I read an alluring post on Saveur.com that is just in time for Valentine's Day. It's a slideshow on foods from around the globe that are thought to be aphrodisiacs. Some of them are universal: chocolate, oysters, and chillies. Others, while well known by the ancients, were new to me: anise, saffron, basil, nutmeg, honey, avocado and truffles. It's definitely worth a look-- the photos are luscious, the recommendations enticing, and there is a fabulous recipe included for each aphrodisiac. It might give you some ideas. And if know of others, feel free to share!
I thought this would be a perfect time to repost an aphrodisiac recipe of my own. This is a less common variation of the classic Greek yogurt dip called tzatziki, this time made with beets. Beets have been considered aphrodisiacs since the time of the ancient Romans and Greeks. This recipe will invigorate your senses, at least with its vibrant hue and zesty garlic flavor. (I make no other promises.) It can be eaten as a salad, as a dip served with fresh pita or pita chips, or as a condiment to complement kebabs and other grilled meats.
Enjoy, and Happy Valentine’s Day!
* * *
1 pound beets
3 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups thick Greek style yogurt
Black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill or mint, or a combination
1. Remove greens from beets, and wash and dry unpeeled beets.
2. Wrap each beet root in foil, making individual packets. Make sure to leave a little room around each beet and then seal tightly, so that they can steam inside their foil wrappers.
3. Place wrapped beets on a baking sheet in a 400 oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until just tender. (Check for tenderness with a fork. For this recipe, you do not want beets to be too soft or else they will not keep their texture when grated.) Allow to cool for about an hour.
4. Peel cooled, roasted beets. The skins should slip off easily by rubbing with your fingers.
5. Grate the peeled, roasted beets with the large holes of a box grater. Set aside.
6. Mash the garlic with the salt in a mortar and pestle. Add the lemon juice, and let stand for 10 minutes.
7. Stir garlic-lemon mixture into the yogurt.
8. Add black pepper to taste, and adjust salt.
9. Stir in the beets and the dill and/or mint.
Yield: 2 cups.
© 2010-11 Linda Shiue