January 13, 2017

Tidbit: Make Your Own Turmeric

by Marjan

Can you see the difference between the two ground turmeric pictured above? The turmeric powder on the left side of your screen is store purchased and the one on the right, I made myself! If you could only smell and taste the difference. It truly is night and day!

My frustration has lead to a wonderful breakthrough! For years, I have always asked family and friends traveling to the Middle East to bring back to the States turmeric for me; assuming it would be more pure and fresh.  However, I have become more and more disappointed with my requested souvenir as my turmeric started to taste more like curry! As you may know, Persian cooking utilizes this medicinal spice in most dishes such as dahl addasdam pokh tak, golden and eshkene soup, and many more.

Within the past couple of years, I've noticed more and more fresh turmeric rhizomes sold in both Asian and Middle Eastern supermarkets. Therefore, I decided to make my own. Now I can be guaranteed of it's freshness, purity, and potency. Turmeric rhizomes are very similar to that of ginger; however, turmeric is much smaller and have a bright orange color.  It is really important to make sure rhizomes are organic as they grow underground and soak up nutrients as well as toxins from the soil. Therefore, I grow my own. It is not hard to do; simply place your unused rhizomes under the soil (2-3 inches); water it regularly and give make sure it receives sunlight. Not only will you have access to fresh turmeric anytime you like, but also as the rhizomes sprout into beautiful plants, you can continue to cultivate and harvest for years to come.

Extremely fragrant, colorful and medicinal, turmeric has many beneficial uses. Also used as dye, one can not undermine it's highly beneficial healthy components. Used in both Siddha and Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is used to treat a variety of internal disorders such as indigestion, throat infections, common colds, liver ailments, mild arthritis, as well as cleanse wounds and skin soars. Used as an anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric may be enjoyed as tea to help soar joints and mild aches and pains. As a child, whenever I would fall and bruise, my mother would beat a whole egg with one tablespoon of turmeric and place it on my wound for a couple of hours. Other than a yellow stain left behind from this magical spice, there was hardly any trace of my injury!

Whether you choose to cook with turmeric or intake capsules of it, it is best to make sure it is organically grown and produced. Making your own might be expensive and time consuming, but I guarantee once you do, you will never want to cook with the ones sold in markets! Storing turmeric is also important.  Recently, I received a package of Infinity Jars. Premium imported European light proof glass with airtight seal and ultra violate light filtering, these Infinity Jars allows me to store my turmeric longer and maintain its color and taste. The secret to the jar's impressive preservation capability is found in the  deep violet glass.  This type of pigmented glass blocks out harmful visible light rays (which quickly degrade organic matter) while still permitting two beneficial light rays that are laboratory proven to preserve and extend the shelf life of goods. For more information, check out https://infinityjars.com

To make your own turmeric spice, make sure you wear gloves and dark clothing as it does stain. With a soft  bristle kitchen brush, soak and brush soil from rhizomes. Using the large end of your vegetable shredder, shred turmeric and spread out onto flat baking sheet. Either place in a food dehydrated for over 12-24 hours or simply place in a 150 degree F oven for 10-12 hours (time depends on amount of turmeric and humidity; therefore, it should be monitored). Once shreds are completely dry and no longer moist, place in a spice grinder and grind into a soft powder. Highly potent and delicious, store in a cool place and in preferably Infinity Jars to last up to two years.
You will taste the difference and feel better about your choices!


January 5, 2017

Golden Soup

by Marjan

I must admit, I'm looking forward to giving my body a rest from the gluttony of Holiday festivities.  When I think of all the calories, butter, sugar, and protein portions devoured, I know its time to cleanse my system and give my digestion a rest. Since I don't believe in dieting, I prefer to make a large batch of vegetable soup to enjoy all week long; giving my mind and body a rest from cooking and eating heavy meals yet also giving myself the pleasure of feeling nourished and satisfied.
During these cold winter days, nothing nourishes my body more than hot soup! Using spices such as turmeric (which is a great medicinal spice as well), organic vegetable from our garden such as kale, tomatoes, onion, celery, and carrots (readily available in most supermarkets these days) and vegetable stock, I heal my body and loose some holiday weight. If you don't care for vegetable stock and prefer chicken stock to warm and nourish your soul, of course, it can be substitute. However, it is really important to either make your own or purchase organic frozen chicken stock. I really don't trust stock stored on shelves for months. Every three months, I make a large pot of stock and freeze it to be enjoyed on a whim especially as it thickens and flavors any soup rendering a satisfying delicious meal.
Easy to make, delicious and light, this Golden Soup is the golden answer to your post holiday blues.
Stay tuned to next week's post, as I will share with you my tidbit for making turmeric spice!

December 29, 2016

Healthy Resolutions; But First, It's Time To Party!

by Marjan
My hands are up and I surrender! This past holiday season, starting from Halloween up to New Years, I have been entertaining guests and hosting Holiday parties. I promised my family and friends for our New Year's gathering, to take it easy with pot luck, great wine, and of course music. I'm allowing the music to entertain and hope ringing in the New Year together with those I love will fill our hearts with joy and laughter.
Of course, it's hard to keep me out of the kitchen.  Half the fun of hosting a party is cooking. Since everyone is bringing something to eat, I too had to make at least one appetizer. After all, I'm the host! I'm taking the healthy and easy rout using sheets of puff pastry, goat cheese, fresh herbs, Persian cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes from the garden (yes! We have tomatoes still growing thanks to our warm winter weather). Most supermarkets these days provide tomatoes all year long. We have yellow and red tomatoes and basil from our garden, but feel free to substitute any herb or fruit such as berries, pomegranate, or grapes.
Puff pastry, goat cheese, fruits, herbs, and nuts will make my New Years entertaining beautiful, healthy, delicious, and fun! Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.  May all your wishes and resolutions come true!