Breakfast In Bed For Two on Valentine's Day

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Breakfast In Bed For Two on Valentine's Day

Breakfast in bed on Valentine's Day? Yes, please! Check out some favorites that will surely get you in good graces from start to finish on Valentine's Day!

Banana Chocolate Swirl Bread

Not your momma's fruitcake, this recipe is chock-full of natural aphrodisiacs like chocolate, bananas, oats, and honey. Plus, you can make this recipe vegan, dairy-free and refined sugar-free by using dairy-free chocolate chips and "flax eggs."

Ingredients:

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate or 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (also available in a dairy-free option)
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup honey (or agave nectar)
3 ripe medium-sized bananas (1 1/4 cups mashed)
2 Tablespoons flax seed meal mixed with 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons hot water (or 2 eggs)
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour
2 teaspoons double acting baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Chop chocolate into pieces the size of an almond or smaller, and set aside in a microwave safe bowl.
3. Use an electric mixer to combine canola oil and honey on medium speed. Mash the bananas, add to bowl, and blend thoroughly. Add "flax eggs", lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
4. In a separate bowl, combine white whole-wheat flour, oat flour, (to measure flour, use a large spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup, then level it off with the back of a knife or straightedge), baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix until combined.
5. Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, at 30-second increments, stirring between each with a wooden spoon. Do not overheat the chocolate as it burns very easily. Once melted, scoop out 11/2 cups of batter and mix thoroughly into the melted chocolate.
6. Oil a 9x5-inch loaf pan and dust with a little flour. Spoon the batters into the loaf pan in two layers, alternating spoonfuls of banana and chocolate to simulate a checkerboard. To create swirls, run a knife or skewer through the batters in a swirling motion. Bake 1 hour, rotating the pan halfway through. To test for doneness, insert a skewer into the center of the bread. It should come out clean (perhaps with a little melted chocolate). Let cool in pan on a rack for 30 minutes. Then invert onto rack, flip and let cool completely before slicing.

"Apples of Love" (Baked Stuffed Tomatoes)

In France they call it "Pomme D'Amour". It also goes by "Love Apple". Did you know that the tomato has long been prized for its amorous qualities? Perfect for a healthy (and vegetarian) Valentines brunch, this recipe is easy to make, and brimming with lycopene, vitamin C, calcium, and protein. Serve alongside a latte or a mimosa, and let your love bloom.

Ingredients:

2 large firm tomatoes (not overripe, or they will split when you bake them) 

kosher salt
2 Tablespoons ricotta cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little extra to sprinkle
2 Tablespoons pesto
freshly ground pepper
2 eggs
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
chopped parsley
2 English muffins (gluten-free, if you like), split

Directions:

1. Using a sharp knife cut a lid into the tomato. Remove and set aside for later. Gently scoop out the pulp and seeds using a teaspoon, and set aside. Sprinkle the tomato with kosher salt, invert on a paper towel and let drain 15 minutes.

2.Preheat oven to 400F. Combine ricotta, Parmesan, and pesto. Divide between the two tomatoes. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Break in the egg, being careful not to break the yolk. Top each with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Replace the lid (trim the underside down if necessary). Drizzle a little olive oil in the base of a shallow baking dish. Bake 25-30 minutes until egg has set. Set out two breakfast plates. Toast English muffins. Put one half on each plate. Remove the tomatoes from oven, place a tomato on top of each muffin half, remove their lids, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, garnish with chopped parsley, add other muffin half to plate, and serve!

Asparagus, Avocado, and Tomato Frittata

Asparagus, Avocado, and Tomato are a love-boosting trifecta. Grab a couple croissants the night before, for the easiest go-to crust you'll ever make.

Ingredients:

2 large day-old croissants
1 Tablespoon butter
1/4 lb. asparagus, rough ends discarded, cut into bite-sized pieces (1/2 cup)
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt plus more for seasoning
pinch pepper
1 small tomato, seeded and diced (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup fontina cheese, shredded or diced
1/2 a ripe avocado, cut into 6 1/2-inch slices lengthwise

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Oil an 8x2-inch round cake pan, then line bottom with day old torn up croissants, crust side down. You can overlap them a bit, and make sure to have them coming up the sides of the pan. (think deep dish pizza)
3. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend. Set aside.
4. Heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the asparagus and sauté until al-dente, about 2 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the tomato and a pinch of salt and sauté 1 minute longer.
5. Spoon asparagus and tomatoes over croissant crust. Distribute avocado in a pinwheel pattern, pour egg mixture over top, and sprinkle top with cheese. Bake until the eggs have puffed and are set, about 35 minutes. Cut into pie-shaped wedges. Serve warm, or room temperature.

"Crazy in Love" Brioche French Toast with Strawberries

Strawberries are the ultimate Valentines fruit, shaped like perfect little red hearts. Touted as an aphrodisiac since Ancient Roman times, the strawberry is a symbol of Venus. Celebrate Valentines Day this year with this decadent berry French toast.

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh strawberries
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or lime juice
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon butter
4 3/4-inch slices day old brioche bread (or challah)
1/4 cup whipped cream or crème fraiche
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
fresh mint (optional)

Instructions:

1. Separate out the two most beautiful strawberries. Set aside.
2. De-stem remaining strawberries, halve and chop them roughly. Place in medium bowl. Add granulated sugar and lemon juice, toss, and then mash together a bit with a fork. Set aside.
3. Whisk together eggs, cream, vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a shallow bowl or pie dish.
4. Melt butter in a large skillet (cast-iron is best for this) over medium heat. Working quickly, dip brioche slices in the egg mixture, turning once, until moistened by not soggy. Transfer to the skillet, and cook about 5 minutes, turning once, until golden on both sides and cooked through. Reduce heat if they are browning too quickly.
5. Plate one piece of French Toast onto each of the two plates.
6. Top each piece with 2 Tablespoons of the whipped cream or crème fraiche, top with other pieces of French Toast, (angled is pretty) then spoon 2 Tablespoons of the crushed strawberries over that, sprinkle with powdered sugar, top each with a whole strawberry, and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Bean Biscuits
*Vegan, Gluten-Free

The luscious aroma of vanilla has been used as an aphrodisiac since as far back as the Aztecs. Serve these delicate biscuits alongside a cup of ginseng tea, which has been prized for more than 5000 years as a potent love potion that gives you energy and reduces stress. Sounds like a perfect Sunday morning breakfast to me!

Ingredients:

1 cup Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix, or 1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if using all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons double acting baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup chilled vegetable shortening (you can also use an organic dairy-free, soy-free shortening)
1/2 cup vegan vanilla yogurt (soy milk, coconut milk, or rice milk yogurts all work)
1 vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon rice milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour mix (to measure flour, use a large spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup, then level it off with the back of a knife or straightedge), xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
3. Cut in the chilled shortening, using a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers, until you have a pea-sized crumb.
4. Using a small sharp knife split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds (they look like a black paste). Whisk them (or the vanilla extract) into the yogurt, until thoroughly combined.
5. Add yogurt to the flour mixture and stir until just combined, making sure you incorporate the crumbs at the bottom of the bowl.
6. Flour a work surface lightly, and turn out the dough. Lightly flour your hands. Sprinkle dough with a little flour. Gently pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick disk, pressing in any loose bits. Do not over-handle the dough.
7. Use a floured two 1/2 inch heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out biscuits. Cut them as close together as possible. Transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet. Gather together scraps, pat into a disk again, and cut out remaining biscuits. You should have a total of 4 biscuits.
8. Brush tops of the biscuits generously with the rice milk.
9. Baked in the center of the oven 18-22 minutes, or until golden, rotating the pan halfway through. Transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack. Serve warm.

Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix
Makes 6 Cups

The key to the very best gluten-free baked goods is Authentic Foods superfine brown rice flour; it is the Cadillac, or cashmere, of brown rice flours and is worth its weight in gold. It is not grainy like other rice flours, and bakes the most fantastic cookies, cakes, pie crusts, and so on. If you can't find it at your local natural foods market or Whole Foods, order it online. The brands of potato starch and tapioca flour or starch are not important; I find them all interchangeable.

4 cups superfine brown rice flour
1 1⁄3 cups potato starch (not potato flour)
2⁄3 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)

1. To measure flour, use a large spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup, then level it off with the back of a knife or straightedge. Do not use the measuring cup itself to scoop your flour when measuring! It will compact the flour and you will wind up with too much for the recipe.
2. Combine all ingredients in a gallon-size zipper-top bag. Shake until well blended. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix recipe reprinted with permission from The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook: How to Bake Without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, and Sesame. Copyright © 2009 by Cybele Pascal, Celestial Arts, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA

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Valentine's Day is the perfect excuse to enjoy breakfast in bed. These five sublime recipes all showcase natural aphrodisiacs from your kitchen - featuring love enhancing bananas, chocolate, honey, oats, strawberries, avocado, asparagus, tomatoes, and vanilla. These recipes for love are sure to get you cookin'!

To see what recipes will get your heart racing come Valentine's Day morning, check out our slideshow above!

For more Valentine's Day fun, check out Valentine's Day Recipes for Two, The Best Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Desserts and Valentine's Day Chocolate Guide.

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