Spring – The Beginning
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. ~Anne Bradstreet
If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. ~Terri Guillemets
I read springtime is the earliest, freshest, and most pleasant stage of somebody’s life, a relationship or period of time.
Spring is like a wonderful surprise that amazes and excites you. You never know what to expect. Each day, you are astonished with an array of budding flowers.
Spring brings milder weather, yet cool, brisk days will remind you not to readily forsake your covers.
Spring welcomes a deluge, unleashing nutrients to our flowers and plants. Days of cumulous clouds, crystalline skies, and dazzling sunshine. Soon, a variety of vibrant and fragrant red, radiant yellow, purple, and alluring pink flowers will burst forth.
Spring brings blissful, soft nights, gazing at a canopy of stars in the heavens, in the arms of your beloved.
Spring removes the cloaks of a frigid, unforgiving winter. Soon, you will hear the buzz of bees, the trill of birds, and the rhythmic dance of tree leaves in a warm breeze.
Spring has thrilling, longer days, and sultry, romantic nights with the one you love.
It's a never-ending cycle. Soon, summer’s intense heat will appear. Then leaves will change, ushering in fall, and thereafter, winter’s frost will return.
Yet again, spring will reappear, opening its door to renew us once more.
If this is the beginning of your relationship, this is your time for exploration of friendship, sharing, loving, and laughter.
Enjoy romantic dinners between the two of you or with friends. Take turns cooking great home-cooked meals, which are less expensive than eating out. If you like wine with your meals, below are wine suggestions for poultry, beef, fish, and lamb. And have a little fun with your spouse or sweetheart with chocolate mousse/mousse au chocolat. I have provided the recipe for Coq au vin for those of you that are courageous enough to cook. Add you favorite accompaniments. Wine suggestions are below.
Chocolate Mousse/Mousse Au Chocolat
The salt in this chocolate mousse is subtle, adding a delicious counterpoint to the rich chocolate. If you prefer, use unsalted better. You can add extra flavor and color to your mousse by adding orange zest on top or a tiny bit of ginger.
Note: When melting ingredients in a double boiler, don’t cover it, as the condensation that forms on the top can drip into the ingredients, altering taste and texture.
3 large eggs, separated
7 oz. semisweet chocolate, preferably Lindt
4 tbsp. lightly salted butter
1 tbs. very strong coffee
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and whisk in the egg yolks and coffee. Let cool.
- Place the egg whites and salt in a large bowl, or the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk, and whisk them until they form soft peaks. Fold one-fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture first, then fold in the rest. Taste for seasoning—you can carefully fold in additional coffee at this point if you like. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl (or individual ramekins) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 24 hours), tightly covered.
Serves 4 to 6
Great Wines with Poultry
Roast chicken Merlot
Fried chicken Beaujolais
Roast duck Vouvray
Chicken salads Riesling (dry), Chenin Blanc
Rock Cornish hens Vouvray, Merlot
Roast turkey Zinfandel, Beaujolais
Wines with Fish
Bass Chardonnany, Orvieto
Catfish White Zinfandel
Cod Bandol, Zinfandel
Flounder Sauvignon Blanc
Trout Sancerre, Chenin Blanc
Wines with Beef
Beef Stew Burgundy, Beaujolais, Pinot Noir
Chili Bandol, Zinfandel
Fillet Steak Pomerol
Flank Steak Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Beaujolais nouveau
Rib and Loin Steaks Beaujolais-Villages
Roast Beef Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo, Pommard
Wines with Lamb
Leg Roast Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon
Moussaka and Curries Zinfandel, Syrah, Valpolicella
Ragouts and Stews Côte de Beaune
Champagne suggestion: Ambonnay Egly-Ouriet – Not a bad price for great Champagne.
Whether it's a great bottle or a simple one, champagne should not be served too cold.
Not 43-46 degrees, as sometimes recommended, but more like 50-54 degrees. Too cold is a disaster. The only reason for serving a champagne icy cold is to mask its defects.
“Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.”—Epicurus
Coq Au Vin
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 c. small whole fresh mushrooms
1 c. thinly sliced carrots
1 c. Burgundy or other rich red wine
16 pearl onions, peeled
1 Tbsp. bacon bits (optional)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. dried marjoram, crushed
3/4 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1/8 tsp. ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1-1/2 c. cold water
1/8 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsps. Brandy or Cognac (optional)
Sauté chicken in butter to which you have added a little cooking oil, for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides.
Add mushrooms, garlic, carrot, wine, onions, bacon bits, herbs, bouillon, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Discard bay leaf. Transfer chicken, mushrooms, carrot and onions to a platter. Cover to keep warm.
In small bowl, combine flour and water and whisk together. Stir mixture into skillet and cook until thick and bubbly, approx. 5-7 minutes. Add brandy, cook for 1-2 minutes more. Pour mixture over chicken and vegetables. Serve hot with your favorite vegetables and a salad.
All the Best,
P.S. Table setting: Don’t’ forget linen napkins, placemats, and tablecloth, candlelight, and flowers. Serve your meal on your best china.
For you and hubby or your gal pals: A must see, with English subtitles: "Story of Women" (aka "Un Affaire de Femmes"), starring Isabelle Huppert. This movie was inspired by the real life story of Marie-Louise Girard, executed in 1943 by the Vichy government for performing illegal abortions, during the German occupation of France. "Story of Women" named best foreign-film by three critics' groups when it debuted does not try to coddle viewers, but lets you sort out the evidence.