 lbs of wings, the rub is as follows: ¼ cup of honey, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon dried garlic, ¼ cup of Woodford, 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Mix rub thoroughly, and simmer in a sauce pan until melted in, then cover the wings with the rub. Bake or barbecue until the wings are crispy.
Flor de Cana rum
Bananas Foster is an exquisite dessert that combines fruit, rum and ice cream – how sweet it is! Your ingredient list is one pint of vanilla ice cream, 2 tablespoons of butter, half cup of brown sugar, ¼ cup of fancy rum (ie Flor de Cana), 3 bananas halved lengthwise, and half cup caramel sauce. The rest is easy. Take out the ice cream so it melts a bit. Meanwhile, combine the butter, sugar and rum in a skillet to cook on medium-low heat, stirring until smooth. Add the bananas, and continue to stir for another minute. This becomes a to-die-for topping for your bowls of ice cream (and caramel sauce). As a bonus, you can impress her with your knowledge of Flor de Cana, letting her know that it’s distilled a few miles from San Cristobal, the tallest and most active volcano in Nicaragua, with flavors coming from the volcanic soil and volcanic water.
You can use any of the Herradura tequilas, but the Silver is my preference for cooking. Try seasoning a fresh 2lb. salmon fillet, using a sauce comprised of 1/3 cup of Herradura tequila, 4 tablespoons of chilli oil (or olive oil mixed with chilli spice), and 5 tablespoons of lemon juice. Not only will this fish be moist and delicious, but its best flavour profile comes from the tequila’s 45 day aging in a white oak barrel, bringing out notes of agave, vanilla and wood. Bake until the fish is to your liking.
Altogether, this could be a mind-blowing five course meal: chicken, pasta, fish, and two desserts! And at the same time, knock your lady friend’s socks off.