This recipe also features the spice Nutmeg. Nutmeg grows on a tree that originates from the Banda Islands in Indonesia, also known as the Spice Islands.
Used as a condiment and for medicinal purposes (sleep aid, upset stomach) it also was a popular (though not very effective) choice in the late 1800’s to early 1900 as a method to attempt to abort a child!
The most interesting qualities nutmeg possesses are in its history of use as an intoxicant. Used in the correct dosages it can create in the user a high similar to alcohol or marijuana. In fact the civil rights activist Malcolm X wrote in his autobiography, how he and other prisoners used it in the 1940s as a legal, and easy means of getting high in prison.
A low dose of fresh nutmeg (3.5 grams or 1-1.5 teaspoons) can for some people lead to feelings of euphoria, relaxation, elevated mood, laughter and enhancement of the senses.
On the island of Zanzibar, off the cost of East Africa, the Muslim religion is predominant so alcohol is banned, but nutmeg is not. Sold in markets for cheap, the spice is used by women to feel relaxed and it is often written about that women take it in their morning porridge the day of a wedding to ensure they are relaxed and sexually receptive.
The aphrodisiac properties of Nutmeg were studied at “Aligarh Muslim University” in Aligarh, India. The findings of these studies strongly corroborate the traditional uses of nutmeg to improve sexual function and enhance the sex drive. They suggested that “nutmeg may be a safe and effective herbal remedy in treating sexual disorders.” (Tajuddin et al. 2003; Tajuddin et al. 2005).
Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage & Butter
1 1-pound butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 12- to 14-ounce russet potato, peeled, quartered
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (or more) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
Additional grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cut squash lengthwise in half; discard seeds. Place squash halves, cut side up, on baking sheet and brush with oil. Roast until squash is very tender when pierced with skewer and browned in spots, about 1 1/2 hours. Cool slightly. Scoop flesh from squash into processor; puree until smooth.
Transfer to medium saucepan; stir constantly over medium heat until juices evaporate and puree thickens, about 5 minutes. Cool. Measure 1 cup (packed) squash puree (reserve remaining squash for another use).
Meanwhile, cook potato in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. While potato is warm, press through potato ricer into medium bowl; cool completely. Measure 2 cups (loosely packed) riced potato (reserve remaining potato for another use).
Mix squash, potato, 1/2 cup Parmesan, egg, nutmeg, and salt in large bowl. Gradually add 1 3/4 cups flour, kneading gently into mixture in bowl until dough holds together and is almost smooth. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls. Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead gently but briefly just until smooth. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces.
Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Sprinkle parchment lightly with flour. Working with 1 dough piece at a time, roll dough out on floured surface to about 1/2-inch-thick rope. Cut rope crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll gnocchi along back of fork tines dipped in flour, making ridges on 1 side. Transfer gnocchi to baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour. Can be made 6 hours ahead. Keep chilled.
Working in 2 batches, cook gnocchi in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, 15 to 17 minutes (gnocchi will float to surface but may come to surface before being fully cooked). Using slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to same parchment-lined baking sheets. Cool. Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover loosely and chill.
Cook butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat just until golden, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes. Add sage; stir 1 minute. Add gnocchi; cook until heated through and coated with butter, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan.
Recipe Courtesy Of: Cristina Mucciardi
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