'Tis the season for eating, drinking, and staying out later than usual attending holiday parties. There is something wonderful about a late night when you are not letting a good evening end (just the two of you). There is no denying that this is a season of romance. All of the trappings of the season—a roaring fire, champagne, twinkling lights on a tree—lend themselves to enchanted evenings. It works for me. There is more than truth to the adage "food is the way to the heart."
If I had to think of the foods that seems to stir those feelings for me, I would have to say something as elaborate as lobster, foie gras, or ice-cold, petite, salty oysters topped with caviar served with Champagne. Or something as simple as baguette with good cheeses and cured meats. You can never go wrong with a bottle of red wine with cheese, bread, and a couple of chocolates.
With the busy holiday schedule continuing through New Year's, it never hurts to plan a little romance. Midnight snacks can be planned ahead and staged to seem effortless. Here some of my favorite ones.
• My all-time favorite romantic meal is lobster roasted in the fireplace, with cold roasted vegetables and a lemon-caper mayonnaise for dipping. If you don't want to bother with building a fire and cooking on the spot, poaching the lobster earlier in the day and arranging a cold plate with lobster, new potatoes, asparagus, and the dipping sauce works nicely. If lobster is not in your budget, the same dish can be done with shrimp. (I have included the recipe for you.)
• You can go as simple as a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, and ... with your favorite wine or champagne a nicely arranged plate with a double- or triple-cream cheese, a couple of thinly sliced Italian cured meats such as salami, coppa, or Prosciutto, and a bunch of grapes.
• Just dessert: If you have already had dinner, you can make what I call XXX S'mores. I soak my marshmallows in Tia Maria and make s'mores with a dark chocolate bar instead of the traditional milk chocolate. You have to try these if you have a fireplace. A fireplace...
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