Valentine's Day is a popular occasion for dining out. Yet for others there is nothing more special than cooking for the person you love. But as you plan your menu, you may want to go beyond just another romantic candlelit meal, and start by considering some foods believed to have sensual properties. Happily, many of these "sexy" foods are also heart-healthy, so you're tackling matters of the heart from all sides.
- Almonds are a traditional symbol of fertility with a slightly sharp and intoxicating aroma. Full of fiber, vitamin E, and magnesium, they supposedly arouse passion in women — or at least that's what's said to have worked for Samson when he courted Delilah. Serve up some crunchy Caramelized Almonds for nibbling, or finish the meal with a Lemon-Almond Butter Cake. You could also try your hand at some homemade Almond Roca (akin to peanut brittle).
- Asparagus may not be in season in most parts of our world at the moment, however, it may be worth a splurge for slender stalks believed to "stir up lust in man and woman," according to 17th century herbalist Nicholas. Asparagus is filled with potassium and folate, which are both believed to contribute to heart health. Fettuccine with Salmon Caviar and Asparagus would be a very seductive starter or main course, and Chicken Piccata with Capers and Asparagus is another good Valentine's Day dinner candidate. For side dishes, consider Asparagus with Citrus, Parsley and Garlic or Asparagus with Wild Mushrooms, which has some nice Asian flavors going on.
- Lush voluptuous avocados are associated with both the female shape and male sexuality. The Atzecs called the avocado tree ahuacatl, which actually translates to "testicle tree." The avocado's nutritional benefits are numerous, including vitamins and minerals believed to increase libido in both men and women. And they are a good source of monounsaturated fat, which studies show may help in the prevention of heart disease. That's pretty Valentine's Day friendly. Start your meal with a Shrimp, Grapefruit and Avocado Salad or Avocado and Beet Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette, or just put out a bowl of Guacamole.