Makes 8 servings (but you only need 2)
Hot and spicy nuts are the perfect pre-meal nibbler to whet the appetite for a romantic dinner and dessert.
2 cups large pecan halves -- raw from your local natural food store
1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
Several dashes hot pepper seasoning (try Cholula's hot sauce, imported from Mexico)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter in microwave. Spread pecans in shallow pan or rimmed cookie sheet. Pour melted butter over pecans and stir to coat.
2. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring several times. Be sure not to overcook. Cooking is all about tastes and smells; use your senses to tell you when they are done!
3. Remove from oven and sprinkle with soy sauce and hot pepper seasoning. Use a broad spatula to turn and coat pecans. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Finish cooling on double thickness of paper towels.
Seductively savor this thick and hearty soup, rich in beta-carotene and garlic - a reputed aphrodisiac.
10 medium-sized carrots
2 medium-sized parsnips
1 red onion, peeled, chopped
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt
5 to 6 grinds of black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel carrots and parsnips and cut into 1-inch discs. Place in baking dish along with onion, garlic, oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Toss to combine and roast for 75 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Transfer vegetables to a blender with broth and blend until smooth. Pour into soup pot and gently bring to a boil. Serve warm with a slice of whole-wheat bread and a chunk of cheese on the side.
3 tablespoons flour
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tilapia fillets
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup corn kernels
2 tablespoons capers
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tomato, diced
1. Mix flour with a pinch of salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized saute pan over medium-high heat. Dust tilapia with flour mixture.
2. Cook fish in saute pan for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to serving plates and tent with foil to keep warm.
3. Add corn and capers to saute pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomato. Spoon sauce over fish and serve.
10 ounces frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed
1 tablespoon orange liqueur or orange juice
Juice of half a lime
1/2 cup frozen or fresh whole raspberries (thawed, if frozen)
1. Place 10 ounces frozen raspberries, orange liqueur or juice, lime juice and fresh raspberries in a blender and puree.
2. Strain sauce through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Smear some raspberry coulis (your fruit sauce) across two dessert plates. Drizzle with chocolate syrup.
3. Set a slice of sponge cake on each and artfully decorate with additional raspberry coulis and chocolate syrup. Then seductively feed eachother with your fingers!
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