Scintillating Shellfish for St. Valentine's Day

Posted on February 10, 2015 by Don Roden | 2 comments

Set the mood this weekend with aphrodisiac foods, such as shellfish, that are packed with vitamins and minerals that improve one's mood, increase desire and heighten potency. 

Aside from chocolate, the most well-known aphrodisiac is oysters. Oysters are high in zinc which can regulate certain hormones and increase testosterone. Just as legend has it, these slurpable bivalves really will "make you strong!"

The Organic Butcher carries a few different varieties including Kumamotos. These popular oysters are mild with a sweet after-taste. If you've never had an oyster before, this is a good one to try since they are not overtly briny in flavor.  

Serve oysters on the half-shell with lemons, hot sauce (also an aphrodisiac) and a vinegar mignonette such as the one below.

Hog Island Oyster Company Hog Wash 
Makes enough for 3 dozen oysters

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 large shallot, peeled, minced
1 large jalapeño pepper (optional), seeded, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime

Combine ingredients in a medium bowl. When serving, stir the Hogwash beforehand to include all the ingredients in the bowl. Place a teaspoon or so over freshly shucked oysters. Use the Hogwash the same day it's made.

For other recipe ideas check out this list from Saveur Magazine

Scallops have been considered an aphrodisiac since ancient times when it was believed Aphrodite (Venus) was sent from heaven to earth on a half-shell. Modern science has now backed this claim. Like oysters, the zinc in scallops increases blood flow and promotes the release of hormones.

Science aside, scallops are luscious, sweet, plump little creatures that are a delight to eat. They are also surprisingly rich, making them an obvious choice for a decadent meal.

Typically scallops are seared — which is delicious — but prepared as sashimi or in a ceviche, they are transcendent. Below is a recipe for a bright and spicy ceviche that will really get your heart pumping. 

Scallop Crudo (Bon Appetit)

1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce, preferably organic
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sunflower oil
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 red Thai chile, thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon Sherry vinegar
1/2 pound large sea scallops, side muscle removed, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn if large
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
Sea salt

Whisk orange juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, oil, ginger, chile, and vinegar in a small bowl. Pour dressing onto 4 large rimmed plates. Arrange scallops over. Garnish with mint and chives. Season lightly with salt.

Lobster falls into the aphrodisiac category because of its reputation as a luxury item. The deep red shell is the color most associated with passion and the act of eating lobster with your hands is considered highly sensual. 

Both lobster and the related langoustine have a sweet, succulent and delicate flavor. The biggest difference between the two is size. While one lobster can make a whole meal, langoustines are perfect as an appetizer.

Langoustines are extremely easy to prepare. Simply cut them lengthwise and sauté in a pan with olive oil or herbed butter.

Lobster is usually steamed or grilled during the summer, but during colder months pan-roasting is just as good, if not better. The recipe below is sure to impress.

Jasper White's Pan-Roasted Lobster (NY Times Cooking)

2 live 1 1/2-to-2-pound lobsters
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
¼ cup bourbon
2 to 3 tablespoons dry white wine
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon chervil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. For each lobster, place it on a cutting board, facing you. Place the front tip of a heavy knife in the center of the lobster, near where the carapace meets the tail. In one forceful, swift motion, split the front half of the lobster lengthwise, which will kill it instantly. Turn it around and repeat this motion, splitting the tail and the lobster in half.

Pull the head sac out of both halves. Use fingers or surgical tweezers to remove the intestines. Place the tomalley and roe, if there is any, in a small bowl and use a fork to break it into tiny pieces; cover and refrigerate. With a knife, remove the claws and knuckles by cutting the thin sections where the knuckles meet the body. With the back side of the knife, tap the claws until the shells crack. In another swift, forceful motion, cut the tail from the body on both sides.

Place a heavy 12-inch saute pan over the highest heat possible and heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the oil and heat until it forms a film over the bottom of the pan. Slide the lobster sections, shells down, into the hot oil. Using tongs, move the pieces and flatten them to sear all the shells evenly. The claws need to be seared on only one side.

Add the tomalley and roe and stir; place in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove, return to high heat on the stove top, add the shallots and stir. Remove the pan from the heat and add the bourbon; return to the heat, where the bourbon will probably ignite. Cook until the flames die down, add the wine and cook until the pan is almost dry. Reduce the heat to low.

Quickly remove the lobster and place shell-side down on warm plates. Return the pan to low heat, add the butter, chervil and chives and stir until the mixture resembles a creamy sauce, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, spoon the sauce over the lobster and serve.

If cutting and cleaning lobsters is not your thing, we also sell lobster tails.

Served hot or cold, shellfish is sure to heat things up!

Call us anytime to place your order for your Valentine meal 

Posted in aphrodisiac, Cooking Instructions, langoustine, lobster, Organic, oysters, Raw, scallops, Seafood, Valentine's Day

Woo With Wine & Cheese This Valentine's Day

Posted on February 05, 2015 by Don Roden | 0 comments

There's no better way to start a special meal than with a wine and cheese course. Red wine is well known as an aphrodisiac and cheese, well, cheese is just delicious and decadent. Along with meats and seafood, The Organic Butcher also carries a wide selection of wines and some carefully chosen cheeses. Below are some of our favorites.

We are always happy to help you pull together an amazing menu, stop by and see us!

One of our newest and most impressive local wines is the 2012 Chardonnay from Michael Shaps. Located in Charlottesville, Michael Shaps specializes in small production wines that have won several competitions and have been recognized by industry publications such as Saveur MagazineWine Spectator and Wine AdvocateThe Michael Shaps Chardonnay is aged for 11 months in 100% French oak barrels and is made from grapes grown in a cooler part of Loudon County that retain their high acid content.

Barboursville Vineyards produces some of the finest wines in Virginia. Their signature 2010 Octagon is a blend of  estate-grown Bordeaux varietals, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. It is medium- to full-bodied and has notes of dark plum, cassis, and mocha. It's a fantastic choice for a special occasion like Valentine's Day.

The Barboursville 2012 Cabernet Franc Reserve is an award-winning and food-friendly red that is served at some of the best restaurants in Virginia, such as The Inn at Little Washington.

One of our best selling wines is the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc from Elizabeth Spencer. Made from grapes grown in Mendicino, CA, this wine is pale in color and bursting with flavors of white peach and apricot, yellow grapefruit, and lemon blossoms. It is very citrusy and has a crisp finish on the palate.

The Elizabeth Spencer Sauvignon Blanc is also certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers, which guarantees that the grapes were grown to the standards set by the National Organic Program.

We also carry selections from Boxwood Estate Winery in Middleburg. Boxwood produces red wine in the Bordeaux tradition from estate-grown Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec grapes. Their 2011 Trellis is predominantly Merlot blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It is medium- to full-bodied, brick-red in color, with notes of strawberry, pepper, tobacco and molasses. 

We are very excited to have procured the last two cases of the excellent French Pinot Rosé by Michel Sarrazin. The Sarrazin Estate dates back to the 17th century but the wines gained in popularity in the 1970s and 80s. This Crémants de Bourgogne is a fabulous alternative to pricey Champagne. It's made by the same painstaking techniques as champagne, unlike lesser quality sparkling wines that add a shot of CO2 for bubbles. This sparkling rosé from Burgundy was made from Pinot Noir and fermented in the bottle. 

A delicate pink, this dry rosé has tiny bubbles and a frothy, creamy mouth-feel. It has wild strawberry and lemon zest aromas, and is tangy and fruity on the palate with a crisp finish.

At The Organic Butcher, we carefully select cheeses from producers who are passionate about creating the best cheese from the best organic ingredients.

One such producer is Cowgirl Creamery located in Petaluma, CA. Their award-winning Mt Tam is an insanely rich triple-cream with flavors of cultured butter and hints of white mushroom. The longer this cheese sits at room temperature, the better. 

Cowgirl Creamery's winter seasonal cheese, Devil's Gulch, has a rich, bloomy rind that is dusted with a mixture of sweet and spicy ground heirloom peppers. It's bright, sweet, spicy and creamy. This one won't be around for long, so get it while you can!

Cypress Grove in Humboldt County, CA is best known for their ashy, tangy goat cheese Humboldt Fog. Few people know of their sheep milk Lamb Chopper, which is made and then aged in Holland for at least three months before being shipped to the States. Lamb Chopper is soft, buttery, and sweet like salted caramel and fresh vanilla beans. This is a major crowd-pleasing cheese!

Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, PA is one of the few places that produces 100% raw milk cheeses. This Sharp Cheddar is from grass-fed, free-range cows and is aged just enough to bring out the tangier flavors but is still creamy and well balanced.


To accompany our cheeses, we carry an assortment of crackers and baguettes for you to choose from. 


Posted in Cheese, Local, Organic, Raw, Valentine's Day, Wine