What to do with…GINGER

HenryVIIIHenry VIII is said to have used ginger as a medicine for its qualities, as outlined by Culpeper, the herbalist, 150 years later:  ‘Ginger helps digestion, warms the stomach, clears the sight and is profitable for old men; it heats the joints and is therefore useful against gout’.

ginger

fresh root ginger

Ginger has an impressive record in treating many ailments:  it is said to help poor circulation and to cure flatulence and indigestion.  It is taken as a drink for coughs, nausea and influenza.  In the East, ginger is chewed to ward off evil spirits.  It is considered to be a cure for travel sickness and the essential oil is used in perfumery.

CULTIVATION

red ginger

red ginger plant

The ginger plant is an upright tropical plant, which is propagated by dividing the rhizomes.  It grows to about 3 feet, with elegant lance-shaped leaves and yellow flowers tinged with purple or red flowers.  Harvesting takes place 9-10 months after planting and in many parts of the world, this is still done by hand.  Much of the crop is washed, sun dried and then ground to a powder for domestic and commercial use.

CULINARY USE

gingerbreadThe essential oil is used in commercial flavorings.  Fresh root ginger is extremely popular in a variety of stir-fry or curry dishes.  It is used in different techniques; slices can be added to marinades or in cooking and removed before serving.  Grated, chopped or crushed ginger is used in pastes or braised dishes.  Finely shredded ginger can be added to fried or stir-fried dishes or it may be used raw in salads.  Pickled or preserved ginger is served as appetizers or used in savory cooking.  It is also used in Western baking, for example, in traditional ginger breads, cakes and biscuits such as ginger snaps.  The spice is also used in chutneys, pickles, jams and sweet preserves as well as drinks such as ginger beer, ginger ale and ginger wine.

TYPES OF GINGER

Fresh Root Ginger   Look for plump, silvery skinned pieces, which are called ‘hands’.  Young ginger has smoother, thin skin firmly clinging to the firm and quite heavy root.  Older ginger has thicker, papery skin which sits more loosely on the root.  Avoid ginger that is wrinkled, softened or very light in weight.

Ground Ginger  Pale sand-colored spice widely used in baking.

crystallized ginger

crystallized ginger

Crystallized Ginger  Preserved by cooking in syrup, then dried and rolled in sugar.

Pickled Ginger  A savory condiment used in Oriental cooking.  Chinese pickled ginger is light, sweet and sour and quite hot in flavor.  Sweet red pickled ginger is slightly tangy, but mainly sweet as it is candied.  Japanese pickled ginger is more delicate than Chinese pickles.

Preserved or Stem Ginger  Traditionally packed into decorative, bulbous Chinese ginger jars.  The plump, tender young ginger is peeled and preserved in syrup, making it sweet and fairly spicy.

COOKING TIPS

Use a little crushed ginger in marinades for pork steaks or chops.

Try adding a little finely grated fresh or chopped crystallized ginger to fruit puddings using rhubarb, plus or pears.  Can even be used in crumbles or pastry pies.

ginger-tea

ginger tea

Make a soothing tea when you’re feeling under the weather.  Drop a slice or two into a mug and add hot water and honey along with a cinnamon stick and a slice of lemon or orange or add a slice to some lemon tea.  Ginger tea is also a natural remedy for menstrual cramps and helps relieve stress.  It encourages normal blood circulation, strengthens immunity and reduces inflammation.

Minced fried ginger can be added to Asian dishes just as you would fried garlic to Italian dishes.  It takes ordinary rice to a new level!

Got an overload of ginger?  You can freeze fresh ginger.  Simply freeze the whole root in a resealable plastic bag.  You can then use it without thawing.  Using a sharp knife, peel off the skin for the amount needed and then use a microplane to grate what you need.  Don’t leave the whole root out to thaw as it will become soft and mushy when thawed.

Hmmm….I may just have to go make myself a cup of ginger tea…..

♥  Terri  ♥

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Terri’s Tuesday Tips ~ Feb 5

Good Morning World!

It’s a bright and sunny morning here in the south-east, but very cold….brrrr.  The kitties are all in their favorite spots in the sun having a lovely nap.

Having a nice warming bowl of quinoa right now, so let’s get on with today’s tips..

dry fruit To stop raisins and dry fruit from sinking to the bottom of a cake or muffins, coat in flour before adding to the batter.

TT: Don’t usually have this problem, so haven’t tried it.  However, I do see this tip quite a bit.

∞ To clean rust from stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, mix cream of tartar with a little lemon juice and run in.  Leave for a few hours before wiping clean.

TT:  Who has rust on their appliances unless they’ve been stored in the cupboard for 20 years!  If they haven’t seen the light of day, I really don’t think you’re too concerned about the rust!

∞ Store honey in the cupboard, not the fridge.  If the honey becomes crystalized, put the jar in very hot water until the crystals disappear and the honey is fluid again.

TT:  I do this all the time.  Depending on how crystalized it is, you may have to add fresh hot water.

apple∞ Add an apple to an open bag of potatoes to delay sprouting.

TT: I’ve never done this so don’t know how well it works.  Depending on the advancement of the sprouts, we either just cut them off, plant them or put them into the compost heap.

∞ When kneading bread dough, there’s no need to add any more flour once it comes away cleanly from the work surface, even though it may stick to it.

TT:  When I knead dough, I put a bit of olive oil on the work surface as it prevents it from sticking and doesn’t add unnecessary extra flour.  The oil helps give a softer dough.

∞ When cooking cauliflower, add a little milk to the water to keep the cauliflower bright white.

TT: I’ve heard of adding lemon juice, but not milk.  I don’t do either of them.  I don’t need to wear sunglasses while I’m eating.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on the tips!  Have you tried any of them?

♥♥  Terri  ♥♥

Christmas Cocktails ~ Atholl Brose

ATHOLL BROSE

Atholl Brose became one of Queen Victoria’s favourite drinks after she first encountered it in 1842, in Dunkeld, near Perth. Not the thick Hogmanay dessert, this streamlined variation is an update on the centuries-old original.

AthollBrose

500g (17 ½oz) thick-cut porridge oats
700ml (24fl oz) whisky
225g (8oz) heather honey (or any other honey)
100ml (3½fl oz) boiling water
300ml (10fl oz) single cream

Place the porridge oats and whisky in a large jar to soak overnight.

In a second jar, combine the heather honey and boiling hot water. Stir until the honey is completely dissolved. Add the single cream and stir.

Wring the oatmeal and whisky mixture through muslin or press through a fine strainer into the cream mixture. Stir to combine. Refrigerate to chill.

You can pour the mixture into clean, sterile stopper bottles for serving, if you prefer. Shake before serving.

Did You Forget Something? ~ False Advertising

A well known ‘hazelnut spread’ contains the following ingredients:

Sugar (50%) and vegetable oils (mostly palm oil), followed by hazelnut, cocoa solids, and skimmed milk. In the United States, this spread contains soy products. This product is marketed as “hazelnut cream” in many countries. Under Italian law, it cannot be labeled as a chocolate cream, as it does not meet minimum cocoa solids concentration criteria. About half of the calories come from fat (11g in a 37g serving, or 99 kcal out of 200 kcal) and about 40% of the calories come from sugar (20g, 80 kcal).

OK, so you’re saying ‘so what’, right?

Well here’s the thing.  Last night while watching the boob tube, there was a commercial on for this product.  It showed a mother and her kids at breakfast, running around and trying to get out the door in time for school or work.  It showed them eating this product on bread.  Not a big deal.

Then the narrator of the commercial started to speak and said that this product was a great way to start the morning as it contained

…”two whole hazelnuts in every tablespoon, skimmed milk and cocoa powder”…

Did you notice anything missing, like the sugar??  Why didn’t they mention that?  Because they know how bad the sugar is for you and they just thought they’d let that pass.  Perhaps they thought you wouldn’t notice.  Perhaps a lot of people won’t.

SUGAR IS THE ENEMY.

Now I’m no angel when it comes to sugar, but at least I have a pretty good idea of how much I’m eating.  Usually my sugar intake consists of home baked goods that I’ve made myself or my daily square or two of dark chocolate.  In checking the label on the chocolate, one square contains 3.2g of carbs, which I’m sure is mostly from the sugar.  And considering I don’t eat home baked goods everyday, my daily sugar intake is pretty low.  I don’t eat sugary cereals and I don’t drink soda of any kind.  We cook from scratch every night and don’t have ready meals or processed foods.

I use artificial sweeteners, honey, fruit sugar or agave nectar, depending on what I’m eating or drinking.  I try to stay away from the sugar because I know what it does to me if I have too much of it.  I have hypoglycemia/low blood sugar and it’s not fun when I get an attack.

The problem is that sugar can be an addiction just like smoking, alcohol and drugs.  It takes willpower to resist but sometimes resistance can be futile.

Usually it is easier to make dietary changes gradually, however sugar has the unique ability to inspire cravings which are refueled every time you give into them. The only way to break the cycle is to stop feeding the fire. Use this challenge as an opportunity to go cold turkey and break the addiction.

And stay away from that falsely advertised hazelnut spread.  Perhaps they should really call it Sugar Spread with Hazelnuts…

♥  Terri  ♥

How do you Like your Eggs in the Morning?

I thought I would give you myself a break from all the ‘bad’ food I’ve been making.  Being one who has low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) I have to have breakfast, and a proper one at that.  I admit I sway from having a proper breakfast on occasion and I do pay for it later on in the day.  I can become irritable, get internal shakes, lose concentration, get a headache, break out into a cold sweat…the list goes on and none of it is pleasant.

I get lazy sometimes and just don’t feel like cutting up veggies or preparing other foods to eat; usually because I’m so busy doing other things and I almost feel like I can’t be bothered to eat, but I know I must.  So what happens?  I eat the wrong things.  I might have a couple of crackers with some butter or peanut butter or perhaps a banana.  I might even grab a slice or two of ham from the fridge or eat a handful of nuts.  Now granted, none of this is absolutely terrible, but it’s not really a proper meal, nor do I eat this all at one time.  It’s usually over a period of about 2-3 hours but it’s still not a good meal.  I’m much better when I have a good breakfast consisting of eggs and veggies and grains or a bowl of porridge with fruit and nuts.  Either of these meals will hold me for a good 3-4 hours, although I will have a mid-morning snack.  There are times when I will even have leftovers from the previous night’s dinner.

I just get tired of having eggs most mornings.

This morning I decided to see what I could find in my GI Recipes book.  Even though this has eggs, it sounded different and tasty.  This would suit Phase 2 on South Beach Diet…

~~SCRAMBLED EGGS w/HONEY-ROASTED TOMATOES~~

Serves 1 (easily increased for any number of servings)

2-3 small tomatoes

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp honey

1 Tbsp olive oil

salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs

1-2 slices whole grain bread (wholewheat, granary, rye, etc.) (I used a wholewheat bagel)

Preheat oven to 220°C/425°F.

Halve the tomatoes and arrange in a baking dish, cut side up.  Sprinkle over the cinnamon and drizzle with honey.  Season with salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes.

When the tomatoes are nearly cooked, put the eggs in a bowl, season and beat.  Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan until sizzling.  Reduce the heat, pour in the eggs and cook gently, stirring constantly until thick and creamy.

Toast the bread and place on plate.  Spoon on the eggs and pile tomatoes on top.  Spoon over any juices from the tomatoes, sprinkle with black pepper and serve.

Enjoy!

♥ Terri  ♥♥

Chinese-Spiced Pork for South Beach Diet

Hey Y’all!

Been busy here at Terri’s Kitchen trying to get myself organised for the market on Sunday.  I must admit, it’s a bit rough getting back into the routine after taking a break for nearly 3 months!  However, I am excited about getting back to the market and seeing everyone.

Here’s another one from the GI Recipe book.  It says to grill/broil the chops, but I fried them up in the pan for 2-3 minutes each side and poured in the marinade.  Yes, it calls for honey, but it’s only a tablespoon worth and it’s divided among four, so it’s not going to hurt.  However, because of the honey, I would keep this for use in Phase 2 or 3.  It tasted really nice and I served them with braised kale and sweet potato oven fries.  And again, I forgot to take a pic…sigh.

~~CHINESE-SPICED PORK~~

1 tsp grated fresh root ginger

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced

1 tbsp honey

2 tsp soy sauce

4 x pork loin steaks

In a plastic bag large enough to hold the steaks, combine all the ingredients except the steaks.  Mix it all up and add the steaks and slosh them around to coat.  Marinate in the fridge for at least two hours.

Preheat the grill/broiler.  Grill 4-5 minutes each side until cooked through.  Or heat some olive oil in a large skillet and add the steaks and cook about 2-3 minutes.  Flip over the steaks, add the remaining marinade and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

♥♥ Terri  ♥♥

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Terri’s Tasty Tip:

Sweeten the smell of your home with vanilla extract.  Estate agents and property stagers who specialise in making homes appealing to buyers recommend this tip.  Put a drop or two of vanilla extract on a light bulb, turn on the light and your hone will be filled with the appealing scent of fresh baking.

Hey, You’ve got Egg on Your Face!

You’ve seen the ads:  women lounging with their hair wrapped up, cream all over their face and cucumbers on their eyes.  This wasn’t just to block out the light.  Cucumbers, along with other foods in your kitchen, are home-made alternatives that can be used in place of other beauty products you normally use.

Cucumber slices placed over your eyes have long been used as treatment to decrease puffiness. Their high water and sodium content help to cool your skin while pulling the excess water from around your eyes, resulting in a smoother and less puffy appearance. Make sure you thoroughly wash the cucumber before putting it anywhere near your face.

Another puffy eye remedy is caffeine.  No don’t worry, you’re not going to use coffee as an eye wash!  Tea bags can be used in place of cucumbers.  After making a cup of tea, let the tea bag cool.  Make sure the tea bags are squeezed dry then chill and place on your eyes.  Other skin products are now listing caffeine as an ingredient to be applied on other parts of your body.  While it can decrease the redness of your skin, many are using it in creams and lotions that target decreasing cellulite.

Honey is another good skin moisturizer.  Nurture your skin with a tablespoon of honey wiped around the cheeks, chin and forehead and leave on for 10 minutes (don’t forget the cucumber slices or tea bags!) then rinse off with warm water for a cheap moisturizing mask.

Next time you are dividing an egg to use just the whites, don’t throw the yolks down the drain. Egg yolk makes for a firming and refreshing face mask. Simply whip up a yolk and then lightly spread it on your face. Leave it in place for at least 15 minutes or until it hardens then rinse with cool water and pat your face dry, never rub.  To make an exfoliating mask for dry skin, mix the egg white with a tablespoon of oatmeal.  Spread on your face and leave for five minutes.  Rinse off with cool water.

Another face mask can be made with strawberries.  Remove the stems from about five or six strawberries and mash to a paste.  Spread on your face and leave for 15 minutes.  Rinse with cool water and pat your face dry.

Fresh grapefruit juice works wonders on tense, tired feet. Fill a foot bath with warm water and squeeze out the juice from a grapefruit or two. Soak your feet in the grapefruit juice and water for 30 minutes or more for a fine, softening agent on your tired tootsies. This works great in the summer with cold water instead of warm. The scent is simply delicious.

Enjoy an invigorating carrot and coffee body scrub. Mix 1/2 lb. of freshly ground coffee with 2 tbsp. of corn meal and 1/2 lb. of grated carrots. Massage the mixture into dry areas to moisturize and revitalize. Rinse thoroughly.

Green tea is healthy and delicious to drink, but it also can be the basis for a spa-quality beauty treatment. Enjoy a relaxing green tea bath soak by making a cup of green tea using 2-3 tea bags.  Pour it into your warm bath water, and enjoy.

For a body exfoliator for all skin types, cut a fresh orange in half and squeeze the juice of one half into a bowl. Add ¼ cup granulated sugar or you can use sea salt and ¼ cup olive oil and then blend into a moisture rich scrub. Next, rub the exposed side of the other half of the orange over the knees, elbows, heels, and any other dry spots. Slough off the dead skin by rubbing in the mixture. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Use beer for flat or dull hair.  Yeast and hops help to swell the hair shaft and plump the cuticle, adding volume. The acidity of the beer helps remove built up products residue.  In the shower, after you’ve shampooed, pour a bottle of beer over your hair.  A rich beer with a high yeast content works best (no light beer).  To avoid the smelling like a eau de liqour cabinet, rinse briefly with fresh water.

Tips & Warnings…

If you happen to be allergic to a certain food, never use it on your skin.

♥ Be careful when applying anything around your eyes. You don’t want to get a glob of egg yolk or anything else in them.

♥ Just as you would never eat rotten food, don’t use rotten food for beauty products.

I told you there was egg on your face…..