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Chef’s Spice Log 2014 : 002 Turmeric

A beautiful Turmeric Plant also native to Australia. Picture thanks to Wiki!

A beautiful Turmeric Plant also native to Australia. Picture thanks to Wiki!

We explored Salt and Peppa last time. And just like my weekly Hot Topic Sizzle? I now have this Chef’s Spice Log, which I intend to give you weekly as well. Today we are exploring the world of Turmeric.That’s tur mer rick, not tumor ich! lol

WHY TURMERIC CHEF?

I’m glad you asked! As an American, I really wasn’t familiar with Turmeric until the last 10 years or so. You know it comes from India, right?

YES CHEF!

Well turmeric has curcumin in it, and has been used to color mustard, salad dressings and sometimes even chicken broth. And that ingredient has some research connected to it for treating Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Allergies and Arthritis. It’s an earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery with a mustardy smell. And I will say, not being from India, it takes a bit of ‘getting used to’. But as you can see, it’s worth it to develop the habit! 

Turmeric in a Jar

Turmeric in a Jar

And it’s from the Ginger Family. And we’re not talkin’ Ginger from Gilligan’s Island, either! lol So it’s no wonder that it’s also really good for you! (More about Ginger in my next blog and my famous Garlic Hoisin Ginger Chicken).

But a friend of mine emailed me this info for a smoothie this morning (below and I give a special thanks to him), so I will leave you with the concept that we really should start expanding our palate with spices we’re not used to. Satisfying food has to do with touching different points on your tongue – sweet, sour, bitter, salty, earthy… these are the things that lead to a good meal. Turmeric will take you a quarter of the way there! I will also comment in black, so that you can get my viewpoint about what is being said here… 

If you wanted to create the perfect smoothie with anti-cancerous properties, potent anti-inflammatories, as well as anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal constituents, turmeric is your answer:

Turmeric Smoothie Recipe

1 cup hemp or coconut milk (or you can use goat milk, which I have recently discovered)

1/2 cup frozen pineapple or mango chunks

1 tablespoon coconut oil (I personally do not ingest coconut oil because of the controversy about it. I would substitute in Avocado or Walnut oil, or maybe Grapeseed because it has no flavor).

1 fresh banana (Unless and if this is for more than one person, an entire banana is too much. Try 4-5 slices. It emulsifies the drink. Thickens it. It does the same trick at 4-5 slices and it’s way less calories).

1/2 teaspoon turmeric (can be increased to 1 tsp)

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I use more cause I really like a cinnamon taste. A sprinkling of salt would be a nice counter balance to the cinnamon).

1 teaspoon chia seeds (I know it’s the ‘craze’, but I don’t like ’em)! lol

1 tspn maca, optional (Maca in anything is a really great idea. It bumps up your ‘happy’ factor)! But that story is more for another blog!

Turmeric is a staple ingredient in most curry powders, but you can always increase its potency by adding extra turmeric when cooking your own curries.

  • Add turmeric to egg salad to give it an even bolder yellow color.
  • This spice is delicious on when sprinkled on all sorts of food : healthy sautéed apples, healthy steamed cauliflower or green beans.
  • Add to sautéed onions for a rich flavour and a divine color.
  • Give salad dressings an natural sunny orange-yellow hue by adding some turmeric powder to them.
  • Add turmeric, dried onion to mayo (salt/pepper) to make a super charged dip.
  • Mix brown rice with raisins and cashews and season with turmeric, cumin and coriander.
  • Cut cauliflower florets in half and healthily sauté with a generous spoonful of turmeric for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Happy Eating,

Chef Marian

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