Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s the day to show your love so whip up something deliriously delicious today. Bake oysters, steam asparagus, melt chocolate, and puree some strawberries and bananas! But while these are well known aphrodisiacs, these lesser-known foods are just as capable of getting your special someone in a romantic mood:

Almonds--The aroma alone triggers desire and passion.
Arugula and Basil Leaves--These greens fires up the body and the libido.
Chili peppers--Makes anyone hot under the collar.
Figs--Channel Cleopatra’s legendary appeal by eating her favorite fruit.
Honey--This golden nectar is a “passion kick-starter”.
Pomegranate juice and red wine--Take a sip to boost yourselves to a more desirable state.

You can also bring out the domestic goddess in you and whip up this delectable fresh strawberries and cream tart.

Fresh Strawberry-Cream Cheese Tart
This versatile dessert also tastes good topped with raspberries, blueberries or even grapes.

Takes 50 minutes plus chilling and cooling
Makes eight servings

1 1⁄2 c. all-purpose flour
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄3 c. plus 3 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
10 Tbsp. butter or margarine (1 1⁄4 sticks), chilled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. ice water
170 g. (about 3/4 c.) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1⁄2 c. reduced-fat sour cream
3 Tbsp. chopped crystallized ginger
700 g. strawberries, stems and leaves discarded and each berry cut lengthwise in half

1 In food processor with knife blade attached, combine flour, salt, and 1⁄3 cup sugar; pulse until blended. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add vanilla, then ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour (If chilled overnight, let dough stand 30 minutes at room temperature before rolling.).
2 Preheat oven to 375°F. On large sheet of parchment paper, with floured rolling pin, roll dough into 12-inch round. Using 11-inch dinner plate as guide, and with sharp knife, cut 11-inch round from dough; discard trimmings.
3 Transfer round, still on parchment, to large cookie sheet. Press one index finger against outside edge of dough round; with index finger and thumb of other hand, push dough around fingertip toward center to form a flute. Repeat around edge to make a decorative border. Refrigerate or freeze, on cookie sheet, about 10 minutes to firm dough slightly.
4 Bake dough 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Cool crust completely on cookie sheet on wire rack, about 20 minutes.
5 When crust has cooled, place it in medium bowl with spoon, mix cream cheese, sour cream, crystallized ginger, and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar until blended. Spread cream cheese mixture on crust. Arrange strawberries, wide ends down, in concentric circles in cream cheese mixture to cover.

(Photograph by Frances Janisch. Reprinted from US Good Housekeeping. Adapted for use on Female Network.)


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