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Video: Capture his heart with cuisine

TODAY books
updated 9/18/2008 11:51:14 AM ET 2008-09-18T15:51:14

It can be difficult to find the time to cook when you're a busy woman with an on-the-go lifestyle. In their new cookbook, “The Get ’Em Girls’ Guide to the Power of Cuisine,”authors Shakara Bridgers, Jeniece Isley and Joan Davis provide simple recipes for delicious meals and say that the way to a man's heart is indeed through his stomach. An excerpt.

Get ’Em Girl: An ambitious woman who uses unconventional ways to achieve her goals.

When we first decided to write this book, it was based solely on our love of three things: food, fun and men! Being three single women living in New York City, we knew all too well the pitfalls of dating in the big city. Young and career-oriented, we didn’t have a real need (or desire) to cook. Yes, we had to eat, but this is New York! There is a restaurant, deli, or take-out place on every other block. However, we also knew that to date (and keep) a man in a place as big as New York, which is full of beautiful women of all backgrounds, we had to step up the game. We had to sit back and ask ourselves, “What are we bringing to the table?” Yes, we all are beautiful, intelligent, and educated — but so are the tens of thousands of other women waiting to take our places. So instead of trying to decipher what men want in a woman, we just asked them.

We set out with our list of questions and hit the streets (well, actually, the barbershops, supermarkets, churches, workplaces and chat rooms) with one goal in mind: to find out what it is that men really want. While some definitely didn’t want much (all you have to do is know how to drop it like it’s hot and pick it up slow) almost all of them asked the inevitable, “… but can you cook?”

Now we have all heard the saying “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” and most of us probably think it’s an old-fashioned cliché that doesn’t fit in this day and age. But as sure as the day is long, it’s just as relevant today, if not more so, as it was fifty years ago. Contrary to how fine you know you are, any man is turned on by any woman who is willing to invest the slightest bit of time and energy in pleasing him.

The purpose of this book is not to have women chained to the stove, but to reintroduce women to the art form of cooking, which, if done properly, can be easy, fun, and delicious. Just think about it: if you met a man at his place for a quiet evening, just to get to know each other, and found yourself presented with herb-roasted chicken, sautéed broccolini, and mushroom rice pilaf, you would be liable to lose all your religion and good sense — well after you ate, of course. Aside from this being an immensely thoughtful thing to do, the fact that he dedicated the time to cook such an elaborate meal for you would probably send you right over the edge. Well — the same goes for him.

So with that said, if he’s worth it, and if you’re playing for keeps, impress him with that little thing you do with your tongue — and that little thing you do with your skillet.

10 reasons to cook for your man

  • You will have one more thing to impress him with. Of course he’s turned on by your beautiful smile and sense of humor, but why not show him your other talents?
  • To add a little variety to an otherwise boring meal. Take him to the Caribbean on Tuesday and back to the Carolinas on Wednesday. Change is good — especially when it’s good food!
  • Because you are a show-off! There is nothing wrong with tooting your own horn; hell, if you don’t do it, no one will. Show him that you’re out of the ordinary!
  • Cooking can be fun and flirtatious! Try wearing a very sexy outfit and heels while you serve him and watch how he responds to you.
  • You have to eat too! We know it sounds basic, but it’s the truth. You can save a lot of money by cooking your own dinner and taking leftovers to work. No matter why you choose to cook, it’s a win-win situation for you.
  • We’re sure you can find better things to do with the money spent dining out every night. Eating out every now and then is cool; however, eating out daily can be expensive and mundane. Don’t let your man get too accustomed to other people serving him.
  • How else can he give that star-studded performance that you are accustomed to?
    Just like a car can’t run without fuel, neither can your man. If you expect mind blowing performances then make sure you give him the nourishment he needs to step up to the plate.
  • He deserves it. You realize you’ve got a keeper — show him how much he is appreciated.
  • You love him WAY more than the delivery guy. Aside from quickly becoming boring and expensive, take-out is the easy way out and should always be the last resort.
  • Last but not least — you are a Get 'Em Girl! No explanation needed!
Recipe: Salmon with brown sugar glaze (on this page) Recipe: Simple salad with balsamic vinaigrette (on this page) Recipe: Sautéed garlic asparagus (on this page) Recipe: Hazelnut chocolate-dipped strawberries (on this page)

Excerpted from “The Get ’Em Girls’ Guide to the Power of Cuisine.” Copyright (c) 2008 by Shakara Bridges, Jeniece Isley and Joan A. Davis. Reprinted with permission from Simon & Schuster.

Recipe: Salmon with brown sugar glaze

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the brown sugar, honey and butter. Remove from heat and whisk in the mustard, soy sauce and ginger. Set aside.

Preheat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush the salmon with vegetable oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the salmon skin-side down on the grill pan. Brush the flesh of the salmon fillets with the brown sugar mixture. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes for medium doneness, turning once after 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from pan, brush lightly with additional brown sugar glaze and serve immediately, flesh side up.

Serving Size

2 to 4 servings

Recipe: Simple salad with balsamic vinaigrette

  • For simple balsamic vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • For salad:
  • 1 romaine lettuce heart, separated into leaves
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cucumber, medium size, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and shredded

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Shake well and set aside.

Wash the lettuce leaves and dry well. Tear leaves into 1- to 2-inch pieces; transfer to a large bowl.

Top lettuce with tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and carrot. Toss well and drizzle liberally with vinaigrette.

Serving Size

2 to 4 servings

Recipe: Sautéed garlic asparagus

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch (about 1/2 pound) fresh asparagus, tough ends removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the garlic, asparagus spears, salt and pepper.

Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is tender, about 10 minutes.

Serving Size

4 servings

Recipe: Hazelnut chocolate-dipped strawberries

  • 1 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (recommended: Nutella)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, stems intact, washed and thoroughly air dried

In a small bowl, vigorously whisk together the hazelnut chocolate spread and the cream until it reaches the consistency of melted chocolate. Set aside.

Carefully spear the strawberries with toothpicks. Working quickly, swirl each strawberry gently in the chocolate mixture, about halfway up the fruit. Place the strawberries on a parchment paper-lined platter. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator to harden slightly.

Serving Size

4 servings


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