He met her on a blind date and knew she was the oneBy Nadine Kam
for him. But she didn't feel the same way. So he gathered
his tools --cooking tools, that is -- and whipped up a recipe
for romance, hoping it would help her see that she was
crazy about him, too... she just didn't know it yet.
BILL Moore knows all about seduction. It takes planning and timing. So much for the spontaneity of backseat trysts and secret rendezvous'.
Throw in some special skills -- in the kitchen, that is -- and dude, you've got it made, even if you're one of those frequently overlooked "nice" guys.
Bill concocted his recipe for seduction after falling in love with Laurie after a blind date. She didn't return his sentiment. When her mom asked whether she would be going out with him again, Laurie answered, "I don't think so. He talks too much."
"I was really nervous," Bill said. "My car had broken down that day. About the best that you can hope for is that the person will go out with you again. It's tough to judge on a first date."
Even so, he knew he needed a plan. Fast.
He turned to his kitchen, plotting elaborate "seduction dinners" that he hoped would at least win him a few more dates.
It was on the couple's third date that Bill planned a daylong encounter that included a picnic lunch and candlelight dinner of Filet Mignon with Kahlua Sauce.
The night before the big event, he stayed awake until 3 a.m. trying to perfect his Duchesse Potatoes and get his Grand Marnier Chocolate Mousse to just the right consistency. Everything had to be perfect.
"My apartment was so clean. And I always made sure to have fresh flowers on the table."
And Laurie's thoughts on the whole affair?
Dinner was delicious, but she said, "I thought it was really over the top. This is Bill: He had our entire schedule posted on his refrigerator as to what we would be doing every hour. At that time I was big on photography, so we spent time taking pictures downtown, then it was time for lunch.
"And I said, what about spontaneity? And he said, 'I'll just pencil that in,' and he left an hour blank. I thought that it was funny, and cute."
So cute, perhaps, that the man was more impressive than the lunch menu. The couple has been married now for 5 years. They have two children, 31/2-year-old Alex, and 3-month-old Mikaela.
Trying to remember that first picnic, Laurie says, "I think we had a Nicoise Salad."
Nope. Bill said he pulled from his picnic basket flowers and tuna salad with capers that he layered on lettuce leaves. "And it was $5-a -can tuna. It wasn't Bumblebee," he said.
"Tuna is tuna to me," said Laurie. What really won her over was "the level of persistence in everything he did for me."
Other dishes in his repertoire are Pork Tenderloin with Tarragon-Mustard Sauce, Red Cabbage in Currant Sauce, Carrots in Vermouth Sauce and Waldorf Salads.
He owes his cooking skill to his ex-wife. When they separated, he said, "She challenged me. She said, 'You're not going to survive because you don't know how to cook your own food.' I started watching 'The Frugal Gourmet,' buying cookware, learning to use the right tools for the right job.
"By the time I was dating Laurie, I was cooking very well."
He says he specializes in Italian and French cuisine, and anything with garlic. His favorite recipe is the Filet Mignon with Kahlua Sauce he served Laurie. "It caramelizes so it's almost like eating candy," he said.
While the couple was dating, Laurie's friends admired the roses Bill frequently sent to her office, and they marveled over tales of his feats in the kitchen. Says Laurie, "They all said, 'That's going to end when you get married.' "
So far, so good ... in some ways.
When the couple was dating, "Everything I wanted to do he was happy to do," Laurie said. "He hates craft fairs, but he'd still go with me."
The craft fair dates ended after the marriage, but Bill still brings home half the bacon and still does much of the cooking in the family, although meals have become more practical, often an unromantic, though still heart-warming pot of stew for Laurie and himself, and egg and rice or a peanut butter sandwich for Alex.
"These days I don't use cream, but milk, not pork tenderloin but pork loin, and we definitely haven't had Kahlua in a while," Bill said.
Even so, Laurie still knows better than to get in his way in the kitchen.
"I think I'm a pretty good cook," she said. "The way I grew up, the person who cooked didn't have to clean up, so cooking was a good way to avoid washing dishes.
"I didn't cook for a long time after we started dating. He didn't allow me in the kitchen.
"I had to learn to be more respectful of his cookware," she said, while reciting his rules, such as, "Do not use a metal implement on my Circulon pan" and "Please put my Henckel knives in the proper knife slot."
And Bill continues to perfect his rules for seduction.
Although the adage that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach seemed to work for a woman too, the formula is a bit different for a woman -- no sexism intended.
For would-be Romeos, he advises: "The secret of the seduction dinner is that 60 percent of the effort is not in the meal itself, but afterward," he said, "when you say, 'Sit down, have another glass of wine or some espresso. I'll do the dishes.' "
Bill Moore's recipes for
a sizzling seduction
FILET MIGNON IN KAHLUA SAUCE2 5-ounce filets
1/2 cup beef stock
1/3 cup Kahlua
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Combine all marinade ingredients. Marinate steak filets 1 hour in a plastic bag. Remove filets and reserve marinade.
Saute filets 5 minutes per side. Removie from pan and keep warm.
Deglaze pan with beef stock. Add marinade. Reduce until thickened (about 5 minutes). Drizzle sauce over filets and serve.
Approximate nutritional value per serving: 420 calories, 13 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 90 mg cholesterol,1,200 mg sodium.*
PORK TENDERLOIN IN TARAGON-MUSTARD SAUCE2 teaspoons peppercorns, rinsed
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup cream
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon fresh tarragon
1 pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon butter
Puree half the peppercorns with wine. Set aside. Combine remaining peppercorns with cream, mustard and tarragon; set aside.
Slice tenderloin into 1/2-inch slices. Pound slices to 1/4-inch thick.
Brown pork on both sides with butter on medium-high heat. Reduce heat.
Cook for about 5 minutes; remove and keep warm.
Deglaze pan with the wine-peppercorn mixture. Increase heat and add the cream mixture. Boil until thickened, stirring constantly.
Fan 3 to 4 slices across plate. Pour sauce over tenderloins.
Approximate Nutritional Analysis Per Serving 290 calories, 20 g total fat, 12 g saturated fat, 115 mg cholesterol, 240 mg sodium.*
CARROTS IN VERMOUTH SAUCE1 tablespoon butter
2-3 carrots, sliced
1/2 cup vermouth
Chopped parsley, optional garnish
Saute sliced carrots in melted butter over medium heat about 2 to 3 minutes. Add vermouth and simmer until vermouth evaporates (about 8 minutes). Sprinkle parsley on top if desired. Serves 2.
Approximate Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: 150 calories, 6 g total fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium.*
GRAND MARNIER CHOCOLATE MOUSSE1 egg
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup cream
1-1/2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Beat egg in a double broiler. Blend in Grand Marnier, sugar, cream and salt. Stir in chocolate and vanilla and place over medium-low heat.
Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and glossy. Continue to cook until mixture thickens enough to hold a visible swirl. Refrigerate until chilled through (about 2 hours).
Beat mixture with a hand mixer until thick enough to hold a peak. Spoon into dessert glasses and refrigerate until firm.
Approximate Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: 370 calories, 23 g total fat, 14 g saturated fat, 160 mg cholesterol, 120 mg sodium.*
Bill Moore's cooking skills helped him to win the woman of his dreams. Here are some of his tips for Valentine's Day Lotharios hoping to cook up a little romance:
Tips for seduction
Practice makes perfect. Write down your recipe and the steps and timing you'll need to put every dish on the table. "Nothing gets people more nervous than seeing someone scrambling around a kitchen looking confused," Moore said. "You also don't want to ignore your guest."
Then there is the etiquette of sparing your date from your kitchen disasters. Moore said he once made a Roast Leg of Lamb that was raw inside, and once made a Duck with Honey-Mustard Glaze that turned hard as rock on the outside. "The meat was really good, but it was like meat served in a duck-skin bowl."
He never tried that recipe again.
Keep it simple. The first dinner he planned for his wife Laurie featured Filet Mignon with Kahlua Sauce, Duchesse Potatoes and a Grand Marnier Chocolate Mousse. He stayed up until 3 a.m. perfecting the mousse and potatoes which had to be cooked, mashed, piped out through a pastry bag and baked. For those who don't cook, he suggests simply serving herbed rice. His recipe: Chop three mushrooms, saute in butter with minced onion and a teaspoon of thyme, and stir into cooked white or wild rice while it's still in the pot. This can be left to warm while you're concentrating on the main dish. The dessert can be made the night before.
Invest in good equipment. Moore, who works as a carpenter, applies his professional skills to the kitchen as well. "Using the right tools always makes any job easier," he says. "There's nothing more dangerous than a dull knife."
Don't forget the details. Clear out the socks and vacuum those pizza crumbs. Make an effort to put nice china, flatware and flowers on the table. Read up on wines to find the perfect match for your main course. And don't allow your date to clean up your mess in the kitchen.
Win some, lose some blood. Don't expect your skills to match Alan Wong's overnight. Bill picked up a few burn scars and knife nicks on the way to romance.
"A little blood in the food, that adds flavor," he coos to his wife Laurie.
"Ewwwww! Now you tell me!" she said.
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