"spices" news and stories
I've always touted the health benefits of spices. Now a new and exciting study indicates that turmeric is indeed packed full of them. It's being evaluated for its ability to soothe skin disorders like psoriasis, calm the nervous system and PMS, and even fight cancer because of its active ingredient, curcumin, which works as a powerful anti-inflammatory.
So how can you get more of it into your daily diet? Turmeric has a stringent tart flavor and it's the spice that gives curry powder its characteristic bright yellow color. However, using it in small amounts in your favorite recipes is easy since it comes in powder form. Add a teaspoon the next time you make chili or sprinkle some on a fresh mango with a squeeze of lime, then throw it it on the grill. Or, this weekend, have a movie night and served spiced popcorn.
Get Jennifer's Spiced Popcorn recipe after the jump.
Salt is an essential component of cooking and in a professional kitchen, chefs are lucky enough to have a sous-chef to offer a second taste opinion. Whenever I eat out, it's one of the things I notice right away, because both under- and over-seasoning ruin the dish for me.
According to a recently released study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, many restaurant chains are guilty of overloading their meals with salt, thus increasing millions of customers' risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, Nearly 85 percent of the adult-sized meals at 10 popular chain restaurants have more than the recommended daily limit for total sodium intake -- 2,300 milligrams, or roughly one teaspoon of table salt.
Most home cooks are keenly aware of the connection between excessive salt consumption and high blood pressure which results from the body's need to dilute high concentrations with additional water. As a result, home cooks tend to err on the side of caution and don't use enough salt to bring out the best of each dish.
So, how do you know if you're using enough salt?
Get Jennifer's smart seasoning and salt-busting tips after the jump.
Spices considered "sweet" in America are used internationally to add flavor to savory and piquant recipes. I think spices are the hidden fountain of health; they work as powerful anti-inflammatories, treating this condition associated with many chronic diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and psoriasis among others.
Spices also happen to be fat-free and don't add calories. But, in order to reap the benefits of these spices, you have to eat more of them on a regularly basis -- more than you can get by filling up on heavy desserts. Here are some ways to add sweet spices to savory foods.
Get Jennifer's smart spicing techniques and a plantain recipe after the jump.
Some cooks reach for Sriracha, the ubiquitous Thai hot sauce, in a pinch. Others swear by soy sauce. And then there are those who refuse to reveal (*cough, cough* butter) what made the dish you just demolished delicious. For our part, we've developed a tiny -- OK, midsized -- crush on an infused chili oil, and we need to talk about it.
Sid Wainer & Son's Domaine de Provence pepper-spiked oil is fantastic. A drizzle of the fiery goodness rescues storebought and homemade guacamole alike with a heady, late-blooming heat on the palate. According to owner Henry Wainer, it's also tasty on bruschetta. We plan to carry it on our person all summer -- potentially awkward in the 90-degree swelter -- using guerilla tactics to douse any crustaceans and pork we spy sizzling on the grills of party hosts. (Brooklyn, consider yourself warned.)
Wainer has been equally passionate about the oil since meeting its producer at a dinner in France 18 years ago. Such culinary serendipity, he declares, "enriches the world." Can't argue with that.
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