In celebration of A Taste of You releasing this week, I was going to make cream puffs, or maybe pasta, or maybe (but probably not) braised lamb. Anyway, I was going to make something from the book and share it with you. Instead, I was massively sick for release week. This really spoiled my fun at hitting a couple of Amazon’s best-seller lists. (Although I wasn’t too sick to stop refreshing the book page every 5 seconds to gloat, woozily, over the numbers).
The point is, I was the kind of sick that precluded cooking, if by cooking you mean more than warming up soup and then wondering if I could keep it down.
So, I promise I will make it up to you soon with some cream puffs, or maybe pasta. You can keep dreaming about that lamb.
Instead, I’m going to invite you over to my Pinterest Boards where some other people have already done all the work for me.
And there is a lot more food on my Food Porn board.
And, because I’m feeling a little guilty, here is an exclusive excerpt from A Taste of You. Enjoy!
The fourth course was seared duck breast made, unsurprisingly, with the heritage breed Garrett had found. Garrett’s commentary, detailed before, became a full-out sales pitch. Had Carlo ever heard of an Indian Runner? Much leaner meat than usual for duck. Garrett thought it tasted closer to wild duck than any domestic duck he had ever found before. And the farm? Beautiful. Terroir was so important, didn’t Carlo think? The same breed from somewhere else would be completely different. As soon as he had tasted this one, he knew he had to have it for Ransom.
Garrett continued on about diets, breeding, exercise, the soil conditions of the ground the birds were hopping around on, and more facts about ducks than Carlo knew existed while he cooked and plated.
Carlo let him ramble, happy to see him so excited about something even if it was a duck, but the soil thing finally prodded his manager brain awake. There had never been duck on the menu before.
“Yes, Carlo?” Garrett had started to plate and sounded distracted.
“What’s wrong with the duck?”
Garrett turned guileless blue eyes toward him. “What do you mean? I just told you, the duck is brilliant.”
“How much does it cost?”
“Hardly anything compared to most of our fish. Anyway, it’s not like we can’t afford it.”
Garrett came around the island and set the plate in front of Carlo. Garrett had never cooked anything in his life that could be described as “rustic,” but the dish on the counter came closer than anything else Carlo had ever seen him produce.
A lone piece of duck breast, whole young carrots with tops attached, jus.
The meat might actually require two bites to eat.
Carlo circled a finger in the direction of the plate. “What’s this?”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know, where are the five pomegranate pearls, three bean sprouts, and one tiny fennel seed in the corner? You didn’t make duck foam or something?”
“You always tell me it’s too much.”
“You always tell me you’re the chef and know best. Tell me again where this duck came from.” But he bet he knew. Family farm. All the talk about terroir. Had there been kids on the farm? Was the family struggling? Garrett would see only that he could help. Carlo would be the one with the supply issues down the road.
“I do know best.” Garrett pulled a chair up, turning it sideways so he faced Carlo.
The position also put him right in Carlo’s space. Warm vanilla overlaid the aroma of savory duck, shifting Carlo’s attention to Garrett and his blood flow away from the manager brain and slightly farther south.
“Close your eyes.”
Now that was unusual. Mr. Eats-With-Eyes-First wanted him to eat something without marveling at its beauty?
Garrett hesitated. “This is something special. I want you to focus on the taste.”
Garrett’s knee brushed Carlo’s thigh as he moved closer and picked up a fork. “Close your eyes, Carlo.”
As soon as Carlo did, vanilla and sugar surrounded him, seeped under his skin like a drug, made his limbs heavy and his heart pound. The only sensations left in the darkness were the scent of Garrett, the touch of Garrett’s knee, and the blood pounding into his own groin.
Garrett’s thumb brushed Carlo’s lower lip. Carlo held back a moan as his lips parted. Garrett’s touch on his lips. Then warmer flesh on his tongue. Succulent jus. Spices. Holy fuck the duck was good.
And not the flesh he wanted.
He chewed. Swallowed. Eyes closed because it was too delicious. Because he was afraid to open them and find Garrett focused only on the food.
“Nice,” he managed.
“I thought of you when I made it.”
Garrett’s breath whispered against his lips, the words barely audible. His mouth closed over Carlo’s lower lip, teeth scraping slightly as he sucked, then a slight nip just before his tongue slid into Carlo’s mouth. Garrett. Warm and moist and delicious. So much better than the duck. Garrett’s hands were in Carlo’s hair, Garrett’s tongue in Carlo’s mouth, and Carlo couldn’t hold back the moan any longer.
Hell’s Kitchen has nothing on the flames Giancarlo and Garrett ignite at Restaurant Ransom…