The delightful practice of seducing the man or woman of your dreams dates back to before the ancient Greeks used garlic, edible bulbs, onions and truffles to entice their loved ones. Dubbed “aphrodisiacs” after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, these and other foods thought to be sexual stimulants are still used to spice up love lives around the globe. To help you add some sparks to your relationship, we picked five everyday foods known for their powers to arouse and created a delectable dish for each one. Bon appétit!
Mentioned in the Kama Sutra and prescribed by ancient physicians for sexual vigor in both men and women, this liquid gold comes in many styles: buckwheat, blueberry, star thistle and many more. The flavor and color of the honey depends on which plants the bees have been buzzing in when they create it.
Combine honey with fruits, such as strawberries, bananas, peaches, and pomegranates, a splash of Grand Marnier, or other orange liqueur, and a dash of mint, and you’ve got a potent triple aphrodisiac. The libido-building powers of fruit are thought to come from their suggestive shapes and colors. It doesn’t hurt that they’re also packed with vitamins. Aristotle believed so much in the power of mint to inflame ardor that he is said to have advised Alexander the Great not to let his soldiers drink mint tea during campaigns.
Sensual Honey, Fruit and Mint Mix
Use any fresh or canned fruits that you like for this dish, but keep in mind that canned fruits are often sweetened and can add a ton of calories. Be warned: the combination of ingredients makes for a very sultry dish!
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier (orange-flavored liqueur)
1 cup 1 1/2-inch chunks fresh mango
1 cup 1 1/2-inch chunks fresh pineapple (save the outside shell)
1 cup 1 ½ inch chunks fresh peaches
In a medium bowl, combine the honey, ginger, mint, orange juice, lemon juice and the liqueur and mix well.
Add the mangoes, pineapple and peaches to the marinade. Toss to coat.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.
Serve in a hollowed pineapple shell with your favorite fat-free frozen yogurt or sorbet.
If you have any doubts about the erotic qualities of chocolate, check the number for its retail sales during Valentine’s Day. The Aztec emperor, Montezuma, was said to consume 50 cups of this dark delight each day to keep his 200 wives happy.
Dark Chocolate Dipped Cherries and Strawberries
The secret to making this is to make sure your fruits are completely dry. If they are damp and you dip them into the chocolate, the chocolate will seize and will not stick to the fruit.
6 ounces dark chocolate chips (you can also use milk or white chocolate)
3 tablespoons of heavy cream
5 strawberries with long stems
5 cherries with stems
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, stirring as it melts.
Add the cream and stir until smooth and well mixed.
Holding each fruit by the stem and dip it into the chocolate mixture, ensuring that the excess chocolate falls back into the pan.
Place each fruit onto the baking sheet.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.
Serve with love!
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The world’s most expensive spice, saffron is made from the stigma of the purple crocus flower and is used for its hay-like aroma and the rich reddish-orange color it imparts. It contains the chemical crocin, which is said to have aphrodisiac qualities. In ancient times, the Romans used it to scent and color their bath water.
Salmon Saffron Bites
Soaking the saffron threads in warm cream helps release the color and the flavor of saffron. To heat the cream, place it in a microwave-proof bowl and microwave for about six seconds. Add the saffron and allow it to steep for a minute or so, then use as directed below.
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper
¾ teaspoons saffron threads soaked in a tablespoon of warm heavy cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
2 lb salmon fillet, cubed into bite-sized pieces
In a bowl combine all the ingredients except the salmon.
Mix well. Add the salmon cubes and toss to coat.
Allow to marinate, refrigerated, for an hour.
Preheat to 350 F.
Place the salmon cubes on a foil-lined baking sheet in the pre-heated oven. Pour any leftover marinade over the cubes. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cubes are cooked.
Turn off the oven and turn the broiler on to high. Broil the cubes for about 5 minutes. Gives a nice color to the salmon.
Remove from the oven.
Serve on a platter (you can add a toothpick to each piece).
Michael A. Keller/Masterfile
The sea-green avocado has a buttery flavor and sensuous curves. The Aztecs called the avocado tree āhuacacuahuitl, or testicle tree. Today we know that avocados provide beta carotene, magnesium and vitamin E, essential vitamins and minerals.
A cocktail glass is filled with layers of tiny minced red onions, chopped avocado, and tomatoes (all of which have been marinated in chili-lime-cilantro dressing) and topped with a touch of sour cream and crushed corn chips. The secret to this dish lies in choosing ripe avocadoes and tomatoes. It will make your dish sing!
Juice of two limes
1 teaspoon crushed red chili (or to taste)
2 teaspoons minced cilantro
1 teaspoon roasted, ground cumin
kosher salt to taste
1 medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 small ripe red tomatoes, finely chopped (save the juice)
1 large ripe avocado, peeled pitted and finely chopped
2 cups corn chips, slightly crushed
Sour cream to garnish
Cilantro leaves to garnish
In a mixing bowl combine all the ingredients for the dressing. Mix well. You will get about three tablespoons.
Place the onion, tomatoes (and their juice) and avocado in separate bowls. Divide the dressing amongst the three bowls. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Cover the three bowls and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld.
To serve: Choose 8 regular slim cocktail glasses (4 oz wine glasses work really well for this). In each glass, place a layer of onions, then of avocado, then of tomatoes. (This works out to about 3 teaspoons of onion, 2 teaspoons of avocado and 2 teaspoons of tomatoes for each glass, though your measures may be a touch different depending on the size of your produce.) If there is any juice remaining in the bowls, drizzle it over the mixture in the glasses. Finally, top with the chips and a dollop of sour cream and a leaf or two of cilantro. Serve immediately with a spoon.
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Almonds are considered a symbol of fertility in many cultures. Legend has it that Samson wooed Delilah with the branch of an almond tree. Why the branch? Supposedly, the sweet aroma of the leaves and flowers arouses women.
Creamy Almond Pudding
This luscious pudding makes the perfect romantic dessert. To add even more romance, sprinkle the pudding with some edible rose petals before serving. (While almost all rose petals can be eaten, you want to make sure you are using pesticide free petals. Many specialty grocery stores sell edible flowers, and you can also check in with your local nursery for advice.)
6 tablespoons ground almonds
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
1cup heavy cream
1/2 can (6 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Sliced almonds for garnish
In a deep, heavy-bottomed pan, combine the ground almonds and the cornstarch. Very slowly add the milk. Keep mixing to make sure there are no lumps. Now add the heavy cream. Bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly for about 20 minutes or until the mixture obtains a creamy consistency.
Add the condensed milk and simmer for another 10 minutes. The dish will have the consistency of oatmeal.
Add the lemon zest and mix well. Remove from heat. Serve hot or cold garnished with sliced almonds.