Recipes To Spice Up Your Valentine’s Day
“Aphrodisiac: any of various forms of stimulation thought to arouse sexual excitement. Aphrodisiacs may be classified in two principal groups: (1) psycho-physiological (visual, tactile, olfactory, aural) and (2) internal (stemming from food, alcoholic drinks, drugs, love potions, medical preparations)”.
We’ve all heard that there are certain foods that have aphrodisiac powers, but which ones and what effect do they have on romance? There are several foods that increase passion and the mood for love – almonds, arugula, asparagus, avocado, bananas, basil, chilies, chocolate, coffee, figs, garlic, ginger, honey, nutmeg, oysters, pinenuts, raspberries, strawberries, black truffles, vanilla and wine, just to name a few.
Truffles are said to stimulate and sensitize the skin for touch. Vanilla’s scent and flavor is known to increase lust. Chilies increase blood flow and sex drive. The chemicals in chocolate trigger neurochemicals in the brain that increases passion. Red wine relaxes and stimulates the senses.
For Valentine’s Day, I rounded up a few recipes featuring some of these love-ly passion-inspiring foods, guaranteed to spice up your night and make it one to remember!
Broiled Oysters with Fresh Herbs, Garlic and Cheese
24 fresh oysters
¾ cup of breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of olive oil
½ teaspoon of fresh thyme, chopped
½ teaspoon of fresh basil, chopped
¼ teaspoon of fresh marjoram, chopped
Zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
Shuck the oysters and set aside on the half shell. Discard the remaining shells. In a bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, garlic, mustard, olive oil, thyme, basil, marjoram, lemon zest and Parmesan. Top each oyster with about 1 teaspoon of the breadcrumb mixture and place the oysters on a baking sheet. Cook under high broiler (grill) for about 6 minutes or until the oysters are crispy and golden brown. Serve hot, with a wedge of lemon and your favorite hot pepper sauce on the side. Pop open a bottle of your best bubbly and indulge with your honey.
Recipe adapted from www.oysterrecipes.org
Milk Soup with Truffles au Gratin
2 c. of chicken juice (gravy)
2 + 2/3 c. of milk cream
1 oz. of fresh truffle
2 lbs. of fresh bread
2/3 c. of truffle juice
1/3 c. of milk
2/3 c. of egg whites
Salt, white pepper
Reduce the chicken juice to half.
Add the milk, milk cream and reduce again.
Add the truffle juice and reduce until you get a nice texture.
Check on seasoning and put aside for the moment.
Preparation of the bread toasts:
Whisk 2/3 c. of cream, season with salt and pepper.
Cut the bread into 1 inch thick slices and cut them into circles (2 inch diameters)
Toast both sides of the bread pieces, dig one side on the piece and pour the wiped cream into it, bake it “au gratin”
under the broiler for a few minutes until lightly browned around the edges.
Recipe originated from French-Truffles.com
2 lbs. chicken, cut up — (2 to 2 1/2)
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil — (1 to 2)
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. anise seed
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh pepper
2 tsp. hot crushed red peppers
1/8 tsp. cayenne (or to taste)
Brown chicken in a medium skillet in hot oil. Remove to a large (13x9x2) cake pan or baking dish. Pour oil from skillet and add the stock. Simmer 5 minutes. Mix cocoa with vegetable oil to form a paste. Add cloves, cinnamon, anise seed, and blend. Stir spice mixture into simmering stock and simmer 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture over the chicken parts. Cover and bake in preheated 350-degree oven until chicken is tender (around 1 to 1 1/2 hours). Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds over a bed of rice.
Spicy Scallops with Capellini
1 pound sea scallops, quartered if large
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small dried chipotle chile with seeds, stemmed and chopped
Fine sea salt
1/2 pound capellini
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large shallow glass or ceramic baking dish, toss the scallops with the oil, wine, parsley, garlic and chipotle. Season with salt and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the oil is sizzling and the scallops are firm.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the capellini until just al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain; transfer to a serving bowl. Add the scallops and their juices, toss well and serve immediately.
Recipe originated from Food and Wine magazine.
Coffee and Chocolate Braised Short Ribs
Olive oil or lard
5 lbs beef short ribs
Salt and Pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
2 cups strong coffee
1.5 cups chopped tomatoes, with juice (or one 28 oz can)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup unsweetened chocolate (70% or higher cacao)
Cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
Rinse short ribs under cold water and pat dry, season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron pan or Dutch oven over medium high heat.
Place a few of the short ribs in the pan, being careful not to crowd them. Brown the short ribs well on all sides until they have a nice seared brown color. Transfer the meat to a plate and continue to cook the rest of the ribs. When done, remove all of the meat to the plate.
Reduce the heat to medium. If you used a cast iron pan for the browning, heat more oil in a large oven safe covered casserole dish. If you’re using a Dutch oven, just keep on cooking.
Add the onions and peppers and cook until the onions are translucent, approximately 5-10 minutes. Next mix in the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the brown sugar and spices and cook for 5 minutes longer. Add the coffee, chopped tomatoes, and tomato paste and bring the whole mixture to a boil.
Return the short ribs to the pot and cover. Braise in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours. Mix in the chocolate until melted. Season ribs with salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, pasta or polenta. Indulge in a nice hearty red such as a Cabernet or Zinfandel or Shiraz which goes great with the chocolate and spicy flavors in this dish.
Recipe adapted from the Washington Local and Seasonal Cookbook
Arugula and Avocado Salad With Shaved Parmesan and Toasted Pine Nuts
2 bunches arugula, washed and dried ( about 6 cups)
1 avocados, peeled and sliced
Shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
4 -5 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
To make the dressing, in a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and garlic. Slowly whisk in olive oil until the mixture is creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
Place arugula in a serving bowl and add dressing to taste. Mix well. Top with avocado slices, drizzle a bit more dressing over them and season with a pinch of salt. Using a vegetable peeler, shave slivers of Parmesan over the top.
Top off the salad with some toasted pine nuts for an extra crunch (and spice to your Valentine’s Day!)
Recipe originated from Food.com
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup banana liqueur
4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then halved
¼ cup dark rum
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet. Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum. When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream. Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately. Prepare to swoon almost immediately.
Recipe originated from Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans.
Chocolate Honey Mousse
12 oz of dark crispy chocolate
5-6 dessert spoons of pure honey
3 cups of fresh cream
Mix together dark chocolate (should be crushed into pieces), 5 dessert spoons honey and ¾ cup of fresh cream. The ingredients
should be mixed over luke warm water. This mixture will need to be stirred constantly, till the dark chocolate stats to melt and combines itself with the honey and cream.
Once all three ingredients have blended into one another, keep it aside for it to cool.
While the chocolate mixture is kept aside to cool, start whipping the remaining cream (2 ¼ cups) but not very firm.
Once the cream is whipped and the chocolate mixture is cool, gradually and slowly fold the cream into it. Blend this mixture well.
Take a special serving dish and carefully pour the whole mixture into it and keep it to set in the refrigerator.
The chocolate honey mousse can also be poured into separate individual bowls as it does make a lavish amount.
If the mousse is poured into one whole serving dish, the chocolate honey mouse might take about 3 to 4 hours for it to set well.
Chocolate honey mousse can be served with creamy vanilla ice cream. Garnish with crushed nuts as a topping.
White Chocolate Raspberry Tart
1 ¼ cup of walnuts, finely chopped
¾ cup of unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 ½ cup of flour
1 teaspoon of freshly-grated orange zest
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 cups of fresh raspberries
12 oz of white chocolate, chopped
½ cup of heavy cream, warmed
½ cup of whipped cream, to garnish
In a bowl with an electric mixer, blend walnuts, ¾ of the butter, sugar, flour, orange zest and egg until thoroughly combined, and press into an 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
Freeze the shell for 15 minutes. While the shell is freezing, preheat your oven to 375°F. Bake the shell in middle of your oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the shell to cool on a rack.
Remove the side of pan and transfer the shell to a plate. Fill shell with 2 ½ cups of raspberries.
In a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the white chocolate. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the cream and the remaining butter, whisking until smooth. Spread the white chocolate mixture over the raspberries, smoothing top and chill, covered, for 3 hours or overnight.
Garnish the tart with whipped cream and remaining ½ cup of raspberries. Serve at room temperature.
Recipe originated from www.raspberryrecipes.net
Read more about Aphrodisiac Foods and History