Blooming Flowers…Blooming Hearts

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Hot! Guys, you are about to be the most popular guy of the day!! 

English: Blooming weeds Strangle weed flowers.

Blooming Flowers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If some of the ladies in your life love flowers, now’s the time to read my blog!  If you follow my extremely simple instructions, I guarantee you will be awarded  substantial WOW! (Winning Over Women) Points–today, right now, not tomorrow, but at this moment!! One of my blog followers sent this to me.  Check this out boys.  Click the below link.

http://player.vimeo.com/video/27920977?title=0&%3bbyline=0&%3bportrait=0href=

Ok, so maybe it’s not your cup of tea, but I’m pretty sure there isn’t a lady on earth that wouldn’t love this little video clip.  Take my word for it–send this clip to them and you are in for a great day of appreciation and attention.

Who should you send this to?  The special lady in your life can be your Mom, wife, girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, executive assistant, secretary, neighbor, friend or new or old flame.  Don’t be afraid–just send it to anyone you want.  It’ll brighten their day and brighten your status in their lives.  Guaranteed.

And if you want to get some at-a-boys, applauds and serious appreciation from your guy friends, tell them to check out this post on http://hotcookingguys.com.  Otherwise, they will be catching up to you for the next week.

It’s pathetically simple guys!  Just do ONE of the following options: Send the ladies in your life:

1.  The link to this post.

2.  The link to this blog with a note to check out the “Blooming Flowers…Blooming Hearts” post

3.  Copy and paste the following link to an email and send it to her.

Hot! Guys, if you really want to make some serious Bonus WOW! Points, send them a personalized note to them when you do one of the above tasks.  Oh! and if you brought home REAL flowers tonight as a surprise, who knows what could happen!!  It might be more than just dinner!  Yesssss!

Have some fun with this guys.  It’ll be a great day.  And I’ll bet the ladies in your life will pass this onto others who will love them for it.

Nymphaea spp. from the San Francisco Conservat...

Nymphaea from the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Odd Couples, Watermelon and Chili Oil

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For those of us old enough to remember the movie or TV series called the “Odd Couple“, you know the plot was all about the ups and downs of two recently divorced and very different guys living together in a smallish New York City apartment.  Felix was the worrying, fussy, conservative, martini drinking type, while Oscar was the care-free, sloppy, live in the moment, beer slugging type.   Audiences were entertained by how they managed to stay friends despite their many differences.

After the movie became a huge success, the popular TV series took the oddities of their daily relationship struggles to the next level, entertaining fans for years.  In the end, the stories about their lives together always made us laugh, because people can be fascinated by how odd couples, unusual matches, opposite personalities, or widely disparate cultures can find ways to work things out.  The series was not the most intellectually challenging, certainly nothing too complicated, but there was always a life lesson in each episode.

The truth is that opposites are attractive to us because it’s fun to get to know someone who isn’t like you.   The fact is that each of us are affected by the people around us.  Some of them teach us things.  Some of them bring out the worst in us.  Some of them bring out the best in us.  Some of them just accept us for who we are.  I submit there is value in every relationship because each one forces us to constantly test where we are in our personal evolution.  Sometimes we make dramatic changes because of the impact others have on us.  At other times we make imperceptible changes in our perspectives, attitudes and behaviours because people with different points of view, philosophies and mannerisms make us more aware of the impact we have on those around us as well.

I honestly believe life is more interesting when it is less predictable–when we are open to adventure and exploration with the people around us and with ourselves.  We love it when something surprises us.  For example, is there any guy out there that isn’t thrilled when our ladies show up for date-night in a new dress or with a new piece of jewelry?  And Guys, I’m pretty sure our ladies love it when we surprise them with something unexpected–like flowers on a day other than their birthday, your anniversary or on valentine’s day.  (Hot! Guys–do it now!!  Call the Florist!!  Order flowers ‘Just Because She Makes Everyday a Special Day Because She is in Your Life’.  Use your words, but do it!!  There’s some serious WOW! Points right there. I guarantee it.)

I think it’s hard for another person to be your soul mate if they always think like you, live like you, love the same things you do or play like you.  I agree that as a relationship progresses we discover many things we have in common, but we also discover more things we have in contrast.  There are some who may disagree, but I believe relationships last longer and remain vibrantly sustainable when there is always something new to discover about your commonalities and differences.  In the end, it’s good to know you aren’t like everyone else out there, and that someone loves you because of your differences.  That’s a pretty powerful validation of who you are and who you will likely become, and good reason to celebrate the differences you and your soul mate have.

watermelon

S&B La-Yu chili oil - Momotaro Rahmen

Get Chili Oil in Asian Food Stores or at Whole Foods Store

So what does Watermelon and Chili Oil have to do with all this?  Well, let me ask this:  would you have ever guessed watermelon and chili oil could ever be companions in a salad?  No, me either.  But this Odd Combination is not only compatible, they do a fantastic dance together in a salad with Arugula, Pistachios and Goat Cheese!

A couple of weekends ago, we had this salad at a neighbor’s home.  We were shocked by how good it was.  We tasted the cool sweetness of the watermelon followed by the peppery arugula and then this slight spark of heat from the chili oil in the back of the mouth.  It was not spicy it was just an amazing experience.  While our neighbor didn’t have a recipe, per se, she told us the general ingredients.  I spent yesterday experimenting with the recipe, and last night we served it to 11 dinner guests in our home.  Virtually EVERYONE raved about Kathy’s meatloaf and the Watermelon, Arugula and Chili Oil Salad.  To a person, everyone asked if I would blog it so they could make it while watermelon was still in season.

Guys, this is one of those recipes that couldn’t be simpler.  I know you can cut up watermelon?  Can you pull Arugula out of the bag and put it in a bowl?  Can you buy some toasted pistachios or pine nuts and add them in?  Can you squeeze a lemon and add some chili oil?  I’m pretty sure you can find goat cheese at the store and crumble it on top.  Guys, that’s it.  Couldn’t be simpler.  I guarantee this salad will surprise and delight her.  She will have discovered something about your cooking skills that will make you an interesting person.  Serve it with a chilled New Zealand Marlborough County Sauvignon Blanc or a crisp Pinot Grigio and you have an incredible luncheon salad or a side salad for burgers or beef off the grill.  There’s major WOW! Points for this one too.

Make it a double play!  Buy her some unexpected flowers and make her this unexpected salad combination.  That’s serious WOW! Points in the bank!  Good luck.

 

Watermelon, Arugula, and Chili Oil Salad

 

Prep Time: 15 mins | Makes: 4 | Difficulty: Easy

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 4 cups watermelon, seeded and cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes

    Looks Great! Tastes Fantastic!

  • 2 cups arugula or watercress
  • 1/2 to 3/4 tbsp chili oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts or pistachios (toasted)
  • 1/3 cup ricotta salata, goat or feta cheese, crumbled
  • fleur de sel (optional)

 

Directions:

 

1. Whisk together lemon juice, chili oil and salt in a large bowl, whisking until well mixed.

 

2. Add watermelon to bowl and mix well.

 

3. Let watermelon marinate (macerate) in the dressing in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Taste the watermelon. The sweetness of the watermelon should be followed by the subtle heat from the chili oil at the back of the tongue. Add more chili oil if desired, to taste.

 

4. Just before serving, add the arugula or watercress and nuts and toss to coat well. Then sprinkle with cheese and fleur de sel (if using).

 

Source: Lou’s Hot! Guys Collection
Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager

 

Pizza Margherita–My Grandmothers Way

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Italian Cuisine

Italian Cuisine (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

In case you haven’t figured it out already, I’m Italian.  My paternal grandparents emigrated from Bologna and Naples, Italy and my maternal grandparents arrived from small villages in Sicily.  Depending on whose home in which we were eating, there would be styles of cooking ranging from the lighter and sophisticated cooking from Northern Italy to the North African influenced Sicilian styles, and just about anything Italian in between.We only ate italian food–I didn’t even know there were other food cultures until I was in high school.  My two grandfathers owned an Italian Restaurant in the Italian neighborhood called Federal Hill in Providence, Rhode Island.  When we ‘went out’ for dinner, we went to the family restaurant and ate italian food.  The only difference was my grandfathers prepared the food instead of my grandmothers.   My friends were italian, and I ate italian at their houses when I visited.  My Uncle Mario married Aunt Bobbi.  She was Irish, and the first non-italian in the family–a very difficult position to hold.  She suggested we try irish stews, corned beef and cabbage and other non-italian dishes, but my grandmothers were in charge of the food.  They ate Italian.  Therefore, there was very little chance of anything irish, french, mexican or any other culture ever making it to the Sunday Supper table.  Besides, my Uncle Mario didn’t like anything that wasn’t italian either.  That’s just the way it was.

Federal Hill neighborhood gateway arch with

Federal Hill Neighborhood Gateway Arch with “la pigna” (pine cone, sometimes mistakenly called “pineapple”) sculpture over Atwells Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island

Everything was homemade, including the linguine, paparradella, or macherroni for every Sunday Supper.  We ate at one of my grandparents home every Sunday, and attendance was mandatory.  If you missed one of the Sunday Suppers, you better be in the hospital, in jail or dead, because…well just because!My two sets of grandparents were great friends, creating a wonderfully fun and safe environment to grow and learn about the food culture of our extended italian family.   And I was also the first grandson, a very privileged place in the family, except at meal times.  That’s because my grandmother’s routinely competed for the ‘favorite meatball’, or the ‘best pizza’, the lightest homemade gnocchi or the best sour cream coffee cake, my favorite childhood sweet.  And I found out early on that if I told one grandmother her meatball was the best ever, it wouldn’t be long before my other grandmother was making her best meatball recipe.   As you can imagine, I wasn’t leaving the table until I said IT was the best meatball ever.  So at the ripe young age of about 10, I learned how to become a politician–mainly from my mother who had learned over many years how to keep peace among the grandmothers.

What my mother taught me was how to be more attuned to the ingredients in the food my grandmothers prepared.  That would give me an edge on staying out of the ‘favorite’ battlefield.  I’d say, “Grandma, I love the lemon rind you put in your meatballs–makes them special and just great”.  To my other grandmother, I’d say, “Wow Grandma, those pine nuts in the meatballs are just a great idea–I love them!!  I told one grandmother her Neapolitan thin, crusty and simply dressed pizza margherita was “like nothing I had ever eaten before”.  I told the other grandmother that her Sicilian-style pizza, thick and covered with tomato sauce, anchovies, black olives and garlic was ‘like nothing I had ever eaten before”.  Clever huh?  I became quite adept at the politics of staying Number One Grandson for both grandmothers, and at the same time learned how to pick out every ingredient in their recipes.  A skill I still use today to duplicate dishes I’ve liked at restaurants or other people’s homes. 

Now that my grandmothers have passed into the Big Italian Kitchen in Sky–I am absolutely certain every street corner in Heaven has an Italian Restaurant run by all our italian grandmothers–I can admit that my one and only favorite pizza is my paternal grandmothers Pizza Margherita.  It is one of those simple pleasures in life that can and should appropriately be different every time it’s made, even though it only requires four ingredients:  extra virgin olive oil, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil on a thin crust.  Somehow, with just these four ingredients, the taste is interestingly and subtly different each time I make it.  Sometimes the fresh tomatoes are slightly sweeter than the last time, or I use San Marzano tomatoes out of the can.  When I can get it, I use Buffalo mozzarella instead of the ‘regular’ mozzarella.  During the winter, the basil comes from the grocery store rather than from my garden.  But the beauty of this pizza is it’s sophisticated and simultaneously simple; it has many layers of taste from the nicely browned crust, the aromatics emanating from the baked olive oil and tomatoes, the cheese and the basil, all melted together, but individually tastable. 

My grandmother always made her own dough, and it was the best.  I’ve made my own in the past, but to tell the truth, it’s not something I like to do, and my shortcut works great every time!  I buy it from the local pizza shop that makes the best thin crust pizza in town.  Most of them will sell it to you for a reasonable price.  Try Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s fresh pizza dough–it is also very good.

Hot! Guys, I know this recipe looks daunting.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I’ve just put the steps in detailed explanations so you cannot screw it up–even if you try!!  Guys, pull out this recipe for your lovely lady some Friday night after work, have a glass of wine or a beer with some cheese and crackers while the dough is getting ready, throw together the Simple Salad (See Blog Recipe Index), and then throw a romantic chick-flick into the Blu-Ray while sharing your homemade at home Pizza Margherita and Salad.  I guarantee it–you have just earned some very serious WOW! Points.  And I’m betting she is going to ask for a repeat performance the next weekend.  Try it–you gonna like it!

Pizza Margherita–My Grandmother’s Way

Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 15 min | Servings: About 6 nice slices per pizza | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 2 large fresh tomatoes or 1 cup San Marzano (canned) whole tomatoes, lightly crushed with your hands
  • 1 – 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped or chiffonade
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 pound buffalo or other fresh-style mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • About 2 pounds pizza shop dough, or store-bought frozen pizza dough (thawed), or Basic Pizza Dough (below), rolled out for 2 (12-inch) pizzas (See Notes)

Basic Pizza Dough:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups flour, plus more if necessary

    Traditional Neapolitan pizza.

    Traditional Neapolitan Pizza Margherita with Buffalo Mozzarella

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

For the Pizza:

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and, if you have one, place a pizza stone (a good investment if you make this often enough) on the bottom rack of the oven. I’ve even used thin bricks I bought from the hardware store, washed them and placed them in an old cookie sheet to heat up in the oven. It works really well. Otherwise, you can bake the pizza in a dark cookie sheet.

2. If using shop bought or fresh store-bought dough, follow Steps 7, 8 and 9 in the below Basic Pizza Dough Recipe. If using frozen dough, follow the packaging directions.

3. Cut the dough in half, and use your fingers and the palm of your hand to gently stretch the dough on a floured surface. Don’t use a rolling-pin– it compacts the dough and squeezes all the valuable air bubbles out.

4. When the dough is about 12 inches round, its thin enough.  Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly round–rustic is preferred.

5. Carefully transfer the dough to the thoroughly cleaned BOTTOM of a cookie sheet or to a pizza paddle (peel).

6. Scatter the sliced tomatoes or place a light coating of the San Marzano tomatoes over the top. If using can tomatoes, be careful not to use too much of the juice on the pizza–it makes the dough mushy when cooking.

7. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over the tomatoes.

8. Sprinkle sea or kosher salt and several grinds of fresh ground pepper over all.

9. Spread the basil over all.

10. If using, sprinkle the Parmesan-Reggiano cheese over the top.

11. Carefully place the mozzarella cheese over the top. Do not cover the whole pizza with cheese. The mozzarella is intended to be ‘islands’ of white in a sea of red tomatoes.

12. Transfer the pizza on the cookie sheet to the oven, or slide the pizza onto the hot stones in the oven.

13. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling, the edges are golden brown, and when you lift the bottom edge, there’s a slightly burnt appearance.

14. Remove pizza from oven by sliding it onto the pizza paddle or using tongs to ‘pull’ it back onto the back of the cookie sheet.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes while ou get a nice cold Peroni Beer, Coca-Cola or Italian red wine.

15. Slice and think about your grandmothers cooking when you were a kid– it was just like this pizza, but just a little different.

For the Dough:

1. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, stir together the water, yeast and sugar; let sit until the mixture is foamy, which takes about 5 minutes.

2. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the oil and salt into the yeast mixture and, using the paddle attachment, combine until mixture is smooth.

3. Switch to the dough hook.

4. With the machine running at low, add remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time; make sure each addition of flour is incorporated before adding the next.

5. Once all the flour has been added, turn up the speed and let the machine knead the dough for about 3 minutes; it should be very smooth and perhaps a bit tacky.

6. Don’t be afraid to knead the dough an extra minute or two by hand if you wish; it won’t hurt the dough at all.

7. Rub the insides of a large mixing bowl with a little olive oil; remove dough from machine, form into a ball, and place into oiled bowl, turning dough over to make sure all sides are oiled.

8. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free area to rise; the dough should nearly double in size, which will take about 60 to 90 minutes.

9. I place a towel around the bowl, just to make sure no drafts get to the dough.

Notes:

A. Go to the local pizza shops and find one that’ll sell you their pizza dough. You’ll find one or two. It’ll coast about $2 or $3 a pound, but it’s worth the money and little effort.

B. Some of the fresh store-bought pizza dough is really good–try Whole Foods or Trader Joes–you’ll not do better making it yourself.

C.  Of course, this is a basic pizza recipe as well.  Add some italian sausage or a few pieces of peperoni for a change of pace.  Try mushrooms or spinach with ricotta cheese instead of mozzarella.  Guys–this is all about what you and your special lady like.  Don’t be afraid, just try it!!

Source: Lou’s Hot! Guys Collection
Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager

English: Picture of an authentic Neapolitan Pi...

Another Nights Pizza Margherita with the same four ingredients, a different presentation, but the same great tastes.

We Caught Trey’s Marlin in the Cherry Tree

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If that title doesn’t catch your attention, well I don’t know what will.

As mentioned in this mornings blog, I had hoped Trey would share his Cherry Balsamic Glazed Grilled Marlin Recipe with me so I could share it with you.  Well, he did share the recipe going one better to tell me the whole story, and what a GREAT Hot! Guy Story it is.

On Saturday, Trey and his very wonderful lady, Ashley took a leisurely stroll down to the Strip District. For the non-Pittsburgher’s reading this–that’s the open fresh food market area known to every foodie in the city.   According to Trey, “the sun was shining and the fresh produce was in abundance.  We had no plans for the day, so we decided to spend the day cooking.”  Guys, Trey has unlocked one of the secrets to getting serious WOW! Points: Create opportunities to spend ‘unplanned’ and ‘spontaneous’ days with your lady, and something good is going to happen! Everytime! This is a critical learning point for you Hot! Guys looking to achieve ASRs (Advanced Stage Relationships) with your main squeeze:  spending ‘spontaneous’ and ‘unplanned time’ together and alone with your lady is synonymous with ‘romantic’.  There is absolutely no chance for an ASR without romance.  Don’t ask why–just accept it as ‘truth’.

So, Trey and Ashley began their unplanned day by strolling through the busy Strip buying portobello mushrooms, onions, fresh zucchini and bell peppers.  They then walked over to Mancini’s to get a nice fresh baguette for the bruschetta.  Next they made their way over to Wholey’s to purchase the freshly-trimmed Marlin filets.  Finally, Trey relates, “Oh yeah, and we had to make one more stop at the East End Growler Shop in the Strip for some Pedal Pale Ale”.

I don’t know, this ‘unplanned’ day could not have been planned any better. Wish I had been there because it sounds like fun and the cooking hasn’t even begun yet!   He wisely left out the rest of the story, but I’m speculating there was a nice ‘spontaneous’ lunch or cocktail along the way, or maybe an expresso and pastry at one of the Strip coffee shops.  They probably explored some of the shops they had not been in before to check things out.  I’m betting they were chatting about all kinds of fun things all day and then they got home and ‘planned’ their attack to prepare dinner for the night.

This is a good time for me to point out a paradox about planning on ‘unplanned days’.  When you are planning something with your lady, like what you are going to cook that night, or the proper wine to serve with dinner, or ‘what to do next’, you are now introducing the concept of ‘collaboration with’ and ‘respect for’ you ladies’ opinion and point of view about things that matter to both of you.  I know this seems easy to do, but consistently executing on these important concepts requires several skills most guys are NOT naturally blessed with.  For example, you have to first think to ask her opinion, then you have to carefully listen to her, then you might have to admit she has a great idea and then you might have to actually act on it.  Worse yet, you might have to do things together during the execution part of the plan–you know, letting her be the boss on some things, helping out, doing the dishes.   You can see how this might be tough stuff for your ego and manhood to handle.  But once you have mastered those skills–you are beginning to cross the boundaries into Hot! Guy Land.  I promise you that!

Back to Trey and Ashleys unplanned day.  He relays that “we decided to grill [the Marlin], since we already had the coals hot for the grilled vegetables.”  Even I can see Trey has the some of the Hot! Guy Skills mastered, and at least for this one day, he was the master of Hot! Guy Land.  Way to go Trey!

Here is his easy and Super Hot! recipe.  Try it.  But try the ‘unplanned day’ too.  They are both guaranteed WOW! Point getters.

Cherry Balsamic Glazed Grilled Marlin

 Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 15 mins | Servings: 2 servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

    Trey’s Cherry Balsamic Glazed Marlin, Grilled Vegetables, Bruschetta and Beer

  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 3/4 cup cherry preserves (i.e., Smuckers)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian spices
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 Marlin filets (or steaks)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat grill.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot.

3. Add the shallots and saute until softened- about 3-4 minutes.

4. Add the cherry preserves, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasonings, and the pepper.

5. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until the mixture is reduced by one-fourth. About 6-8 minutes.

6. Cool glaze. Use half the glaze to marinate the Marlin for 30 minutes.

7. Reserve 6 tbsp of glaze in small bowl.

8. Place Marlin on grill and baste each side with glaze. After 3 minutes, flip the Marlin and baste the other side and let grill for 3 minutes.

Notes:

Marlin is available almost all year long and can be purchased in filets or cut into steaks. Either one of them will work in this recipe. Adjust the cooking time for the steaks to be just a minute longer on each side. This recipe was submitted for the Hot! Guys Collection by my friend Richard (Trey) Rabinek.

Source: Hot! Guys Collection
Sent from Paprika Recipe Manager

The Top Secret Hottest! Date Ever!

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Ok Hot Guys, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.   In today’s world of high technology gadgetry, romance is frequently  played out in sexting and steamy YouTube minutes.  And to keep things lively and interesting, by all means indulge in those pleasures every now and again.

But, here’s a Top Secret:  most women will never settle for that kind of romance for very long, and its less time than you think!  Yeah Guys, it’s called a ‘relationship’ for a reason.  And take my word for it, Advanced Stage Relationships (ASRs) are a nearly impossible quest using your IPhone or Blackberry. 

Here’ the thing.  ASRs are where you want to be.  When you have an ASR with your lady, you have graduated from the transactional one-date-at-a-time relationship to the rare but valuable position of “trusted” relationship.  Why is this trusted relationship valuable? You know…that’s the place where special perks lie dormant in your lady’s imagination until you have earned that ever so elusive place on her Hot! Guys list–and it’s a very short list indeed.

So you ask?  How do I earn an ASR with my lady?  Bad news, it’s Top Secret! More bad news!  Every lady seems to have a different lock and key to her secret.  The Solution: Hot! Guys need to search for the key by having frequent in-person contact with your lady.

Take hope though.  There are a couple of universal keys to look for.  For example, one thing I know for sure is that an ASR will only grow and develop when it’s not crumbling under the weight of boredom, neglect and the lack of imagination on your part.   Another thing I know is that INTIMACY  (Whoa! A Very Scary Word!) is one of the keys to acquiring the secret.  In fact, I’d go so far as to share that without multiple sessions of talking with her in soft tones in private conversation, the key will be forever in a secret hiding place.  And by ‘talking’ I really mean the Hot! Guy is listening more than talking.  Yeah!  This is really hard stuff!

Therefore, it’s important, really, really important, for you to create imaginative situations where conversation is a main event for the date.  So it’s time for us to venture into the simplest of all ‘cooking’, and turn it into one of the Top Secret Hottest! Date Ever!  You can do this!  I know you can!

It’s called a Picnic!  I don’t know a lady who doesn’t love a picnic, particularly if the Hot! Guy has handled all the preparations, chosen the perfect day, and selected an intimate spot in a park or near a water feature.  And if you make it a surprise, I guarantee you’ll be earning Bonus WOW! Points.

And Hot! Guys, this is a piece of cake.  Just remember the food is not the main event–this is all about getting closer to her heart and gaining some intimacy.  Stay focused on the end game!!

For the ‘cooking’, use your imagination to create a great Menu!!  Stay with me now–I know you’re getting confused but hang in there!!

Go to the local deli, Whole Foods or upscale grocery store and buy 2 or 3 small pieces of ‘romantic’ cheeses like a soft Brie, a piece of Jarlsberg, or a nice chunk of Parmesan-Reggiano.  Buy a few thin slices of really good Parma Prosciutto or Honey-Baked Ham.  On your way over to the produce section to get a mixed selection of berries, grapes or ripe peaches, find some Greek green or Italian black cured olives for the cart.  Next on the list is a fresh-baked French Baguette or loaf of Rustic Italian Bread.  Finally, if you don’t already have them at home (which all Hot! Guys should) buy some Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), a high quality balsamic vinegar and the secret weapon for this picnic–honey.  Stop at the bakery section and look for something sweet you know she’ll love—brownies or chocolate chip cookies are always a hit!! One last thing–and most importantly–buy one YELLOW rose.  Yellow is the color for friendship– trust me –this will be an over the fence home run!

Listen up! Guys.  If your main squeeze is a vegan, not much of the above menu is going to  work.  PS-honey is not vegan.  No problem!  Most stores have a great selection of vegetarian and vegan offerings in their prepared food section.   If she has other food preferences–again  no problem.  Just buy some of her favorite foods, keep it simple and improvise.

On the way home, go to the wine store and pick up a couple bottles of Italian Prosecco.  Don’t worry, it’s not expensive.  It comes in bottles and pops the cork just like champagne.  It’s a sparkling white wine, easy to drink, not high in alcohol and shows you have Hot! Guy imagination and class.

Now go home, get out your cooler to keep the cold things cold and a picnic basket or canvas bag to carry some nice plates (no paper!!) some silverware, a good knife, cutting board and some nice (preferably cloth) napkins.  You’ll need three or four small saucers for the honey, balsamic and olive oil and olives. Come on Hot! Guy…Man up and Just Do It!! Don’t forget a couple of champagne flutes or wine glasses.  Then grab a nice blanket for you and your lady to share, and you are good to go!

Pick up your lady in a clean car or freshly washed bicycle and head out to the selected location to find that special spot.

I know you are proud of your preparations, but don’t pull everything out at once.  Pace yourself. You have all afternoon.

Start with some Prosecco.  Talk a little.  After awhile, pull out some of the cheese and fruit and put out the bread, and saucers of honey, balsamic and olive oil for dipping.  Cheese dipped in honey is an amazing taste, and strawberries dipped in balsamic vinegar is impossible to describe.  Talk (Listen) some more. OOPs, you just answered a call or checked your IPhone—lost some WOW! Points there.  Try a bit harder!!

Now’s the time to pull out the rose, and from your heart, tell her how special this day has been for you, and how much you cherish the friendship you have with her.  If you made it this far, you have put some serious WOW! Points in the bank!! with More yet to come. 

A little later add the meats and olives to the board.  Keep the Prosecco flowing, but only gently.  We are looking for ‘memorable moments’ here, and if she’s ‘tipsy’, she’ll forget about your Top Secret Hottest! Date Ever, and you won’t get the key to her Top Secret either.

Finally, when things are beginning to wind down, pull out the sweets you brought and finish off the last of the Prosecco.  By now the heart has been warmed up but it’s getting a little chilly out there.  If the blanket gets wrapped around the two of you, well…I’m thinking you can take it from here—you Hot! Guy you!!