It's that time of year again, when bottles be popping and oysters be shucking...little red bags filled with little pink things and chocolate covered everything.
Whether you like to dine out or cook dinner at home, snuggle with your furry companion, significant other, or best friend, Valentine’s Day is a perfect excuse to eat good food...especially if it is the stimulating kind.
So what exactly is an aphrodisiac and what foods possess these qualities?
An aphrodisiac is a food that sparks arousal and has a stimulating effect on the consumer. Although research is variable, here are a few of the top aphrodisiac foods and what potentially causes the added "benefits".
Oysters- Slippery, slimy, and cold, these mollusks don't seem that sexy, yet oysters are loaded with zinc, a mineral essential for sexual maturation and function.
Bananas- Phallic shape aside, bananas are loaded with muscle fueling potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral that helps to maintain fluid and mineral balance and regulates blood pressure. Bananas will provide you with energy and stamina for whatever type of physical activity you opt for.
Almonds- Loaded with vitamin E, fiber, and magnesium to provide you with optimal nutrition and endurance. Almonds have long been regarded as a symbol of fertility and well-being.
Dark Chocolate- The higher the cacao content the better. Cacao is loaded with magnesium, zinc, and calcium. Check out my Superfood Post for a comprehensive explanation of this wonder bean. Cacao and dark chocolate contain serotonin and the precursors to serotonin, which enhance and stimulate the mind, taking you to your happy place.
Chili Peppers- If it’s too hot, you may shed a tear or need a tissue to mop up your runny nose and sweaty palms, but chili peppers induce endorphins which can lead to feelings of euphoria.
For a special, stimulating Valentine’s Day dessert, I developed a recipe which includes a majority of the aphrodisiacs mentioned above. So treat yourself and someone special to this guilt-free dessert.
Cinnamon Banana Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce and Maple Chipotle Nuts
This recipe is vegan, gluten and dairy-free
Banana Cinnamon “Ice Cream”
- 3 frozen bananas
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
(Take very ripe bananas, the more ripe the sweeter your “ice cream”, slice, and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours)
Mix ingredients, in a high-speed blender until cohesive and smooth. If you do not plan on eating the “ice cream” right away, place back in freezer. Tiny crystals may form if you refreeze.
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tsp maple syrup
Whisk ingredients together until uniform
Maple Chipotle Nuts:
Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, plus additional to brush the pan
- 1/2 cup whole unsalted almonds
- 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
- 1 tsp chipotle powder
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Sea salt
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Brush a parchment paper-lined sheet pan generously with coconut oil. Combine the nuts, 1 tbsp coconut oil, maple syrup, and chipotle powder in a bowl toss to coat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, and toss again.
Spread the nuts in one layer. Roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring twice with a large metal spatula, until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. Be careful, the nuts burn easily! Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a pinch more salt. Toss well and set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking as they cool. Chop or serve whole.
This will make more nuts than you need for the dessert. You can thank me later.
To assemble, scoop ice cream into two bowls, drizzle with chocolate sauce, and top with whole or chopped almonds.
Happy V-Day Radish Heads. I hope it is a stimulating holiday!