Turning Up the Heat

Food to get you in the mood

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

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

2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed, rinsed and patted dry
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
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

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.

SVCR Commodores
More Food...
Storm Warming
The fruits of fall

On a recent visit to my father’s house on Lummi Island, I helped myself to a hefty bag of pears and apples sourced from a giant mound of fruit he had spread out on one of his living room recliners (don’t ask).

“I got those from my friend Henry’s garden on the sunny side of the island,” my…

more »
Tuber Talk
When beets go solo

Beets are a challenging food. No vegetable feels so much like work—or tastes so much like dirt. Which surely means beets must be supremely good for you.

But dense tubers are problematic to mess with. You can’t just rifle through the fridge, find some beets and add them to your rice pilaf…

more »
A taste of Whatcom County

It takes one helluva carbonated beverage to stun me into silence, but the Sicilian lemon with balsamic vinegar, muddled mint and soda water at Drizzle in Lynden did exactly that.

Drizzle opened on Lynden’s Front Street just before Christmas last year. Owners Ross and Dana Driscoll had…

more »
Handling the truth


Strong Towns

8:00am|Downtown Bellingham

Tech Trends Conference

12:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Healthy Treats

1:00pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Book Talk

1:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Recovery Rocks

4:30pm|Days Inn

School Garden Harvest Dinner

5:00pm|Whatcom Middle School

Farm to Table Brewers Dinner


Fall Feast

6:00pm|Ciao Thyme

Meeting the Mantis

7:00pm|Village Books

Bhutan Travelogue

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Sieber and Rumbel

7:00pm|Walton Theatre

Faith and Nature Series

7:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Peace Art

7:00pm|Ferndale Library

Family Game Night

7:30pm|DUG Theater

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Paula Cole

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Sugar, A Cabaret

7:30pm|Underground Nightclub

Girls Night Out Dance Show

8:00pm|Kickin' A Saloon

MBT Once Swinomish 2016
Handling the truth


Tech Trends Conference

12:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Family Game Night

7:30pm|DUG Theater

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Art & Science of Gardening

8:00am|St. Luke's Health Education Center

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Parkinson's Dance Class

10:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Lynden Book Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Spanish Storytime

10:30am|Lynden Library

Books, Bites and Blogging

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Ferndale Farmers Market

1:00pm|Cherry Street

Komo Kulshan Ski and Snowboard Swap

4:00pm|Bloedel Donovan Gymnasium

Festival of the Macabre

5:00pm|Leopold Crystal Ballroom

Gore and Lore Tours

6:00pm|Historic Fairhaven and downtown Bellingham

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Friday Night Flicks

7:00pm|Van Zandt Community Hall

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Ferndale High School

Clay Girl

7:00pm|Village Books

Saeed Abbas

7:30pm|Bayview Community Hall

Skagit Community Band

7:30pm|Maple Hall and Brodniak Hal

Top of the food chain


Ghost Hunt Class

7:30pm|Downtown Bellingham

Top of the Food Chain

7:30pm|BAAY Theatre

12 Minutes Max Fall Showcase

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center


8:00pm|Upfront Theatre


8:00pm|Old Main Theater

Phenomenal Woman Cabaret

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

Ghosts of Concrete

11:00pm|Skagit County Community Action Center

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Artifacts Wine Bar
Handling the truth


Family Game Night

7:30pm|DUG Theater

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Lynden Book Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Komo Kulshan Ski and Snowboard Swap

4:00pm|Bloedel Donovan Gymnasium

Gore and Lore Tours

6:00pm|Historic Fairhaven and downtown Bellingham

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Ferndale High School

Skagit Community Band

7:30pm|Maple Hall and Brodniak Hal

12 Minutes Max Fall Showcase

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Top of the food chain


Phenomenal Woman Cabaret

8:00pm|Cirque Lab


8:00pm|Upfront Theatre


8:00pm|Old Main Theater

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Hall

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Make a Difference Day

9:00am|Whatcom County

Scottish Highland Reel Competition

9:00am|Syre Center

Work Party

9:00am|Squalicum Creek

Cherry Point Forum

9:00am|Bellingham Technical College

Make It & Take It

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|Nugent's Corner

98221 Artists Studio Tour

10:00am|Anacortes and Guemes Island

Correspondence Club

10:00am|Mindport Exhibits

Fall Family Fun

10:00am|Glen Echo Garden

Celebrating Vicky Marshall

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

Community Meal

10:00am|United Church of Ferndale

Harvest Happens

10:00am|Bellewood Acres

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|Peace Portal Drive

Bellingham Comicon

10:00am|Ferndale Event Center

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen

11:00am|Community Food Co-op

Writing the Living Memoir

2:00pm|Ferndale Library

Cornhole Tournament

2:00pm|Boys & Girls Club of Whatcom County


4:00pm|Bellingham Sportsplex

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

6:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Warfel Award Ceremony

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Whose Live Anyway?

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center

Skagit Symphony Gala Concert

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Just another hardcore troubadour


see our complete calendar »

MBT Once Northwood Steak and Crab Village Books Lydia Place Andrew Subin Bellingham Farmer’s Market Everybody’s Store Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Artifacts Wine Bar Swinomish 2016