PROVOCATIVE PANTRY INGREDIENTS

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Say bye-bye Spanish Fly and hello to hormone boosting foods that get your blood pumping.  Why wait for Valentine’s Day to add sizzle and sass to your saucepans.   Beyond strawberries or hot chiles, heat things up with tantalizing must-have foods, botanicals and potions (all the good stuff) that ignite the body, mind and soul connection.  Afterall, isn’t the quickest way to the heart through the stomach?

Here are a few of my favorite kiss-worthy ingredients complete with their blossoming persuasive powers and sultry recipes:

  • Arugula
  • Ginger Root
  • Oysters, Mussels and Clams
  • Walnuts
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Champagne

Arugula

Arugula (rocket) with its peppery fresh taste stimulates more than just taste buds!  Full of both vitamin K and B9, properties important in the production of red blood cells and nervous system functions, arugula was linked to Priapus, god of lust and fertility, in ancient times.

PEACH, PANCETTA AND ARUGULA SALAD
Prepared in 40 minutes or less.

1 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp sea salt
3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
4 firm-ripe peaches
24 thin slices pancetta
2 tbs olive oil
6 cups baby arugula
½ cup finely crumbled ricotta salata
Fresh coarsely ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together vinegar, juice and salt, then add extra-virgin oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified.

Cut an X in bottom of each peach and immerse in boiling water 15 seconds, then transfer to a bowl of ice water.

Peel peaches and cut each into 6 wedges, then unroll pancetta slices and wrap one slice around each wedge, overlapping ends of pancetta.

In a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat, add remaining oil until hot but not smoking.  Cook peaches in 2 batches, turning over occasionally with tongs, until pancetta is browned on all sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate and keep warm, covered loosely with foil.

Divide arugula and warm pancetta-wrapped peaches among 4 plates. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with ricotta salata and pepper. Serve immediately.  Serves 4.

Ginger

Fresh ginger root, a botanical aphrodisiac in use in China for thousands of years, is one of the most sexually stimulating foods.  It contains two important elements (zingiberene and gingerol) that cause increased blood flow below by expanding blood vessels.  Aromas of grated ginger in your favorite Asian stir-fry or homemade carrot soup promise to entice all year long.

STEAMY HOT GINGERED CARROT SOUP
Prepared in 25 minutes or less.

1 tbs olive oil
6 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
3 tbs chopped celery leaves
2 cups room temperature filtered water
2 cups vegetable stock
1 slice whole bread torn into pieces
¼ cup nonfat evaporated milk
½ cup scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbs fresh grated ginger

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the carrots, onion, celery and celery leaves.  Saute for 5 minutes.

Stir in the water, vegetable stock and bread pieces.  Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until carrots are tender.

Transfer soup to a food processor and puree until smooth.  Return soup to the saucepan and gently stir in the nonfat evaporated milk and scallions.  Reheat for a moment over low heat and stir in grated ginger.

Ladle into individual mugs for a saucy starter.  Serves 4-6.

Oysters, Mussels and Clams

These delicious shellfish hold amino acids and high levels of zinc that help release powerful hormones including estrogen and testosterone!

LINGUINE WITH VONGOLE, (CLAMS)
Prepared in 25 minutes or less.

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp red pepper flakes
½ cup dry white wine
1 lbs linguine
1 lbs fresh Vongole, Italian for clams
3 tbs parsley, chopped
1 lemon, seeded and cut into 4 wedges
Sprinkle chopped chives atop pasta before serving
Salt and fresh pepper to taste

Bring six quarts of unsalted water to boil.  In a large pan on high heat, add oil.  Add garlic, and red pepper flakes until the garlic is slightly toasted.  Add the white wine, lemon wedges and season generously with salt and fresh pepper.

Rinse fresh clams in cold water then add to large pan.

Cover and allow heat and oil to steam them open approx 5-7 minutes.  Add chopped parsley and remove from heat.

Cook linguine pasta according to package until al dente.  Drain linguine in a colander reserving a cup of the hot pasta water.  Add linguine to pan with clams and a touch of the hot pasta water then toss over high heat for a minute.

Drizzle with olive oil then divide among four pasta bowls.  Garnish with chopped parsley.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4.

Walnuts

Packed with essential fatty acids including omega-3 and omega-6 (major building blocks of all sex hormones) and protective anti-oxidants, walnuts reduce your risk of heart attack, diabetes and even lower cholesterol. **The Romans thought walnuts to be a natural sex medicine, enhancing desire and fertility.

Dark Chocolate

Gooey and decadent, dark chocolate is a sensual sure thing!  According to research in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, phenylethylamine (a compound in dark chocolate) releases the same feel-good endorphins triggered by sex.  Chocolate also provides small amounts of anxiety-quelling tryptophan and arousing caffeine.

FIRED-UP BACI BROWNIES
Prepared in 35 minutes or less.

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
6 oz Vosges Red Fire Exotic Dark Chocolate Bar, melted
¼ cup Hershey’s chocolate syrup
½ cup unbleached baking flour, unsifted
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
2 eggs, well-beaten
1 cup finely chopped or ground walnuts or hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter and dust with flour an 8-inch square baking dish.  Set aside.  In a mixing bowl, sift together the sugar, flour, salt and set aside.  In a small saucepan, melt chocolate pieces on low heat.  Stir constantly.  Add syrup and stir well.  Remove from heat and stir in butter.  Add vanilla and eggs; mix thoroughly.

Add this to the chocolate mixture then stir in chopped nuts.  Mix well with a spatula.  Add chocolate mixture to dry ingredients and incorporate well with a spatula.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.  Cook for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow brownies to cool completely.  Cut into inch squares.  Brownies can be stored for a week in an airtight container.

Champagne

The bubbly is perfect for setting the mood with its happy carbonation that helps keep your arteries open and blood flowing.  Practice safe sipping as noted in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “It provoketh desire, but takes away the performance.”

PEACH BELLALLINI
2 tbs fresh puréed fresh peach or fresh apricot
1 tsp peach Schnapps
½ tsp fresh lemon juice
Chilled dry Champagne
Maraschino cherries

In a food processor, purée one peach or apricot.  Place peach or apricot purée and schnapps in a Champagne glass.  Fill with Champagne and stir.  Garnish with Maraschino cherries.

PROSECCO PARTY GRAPES
Prepared in 5 minutes or less plus marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

2 lbs red seedless grapes, rinsed
3 cups Prosecco, Champagne or other sparkling wine
¼ cup sugar
1 tbs grated lemon zest
1 tbs grated orange zest
2 tbs superfine sugar
Handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped for garnish
Rinse the grape bunches then pat dry. Cut them into smaller clusters of 4 grapes each.

In a large bowl with a tightly fitted lid, pour Champagne.  Add ¼ cup sugar, lemon and orange zest and gently stir until sugar is completely dissolved.

Add the grape clusters, cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Before serving, drain grapes and gently pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle with superfine sugar and chopped mint leaves. Pile grapes and fresh figs into pretty serving bowls and savor their flavor one nibble at a time.

 

 

 

 

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