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Delight Your Valentine with these Perfect Pairings

February 09, 2016

Delight Your Valentine with these Perfect Pairings
You and your Valentine make an outstanding couple. Likewise, the ingredients in the following recipes can certainly stand alone, but when brought together make for one stellar dish.  STEAK + FOIS GRAS This is a marriage made in heaven between the richness of the fois gras and the savoriness of a perfectly cooked steak. You will not be disappointed. Try Hangar for a variation on the usual filet. Tournedos Rossini from NYT Cooking SCALLOPS + BACONSometimes the obvious choice is right under your nose. This pairing has been around forever, but is so simple we usually dismiss it. The sweetness of the scallops and the smokiness of the bacon were made for each other. Bacon Wrapped Scallops from Primal Palate CHICKEN + WINEWe know what you are thinking, "chicken for a special occasion?!" But you need to trust the French. The French know love. Slow braising a succulent, free-range chicken in a good red wine and brandy transforms this dish into something seriously seductive. Coq au Vin from the Barefoot Contessa FILET + LOBSTERThis pairing is a classic, like red lipstick and a crisp white dress shirt. This is by far our most popular order every Valentine's Day. Any why not? It's straightforward and luxurious, plus a breeze to prepare. Both the filet and lobster tail can be tossed on the grill and done in a jiffy. This is low-maintenance perfection. To take this pairing to the next level, top both with a rich herbed butter.Herbed Butter Recipe from the Kitchn The Organic Butcher has everything you need to create the perfect Valentine dinner. We are happy to suggest wine pairings and have a wide selection of cheeses and chocolates.

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January 06, 2016

Combat the Cold With A Warm Yet Light Cioppino
It's January, the winter chill has finally set in, and nothing sounds better than curling up with a hearty, filling stew. Don't sacrifice your New Year's resolutions just yet. Try this satisfying and light Cioppino instead of something that will weigh you down. Cioppino is an Italian-American fish stew that originated in San Francisco, California. Originally it was made on boats while out at sea and later became a staple in Italian restaurants.  You can add all sorts of seafood to this stew — clams, mussels, shrimp, white fishes, salmon, octopus — you name it. Serve it with white wine and some crusty bread to sop up the flavorful broth. Ingredients3 tablespoons olive oil1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced1 onion, chopped3 large shallots, chopped2 teaspoons salt4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste1/4 cup tomato paste1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice1 1/2 cups dry white wine5 cups fish stock1 bay leaf1 pound clams, scrubbed1 pound mussels, scrubbed, debearded1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined1 1/2 pounds assorted firm-fleshed fish fillets such as halibut or salmon, cut into 2-inch chunksDirectionsHeat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, fish stock and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the flavors blend, about 30 minutes.Add the clams and mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the clams and mussels begin to open, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and shrimp are just cooked through, and the clams are completely open, stirring gently, about 5 minutes longer (discard any clams and mussels that do not open). Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes.Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

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February 10, 2015 1 Comment

Scintillating Shellfish for St. Valentine's Day
Set the mood this weekend with aphrodisiac foods, such as shellfish, that are packed with vitamins and minerals that improve one's mood, increase desire and heighten potency.  Aside from chocolate, the most well-known aphrodisiac is oysters. Oysters are high in zinc which can regulate certain hormones and increase testosterone. Just as legend has it, these slurpable bivalves really will "make you strong!" The Organic Butcher carries a few different varieties including Kumamotos. These popular oysters are mild with a sweet after-taste. If you've never had an oyster before, this is a good one to try since they are not overtly briny in flavor.   Serve oysters on the half-shell with lemons, hot sauce (also an aphrodisiac) and a vinegar mignonette such as the one below. Hog Island Oyster Company Hog Wash Makes enough for 3 dozen oysters 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar 1 large shallot, peeled, minced 1 large jalapeño pepper (optional), seeded, minced 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped Juice of 1 lime Combine ingredients in a medium bowl. When serving, stir the Hogwash beforehand to include all the ingredients in the bowl. Place a teaspoon or so over freshly shucked oysters. Use the Hogwash the same day it's made. For other recipe ideas check out this list from Saveur Magazine.  Scallops have been considered an aphrodisiac since ancient times when it was believed Aphrodite (Venus) was sent from heaven to earth on a half-shell. Modern science has now backed this claim. Like oysters, the zinc in scallops increases blood flow and promotes the release of hormones. Science aside, scallops are luscious, sweet, plump little creatures that are a delight to eat. They are also surprisingly rich, making them an obvious choice for a decadent meal. Typically scallops are seared — which is delicious — but prepared as sashimi or in a ceviche, they are transcendent. Below is a recipe for a bright and spicy ceviche that will really get your heart pumping.  Scallop Crudo (Bon Appetit) 1/4 cup fresh orange juice3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice2 tablespoons soy sauce, preferably organic1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sunflower oil1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger1 red Thai chile, thinly sliced3/4 teaspoon Sherry vinegar1/2 pound large sea scallops, side muscle removed, thinly sliced crosswise1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn if large2 tablespoons thinly sliced chivesSea salt Whisk orange juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, oil, ginger, chile, and vinegar in a small bowl. Pour dressing onto 4 large rimmed plates. Arrange scallops over. Garnish with mint and chives. Season lightly with salt. Lobster falls into the aphrodisiac category because of its reputation as a luxury item. The deep red shell is the color most associated with passion and the act of eating lobster with your hands is considered highly sensual.  Both lobster and the related langoustine have a sweet, succulent and delicate flavor. The biggest difference between the two is size. While one lobster can make a whole meal, langoustines are perfect as an appetizer. Langoustines are extremely easy to prepare. Simply cut them lengthwise and sauté in a pan with olive oil or herbed butter. Lobster is usually steamed or grilled during the summer, but during colder months pan-roasting is just as good, if not better. The recipe below is sure to impress. Jasper White's Pan-Roasted Lobster (NY Times Cooking) 2 live 1 1/2-to-2-pound lobsters2 tablespoons olive oil2 shallots, minced¼ cup bourbon2 to 3 tablespoons dry white wine6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled1 tablespoon chervil, finely chopped1 tablespoon chives, finely choppedKosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. For each lobster, place it on a cutting board, facing you. Place the front tip of a heavy knife in the center of the lobster, near where the carapace meets the tail. In one forceful, swift motion, split the front half of the lobster lengthwise, which will kill it instantly. Turn it around and repeat this motion, splitting the tail and the lobster in half. Pull the head sac out of both halves. Use fingers or surgical tweezers to remove the intestines. Place the tomalley and roe, if there is any, in a small bowl and use a fork to break it into tiny pieces; cover and refrigerate. With a knife, remove the claws and knuckles by cutting the thin sections where the knuckles meet the body. With the back side of the knife, tap the claws until the shells crack. In another swift, forceful motion, cut the tail from the body on both sides. Place a heavy 12-inch saute pan over the highest heat possible and heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the oil and heat until it forms a film over the bottom of the pan. Slide the lobster sections, shells down, into the hot oil. Using tongs, move the pieces and flatten them to sear all the shells evenly. The claws need to be seared on only one side. Add the tomalley and roe and stir; place in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove, return to high heat on the stove top, add the shallots and stir. Remove the pan from the heat and add the bourbon; return to the heat, where the bourbon will probably ignite. Cook until the flames die down, add the wine and cook until the pan is almost dry. Reduce the heat to low. Quickly remove the lobster and place shell-side down on warm plates. Return the pan to low heat, add the butter, chervil and chives and stir until the mixture resembles a creamy sauce, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, spoon the sauce over the lobster and serve. If cutting and cleaning lobsters is not your thing, we also sell lobster tails. Served hot or cold, shellfish is sure to heat things up! Call us anytime to place your order for your Valentine meal 703-790-8300.

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