Friday, February 12, 2010

Aphrodisiacs for Lunch? It's Gettin' Hot in Here: Let's Lunch Bunch

Is there any doubt that food and sexuality are partners in life? One viewing of the movie, THE BIG NIGHT, would convince you of that. For this month’s Let’s Lunch Bunch, our theme is APHRODISIACS. Being a lover of variety, mood and narrative, I used several acclaimed Aphrodisiacs, including LOCATION.

When thinking about Aphrodisiacs, the first thing that popped up in my mind was CHOCOLATE (maybe not the first thought, but the first “food” thought.) Since chocolate is a daily addiction of mine, I wanted to go a little further. I considered OYSTERS. If I’m honest, I only considered them for a moment. Then I did a little research into the history, medical and fantasy background of Aphrodisiacs. It seems the reoccurring theme with a lot of the recipes that purported to have success read a lot like this: A little of this, a little of that, then…POUR IN THE TEQUILA. The more medically inclined articles listed herbs and barks, and VIAGRA. Since some of those were a little harder to find and even harder to turn into enticing pictures (no offense to the charming Viagra commercials), I continued my journey. Another route for “aphrodisiacs in food” seemed to be the shape, and the psychological suggestion that if we SEE something, that LOOKS even a little bit like a sexual organ, it stimulates our desire to…to…engage with such (just trying to keep it clean, folks.) Therefore: asparagus, bananas, peaches, long twisty sweet…uh..Licorice sticks were included. Lastly, there were opinions that the only real honest aphrodisiacs come in the form of foods that increase our health, immunity and well-being. Nutritious energizers like: almonds, green tea, quinoa, and bananas (aren’t they popular?).
I can understand the logic regarding the “healthy” tantalizers. I mean, if you don’t feel good or have the energy to even stay awake, how are you going to do much else, right? Thus, the “yes, if you don’t mind that I just lay here” kinda evenings. You know what I’m talking about, Ladies.

With all these thoughts and imaginations stirring inside me, I figured why not a whole mixed tray of healthy, inhibition lifting and visually stimulating food?
And while we’re at it, let’s just save time (it’s lunch hours, remember) and take it to the bedroom. My real advice: make these nibbles the night before, either stay in bed all morning or meet your “intended” at home for a delicious surprise lunch meeting. Cheeses: Your choice, but here I have a Mimolet and a Compte.
Banana Chips: Slice Banana onto a sprayed pan, heat for about 2 hours at 200F. Turn once or twice during the drying heat.
Matcha Green Tea Almonds:
1 egg white (beaten til frothy),
1 cup of almonds,
1 tsp. Matcha Green tea powder, 1 Tbls. sugar.
Whisk the egg white in a small bowl. Add the almonds in and coat thoroughly. Mix the Matcha and sugar together and sprinkle over the almonds. Toss to coat. Spread the almonds out in a single layer on a sheet pan. Bake on 200 for 40 minutes. Turn over half way through.

Buttermilk Fried Shallot Rings

1 small Shallot (peeled and sliced into thin rings)
1 cup Buttermilk
¼ cup flour
salt/pepper to taste

Separate the Shallot rings and soak them in a cup of Buttermilk for at least 30 minutes. Drain and toss in salt and pepper seasoned flour. Using tongs will help the rings stay separate and not clumped together.
In a deep saucepan, bring vegetable oil to 325F and fry small batches of shallots at a time til lightly browned. Drain on Paper towels before plating.

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
1 bunch Asparagus, trimmed and cleaned
6 slices of prosciutto, cut length wise to make 12 long strips
Olive oil, salt, pepper

Toss the Asparagus in a bit of Olive oil just to coat, then wrap a piece of prosciutto around the bottom third of each stem. Sprinkle with pepper and salt to taste, but remember that prosciutto is already a bit salty.

On a sheet pan, place the Asparagus with the loose end of prosciutto facing down. Bake in oven at 375F for about 12 minutes. Turn at least once during cooking.

Creamy Mints
4 oz. Cream Cheese softened
3 cups of Confectionary Sugar (sifted) (you may need more or less depending on moisture)
1 Tsp. Peppermint Extract
Drop of red or pink food coloring

In a mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese til smooth and soft. Gradually add the Confectionary sugar a little at a time until a dough is formed. Remove and knead a drop of food coloring in if desired, and also knead in the remainder sugar until a very stiff dough is formed. Roll out on Confectionary sugar sprinkled parchment to ½ inch thick. Cut out using tiny garnish shapes or designs of your choosing. Leave for 24 hours at room temp to dry and harden over just a bit. These can also be frozen for later.Chocolate Hearts w/ Candied Ginger
2 oz. of 70% Chocolate
1 cube of candied ginger minced

Melt chocolate slowly in a microwave or over a double boiler. Spoon out round dollops onto a parchment cover sheet pan or silpat. Drop a couple tiny pieces of ginger onto the chocolate. Using a toothpick or skewer, drag the tip from just above the round dollop, through the center and out the bottom. Lift the skewer. As the melted chocolate moves back together just a bit, this should leave a heart-shape with a quill-like tail. Chill for just a few minutes to set the chocolate, and then remove from the pan.

Happy Valentine's Day and I hope everyday is an aphrodisiac for you!


ATigerInTheKitchen said...

What a great -- and very sexy -- idea!! Love the pictures too...this is making me hungry. Rowr...

Cowgirl Chef said...

I love the idea of the buttermilk-fried shallots -- because why not get some sizzling snacks in the bedroom, eh? Great idea, all of it. Thanks for a wonderful VDay post, Cathy!

Khali//Bandit and the Scene Stealers said...

Very sexy and very yummy! Love the photos too. what a story. hahaha