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Ingredients to heat up the kitchen
By CAROLYN McTIGHE, Special to QMI Agency
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The Aztecs referred to chocolate as the "nourishment of the Gods", and strawberries were thought to increase feelings of love among the Romans.


    In ancient times, aphrodisiacs were sought out as means of not only increasing sexual drive, but also fertility. According to the Cambridge World History of Food, among the ancients favourites were carrots, deer antler, anise seed, basil, gladiolus root, and turnips. Stories of these foods stirring up amorous feelings among our ancestors is the reason why many of these foods are still considered aphrodisiacs today.

    "Love foods" such as chocolate and oysters have been written about for years, but there are a few hidden aphrodisiacs on the market that you might not be aware of. So if you're looking to add a little spice to your love life this Valentine's Day, you might want to make a trip to your local grocery store to pick up the ingredients for a sumptuous and arousing meal.

    ROMANTIC BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE SALAD

    Arugula - these tasty and spicy greens have been warming hearts since the first century AD. Though it is unclear what makes it a "love food", arugula is still considered to be a potent love drug.

    Almonds - these little nuts have long been thought to increase a woman's fertility, as well as bring on passion.


    Tomatoes - once called the "love apple", tomatoes are thought to stir up feelings of lust in anyone who eats them.

    Mix these three ingredients together and then toss in a simple dressing of 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of oil, 2 tsp. Dijon mustard (which is noted for its desire-inducing qualities) and a pinch of Italian seasoning.

    STUFFED FIGS

    Figs - a sweet fruit that is thought to stimulant sensuality.

    Walnuts - these bitter nuts were eaten by the Romans to help increase blood circulation throughout the body.

    Take four slices of pancetta or bacon and cook it in a skillet. When browned, crumble the bacon into a bowl with 1/2 cup cream cheese, 1 tbsp of chopped chives, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and then stuff mixture into four vertically sliced figs.

    HONEY GLAZED SALMON

    Honey - in ancient Egypt, honey was used to cure sterility and impotence. In Medieval times, lovers drank Mead, a fermented drink made from honey, which was thought to sweeten a marriage, hence the term "honeymoon."

    Salmon - packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which keep sex hormone production at its highest.

    Basil - a potent spice that increases fertility and increases sex drive.

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom of a frying pan in olive oil and place salmon in skin-side down. Make sure the top of the salmon is dry and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle the top of the fish with honey until evenly coated, then sprinkle 2 tsp of chopped basil over the top. Bake for 15 minutes, or until it is done.

    CHOCOLATE COVERED STRAWBERRIES

    Chocolate - the Aztecs referred to chocolate as the "nourishment of the Gods". This sweet treat is thought to release certain chemicals in our bodies that mirror the feelings we have when we fall in love.

    Strawberries - this fruit was thought to increase feelings of love among the Romans and was a symbol of the Goddess of Love, Venus. Legend says that if you break a strawberry in half and share it with a member of the opposite sex, you will soon fall in love with one another.

    Melt 6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate in a saucepan over a water bath or in a microwave oven, making sure to watch that it doesn't burn. Once melted, dip washed strawberries into the chocolate by holding onto the stem. Place dipped berries on parchment or wax paper to harden.

    Recipes are courtesy of InterCourse:An Aphrodisiac Cookbook by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockeridge and FoodNetwork.com

    This story was posted on Wed, February 9, 2011

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