Long before the pharmaceutical companies started marketing Viagra, people sought out ways to put a little pep in their love lives. Originally, foods and herbs were all we had to turn to for fertility and romance. The term "honeymoon" actually comes from an Arabian custom of drinking honey wine for the first 30 days of the marriage, which must have helped somebody to conceive, and a tradition was born. From a health perspective, certain foods do contain nutrients that are essential to sexual function, like minerals and essential fatty acids. Several of the foods that have been considered aphrodisiacs are high in minerals, as in the case of oysters and mussels, and even asparagus. Some of the aphrodisiac foods are simply symbolic, from the fertility implied by grains, to the suggestively shaped artichoke. Some Casanovas take another tack, by using Montezuma's favorite pre-harem drink, chocolate. Bee Pollen and Royal Jelly are among the many foods ascribed sensual powers in China. Of course, it's all in fun, since we can't really say there is anything but a suggestive power in these foods, perhaps a placebo effect. Taking care of yourself in general will always help your love life, so try some of these healthy, somewhat sexy dishes.
Sexy Nut Mix Recipe By: Robin Asbell
Makes 4 cups
Noshing on nuts provides quick energy, and these have added benefits. Pumpkinseeds and Hemp are loaded with essential fatty acids, while still lower in fat that most nuts. Mixing egg whites with cocoa is a fat free way to get the antioxidants in chocolate, and Montezuma is said to have take his chocolate with chiles.
1 large egg white
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup hemp nuts
2 cups whole almonds
1. Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites for a few seconds. Whisk in the vanilla and cocoa. Whisk in the seasonings, then toss the nuts with the mixture. Spread on the prepared pan, in a single layer.
3. Bake, stirring every 20 minutes, for an hour. Remove from the oven and use a spatula to lift them off the pan and break up the clusters a bit, then cool completely.
Oyster and Mussel Pasta with Tomatoes
Recipe By: Robin Asbell
The classic aphrodisiacs, raw oysters and mussels, are a little easier for the average love-interest to eat, in this tasty pasta.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons shallots finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic finely minced
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 cup red ripe tomatoes finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup fish stock or clam juice
1/2 cup parsley finely chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
16 medium mussels
16 medium oysters shucked
1 pound long fusilli or spaghetti
10 small fresh basil leaves
1. Scrub and debeard the mussels, and discard any of the shellfish that do not snap closed when tapped. Shuck oysters if they are not already done. Put on a large pot of water for the pasta. Heat the oil in a skillet and add the shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring, about one minute. Add the anchovy paste, tomatoes, wine, and broth and bring to a boil. Let simmer about one minute and add the parsley and oregano. Boil until the liquids are syrupy, about 4 minutes.
2. Add the mussels and oysters and cover tightly. Cook until the mussel shells open, and the oysters are cooked through, about two minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the fresh basil.
3. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well, do not rinse. Toss with seafood in the pan, and serve.
Green Goddess of Love Crostini
Recipe By: Robin Asbell
These tasty appetizers are loaded with essential fatty acids and minerals, and tasty greens in the form of parsley. Although garlic would be delicious here, I left it out for reasons of romance.
12 slices baguette 1/4 inch thick
1 large avocado diced
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 cup pumpkinseeds toasted
1/2 cup parsley chopped
2 teaspoons flax oil
1. Slice baguette on a diagonal and place on a baking sheet. Toast in a 350 degree oven to desired crispness, about 10 minutes. In a small skillet, over high heat, toast the pumpkinseeds, shaking often, until they start to pop. Let cool. 2. In a small bowl, Combine avocado, lime, pumpkinseeds, parsley and flax oil. Top each slice of baguette with the avocado mixture, and sprinkle to taste with tabasco and salt.
Bee Pollen Nibbles
Recipe By: Robin Asbell
Makes about 20
Choose an option of chocolate or sesame seeds as the coating for these. Bee pollen and Royal Jelly are available at natural foods stores, look for bee pollen in the produce department, and royal jelly in supplements.
1/2 cup dried cherries chopped
brandy to soak
1/2 cup sunflower seeds chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup bee pollen
1/4 cup royal jelly
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sesame seeds lightly toasted
OR 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped
Combine all ingredients except sesame seeds, mix well. Chill until firm enough to handle, and scoop in small balls, about 1 tablespoon each. Roll in sesame seeds or melted chocolate and chill.
Sea Vegetables and Spinach with Sesame Dressing Recipe By: Robin Asbell
Sea vegetables are potent sources of minerals that have been stripped from the American diet. Hijiki is a briny, dark sea vegetable that mellows considerably when soaked in apple juice, so don't be afraid to try it. Ginger is considered a "warming" food in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
1 ounce hijiki
1 cup apple juice
hot sesame oil
1 pinch salt
1 5 oz spinach salad, prewashed
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons vegetable stock or more
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic crushed
1/4 cup pickled ginger slices
1. Bring the apple juice to a boil in a small pan, then add the hijiki. Simmer for a minute, then take off the heat. Soak the hijiki in the apple juice until it is softened, about 10 minutes. Drain, then toss with a few drops of hot oil and a pinch of salt.
2. Make sesame dressing by whisking tahini, stock, sugar, vinegar, soy and garlic in a small saucepan and heating just to a simmer. Let cool, then thin with stock if too thick.
3. Arrange spinach on four small plates, then top with hijiki. Drizzle with sesame dressing, then top with ginger slices. Serve immediately.
(reprinted with permission from Taste For Life Magazine)