For the ten years I taught monthly cooking classes, it became a tradition that every February I would offer an aphrodisiac themed class. It quickly became a favorite of mine and many of my clients! The foods were always great (well, we always served chocolate!) and the class always made people laugh….and usually left some blushing! I decided to share some of those recipes for Valentine’s Day this month, as well as educate you about the aphrodisiac proprieties of the ingredients in each dish. And, hopefully, make some of you blush 🙂
What is an Aphrodisiac?
Webster defines an aphrodisiac as: something (such as a food, drink, or drug) that causes or increases sexual desire. According to the cookbook, InterCourses: an aphrodisiac cookbook, “The qualifying factors for aphrodisiacs were relatively simple: the rarer an ingredient the more likely it held aphrodisiacal qualities. Likewise, the more an ingredient resembled a sexual organ, the stronger its power over the libido.” And its probably no coincidence that many of the foods considered to be aphrodisiacs are nutrient rich foods, packed with vitamins and minerals.
If you poke around enough, you’ll discover that almost every food has been touted as an aphrodisiac at some point in history. So, are aphrodisiacs “real”? No one knows. You’ll have to make these recipes for your sweetie and then decide for yourselves!
♥ The foods in red are the aphrodisiac foods in each dish. If you scroll below the recipes, I have indicated why they are considered aphrodisiacs.
Flatbread Pizza with Puree of Artichokes
by Debbie Seinbock
makes about 10 appetizer-size slices
¼ cup pine nuts
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) can of artichoke hearts, quartered
2 Tbsp. roughly chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. capers
¼ cup mayo (such as Avocado Mayo, Earth Balance Mayo or Just Mayo)
1/8 tsp. salt, or more to taste
prepared pizza crust (such as Gluten Free Bistro or Udi’s)
1 large juicy tomato, sliced
2-3 Tbsp. fresh basil, thinly sliced
olive oil spray
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- To make the artichoke puree, dry-roast the pine nuts in a pan until slightly browned. Set aside.
- Add the olive oil and minced garlic to the pan and cook until the garlic just starts to brown. Add the quartered artichokes and sauté until everything is browned.
- In a small food processor, combine the pine nuts, sautéed garlic and artichokes, chopped parsley, capers, mayo, and salt and puree until well combined (but maintaining a bit of texture).
- Spread the artichoke puree evenly over the prepared crust. Add the sliced tomatoes and basil threads. (If the tomatoes are not very ripe, spray them with additional oil to prevent them from drying out.)
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or according to the directions on your pizza crust. Serve warm.
Love Cakes (that’s really what they are called!)
recipe adapted from The Flying Biscuit Cafe, Atlanta GA
2 (15 ounce) cans cooked black beans
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. minced yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup masa de harina
- Rinse and drain black beans in a sieve.
- In a small sauté pan heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, cumin, and salt until onions are translucent.
- Place drained beans and onion mixture in a bowl and mash with a potato masher until well combined.
- Gradually add masa, allowing mixture to absorb it before adding more. Test dough by rolling it in the palm of your hand. Keep adding masa until dough doesn’t stick to your hand and holds the shape of a ball.
- Divide dough into 16 small balls and flatten into cakes. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté cakes until lightly browned on each side, about 3 to 5 minutes per side.
Deb’s Passion Fruit Drizzle
makes enough for Love Cakes
½ cup strawberries (fresh or defrosted frozen strawberries)
1/8 cup passion fruit juice
1/8 cup brown rice vinegar
1 ½ Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp. roughly chopped cilantro
- In a small food processor, combine all the ingredients to make a thick dressing. If you prefer it thinner, add additional fruit juice or lime, to taste.
- Serve with Love Cakes.
Roasted Asparagus with Figs
by Debbie Steinbock
1 large bunch of asparagus
½ cup quartered dried black mission figs (tough stem removed)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. honey
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash the asparagus and snap the bottoms to remove the tough ends; place in a square glass baking dish and add the quartered figs.
- In a small bowl combine the olive oil, lemon juice and honey; toss the dressing over the asparagus and figs.
- Bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes, setting a timer and stirring every 15 minutes.
Chocolate Almond Truffles
by Debbie Steinbock
2 oz bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup almond paste (for gluten free look for Love N Bake brand)
1 ½ tsp. coffee or grain coffee
1 ½ tsp. almond extract
approximately 1/3 cup chopped nuts—i.e. chopped almond meal
- Chop the chocolate in food processor until finely ground.
- Add almond paste and process until smooth.
- Add coffee and almond extract and process until the mixture forms soft balls.
- Rolls into balls and sprinkle with almond meal.
- Place balls in truffle cups and refrigerate to chill.
♥ The following information is summarized from the beautiful cookbook InterCourses: an aphrodisiac cookbook, by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lock. This cookbook is a fun Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetie (if you are on the hunt for one) and is filled with great information and absolutely beautiful pictures!!
Pine Nuts. Pine nuts are hailed as a “kernel of love”. They come from inside the cones of pine trees and taste delicate and buttery. Pine nuts have been said to increase fertility. Since the 2nd century, Greek doctors have prescribed them to patients for their reported powers.
Artichoke. This aphrodisiac plays hard to get, with the tough green leaves, which form a bud to protect the beauty found within their walls. Like many suitors, the chase makes you want it even more.
Basil. Considered the royal herb of the Greeks and a sacred herb in India, the alluring power of basil has been used for centuries to keep wandering eyes focused homeward. Haitian lore claims basil comes from Erzulie, their goddess of love. Some therapists today use the essential oil of basil to treat issues of love.
Asparagus. According to the Law of Similarities, if one thing looks or is reminiscent of another, then it will improve or aid that which it looks like. So, if a food looks sexual, it is said to improve or aid sex. French lovers dined on three courses of it the night before their wedding.
Figs. A knife slices through a fig like soft butter. The tiny, edible seeds seem unending, weaving layer upon layer of flavor and texture within. And when the juice runs over your tongue it is like drinking pure, unadulterated sensuality.
Honey. Honey has been connected with love, sex, and sensuality since the beginning of time. In the 5th century B.C., Hippocrates prescribed honey for sexual vigor. Tradition in India offers a bridegroom honey on his wedding day. Newlyweds typically go on a honeymoon, a practice that stems from an ancient tradition of couples going into seclusion and drinking a honey concoction until the first new moon of their marriage. Physiologically, honey provides the body with a useable form of sugar that converts into energy. Psychologically, honey encompasses sensuality and all things sweet.
Black Beans. Since 400 A.D. nuns were told not to eat black beans. For a nun vowed to celibacy, black beans were bad news. Black beans are said to increase fertility. It all starts with the fresh bean pod—nestled in its protective casing, the black bean rests like a child in its mother.
Strawberries. Not a bad choice for an evening of seduction. The strawberry has a green button top that fits easily between fingertips and a berry that fits even more easily between parted lips.
Chocolate. The Aztecs and Mayans were the first to recognize the potency of chocolate, celebrating the harvest of the cocoa bean with festivals of wild orgies. The Aztec ruler, Montezuma, drank 50 cups of chocolate daily to better serve his harem of 600 women! Seventeenth century church officials deemed it sinful to partake in chocolate. Scientifically, chocolate not only provides you with a jolt of energy from the caffeine, but contains PEA, the very same molecule that runs through the veins of one who is in love.
Almond. A symbol of fertility throughout the ages. The aroma is thought to induce passion in females.
Coffee. No one knows why anyone first believed the coffee bean enhanced love. Maybe it’s the dark, rich color. Or its pleasant scent wafting through the air. Or the jolt of caffeine it pumps through our blood. Or maybe it’s just because when you offer someone coffee, you are welcoming them to sit down and stay a while.