Looking for a way to impress your Valentine? How about making a delicious, grilled three-course meal filled with foods that are scientifically proven to “enhance your chemistry.” Aphrodisiacs are foods that are meant to heighten love receptors in the brain. I’ve come up with a way to dazzle the taste buds using a few of these foods in a fabulous Valentine’s Day dinner for two. Plus, an explanation for how these foods work to intensify those loving feelings.
Valentine’s Appetizer – Oysters Rockefeller
Oysters as an Aphrodisiac:
One of the most famous aphrodisiacs is oysters. The reason this food works so well is the high levels of zinc in the bivalves. Zinc improves testosterone levels and the texture is noted to be very sensual.
In case you are still unsure of this food, Casanova, the 18th-century author known to be a hit with the ladies, used to boastfully eat 50 oysters for breakfast. Yum!
Oysters Rockefeller Recipe
- 1 Dozen Oysters – Half Shell
- 1 Tbsp Butter
- 2 Cups Finely Chopped Spinach
- 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Parsley (Mixed with spinach)
- 3 Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped
- 1 Shallot, Finely Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Cream
- 3 Slices Bacon, Cooked Crisp and Finely Chopped
- 1 Cup of Breadcrumbs or BBQ Chips – crushed
- 1 Small Lemon, Juice Squeezed Over Oysters
- 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
- 2 Lemons, Sliced into Wedges
- Rock Salt
- Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper to Taste
- 1/4 Cup Pernod (optional)
Warm up your pellet grill/smoker 10-20 minutes while you gather up your ingredients. Set your temp to medium-high heat to start.
First, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the shallot and parsley/spinach mixture and cook until wilted (about 3 minutes). Then, add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
If you’re using Pernod, now is the time to deglaze the mixture. Pour in the Pernod and simmer until reduced by half.
Add cream and simmer another 3 minutes or until the liquid coats the back of a spoon. Then, remove the creamy greens.
Off to the side, combine the breadcrumbs/BBQ chips and shredded Parmesan cheese in a small bowl.
Now, set your smoker to high heat, wait for it to warm up (shouldn’t take long since it’s already fired up). While it’s heating up, spoon 1 teaspoon of the creamy greens on each oyster followed by a spoonful of the breadcrumb/cheese mixture.
Sprinkle a baking pan with enough rock salt to coat the bottom of the pan. Arrange the oysters in the salt to steady them.
Place the baking pan directly on the grill grate and cook 10-15 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
Valentine’s Main Course – Cherry Wood-Smoked Strip Steak
Steak as an Aphrodisiac:
Steak and other protein-rich, lean red meat are great for your body and your love life. These meats boost the level of the reward hormone dopamine and norepinephrine, which increases your heart rate. According to studies by the University of Texas, both hormones are important in female arousal. The amounts of zinc help men as well. So aside from being one of the tastiest meats out there when prepared correctly, they’re also a feel-good food.
Cherry Wood-Smoked Strip Steak Recipe
- 1 Thick (2-3″) Boneless Strip Steak, Rib Steak, or Sirloin
- Kosher/Sea Salt and Cracked/Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Cherry Wood Pellets
Start by warming up your smoker for about 10-20 minutes depending on the temperature outside. Make sure your hopper is filled with cherry wood pellets. You’ll want the temperature set to 225º to 250º F.
While your smoker is heating up, season your steak thoroughly with salt and pepper. Make sure you season both sides evenly.
Then, insert a thermometer through the side, deep into the center of the steak. Place the steak on the grill, close, and smoke until the internal temperature reaches 110 F (about 45 minutes – 1 hour).
Once the steak is at the proper internal temperature, remove it from the smoker and let it rest for 10 minutes.
To finish off the steak and give it a nice sear, lightly brush or drizzle the steak with olive oil on both sides. Place it on the grate with the smoker set on medium-high heat. Remove the steak once you have a nice sear and the internal temperature reaches 120-125º F for rare, 130-135º F for medium-rare, 140-145º F for medium, and so on.
Main Course Side – Roasted Asparagus
Asparagus as an Aphrodisiac
Asparagus has been served to newlyweds since the 17th century due to its uncanny ability to “stir up the feelings of love in men and women.” The reason this green is so great for romance is that it is a great source of potassium, fiber, and multiple vitamins, and thiamin and folic acid. This combination is said to boost histamine production, which enhances positive receptors in the body.
Roasted Asparagus Recipe
- 1/2 lbs. Thick Asparagus with ends Trimmed
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Start by warming up your smoker to 425 F.
While your smoker is warming up, toss asparagus with olive oil and place them in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to your taste.
Let your asparagus cook, covered for about 10 minutes ( depending on the thickness of the asparagus).
Remove the baking sheet from the smoker and transfer the asparagus to a shallow serving plate.
Valentine’s Dessert – No-Bake Layered Chocolate Cake
Chocolate as an Aphrodisiac
Chocolate is a delicacy for the ages. In fact, the Latin name for chocolate means “food of the gods.” It contains phenylethylamine, which is similar to the love hormone. And, it releases more serotonin than a first kiss.
No-Bake Layered Chocolate Cake Recipe
- 2 Cups Milk
- 4 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
- 2 Tbsp Cold Water
- 8 oz White Chocolate or White Chocolate Chips
- 1 Pack Unflavored Gelatin
- 2 Tbsp Cold Water
- 8 oz Milk Chocolate or Milk Chocolate CHips
- 1 Pack Unflavored gelatin
- 4 Tbsp Sugar
- 8 oz Dark (70% cocoa) Chocolate or Dark Chocolate Chips
- 1 Pack Unflavored Gelatin
- 2 Tbsp Cold Water
- 1 Tbsp Dark Cocoa Powder + 1 Tbsp Sugar, (optional – to darken)
- 4 oz Melted Butter
- 24 Oreo Cookies (If using regular Oreos, scrape out the filling. If using double chocolate, you can leave the filling in)
- 2 Tbsp Sugar (Optional)
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 4 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan and heat over medium heat, until it starts to boil. When you remove it from the heat, divide the mixture into 3 equal parts. They should be about 2 cups each.
White Chocolate Layer:
In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over cold water. Let that stand for a few minutes until the gelatin expands. Then, heat it over a double boiler to liquify.
Place chocolate in a bowl and pour the Hot Liquid over it. Let that stand for 1-2 minutes and whisk to combine.
Add the gelatin and whisk to combine.
Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and pour the mixture into the pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more, until set.
Milk Chocolate Layer
Like the white chocolate layer, sprinkle the gelatin over cold water in a small bowl, and let it stand for a few minutes until gelatin expands. Then, heat over a double boiler to liquify.
Place chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot liquid over it. Let it stand for 1-2 minutes and whisk to combine.
Then, add the gelatin and whisk.
Pour the mixture into the bundt pan over the white chocolate layer. Refrigerate again for at least 30 minutes or until set.
Dark Chocolate Layer
Same as the layers before, you will sprinkle the gelatin over cold water in a small bowl, let it stand for a few, then heat over a double boiler to liquify.
Place your dark chocolate in a bowl and pour the last bit of hot liquid over it. Add sugar (optional). Then, let it stand for 1-2 minutes and whisk to combine.
Add gelatin and whisk all of it together.
Take your bundt pan out and carefully pour the dark chocolate mixture over the milk chocolate layer. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes again.
Oreo Layer/ Crust
Crush the cookies into fine crumbs or simply use a food processor. Combine with sugar and melted butter. Then, mix to combine it all together.
When the dark chocolate layer is set, add the crust layer using a spoon. Then, lightly press it over the dark chocolate layer. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes.
Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan just until lit begins to boil. As soon as it begins to boil, remove it immediately.
Place chocolate in a bowl and pour the hot cream on top. Let sit for 1 minute.
Then, using a rubber spatula, stir continuously until the mixture is smooth.
Let cool a little before using. It still needs to be thin to get the drizzling effect.
How to Serve (Getting the Cake out of the Pan)
When you’re ready to remove the cake from the pan, heat the walls by dipping in hot water for 30-60 minutes or by using a hair dryer to heat the walls of the pan.
Pour the chocolate ganache on top and add berries (optional).
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!
Whatever you end up making or doing on Valentine’s Day, it’s sure to be great if you’re with the right person. Let us know what you have planned for the big day; dinner, a movie, a trip. Tell us in the comment section below!
And, if you’re looking for more recipes, check out our recipe category!