Gourmet Food

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Since celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Wolfgang Puck have rocketed to fame by putting their product on TV, gourmet food has become more of a unisex endeavor. Men who cook--and just the basics, at that--stand head and shoulders above suitors of similar qualifications. Elevate your pasta and sauce to butterfly shrimp and mussels, and the divide between stud and superstud becomes even more pronounced.

Epicures are cognizant not only of which gourmet foods taste the best, but those that make the greatest presentations as well. Take the classic whipping post, chicken. On its own, whether left intact or divvied up into legs, breasts, thighs, and wings, the chicken is a perennial underachiever. The gourmet chef who boosts its status by introducing fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, portabella mushrooms, roasted red peppers and steamed squash, suddenly has a meal fit for seduction.

More Choices in Gourmet Food

As health habits grow more salubrious across the board, more eaters are looking for ways to cross-breed gourmet food with high protein and low fat or carbs. Fortunately, there is a glut of outstanding soy products everywhere from the pantry aisles to the frozen-food section that stand in for gourmet dishes that have hitherto relied upon beef, pork, or poultry. Veggie lasagna, while not short on carbs, is an easy dish for beginners to try. It's rich (especially if you're heavyhanded with the ricotta), hearty, and impressive to look at when its layers are left intact.

Fresh fruits and vegetables can also fill out the gourmet menu for newbies who are easily intimidated by whole animals. Fruit salads flush with kiwi, pineapple, cherry, and mango bring zest to otherwise drab meals, while steamed eggplant, zucchini, squash, and onion can help spice up a bland slate. As you grow more comfortable preparing various gourmet foods, you can start to combine them in new and innovative ways for max effect.

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