Love, Spice and Secret Sauces

Pass me the basil, Basil.

Kitchens are havens for family and friend get togethers. The intimacy of sharing a work space and the promise of breaking bread with people you’re close to places the kitchen as the number one spot of the house that gets the biggest remodeling budget. It seems reasonable to assume that aside from the bedroom, couples spend more time in the kitchen than any other room in the house. Remodeling trends prove this out by the amount of homeowners who have knocked down interior walls to open the kitchen to the rest of the home. And we know that the kitchen is also a place for romance.dining by candlelight

This is a remodeling blog, but no one said we have to talk about structure and model numbers all the time. Remodeling is much more than that. Great remodeling is dreams realized, it’s subtle, it’s obvious, it’s amore’. Who of us has never seduced a lover with food? Who of us haven’t at least tried. Seduction comes in many forms, an enticing cologne, the soft light of table candles, a little skin showing on the shoulder and the Big Mama of them all, the come hither look. Hot dogs with chili sauce is sexy food if you follow them with the come hither look.

So how do you romance in the kitchen. First off make use of the shades and colors of your cabinets and walls, install adjustable lighting that can be dimmed after the food is served, a table set for two with just candles and room for a couple of plates and a glass of your favorite wine. Even in an open space you can find intimacy. Sexy food is a combination of smells and textures, tell me if a women sipping wine from a slim glass or a man ripping a baguette with nothing but his hands isn’t sensual, twirl a little pasta around your fork and slurp that last little noodle in and…. surrender to the moment.

Remember the movie, the Lady and the Tramp. The dinner scene, that was sexy as hell. Tramp had his moves down, but guys, just don’t push a meatball across the table with your nose. Grind some pepper on your lovers pasta and rip her off a piece of crusty bread. That’s intimate, and always wait until after your companion takes the first bite before you take yours.

What happens when you spice it up a little, well, they didn’t name a dance and food Salsa for nothing, both evoke a heat and passion that for some people continues well into their senior years. Don’t laugh, unless you’ve been there. African nations, tropical islands and even the ancient Chinese have used food to impress and seduce visitors, friends and lovers. It must work, because we still do it….! Seduce with food I mean.

How about those French, a sauce for everything. French cooking uses fresh and simple ingredients that when simmered and sauteed produce sauces and roues that envelope the main dish in an intimate blanket of flavor, an embrace that makes the diner want to eat slowly to savor the taste as long as possible. Tell me all that savoring isn’t making you think of other things you might want to savor.

The secret sauces, well its no secret really, you need a Demi-glaze, a rich brown stock reduced to form a deep and meaty flavor. The French consider it La Mere’ (the mother) of sauces. This is the base for many great sauces. After that come the cream sauces that are used on fish and other delicate foods. A great sauce is nothing more complicated than cooking juices reduced in the pan, then adding spices and cooking until the flavors scream out.

The 4 basic sauces are:

Bechemel, based on milk, thickened with a white roux.

Espagnole, based on brown stock (usually veal), thickened with a brown roux.

Veloute, based on a white stock, thickened with a blonde roux.

Allemande, based on velouté sauce, is thickened with egg yolks and cream.

Have your partner help, a man and woman sharing a kitchen can lead to more than just epicurean pleasure, I’ve sometimes got a Scrabble game after dinner. Who knows, you might get lucky.

Now go out and get some supplies, cook up some food, dim the lights and get some Frank Sinatra on. Bon Appetit!

Paul Lesieur
Silvertree Kitchen Remodeling

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