Dirty Dining - A Cookbook And More For Lovers Review
By Ginnie Siena Bivona
What to Cook for Patrick Swayze
Cookbooks often revolve around themes, like Tex-Mex cooking, southern cooking, fruity drinks, etc. And the theme of this little cookbook is Romantic Dinners for Two. Author Ginnie Bivona tackles this theme with imagination and energy. She goes beyond the menu, organizing romantic settings complete with props.
Dirty Dining is not one of the strangest cookbooks I have ever read, but it is one of the most unique. This kind of cookbook faces two hurdles: not only must the cookbook create amorous situations, but it must also provide good recipes. (This is a cookbook, after all!)
Bivonna accomplishes both tasks well with a light-hearted style. Of course, an obvious target market for this kind of cookbook would be newlywed couples. But I think that many couples who have been together for years, and still continue to sit across the table from each other will enjoy from Dirty Dining as well. Newlyweds are supposed to do spontaneous things. It gets old sitting across from the same person year after year eating the same old food.
Try something new! Spice up your meals! And everyone loves a romantic.
With chapters like Whips on the Wall: Piggy, Piggy, Strip Lunch:, and All Day Sunday, Ginnie Bivona explains how to make the dining experience more than simply a routine meal, more a routine romantic meal.
The recipes are relatively easy to prepare, memorable and very good.
Menu for Piggy, Piggy
- Artichokes with Creamy Dipping Sauce
- Tarragon Chicken Roasted with Boiled New Potatoes
- Fresh Asparagus with Mock Hollandaise
- Tomato Dippin Salad and Bread
- Very Ripe Fruit in Season
- Apricot-Marbled Cheesecake
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ lemon
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 t whole peppercorns
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- parsley stems from the sauce
- ½ t salt
- 1 large or 2 small artichokes
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 t balsamic vinegar
Combine the first 7 ingredients with water in a saucepan (if using dried thyme, place in a tea ball or cheesecloth); bring to a boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, snip off the spiny tips of all of the leaves of the artichokes using a pair of scissors. Rub them with a cut lemon. Place the artichokes in the seasoned boiling water. Artichokes tend to float so, to keep them submerges while cooking, place in a bowl or plate on top of the artichoke in the water. Simmer until a leaf pulls out easily, about 20 to 30 minutes.
While the artichokes are cooking, combine the remaining ingredients to make the dipping sauce (the garlic is left in chucks to lightly flavor the sauce but can be found in the sauce so no one bites into raw garlic).
When the artichokes are tender, drain and serve warm. Serve the dipping sauce at room temperature.
The setting for the next titilating menu is in a hot tub:
- Green and Black Olives in Lemon and Garlic
- Beer-Boiled Shrimp with Red Sauce
- Chicken Wings with Mama Siena's Seasoned Salt
- Mushroom and Red Pepper Salad
- Oven Fries
- Blue Cheese Butter and Sesame Bread Sticks
- Lemon Squares, Strawberries and Chilled Champagne
The author then provides a shopping list and complete instructions on meal preparation ("The Game Plan"), breaking down what the reader needs to do, and the order in which to do it.
Two Hours before:
Put the chicken wings with Mama Siena's Seasoned Salt on to bake. When browned, set them aside to cool. Serve at room temperature.
One hour before bubble time:
Make the Mushroom and Red Pepper Salad
A full meal, hot tub, champagne.....what more could you want? There is also a meal titled "She Cooks A Formal Dinner For Him," which has a very tasty Lamb Chops in Italian Crumb Crust. The next chapter is "He Cooks One For Her," which has Grilled Tenderloin of Beef with Bearnaise Sauce.
Dirty Dining serves as a useful cookbook with many interesting recipes. Ginnie Bivona also spins some interesting and creative dining situations. Go all out! Buy the props! A romantic dinner for two at a nice steak or Italian restaurant can easily cost $100. This is more fun and memorable.
See also Lori Grossman's article on how to drink champagne.