Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s a day to celebrate love with flowers, chocolates, sentimental cards and intimate dinners. In warmer climates, the first hints of spring have sprung. I lived in California for a short time and my garden was full of daffodils in February. Here in New Hampshire, well, daffodils are still months away. Oh well, if nothing else, the cold weather encourages cuddling. And the kid with wings and bow and arrow loves cuddling couples.
Since we are dressed from head to food in layers of wool and down, an aphrodisiac, maybe two, would not be out of line. Whatever you’ve heard about rhino horns, forget it. It’s all a myth so stay away from the poor endangered rhinoceros.
Instead, indulge in any and all of the wonderful, romantic foods out there. Who cares that it is mostly legend or urban myth with maybe just the tiniest smidgeon of science? There are a number of foods revered as aphrodisiacs. At least they are on Valentine’s Day. Go for it.
Made famous by Casanova, oysters are perhaps the best-known of all the aphrodisiacs. History’s most notorious womanizer, Casanova started each day with a breakfast of fifty oysters. But that’s just the start. History, or maybe it’s legend, suggests that the Queen of Sheba used cinnamon to seduce King Solomon. Cinnamon, ginger, chilies and garlic (yes garlic, as long as you both indulge) will warm you up and add spice to your romance. Not to mention, wonderful flavor and depth to any number of dishes. With arctic winds blowing a gale, adding a bit of spicy heat to your special Valentine dinner will be especially welcome these days.
On the other hand, something luxurious can certainly spark romance. Perhaps a luscious avocado, beautiful, ripe fig or rich lobster and caviar will add intrigue and more than a hint seduction to your special dinner. Add some out-of-season cherries, always in-season whipped cream and champagne and you won’t be sure if you are in love with your date or the dinner. We’ll just assume it’s your date, helped along by the beautiful food.
Or better yet, make strawberries part of the deal. This beautiful red, heart-shape fruit with its wonderful taste, aroma and texture is the perfect love food. Not convinced? Well, take a moment to remember Richard Gere feeding Julia Roberts strawberries and champagne in Pretty Woman. Get it now? (Your morning cornflakes and strawberries will never be the same, will they?)
And don’t forget chocolate. There is loads of science explaining the passion power of chocolate. Please ignore it and let the mystery live on. Whether it’s a beautiful, heart-shaped box of chocolates or a single, scrumptious truffle, nothing says love and Valentine’s Day like chocolate.
So, what are your plans this Valentine’s Day? Will you cuddle by a fire in a cozy country inn? Maybe you’ll take your sweetie uptown for a spectacular view from the top floor of a big city hotel? Then again, there’s nothing like an intimate evening at home. Whatever you do, it is the perfect night for a romantic dinner. Include lots of beautiful dishes (and at least one or two aphrodisiacs), don’t forget the champagne and let the sparks fly.
Happy Valentine’s Day and bon appétit!
1 tablespoon butter
1 leek, white and tender green parts, finely chopped
1 scant teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup dry white wine
1-2 tablespoons Pernod
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
1/4 cup heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1-2 lobsters, cooked, the meat removed and cut into bite-sized pieces – about 8 ounces lobster meat
4 ounces capellini
1-2 tablespoons caviar
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the leek, season with salt and pepper and, stirring occasionally, cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in the wine and Pernod and simmer until reduced by 3/4. Stir in the cream, cover and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the tarragon and cover to keep warm.
Add the pasta, 2-3 tablespoons pasta water and lobster to the saucepan with the leeks and toss to combine. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 minute.
To serve: divide the pasta and lobster into 2 shallow bowls and garnish with caviar and grated lemon zest.
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Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!
Do you have plans for Valentine’s Day? Feel free to share – let’s get a conversation going.
Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2015