This post is the first in a series of posts sponsored by Microsoft Office. Over the course of next couple of months, we’ll be posting recipes and experiences supported by old favorites Excel and Word, and a new for us, OneNote.
I have a confession to make…
I love Valentine’s Day.
We’re not supposed to like Valentine’s Day. We’re supposed to be bitter about love and romance. We’re supposed to express our disdain for a “holiday” that big corporate businesses manufactured in order to make million of dollars off the ignorant suckers who buy into all of the candy, roses, and diamonds. We’re supposed to roll our eyes and refuse to enjoy any minute of February 14, just to make sure that no one thinks we might be, God forbid, “celebrating” Valentine’s Day.
At one point in my life, that was me. All of it and more. I wasn’t even actually single, and though I wasn’t necessarily bitter, I was definitely love’s equivalent of Scrooge at Christmas.
But then I met…
And Valentine’s Day suddenly became an excuse not just to eat, but to celebrate one of the most glorious foods on the planet.
Oysters Crack Her
Whether it’s a myth, whether it’s real, or whether it’s “real” for reasons unrelated to biology and body chemistry, oysters are known as an aphrodisiac. Our research (which we gathered from all over the internet and put into one place in OneNote!) has shown a few different reason why and how oysters seduce:
- Visually, the oyster resembles the “female” genitals
- There is something suggestive about oysters’ mouth feel, especially when swallowed raw (and whole).
- Oysters repeatedly change their sex from male to female and back, giving rise to claims that the oyster lets one experience the the masculine and feminine sides of love.
- Very high in protein, oysters are also rich in zinc and iron, nutrients that help in the transport of oxygen and stimulate metabolism. Zinc is also important for sexual health.
- Oysters have been found to contain D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate, compounds effective in releasing sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen. (Scientists have not determined whether there are enough of those compounds in the shellfish to make any difference, though.) Not to get all nerdy on you, but hey, nerdy is hot, too.
Whatever the real reason, oysters work for me, which is why I’ve included them in TasteSpotting’s Menu for Love. The beauty of oysters on Valentine’s Day, aside from their power of seduction, is something more practical. Fresh oysters don’t require much prep: scrub, shuck and plate oysters right before serving. You can whisk together the mignonette right then, it is actually better to make it a few hours in advance, even the night before. Not only will it taste better, it will save you time and sanity.
Valentine’s Day Menu for Love
Oysters with Pomegranate Mignonette (below)
Caviar on Deviled Quail Eggs …
Crab with Avocado and Quinoa …
Salmon with Pomegranate Glaze …
Oysters with Pomegranate Mignonette
I like to call myself a “purist,” but the reality is, I’m just plain. I like to eat oysters with nothing but…well, nothing. No cocktail sauce, no hot sauce, not even a squeeze of lemon. However, for Valentine’s Day I love the idea of appropriately accessorizing with pink or red. Pomegranate juice adds a gorgeous pink tint to a classic mignonette.
fresh oysters, scrubbed and shucked
For the Pomegranate Mignonette
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon pomegranate juice
½ small shallot, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
pinch of sugar
Whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and let sit for a few hours on the countertop. You can also serve it right away.
OneNote, part of Microsoft Office, is a digital notebook that provides a single “place” to collect all of your notes in any format, which you can share with others and access from just about anywhere. We used OneNote to create a “Valentine’s Day Notebook.” We were able to research the history and origins of Valentine’s Day, make lists of aphrodisiac foods, create our Menu for Love, collect recipes, make shopping lists, and of course, compose this post.