Four Red-Hot Recipes From An Aphrodisiac Cookbook

Four Red-Hot Recipes From An Aphrodisiac Cookbook

Recipes from The New InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook.

Recipes courtesy of The New InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge.

Steamed Artichoke Leaves with Green Goddess Dressing

Yields 2 servings

2 artichokes
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons buttermilk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Zest of half a lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 tablespoon minced chives
1 teaspoon minced parsley

Trim off the stem so that the artichoke will sit flat on a plate. Snap off the really tough outer leaves around the base, if you like. Trim off the top third of each artichoke with a sharp knife. Wash the artichokes well, spreading the leaves slightly so the water can run through. Turn upside down and shake well.

Place the artichokes in a large, microwave-safe bowl and fill with about 1 inch of water. Cover and microwave about 6 to 8 minutes, and then let sit for another 10 minutes, still covered. Pull out a leaf. Taste it. If it pulls out easily and tastes soft, then it’s done. If not, microwave the artichokes for a few more minutes.

While the artichokes are steaming, prepare the green goddess dressing. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Place the steamed artichokes on a plate or in a bowl. Hot, room temperature, or chilled artichokes — all will taste divine. Spread apart the center leaves and fill with the green goddess dressing. Or, if you prefer, simply serve the dressing on the side. Eat, leaf by leaf, with your partner.

Curried Oysters with Chardonnay
Delicate bites of oyster coated in warm cream.

“Making this dish reminded us of our honeymoon 29 years ago in Cape Cod. We ate tons of oysters in many different dishes on that beautiful paradise by the ocean. What oysters did for us then, they still do for us today (maybe it’s just the memories). Whatever the case, we believe it is romance in the form of food. Use wisely, and only with those who deserve it.” —Matt and Carol, married 29 years, Philadelphia, PA

Yields 2 servings

24 oysters on the half shell
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
1 cup Chardonnay or other dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Madras curry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drain the oysters, reserving the juice. Set a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the butter and sauté the shallot for 2 to 3 minutes to soften. Add the wine and reserved oyster liquor. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half. Strain into a saucepan, discarding any solids.
Stir in the cream to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced again by half. (For a thicker sauce, dissolve 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 2 tablespoons cold water to make a slurry. Add bit by bit to the sauce until slightly thickened.) Add the curry and salt to the sauce.
Arrange the oysters (in their shells) in a roasting pan. Season each oyster with pepper and top with a tablespoon of sauce. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the oysters are just cooked and the cream is beginning to brown.

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