Delving into these herbs and spices has been delightfully sexy. It is so fascinating to learn about everyone's interests in addition to writing. Thank you Donna, for hosting us and keeping our noses and taste buds primed and, in a sense (or many senses), enhancing our writing.
My head is still spinning with the flavors and scents from the fabulous opening ceremonies with Donna, chili-n with Erobintica, an encuentro with cilantro with Neve, comin’ with Sommer, delicious sin-a-mon with Gina Marie, a great thyme with Scarlett, orgasmic sneezes with Craig, and in a dill-irious pickle at Jeremy’s.
Join us next Sunday when I’ll be honored to turn over the blog stage to Marina St. Clare, who helped plant the seed of this delightful sex and food blog fest and will be writing about basil. The scent of freshly picked, sun warmed basil has the same effect on me freshly ground black pepper does. Is it because I associate it with summer, which is the sexiest season to me? Marina will turn us on to the intoxicating and sweet side of basil. I had no idea there were so many wonderful ways to imbibe and taste basil but she does!
8/2 Marina St. Clare—basil
8/16 Emerald—poppy seeds
8/30 Gala Goodbye
A Love Affair with Ginger
We live in an area where the pace is slower, where tradition trumps technology, where the people are very close to the earth and they mark the seasons by their bounty. Everyone keeps a kitchen garden and enjoys fresh fruit and vegetables as the seasons change. Right now we’re living on warm sun ripened tomatoes, firm green beans, zucchini, and tart sweet berries. Soon we’ll add fresh corn to the mix and frosted violet plums, figs, apples and then subtly sweet chestnuts.
To me, spices are seasonal as well. Fall and winter seasonings are rosemary and sage rubs, marinades and sauces for roasts and potatoes. Spring means lighter, livelier flavors like thyme.
Summer is crispy skin wood burning oven roasted chicken on a bed of tarragon and slathered with tarragon butter. Basil, picked fresh leaf by leaf, with tomatoes marinated in balsamic vinegar and tossed with goat cheese.
Each season has its bounty, but one of my favorite flavors lends itself to all seasons and a variety of dishes, both sweet and savory.
Ginger, a flavor for all seasons
Fresh ginger is pungent and aromatic, has a bite, a sting, and a delicious flavor and stimulating aroma. It lends itself to accenting chicken or fish, sliced into match sticks or grated into sauces. Powdered ginger is used in cakes and cookies. Just the scent is enough to evoke all of these tastes and send me into a sensual spin.
This delicious recipe whispers summer picnic to me and is from one of my favorite cookbooks of food porn, California Cooking, which could also double as a coffee table book of spectacular California seasonal landscape photos (if it weren't such a foodie mess).
Cold Lemon Chicken
4 to 5 whole chicken breasts, halved, boned and skinned
8 large dried black mushrooms
2 or 3 lemons
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1/4 cup fresh ginger, cut into fine julienne
1/3 cup red and green bell peppers, cut into fine julienne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili paste with garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
Put the chicken breasts in a flat bowl and place the bowl on a rack in a covered steamer over boiling water. Steam for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until tender. Let cool in the juices, remove (reserve the broth), and cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Set aside. Strain the both, measure it, and if necessary add enough water to bring the amount to 1 cup. Set aside.
While the chicken is steaming, put the mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes, drain, squeeze dry, cut off the stems, and cut the mushrooms into fine julienne. Set aside.
With a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove the rind of 1 lemon in long shreds, being careful not to include any of the bitter pith, and cut the rind into fine julienne. Grate the rind of the second lemon. Squeeze enough lemon juice to measure 1/2 cup.
Heat a pan (preferably a wok) and add 3 tablespoons of peanut oil. When the oil is hot add the ginger and mushrooms and stir-fry over low heat for 30 seconds. Add the peppers and julienned lemon rind. Stir-fry for a few seconds. Add the reserved chicken broth. Bring to a boil and add the lemon juice and salt. Add the grated lemon rind, chili paste with garlic and lemon extract. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 90 seconds. Transfer t a bowl and let cool to room temperature before serving.
[Note: I’ve included the whole recipe, but this lends itself to simplification, and I do]
Ginger, the root or rhizome of the ginger plant which we use in cooking thrives in warm dry climates and has been prized for centuries for its versatile uses. It contains so many medicinal -epsias and -inatives and -algesics, it is also a substance for all ailments, from nausea, to fevers to insomnia. There was even a legendary application for it stimulating tired or lazy horses.
Ginger’s aphrodisiac qualities have long been reported and it is mentioned in the Kama Sutra, which brings me to the question of this blog.
Food for thought: What’s love got to do with it?
This is the 50th anniversary of the landmark decision on obscenity brought about by the case against the confiscation of uncensored copies of D.H. Lawrence’s 1928 novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, “a novel that inveighed against sex without love.”
My question for you on this hot and spicy summer Sunday is this: What’s love got to do with it? Do your characters have to be in love? Is it love or is it just lust? For my characters, even if it wasn’t love at first sight or doesn’t work out in the end, there was love in the mix.
A Woman for All Seasons
Cold slapped my face and burned my nostrils. The ice and snow crackled under my boots as I walked up the path to the front door. I could see the warm radiance from the fireplace through the bay window when I reached for the doorbell.
I stood in the warm kitchen while she turned the giant gingerbread snowman from the pan onto the cutting board. Everyone ooed and aahed before she took a large knife and sliced it into squares. I rolled my eyes and stifled a sardonic grin biting the inside of my in lip in snide collusion with my partner, even as I my body responded autonomously to the sweet sharp scent of the ginger. I thought her snowman was a little silly.
Later I was sitting on the arm of the leather sofa flanking the fireplace, and she stood next to me offering a plate of warm fragrant gingerbread swimming in half melted vanilla ice cream. I caught her musky scent too.
“Mmmm, thanks. Smells good.” I took the plate and held her caramel eyes.
“Yes, I figured. Homemade gingerbread, sweet.”
“No, I mean my name is Ginger,” she said smiling with a flash in her eye.
“Oh! Sorry.” I laughed. She was disarmingly beautiful in an androgynous, tall, rectangular way.
“Charlotte. Nice to meet you.” After small talk of the who do you know here sort, the vibe was so strong I knew we would get to know each other, intimately.
My nostrils flared at the sharp scent of ginger and I forked into the cake, soaking up the vanilla specked ice cream and let the flavor explode in my mouth. When I bit into the soft cake and sweet cream, my cunt melted.
“Nice.” and I held her gaze again.
It all began that night in the hall. We were in the hallway on the way to get our coats and the attraction was so intense we leaned against the wall and kissed. Soft wet mouths exploring quickly and gingerly lest we be caught out by my lover.
Winter came and went in a series of clandestine meetings. She cooked for me and regaled my senses with her creative flavor combinations. In her vast kitchen in the cool of that spring she served steamed fresh sea bass and basmati rice drizzled with gingered citrus sauce accented with cilantro.
When the weather turned warm we sat on her terrace overlooking the harbor and sipped icy ginger ale in frosted glasses.
That summer we picnicked on a soft old bedspread in the woods. She made savory chicken salad with match sticks of ginger and lemon zest, sautéed with red and green peppers and black mushrooms. I brushed my lips on her cinnamon freckled breast and tasted the salty mixture on her tongue as we made passionate love on the sun speckled forest floor and she came moaning with my tongue jabbing her melted cream cunt.
In the first chill of fall we watched old films in her living room by the fire dipping ginger snaps in milk and I felt like a child in total abandonment in her arms.
That cold November she roasted chicken and we bit into the crisp skin blanketed in warm caramelized onions laced with turmeric, ground coriander, cumin and ginger. We made quiet love under the soft white down comforter afterwards.
She would not hear of me leaving my partner of fifteen years and she couldn’t live with duplicity. Winter came again and the scent of ginger warms my nostrils but stings my heart with the intensity of her absence.