On my list of lesser aphrodisiacs is the Hibiscus flower. Why a lesser aphrodisiac? It doesn’t get counted among the big power houses like chocolate or oysters and is hardly, if ever, mentioned at all. There aren’t many properties of the plant that also match with the usual classifications of aphrodisiacs other than how it works with the blood. Increase of blood flow would ultimately promote better sexual wellness. There are some serious medical aspects of the plant which are used in several parts of the world to treat many illnesses.***
The flowers and leaves are used to make teas and extracts which can help treat illnesses or conditions such as high blood pressure, fever, constipation, liver disease, cancer, bacterial infections, and may also be a weight loss aid. Studies are currently inconclusive on several of these topics and more research has to be done in order for it to become more widely accepted as medical treatment.
It is used in a variety of countries to also treat heart disease related issues. It has been said to lower levels of sugar and fat in the blood making it a useful treatment for people with diabetes. It has also been known to help with stomach, intestinal and uterine cramps as well as swelling and inflammation. Anyone pregnant or breastfeeding should be cautious and speak to their primary medical care professional as hibiscus could possible be unsafe for them as well as people who have liver or kidney disease. It can also be an irritate the stomach lining and discontinued use is recommended should you feel any pain.
Now that we are done with the medicinal parts, let get to the culinary magic. The Hibiscus is beautiful to observe with large inviting blossoms that come in a variety of colors. They elicit feelings of joy, sexyness and summers on the beach. They’re gentle swaying from a soft breeze remind me of simple sunny days spent in a hammock. The Hibiscus gives me ALL the feels!
As teas or extracts from the leaves concentrate on working with the blood, I have dubbed it an aphrodisiac, other folks consider it one too! It has magical associations with love and romance, so the ties make perfect sense. When looking at the blooms you can’t help but notice how sensual the plant is, making it not only pleasing to the eye, but suggestive, which send signals of arousal to the brain and sex organs. The blooms are usually found dried at your grocery store or online. The tea is easily made by pouring boiling water over the dried leaves and steeping until cool. It is known to be very tart so feel free to drink it as is, or with a sweetener ( sugar, honey or your favorite sugar substitute)
The deep magenta color mixed with the floral aroma is intoxicating, delighting the eyes with its richness and arousing the olfactory senses. should you add fresh ginger during steeping, it really kicks things up a notch higher in the seduction department.
The tea can be consumed as is or over ice for a delicious treat on a hot day. It can be the base of a sexy cocktail as well as used in baking and savory applications. I have never made a savory dish with it until recently and wanted to share a simple yet sexy recipe for a quick dinner that aims to please, perfect for Valentine’s day or a hot date night!
***(Disclaimer : I am not a medical professional and cannot say whether this plant will help in treating any of your illnesses. Always speak to your health care professional before taking any supplements or treating illnesses with plants/herbs. They could have adverse effects on you or any medication you may be taking) ***
- 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
- 6 cups water
- 1 inch ginger peeled (optional)
- Sugar or honey to taste
- Bring water to a boil then add the dried flowers. Turn off the flame and let steep for 2-4 hours until completely cooled. Strain out flowers and reserve for cooking or discard. Serve.
Author: Andrea Maldonado
- 2 oz hibiscus tea
- 1 oz tequila silver
- 1-2 Tbsp simple syrup more if you like it sweeter
- 1 oz triple sec
- ½ juiced lime
- Mix all ingredients together then serve over ice. Garnish with Lime wedges and mint (for sass and sensuality)
if you are making this without the margarita or the tea, just steep 1/2 cup of dried hibiscus with 4 cups of boiling water. Let cool and use the softened flowers for your dish.
Course: Main Course
Author: Andrea Maldonado
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup reserved softened, hibiscus flowers
- ¼ cup diced red onions
- 3 Tbsp diced green peppers
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper more if you like it spicy
- ¼ tsp salt more if needed
- ¼ tsp black pepper more if needed
- 1 Tbsp of cilantro rough chopped
- 2 10-12 inch flour tortillas
- 8 thin slices of queso fresco I used La morenita brand
- 1 ripe avocado divided
- 1 Tbsp sour cream divided
- In a medium sized skillet, heat oil on medium high. Saute onions and bell peppers until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about thirty seconds, dont let it burn! Add the reserved flowers and saute until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Season with cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper. Add Chopped cilantro and remove from the heat.
- Grease a large skillet with cooking spray and set to medium heat. Lay a tortilla down and on one half, add 2 slices of cheese. Top with Hibiscus mixture and 2 more slices of cheese. Fold empty half over and cook until cheese is melted and tortilla has browned and is crisp! ( lower the heat if needed to let the cheese melt)
- Remove from the pan and cut into 2 or four pieces. Repeat with the other tortilla and serve with lime wedges, avocados, and sour cream.
Food Magic : Hibiscus is used for love magic and an aphrodisiac, so incorporating it into a dinner feast or cocktail emphasizes the hint you’re trying to drop. The alcohol in the margarita is considered and aphrodisiac, as well as the onion, garlic, cumin, cayenne, cilantro and avocados. Pairing these items together scream sexy!
Made any of these recipes? use #foodmagic and also tag me on instagram @gourmetwitch so I can see your magical creations!
Imbolc also known as Imbolg, Oimelc and a few other names, is the Celtic feast day that celebrates the coming of the spring!
It is considered one of the fire festivals of the wheel of the year, so you will find candles are a main staple in most rituals, honoring the sun and inviting it back into our homes. There are several different ways you can celebrate Imbolc, including working with the Goddess Brigid but this piece focuses on the culinary aspects of the Sabbat.
My favorite name for Imbolc is Oimelc which means, “Ewe’s milk”. What do we do with ewe’s milk? Why, we make CHEESE of course! Cheese and dairy are food sources that are incorporated into this particular holiday’s menu planning. You can add cream to a sauce, for a richer flavor. It can go into potatoes for a silky mash, or substitute with sour cream for a lower calorie option. Loaded baked potatoes topped with shredded cheddar and bacon are also crowd pleasers.
I find that the easiest and quickest way to include cheese into any gathering is with a cheese board! You can choose several options and possibly introduce someone to a new flavor they’ve never experienced before. This style of serving makes for a cozy environment that bring people together and breaks the ice, getting the conversation going. It’s a great tool for brainstorming and bringing people together (Food magic tip!)
So how do we choose what cheeses to put out? I suggest some basic and neutral ones while throwing in a couple of funky ( sometimes literally) choices for the bold and adventurous. There are many categories and flavor profiles of cheese, not to mention the types of milk used to make them (cow, sheep , goat) so I put together a short list of some basic information to get you comfortable when staring at the cheese counter and not knowing where to begin.
Fresh Cheeses : The term fresh is used to describe age, so fresh cheeses are not matured. Be aware that the shelf life on these cheeses will be shorter, so remember to use them before they spoil.
Examples : cottage cheese, cream cheese, farmer’s cheese, queso fresco, ricotta, mozzarella di bufala, burrata and Chevre (goat cheese)
Soft Cheeses : have a spreadable consistency, many come with an outer rind. These cheeses should be stored in wax paper, not plastic wrap to preserve flavor but should also be consumed within a week or opening as they do tend to spoil faster than other cheeses.. Best served at room temperature, with crackers or bread, making them excellent choices for a board
Examples : Brie, camembert, boursault, brillat savarin, humboldt fog, robiola lombardia, stracchino, Taleggio
Semi soft cheeses : have a sturdier texture than the soft cheeses, but can also come with a rind or covered with wax. Some of these cheeses are used for cooking but can also be excellent for a board as many are familiar.
Examples : Havarti, muenster, jack, colby, provolone, gouda, fontina, haloumi, feta, morbier, port salut, queso casero, oaxaca
Semi hard cheeses : typically aged from 1-6 months but less than a year. They may be covered in wax or have a hard exterior that is most times edible (please check). When grated or sliced, melt well and used for cooking.
Examples: Cheddar, swiss cheese, emmentaler, gruyere, edam, comte, manchego, raclette
Hard cheeses : characterized as having a nutty flavor and a crumbly texture due to the low moisture content, as they are aged for at least 1-3 years or sometimes even longer. These cheeses develop a rind that is too hard to eat but can be added to sauces, stews or soups for added flavor.
Examples: parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino, grana padano, roncal, cotija, asiago
Blue veined cheese : cheese that has been ripened with cultures of the mold penicillium. The veins are created when the cheese is pierced (needles, skewers, rods) allowing oxygen to reach the mold, which gives it that blue, or blueish-grey color. Have a pungent aroma with a sharp and sometimes salty flavor.
Examples: gorgonzola, roquefort, stilton, danish blue, maytag, cabrales, cashel blue
Now that we have some ideas about cheese types let’s not forget all the other things you can serve it with. Think crackers, bread and breadsticks for spreadable cheeses. Accompaniments like honey, fruit preserves and fruit pastes also make great pairings for several of the cheeses above, especially the semi/hard ones. Fresh and dried fruits along with nuts and olives provide sweetness, natural decor as well as yet another layer of flavor and textures. Cured meats are also great accompaniments to any board, get creative and try new things.
Kitchen Magic Tip : Cheese boards have the ability to break the ice and summon up conversations! They’re great at bringing people together. They are also awesome for projects and brainstorming meetings where you need to pool your ideas to get things done.
Happy Cooking Conjurings!
Made a cheeseboard or plate? share it on instagram and tag me @gourmetwitch and #foodmagic. I love seeing people making magic in their kitchens!
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Andrea Maldonado is a classically trained chef,a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York. She worked in a variety of New York City restaurants and high end catering companies. Andrea is an Initiated Priestess of Ochun in the Lucumi Tradition, High Priestess of the Deam Lux Coven and the Minoan Sisterhood. . Andrea is an avid reader, a lover of 1950’s fashion, red lipstick, winged eyeliner, a strong cocktail, having a good cackle- I mean laugh! With friends and enjoying all that life has to offer. Currently working on a bigger cookbook on more food magic, seasonal recipes and Sabbat meals.