Mouthwatering
Mood Foods

Creating a magical mood for Valentine's Day can be as easy as cooking dinner for your loved one, if you're mixing the right ingredients for romance. Aphrodisiacs have existed for centuries with questionable reputation, but studies have proven that many foods do have chemical components that elevate mood, and even create the sensation of falling in love. Warm up your Valentine's Day, or get wildly carried away, by serving these amorous foods that are packed with the punch of mood-enhancing ingredients.

Wild Mushroom Pasta

Shellfish is a sure-fire food of love

Shellfish like scallops or oysters have a high dose of zinc, an essential good mood nutrient, which triggers the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. Zinc is also a key ingredient for testosterone production, heightening sexual performance in both genders.

Oysters with Apple Mignonette

Serves 2

Ingredients:
12 medium oysters, your choice of variety
1/2 cup apple cider
3 tablespoons finely chopped tart apple, such as Granny Smith or Pippen
2 tablespoons finely chopped red pepper
1 whole shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Coarsely ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Clean the oysters. Combine oysters and apple cider in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Steam oysters, covered, over moderately high heat until they just open, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate after oysters have opened, reserve steaming liquid, and discard any unopened oysters. Chill oysters until cool, about 30 minutes.

2. While oysters are chilling, pour oyster steaming liquid though a paper towel-lined sieve into a bowl to remove any grit. Stir 2 tablespoons strained liquid together with remaining ingredients and salt to taste. Discard remaining strained liquid.

3. Remove flat half of oyster shell and loosen oyster with a sharp knife. Put oysters in rounded half of shell. Arrange on plates and spoon sauce over oysters.


Pasta can make you crave love

Pasta cravings may be a subconscious attempt to raise serotonin levels. Serotonin is the brain chemical, responsible for happy moods, sleep and appetite control. Eating pasta gives the brain a sense of well being, a definite lift in feeling romantic.

Wild Wild Mushroom Pasta

Serves 2

Along with their alluring earthy sensuality, mushrooms contain phosphorus and potassium, both said to invigorate the libido.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 pound mixed wild mushrooms (shiitake, portobello, oyster, and chanterelle) cleaned, stemmed, and thickly sliced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup coarsely chopped basil
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
1. In a large deep skillet, melt butter in heated olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden. Add the mushrooms, fennel seeds, rosemary and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are tender, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but firm to the bite; drain well. Add the pasta to the mushrooms, adding the basil and cheese. Mound onto two plates and serve immediately, offering additional Parmesan if desired.


Get lusty with legumes

Legumes such as garbanzo beans, black beans and lentils are great sources for vitamin B6, vitamin C, folic acid (folate) and zinc, all beneficial to an upbeat mood.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 (12-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained
1 head roasted garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
Squeeze the roasted garlic from each individual clove. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Serve at room temperature with raw vegetables like carrots and celery, rolled up in a raddichio cup, or with pita bread.


Lift your libido with nuts

Nuts provide a high dose of vitamin E, as well as being rich in iron magnesium and zinc. Tossing a small handful of pine nuts, walnuts or almonds into a salad adds an easy elegance that will also provide a boost to the libido.

Sauteed Spinach with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

Serves 2

Rich in vitamins and minerals, spinach strengthens the body. The addition of golden raisins and toasted pine nuts fills the spirit with the longing to make love.

Ingredients:
3 ounces spinach, washed and trimmed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
In a medium skillet, heat olive oil to a sizzle over a medium flame. Add spinach, tossing quickly. When spinach is wilted, add raisins, pine nuts, salt and pepper, tossing to heat. Serve immediately.


Chocolate is the ultimate food of love

Chocolate carries a romantic association to all lovers, perhaps because of the effects on the brain of a naturally occurring substance called phenylethylamine PEA. PEA can enhance endorphin levels, increase libido and act as a natural antidepressant.

Seductive Chocolate Souffles

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1/4 cup sugar plus additional for coating gratin dishes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1/4 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped fine
1 large egg yolk
1 large egg white

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter two 3/4-cup gratin dishes and coat with additional sugar, shaking out excess.

2. In a small bowl blend together 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, butter, and a pinch salt until mixture forms into small pellets.

3. In a small saucepan, bring milk to a boil and whisk in flour mixture and chocolate. Cook mixture over moderate heat, whisking until thickened, about 15 seconds and cool 30 seconds.

4. In a bowl, whisk yolk lightly and whisk into chocolate mixture. In another bowl, whisk whites with a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, a little at a time, until meringue holds stiff peaks. Fold in remaining meringue gently but thoroughly.

5. Divide souffle batter between gratin dishes and put on a baking sheet. Bake chocolate souffl�s in middle of oven for 15 minutes or until puffed. Serve immediately.

More mood food for Valentine's Day

Hot and healthy Valentine's Day menu
Valentine's Day dinner for two
Valentine's Day foods to get in the mood

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