Food

Turning Up the Heat

Food to get you in the mood
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What’s so sexy about asparagus? Well, apart from its suggestive form, the long green vegetable shoot is an edible source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin and folic acid—the latter of which is said to boost the histamine production necessary for the ability of both sexes to reach the “Big O.”

If the preceding paragraph sounds a bit too scientific for your tastes, don’t fret. All you need to know is that if you’re looking for aphrodisiacs to feed your Valentine this month, you’ve come to the right place for inspiration.

Now, maybe your sweetie—or the person you’re hoping will be your sweetie after you woo them with phallic appetizers and blood-flow-producing main courses or desserts—doesn’t like asparagus. That’s fine, as there are a variety of food items out there with racy reputations.

The aroma of almonds, for instance, supposedly arouses passion in members of the fairer sex. Even if that’s not the case, the tasty nuts pack a punch of vitamin E, fiber and magnesium, so, at the very least, they’ll nourish those who eat them with more than empty calories.

Avocadoes and bananas are both fruits that, just by the looks of them, bring to mind certain below-the-belt parts of the human anatomy. But, as you’ve likely guessed, they’re both chock-full of healthy vitamins. And, while basil’s not so brazen, its earthy aroma is also said to have a stimulating effect.

On the sweet side, we have chocolate. A recent article on eHarmony focused on the fact that some women have been known to choose chocolate over sex. In my experience, if both are on hand, there’s no need to make a choice—the only decision is in which order you’re going to experience them. And, while it hasn’t been proven without a doubt that cacao’s “love chemical,” phenylethylamine, really does the trick when it comes to orgasmic bliss, I don’t think you’re going to see anybody turning down a box of fair trade chocolates anytime soon.

Lore goes that Adam and Eve wore fig leaves to cover up their privates, and open figs are believed to emulate the female sex organs. I realize neither of those factoids is especially romantic, but when it comes to this particular fruit, it seems like you’re either pro-fig or anti-fig. They pair well with chocolate, so if you’re pro-fig, why not throw a few into the romantic mix and see what happens.

Garlic increases blood flow, but if you’re going to serve it—like with the roasted asparagus recipe I’m including here—be sure to have breath mints on hand once the meal is over, or at least ensure that both parties are going to partake of this particular aphrodisiac so one person’s breath doesn’t overpower the other’s.

Finally, we come to oysters. Whether you serve them raw in their own shells with a glass of chilled champagne or in other incarnations—baked, fried or in a shot glass with cocktail sauce—their reputation as a lusty menu item precedes them. Our region is lucky enough to have the zinc-rich goods available fresh on a year-round basis (thanks, Taylor Shellfish Farms!), so you might want to incorporate a short road trip to Chuckanut Drive to pick some up into your Valentine’s Day planning.

Whether you go out to eat on the big day or stay home to whip up an intimate dinner for two, keep the aforementioned menu items in mind. They might not ensure you end your evening with more than a kiss, but there’s no harm in upping your odds for reaching home base. If you choose to stay home, peruse the short recipes included here for ideas on what to serve. As for what you’re going to wear, well, that’s up to you.

[Recipe #1]

Garlic-Roasted Asparagus
—Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients
2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed, rinsed and patted dry
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large glass baking dish, toss the asparagus with the olive oil and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and toss. Bake until the asparagus are tender and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the stalks, stirring twice. Remove from the oven and toss with the lemon juice. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.

[Recipe #2]

Oysters Rockefeller
—From cooks.com

Ingredients
24 oysters in shells
1 tbsp. chopped onion
2 tbsp. snipped parsley
1 tbsp. melted butter
1 cup chopped cooked spinach
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs

Open oyster shells with knife, remove oysters and dry. Wash shells; place each oyster in a deep half shell. Mix onion, parsley and butter; spread over oysters. Season with salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Top each with 2 teaspoons spinach and sprinkle with half-teaspoon crumbs. Dot each with one teaspoon butter. Heat on bed of rock salt at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.

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