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Archive for the tag “ginger”

Five Super Spices

A site called Chicago Healers (www.chicagohealers.com) emailed me today to let me know about five of the most nutritious spices, compiled by practitioner Dr. Helen Lee. I don’t always agree with these types of superlatives, but I appreciated the refresher of which benefits certain spices have. (I say “spices” as a general term, encompassing herbs/seasonings/etc.)

1. Cinnamon
· Reduces blood glucose level in Type 2 diabetics
· Lowers triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol
· Great anti-inflammatory helping to reduce pain and discomfort, soreness, and muscle aches

2. Oregano
· Powerful anti-oxidant and cancer-fighting herb
· Phytochemcals in oregano act as anti-bacterial/viral/fungal/parasite chemicals which also aid in optimal digestive health

3. Ginger
· Powerful antioxidant properties which help to reduce damage from free radicals that causes aging and degeneration
· Helps heartburn, morning sickness and nausea/motion sickness

4. Tumeric/Curcumin
· Decreases inflammation of arthritis
· Increases immune function, healthy liver
· Research is also finding it may prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

5. Garlic
· Helps to improve immune system, improve blood sugar, improve skin conditions such as acne & warts
· Reduces triglycerides and reduce arterial plaque between 5-18%

I frequently use cinnamon, ginger and garlic in my cooking, but not so much oregano and tumeric. Note to self.


Organic, Shaken and Stirred: Cocktail Recipes

Organic, Shaken and Stirred: Hip Highballs, Modern Martinis and Other Totally Green Cocktails is an awesome new collection of recipes by Paul Abercrombie, published by Harvard Common Press.

I had the pleasure of being asked to look at a copy of the book and give my take here on Smorgasbite- thanks Paul!

I enjoyed sampling several of the cocktail recipes -delicious- and I enjoyed drooling over the rest.  The photography is exquisite and the ingredients- muddled blackberries, fresh mint, crystalized ginger- are, shall we say, top shelf.  That said, not too many of the recipes can be made with ingredients just lying around the house (save you tropical island dwellers, perhaps) so it pays to plan and shop accordingly.  Meanwhile, while the book calls for organic spirits (rum, tequila, etc) – regular will do.

I’m happy to be able to share with you a recipe.

Coming in Hot!

2 organic strawberries, hulled
4 slivers peeled and seeded organic jalapeno chile
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed organic lemon juice
1.5 ounces organic repasado tequila
1/2 ounce organic agave nectar

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberries, 3 of the jalapeno slivers, and the lemon juice until well mashed.  Add the tequila and agave nectar, and fill the shaker with ice cubes.  Shake vigorously, then strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass.  Garnish with the remaining jalapeno sliver.

Lastly, Paul writes a great blog about all things cocktail at, you guessed it, organicshakenandstirred.com

Zukay Life Foods Vegetable and Herb Salad Dressings

Zukay Live Foods has a really exciting line of salad dressings that I have been looking forward to posting about since before I even tried them.  I first heard about them from the product blog of the Park Slope Food Coop where, like much of the NYC metropolitan area’s population, I was at one time a member.

As the brad name implies, Zukay Live Foods’ salad dressings are made from, well, live ingredients.  100% raw and vegan, they’re a mixture of fermented vegetables and herbs without added fats or sugars.  They are only about 5 calories per serving.  So, they’re wonderful alone or for mixing with your desired amount of olive oil (or other variety of oil).

Another use I discovered was mixing them with hummus to make a dip.  Delicious!

Let’s get on to the flavors. There are six:

Carrot Ginger

Tomato Provencal (with kalamata olives and herbs de Provence)

Sweet Onion Basil

Cucumber Mint

Tomato Pepper Pesto

Red Pepper Cilantro

I have sampled the first four (thanks, Scott!) and can vouch for the freshness, vibrancy and wonderfulness of each.  I have no doubt the last two are delicious as well.  The bottles “hiss” a bit when you open them- proof of their “life”!- and they have very herby, lively aromas.

Learn more at Zukay Live Foods, where you can also place an order.

Newman’s Own Organics

Authoring a food blog has certain benefits.  Perhaps the most obvious is receiving many delicious and interesting product samples.  Another, less advertised benefit is communicating with various people and discovering commonalities, even outside of food.

In October 2008 I was reading one of my favorite food blogs, David Lebovitz‘s, when I was compelled to post a comment disagreeing with one small item from this post about NYC– his assertion that public bathrooms were plentiful here.  (Visitors beware-they’re not!)  Shortly following I received an email of vehement agreement from another David Lebovitz reader and fellow (former) New Yorker, Pat Fusco, who is now a food writer in California.  Curiousity piqued (if she agrees with me, she must be a smart lady!), I read some of her articles online and left a comment.

Fast forward many months and I was contacted by a woman named Sally Shepard who works for Newman’s Own Organics.  She is friends with Pat and had seen my comment on Pat’s article.  Sally checked out my blog and graciously offered to send me some Newman’s Own Organics products to try.

So, should I stop rambling and get to the food review?  Newman’s Own Organics has a wide array of products.  From soy crisps and dried fruits to vinegars and chocolate bars, there are multiple flavors and varieties of each.  They’re also uniform in impressive quality and taste–honestly, I enjoyed every single thing.

What doesn’t vary among the offerings are the organic and sustainable origins of the ingredients: “Newman’s Own® Organics’ products meet all the requirements of the USDA’s National Organic Program. Ingredients have been grown on farms that have not used artificial fertilizers or pesticides for three years or more. The farms and processors have also met the USDA’s organic standards.”

I will absolutely be seeking out Newman’s Own Organics products when I shop.  If I had to pick my favorite few (okay, okay!) they would be:

1. Dried apricots – the moistest and most delicious dried apricots I have ever tasted.  Better than I knew existed!

2. Olive oil – great for cooking but also a nice flavor for dipping bread before dinner.

3. Ginger mints – curbs the sweet tooth in a healthy way.  Plus I love ginger!

A huge thanks to Sally, via Pat, via David for so many wonderful samples, and for helping me spread the word about a fantastic company, and for building friendship through food writing online-and through bathrooms in NYC or, rather, the lack thereof!

LOFT Organic Spicy Ginger Liqueur Caipirina

Happy hour was especially delicious last night thanks to LOFT Organic Liqueur— specifically, the Spicy Ginger Cello (pictured furthest left).

I made the following cocktail with it and it was delicious.  Strong and not too sweet, which is how I like ’em.  If you like your cocktails sweet, add some simple syrup.  And if you’re a lightweight, cut the recipe in half (or better yet, share).

I added ice cubes on top of the muddled limes before adding the alcohols, then stirred.

Spicy Ginger Caipirina

2 oz LOFT Ginger Cello
2 ½ oz cachaca rum
¾ of a whole lime cut into 8 pieces (about 6 pcs.)

Muddle lime before adding other ingredients.  Do not strain. Serve in rocks glass.

Thai Pickled Baby Ginger, Sliced

I bought this pickled ginger at Chelsea Thai Wholesale inside Chelsea Market (NYC).

The price was right, $1.99, though the taste was not as sweet as I was expecting.  It was also thicker than I am used to.

I guess I am more accustomed to Japanese pickled ginger from sushi restaurants.  That stuff I can eat a lot of.  I always ask for extra.

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