A Yummy Aphrodisiac Menu for Your Valentine

Did you know that a ton of foods regularly used in Latin cuisine are actually tried and true aphrodisiacs? Perhaps these magical ingredients are behind our legendary status as being the some of the best lovers in the world? Read on for a break down of some of the main ingredients that scientists have found to increase feelings of euphoria:

  • An amino acid called L-arginine that enhances blood flow throughout the body is found in most nuts and seeds, says Dr. Melody Hart of chicagohealers.com. This can definitely come in handy once your man decides to thank you properly for the delicious meal you’ve prepared for him.
  • Chocolate releases pleasure-enhancing endorphins in your brain and contains serotonin. Both are "feel good" chemicals, says Dr. Hart, so chocolate scientifically makes you happy. These chemicals occur naturally in our bodies and are released when we are feeling passionate and produce a euphoric feeling, like when you're in love.
  • Shellfish have zinc, which is a building block of hormones suggests Dr. Hart. Recently, mussels, clams and oysters were found to contain acids and compounds that may be effective in releasing sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen.
  • Chiles have capsaicin, which increases circulation, revs up your metabolism and causes physiological responses in our bodies like sweating and increased heart rate, which mimic what we experience when we're having sex, points out Dr. Hart.

Check out this delicious menu utilizing every aphrodisiac suggested and get to steaming up that kitchen.

1. Seafood Arepa Soup

Start out your meal with this Seafood Arepa Soup, featuring clams, mussels and just about any other seafood you can fit in the pot. We promise you won't be disappointed with this hearty, delicious appetizer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 lb. mussels
  • 18 oz. clams
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 2 green chiles, finely sliced, divided
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup polenta (cornmeal)
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked corn, divided
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup small shrimp
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Scrub mussels and clams with vegetable brush under cold running water, debearding mussels and discarding any open ones that don´t close when tapped on work surface.

Place mussels and clams in large pot, along with shallots and 1 chile. Pour in white wine and chicken stock, then cover pot and cook over high heat 3 to 4 minutes, shaking pot occasionally until shells open. Drain mussels and clams in colander; then strain cooking liquid into clean pot. Bring to boil and add milk. Rain in polenta and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, 4 to 5 minutes, until thickened.

Remove mussels and clams from their shells. Place polenta soup in blender, add half the mussels and clams, and half the corn (5/8 cup), and blend into smooth purée. Return to pot, add cream, and bring to boil. Season to taste; then add remaining mussels, clams, and corn together with shrimp. Serve garnished with remaining chile.

Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

2. Stuffed Poblano Chiles in Walnut Sauce

Then move on to the main course: Stuffed Poblano Chiles in Walnut Sauce. This delicious dish utilizes both nuts and chile peppers in the recipe, making it a perfect aphrodisiac meal for V-Day. Feel free to turn up the heat by adding chile pepper to the picadillo.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 large poblano chiles, roasted and peeled
  • 10 cups picadillo (see additional ingredients below)
  • 5 cups nogada/walnut sauce (see additional ingredients below)
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 3 or 4 Italian flat-leaf parsley sprigs

Picadillo (Filling):

  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 4 cups peeled and finely chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup peeled and finely chopped apple
  • ½ cup peeled and finely chopped pear
  • ½ cup peeled and finely chopped peach
  • 1 plantain, diced and deep-fried
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup almonds, slivered and blanched
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 6 pimento-stuffed green olives, shopped and pitted
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon (Mexican Canela or Ceylon variety preferred)
  • ½ tsp. ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt (or to taste)

 

Nogada (Walnut Sauce):

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups walnut pieces
  • 1 ½ cup almonds, blanched
  • ½ lb. cream cheese
  • 1 cup manufacturing cream
  • 1 cup Mexican cream or sour cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • ¼ tsp. ground Cinnamon (Mexican Canela or Ceylon variety preferred)
  • ¼ tsp. sugar (or to taste)
  • ¼ tsp. salt (or to taste)
PREPARATION:

Filling: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook onions 3 to 4 minutes, stirring, until translucent. Add garlic and ground meats and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the remaining filling ingredients and cook, stirring carefully to avoid the disintegration of the fruit, until the juices have evaporated and the mixture is nearly dry. Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Sauce: Pour water into a medium bowl. Add walnuts and soak for 2 hours to rid the nuts of their bitter tannins. Put soaked nuts in a strainer, then transfer to blender. Add almonds, cream cheese, creams, milk, sherry, cinnamon, sugar and salt and blend until smooth. Thin with water if necessary. Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Assembly: Preheat the oven to 350°. With small, sharp knife, slit each chile lengthwise, with stems intact, to within 1 inch of bottom. Carefully cut out the seed pod. Rinse the chiles under cold running water to remove remaining seeds. Pat dry with paper towels and put on plate. Grease baking sheet. Stuff each chile with about 1 cup picadillo and close to reshape. Put the stuffed chiles on the baking sheet, cut side up with some of the filling showing. Cover with a loose tent of aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes. While peppers are cooking, halve pomegranate and separate the seeds from the skin. Place the seeds in small bowl. To serve, spoon ½ cup of sauce onto each plate. Lay one stuffed chile atop sauce and scatter 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds on top. Garnish with parsley sprigs.

From Sarah Rocío Gomez, Executive Chef at Amaranta Cocina Mexicana in Los Angeles

3. Frozen Chocolate Pudding with Cashew Nuts

Finish the whole meal off with this yummy Frozen Chocolate Pudding with Cashew Nuts. This dessert covers the chocolate portion of the evening and will cool down the heat of the stuffed chiles.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup cashew nuts
  • 2 oz. semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup coffee liqueur, such as Kahlúa
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread cashews on baking sheet and bake until just golden and toasted, about 3 to 7 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop in food processor or with large knife. Set aside.

In top of double boiler over simmering (not boiling) water, stir chocolate until melted. Whisk in coffee liqueur and turn off heat, but leave double boiler on stove.

In large bowl whisk egg yolks until foamy and light yellow, then gently whisk into chocolate mixture. With electric mixer, in separate bowl whip egg whites until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Clean and dry beaters. In medium-size bowl whip cream with mixer until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. With rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture, then fold in egg whites. Finally, fold in cashews.

Divide mixture among 4 to 6 soufflé cups, ramekins, or coffee mugs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours or overnight. Serve cold. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

4. Viagra Laced Dessert

If all else fails you can always follow in the steps of the daring Colombian cooking school students who served a kinky dessert at the “Gastronomy 2009” show in Bogota. They concocted a pudding-like treat (sound familiar? hint, hint) made with passion fruit, whipped cream, chocolate and Viagra. Sebastian Gomez, a chef who worked on the recipe, said they wanted to reinterpret the blue pill as a modern day aphrodisiac. Unfortunately, the recipe was simply experimental and isn't available to the public since Viagra is a prescription drug. Well, as Argentinean President Cristina Fernández says, there's always pork...