Archive for October, 2009

Herbs & SpicesContinuing on with our favorite top 10 spices…

6.“Herbamare” A lovely seasoning blend made in France. You should be able to purchase this in a health food type store, Whole Foods, or Central Market (or online). It contains sea salt, celery leaves, leek, water and garden cress, onion, chives, parsley, lovage, garlic, basil marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and kelp (which is loaded with life promoting trace minerals). This is one of my most used seasonings. Sprinkle on veggies, put in soups, use in sauces… put on anything really. It has well-rounded flavors, and the dehydrated veggies give it a depth you will treasure.
7.  Herbes De Provence. This is a French blend that contains thyme, rosemary, basil, marjoram, fennel, and lavender. When we were filming our “Cooking for Fertility” DVD we used this herb blend in our black bean burgers. Oh my, did it make the recipe! It has an earthy aroma, and if it weren’t for the lavender you would think “Thanksgiving dinner.” But it does have lavender and it adds a uniqueness that will spark subtle surprise. Get creative with this… try it out in different recipes that may call for rosemary or thyme. My favorite: Use Herbes De Provence in the water that you boil to make quinoa. If you can get it, try it in “red” quinoa. The added benefit: lavender soothes the central nervous system,

8. Pumpkin Pie Spice. This is one blend that I believe you will feel grateful to have. Just lift the lid and take a whiff.. ammmmmazing. It contains cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, star anise, fennel, and black pepper. It is “warming” in nature, helping to circulate “qi” throughout the body. This blend is especially beneficial to my health living here in the Northwest, as much of the year is damp and cold. It brightens up my Seattle mornings sprinkled a top my creamy buckwheat cereal. I use it in stir-fry (just a little), cookies, my pumpkin spice scones, I mix it in with almond butter and spread on rice cakes, it’s a beautiful way to add spice to roasted holiday nuts, and it absolutely makes my butternut squash soup. Whenever I use Pumpkin Pie Spice it feels like a holiday ☺.

9. Red Chile Pepper Flakes. Well, if you like spicy, you need to have this on hand. I use it my gluten free lasagna, soups, sweet chile sauce (featured in our Asian course) and its tasty in marinades.

10. Sweet Paprika. This is a little more obscure, but I feel the need to have it one hand. I use it quite a bit in the late spring and summer. It is great added to anything that you might put on the grill. It’s smoky and slightly bitter. I love it on chile rubbed shrimp over corn cakes with jalapeno butter.

Spice makes or breaks a dish so choose wisely! Vary what you use based on season of the year and other ingredients in the dish. Trust yourself… open up a spice or herb that you are not familiar with, give it a good whiff and imagine what it might go well with. Imagine the smells coalescing and see if they jive. And most off all, enjoy yourself!  Cooking with spices is like adding a splash of color to a white canvas… it’s fun!

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In a recent Eating for Evolution interview, Megan Cater and Tiffany Pollard inquire into the depths of our relationship to food (and life). Discover how morality, spirituality, meditation, and the perennial revelation of “Oneness,” all merge in relationship to human choice.  And how does this relate to food? Click here to listen to the audio and find out!

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spicesIt’s amazing how adding a little spice can really “jazz things up.” I’m finding the more I unleash my creativity in the kitchen the more it spills over into other areas of my life, creating a sense of possibility and openness that ignites a positive curiosity that actually helps me to become more aware of my habits and break them down! Here is a list of the top 5 spices that are sure to heat up your evolutionary kitchen!  Keep a look out for the next 5 coming to you soon…

1. Sea Salt. Get your self some high quality sea salt. It is full of life giving minerals. I suggest adding at the end of cooking by pinching with your fingers and sprinkling over the top. This way you use less, and it really makes a difference in the way the flavors “pop.”

2. Cumin. I was raised in New Mexico and grew up cooking amazing Southwestern food. Cumin is essential in this style of food. It has a musky, almost smoky quality to it, and I find it adds depth to the other flavors. It is particularly nice with black beans, corn dishes, chicken, and it compliments chile powder beautifully. It helps prevent gas and can ease a nauseous stomach.

3. Curry powder with extra turmeric. Curry powder can transform any ordinary dish into something extraordinary! It is truly an amazingly delightful spice. Put it into your stir-fry, put some in with your beans, add to your rub for meats, sprinkle into the water that you cook rice or quinoa in, or add to salad dressing for extra pizzazz! Curry powder is a blend of several spices, most often including turmeric, cumin, cardamom, fenugreek, and ginger. These spices (particularly turmeric) can have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. They are also “warming” and help to circulate “qi” or energy in the body. In addition they can be very helpful for smooth digestion. If you add extra turmeric then just be aware that this can increase bitterness.

4. Garlic powder. Garlic powder can be a big time saver and if you get fresh powder it can add quite a lot of flavor. If I am out of fresh garlic or if I don’t feel like taking the time to mince it, I just add in some garlic powder. I use it soups and stews, beans, quinoa, my savory breads, and in my pumpkin seed pesto. The antimicrobial benefits are not as high with the powder.

5. Cardamom. I am currently in love with the spice! The aroma is sweet, and citrus and enveloping. The health benefits are pretty stunning as well. Cardamom has antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It’s great in spice cookies and sweeter vegetable-based soups such as pumpkin, or butternut squash. It also pairs well in dishes focused around chicken, rice, and lentils. I use it as my secret ingredient in my “GF Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies!” (see our Sweets & Treats course for the recipe!)

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