Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Aphrodisiacs by Amanda Usen
What Turns You On?

Today, the author of SCRUMPTIOUS and LUSCIOUS, Amanda Usen presents some delicious treats to really get things rolling on Valentine's Day, and beyond!

My husband and I met in culinary school, and we work very well together in the kitchen. Most of the time, we just focus on getting the job done. However, on special occasions, we love to spend a little extra time cooking things to please each other. It’s fun to hang out in the close quarters of the kitchen, working in harmony, indulging in a little fanny-patting and towel-snapping. I love to spend time preparing something just for him, and it feels sexy to serve it to him at the table. The opposite is even sexier. It warms my heart in all kinds of ways when I know he’s preparing something spectacular just for me. And when he lights candles, puts on music and lays a beautiful plate in front of me? I’m a goner. Today I’m going to share our favorite Valentine’s menu, choc-full of aphrodisiacs, so you can plan your own Valentine’s Day love fe(a)st.
Imagine your partner spending time planning a meal to woo you. Now imagine him/her, stocking the menu with potent aphrodisiacs, intended to double your pleasure. The kitchen will heat up to notches unknown as you cook, knowing all the while you intend to seduce the heck out of each other BEFORE dessert. Yes, before dessert! Are you ready to hear the plan? In intimate, excruciating detail? Let’s do it!
Alright, Valentine’s Day is on a Thursday this year. You could probably do all your shopping on the weekend before – or at least get it done by Tuesday. Stressed out is not sexy, and you want to have fun and think happy thoughts while you are preparing. Don’t be shy about sharing the shopping load, either. This is about togetherness! You can find these recipes on my website or create your own sexy combinations.

Start Your Engines
Champagne with pomegranate
Alcohol is widely known for lowering inhibitions and loosening tongues and well, lots of other things, too. Careful, though – one glass is sexy, too much more than that might make you sleepy. Can’t have that! In addition to being pretty, pomegranate has long been regaled as a female fertility symbol and is considered to be the sacred fruit of Aphrodite. Win/win!
Prep tip: Chill the wine and get the pomegranate seeds ready the day before.

Rocket with Balsamic Vinaigrette, (horny) Goat Cheese, Fruit and Nuts
Arugula is also known as “rocket.” *giggle* Many fruits and nuts are considered “sexy by association.” Almonds have long been considered fertility symbols and are often given as favors at weddings. Pine nuts have been used to stimulate the libido since medieval times. Apples might make you think of tempting Eve. I can’t be the only one on earth who thinks raspberries look like nipples. And don’t get me started on what comes to mind about cucumbers *gasp* Choose fruits and nuts you enjoy, and think sexy thoughts. The brain is the most potent aphrodisiac, after all.
Prep tip: Clean the lettuce and toast the nuts early, make or buy the salad dressing ahead of time. Enjoy your wine while you make and eat the salad.

Main Event
Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Sexy Molé Sauce and Roasted Root Vegetables
Molé Sauce is full of ingredients purported to cause stimulating effects in the body. Such foods are reported to tinker with your body chemistry in ways that get you in the mood for love. Chilis make you hot and sweaty, just like fooling around. Chocolate contains the same chemical present at the peak of orgasm. Garlic increases blood flow…cinnamon is warming…to name just a few.
Prep tip: Make the molé the day before. Then all you’ll have to do is roast the veggies and grill the meat. Resist the urge to have another glass of champagne while you wait. Make out instead. 

The Afterglow Chocolate Ecstasy
This is the cake Lila makes in my upcoming book INTO THE FIRE (coming in June 2013 from Entangled Brazen). It’s intensely chocolate, yet light and fluffy. It’s also quick and pretty easy. I discovered this cake when I got home late from work one day and I had promised my mother-in-law I’d make dessert. I’ve been making it ever since.
Prep tip: Make Chocolate Ecstasy the day before, so all you have to do is crawl out of bed (couch, chair) and serve it up to your honey. Reward for a job well done!

Author Bio
Amanda Usen knows two things for certain: chocolate cheesecake is good for breakfast and a hot chef can steal your heart. Her husband stole hers the first day of class at the Culinary Institute of America. She married him after graduation in a lovely French Quarter restaurant in New Orleans, and they spent a few years enjoying the food and the fun in the Big Easy. Now they live in Western New York with their three children, one hamster, two guinea pigs, a tortoise and a new-to-them beagle. Amanda spends her days teaching pastry arts classes and her nights writing romance. If she isn’t baking or writing, she can usually be found chasing the kids around the yard with her very own hot chef husband. If you want to chat about romance, writing or recipes, please visit her at where you can find recipes for many of the yummy dishes in her books (and the recipes in her aphrodisiac menu). She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter!/AmandaUsen

To celebrate signing a 3-book contract with Entangled Publishing’s Brazen line for more hot chef romances, Amanda is giving away Aztec Elixir Couture Cocoa from Vosges Chocolate! You guessed it! Another aphrodisiac! 
(Here’s the link:

AND your choice of a PRINT copy of SCRUMPTIOUS or LUSCIOUS to accompany your sexy cocoa!
To enter, leave a comment telling us whether you are more of a SCRUMPTIOUS or LUSCIOUS reader, so we know which book you’d prefer. 

If you don’t want to miss a new book from Amanda Usen, sign up for her New Release Newsletter here ( . Don’t miss INTO THE FIRE from Entangled Brazen in June 2013!

Scrumptious Blurb
Joe Rafferty is just as mouthwatering as the food he cooks. But if he thinks he's going to waltz in and take over her kitchen, he's denser than a thick slice of chocolate ripple cheesecake. Marly has invested too much of her life in Chameleon to hand off the restaurant to someone else—especially a cocky-as-all-get-out superstar chef. But there's no denying the man knows how to light her fire. Question is: Can she have the sizzle without feeling the burn?

Luscious Blurb
Eat, play, love
Plain old ice cream just isn't going to cut it. To beat these blues, chef Olivia Marconi needs the good stuff: rich, creamy tiramisu gelato. And no place better to get it than Italy. But a fresh start is nearly impossible with Sean Kindred dogging her every move. She's been burned by his too-hot-to-handle antics before. Though there's no denying the man can still get her all fired up. Could a weeklong affair finally turn into something more lasting...or will it all go up in flames?

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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