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by Chef Todd Mohr
It’s easy for me to share 10 romantic dinner ideas with you, because I cook this way almost every night. I only cook what I’m inspired to create, and my wife, Heather has always been the muse behind my creativity, from culinary college until today.
The most romantic meals have three elements; they are visually appealing, they are pleasing to the palate, and they include aphrodisiac ingredients for their effects, or just for conversation value.
For centuries, many foods have been associated with aphrodisiac qualities. Can certain foods actually excite you more than others? Perhaps there’s more myth than medicine behind most of these stories, but other foods have been proven to have biological reactions similar to being in love.
Here’s my top 10 romantic dinner ideas and why they made the list:
1) Raw (or almost raw) Fish – Seared Ahi Tuna with Steamed Asparagus and Jasmine Rice – Raw fish can contain high levels of iron, perfect for testosterone production. Plus, Asparagus is packed with potassium, calcium, and Vitamin E, giving strength and stamina to the body. Plus, asparagus looks sexual. I’ll leave it at that.
2) Black Beans – Sautéed Grouper, Black Beans with Goat Cheese, Sautéed Green Beans with Red Peppers – Black beans were outlawed by the Catholic Church in the 15th century because they were too nubile, too reminiscent of a fetus, and thus would excite passions and create sin. Black beans are high in protein and are said to increase fertility.
3) Oysters and Clams – Baked Clams or Oysters Casino – Shellfish have long been associated with fertility, and oysters a particular favorite of legendary lovers like Cassanova. Modern science tells us that oysters, clams, mussels and other bi-valves are loaded with zinc, key to performance for both sexes.
4) Scallops – Poached Scallops over Brown Rice – Oysters have gotten most of the lore and fame of aphrodisiac qualities that remain today. However, Scallops were thought the most potent fertility food even before oysters. The scallop shell became the symbol of fertility to medieval Christians. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess, as well as Venus, the Roman goddess of fertility and love are both associated with scallop shells through timeless artwork.
5) Herbs and Seasonings – Fresh Tomato Pie with Basil Chiffonade – Herbs and spices have always been rare and expensive, until modern day. Most explorers of centuries past were in search of herbs and spices. The more rare the item, the more lore and myth that surrounds it. However, fresh herbs release intoxicating aromas that awaken many senses beyond taste.
6) Eggs – Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise – Eggs ARE the symbol of birth. It’s just about the only embryo we actually eat. It’s not surprising that they’ve long been associated with passion and fertility, as it was thought raw eggs consumed before consummation increased sexual vigor and fertility. Today, it’s known that the high quality protein found in eggs metabolize quickly in the body and aid in cell structure.
Plus, if you make Eggs Benedict for a loved one, I guarantee positive results!
7) Avocado – Poached Salmon with Angel Hair Pasta and Guacamole – The aphrodisiac lore behind avocados comes from its appearance. At the same time, they were seen as resembling a testicle by the Aztecs, and thought to be too suggestive of the curves of a woman to many other ancient cultures. The truth is that avocados have the highest level of protein you can find in a plant. Only animal proteins are greater.
8) Shrimp and Shellfish – Shrimp Cocktail with Fancy Sauces- One of the simplest meals to assemble, but the most effect from a romantic dinner idea standpoint, simple steamed shrimp can be one of the easiest and best meals. Lobster, crabs, shrimp and other shellfish are high in iron and essential fatty acids that are said to improve performance. An array of dipping sauces will give you a wide variety of exciting flavors, and an opportunity to share.
9) Hot Peppers – Hot Wings with Fresh Cut Fries Capsaicin, the heat in hot peppers, increases heart rate, dilates blood vessels, and deepens breathing. Eat some hot wings, or Indian Food, and your body will react as if you’re in love.
10) Strawberries – Chocolate Covered Strawberries or Strawberry Crepes – Strawberries ARE the signal of Spring all over the world. They arrive when all the birds are singing, and the bees are gathering honey. The heart shape and sweet red juice of strawberries have given them special place in aphrodisiac lore. Combining strawberries and cream or chocolate gives you two elements to excite. If you feed strawberries to your loved one, then you’re using them to their full effect.
To enjoy the great flavor and romantic qualities of chocolate, you don’t have to wait for dessert. Adding Chocolate Chip Pancakes or Chocolate Scones to breakfast, Cocoa Mole Chicken BLT at lunch, and Mole Pesto Shrimp for dinner will enable you to have Chocolate at Every Meal.
Just because my wife supported me through culinary school so I could follow my passion doesn’t mean I owe her a lifetime of dinners. She may think so, but she doesn’t realize that learning to cook is not only a way to enjoy my passion, but it’s a way to express passion as well.
I’m excited to create new meals using aphrodisiac foods. You don’t need to be a professional chef to prepare a meal for the one you love. You don’t need to be Cassanova to be romantic. You just need some romantic dinner ideas and the rest will follow.