Date Night: Cooking Up Love
Wanna spice up your next date night?
A neighbor recently lent me a book called “InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cook Book.” At first, I worried that perhaps my husband and I were looking a bit peaky lately, but as I flipped through, I could see why she thought it would be fun. The book is full of luscious photography, flirty ideas (like bustling about the kitchen in a little skirt of blanched asparagus rigged up with fishing line), and simple, delectable recipes. I showed my husband the list of aphrodisiac foods, which includes chocolate, coffee, strawberries, chili peppers, avocados, black beans, and honey. He slyly remarked, “Hey, you like all of these!”
While buzz-killing scientific experts assure us that the power of aphrodisiacs is probably more legend than reality, I think setting the mood with special food will make anyone feel more frisky. Consider invigorating your next at-home date night with tantalizing new flavors, flickering candles, and a champagne toast. Or, plan a romantic breakfast date instead–you’ll have more energy and you can enjoy a lighter meal before the…er…festivities. Here are two tasty, aphrodisiac-filled recipes to get you started!
Honey has been linked with love for thousands of years. The modern “honeymoon” concept stems from an ancient tradition in which couples went into seclusion and drank a honey concoction until the first new moon of their marriage. You and your honey can join the fun by preparing this dish the night before and waking up to a delicious breakfast.
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 thick slices French bread
- 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
Method: Combine the eggs, half-and-half, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Pour half the mixture into a baking dish. Place the bread slices in the pan and top with other half of egg mixture. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
In the morning, melt the butter in a 9×13-inch baking dish and stir in the brown sugar, honey, maple syrup and pecans. Add the soaked bread slices. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.
Black beans are a lesser-known aphrodisiac, but they worried St. Jerome, a father of the Latin Church around 400 A.D. so much that he forbade his celibate nuns from tempting themselves with these midnight-hued pellets of love. Chili peppers will heat you up, get the blood flowing, maybe even trigger a bit of sweat. And the bacon…well, it’s not an aphrodisiac but it’s love-ably delicious! I’ve amended this recipe to make it a bit healthier, spicier, and more veggie-laden. You can make it fully vegetarian if you want–just replace the meat with 1 cup grilled corn or pineapple and 1/2 cup grilled red onions. If you want to reduce the heat, skip the chili peppers.
- 2 slices bacon
- 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1.5 cups salsa, divided
- 1 15 oz can low-sodium black beans, undrained
- 2 large bell peppers, chopped
- 1 large Anaheim chili pepper, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 cup slices scallions
- Pepper to taste
- 6 flour tortillas
- 3/4 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Method: Preheat oven to 350° F. Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Drain over paper towels, then crumble. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings and saute the chicken and garlic until golden, about 4 minutes. Add cumin and chili powder and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add diced peppers and stir fry on medium-high for 2 minutes. Then pour in 1/4 cup of salsa and the can of beans. Season with pepper to taste and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, until sauce has thickened. Turn off heat and stir in the bacon crumbles and green onions.
Spoon the bean mixture down the center of each tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, and roll up. Place enchilada seam-side down in a 9×9 inch baking dish. (You can prepare the enchiladas up to this point and refrigerate until ready to bake.) Pour remaining salsa over the top and bake for 15 minutes. Top with remaining cheese (about 1/4 cup) and bake for 5 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbly. Serve with chopped cilantro and sour cream, if desired. And a glass of white wine never hurts!