Guest Post from Yaniv Cohen:: Let’s talk about spices

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You are going to love our guest contributor today…Yaniv aka The Spice Detective. Yaniv and I met through mutual friends in Mykonos about 10 years ago. He was working as partner in a big Miami/NY catering company, and obviously we had tons in common, food events, you get the picture. We hit it off like a house on fire. Over the years, he has continued to build his company. We have kept in touch, and a few years ago Yaniv starting sharing his healthy recipes and his healing spice philosophies. I was hooked. I loved the idea and the shift in focus he had. I was impressed. So that is why I wanted to have him share his knowledge with you in a post for Juice January, and lucky for me, he agreed. Thank you Yaniv! xx I have a feeling this will not be your last time on my blog sharing amazing, healing and delicious recipes.

Take it away Yaniv…

Let’s talk about spices…and health. Many of you might not be aware of the incredible power of spices…

So what are spices? A spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance primarily used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are the leaves, flowers, or stems of plants used for flavoring or as a garnish.

Have you ever wondered why steamy, humid hot climate regions typically have the spiciest cuisines? And why spices are more commonly used in warmer climates? Think about India, north Africa and Thailand  for instance. The answer is simple: spices have powerful antimicrobial properties which helps preserve food and meats in regions around of the globe that have more infectious diseases due to the climate conditions.

But spices are more than just antimicrobial powders. Spices contain anti-inflammatory agents. They are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, too. So for your next meal, sprinkle more spices on your vegetables, meats, fish, desserts and drinks.

If you need ideas, information, and recipes I invite you to get inspired by following me, The Spice Detective, on Instagram and join me on the spice trail.

Since there is so much to say about spices, and not nearly enough time to do so, I selected one of my favorites, turmeric, to share with you today.

Turmeric is a spice that’s no longer an enigma. From its amber color and its earthy aroma to its unique medicinal properties, it’s easy to see why this golden yellow powder rightly earned the title of the spice that heals. Known as the anti-inflammatory spice, turmeric is one of the most scientifically researched spices to date—with a history that goes back as far as thousands of years. Not only does it bring color and flavor to a bowl of white rice, but it actually acts as a one stop shop for your entire medicine cabinet.

Here is an easy yet delicious recipe  to combine my beloved cauliflower with my favorite spice, turmeric. Cauliflower is finally becoming more popular in American cuisine. It is healthy, delicious, versatile and beautiful. This recipe produces a gorgeous side dish that deserves to be a star on any dinner table. In addition, this is what I’d like to call easy, breezy, lemon squeezy! Simple to make, delicious to taste and healthy to no end!

 Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower
 serves 2-4

 You will need:
– 6 qt (6 l) water
– 2 tbsp (30 g) turmeric
– 3 tbsp (45 g) salt, plus extra, to taste
– 1 whole cauliflower
– 4 tbsp (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
– Pepper, to taste
– Few thyme springs
– Tahini for serving (optional)
– Cilantro chutney (optional)

To prepare:
Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C).

In a large pot, bring the water, turmeric and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat and carefully add the whole cauliflower. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender but not falling apart.

Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet, drizzle the olive oil over it, sprinkle the thyme and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the top of the cauliflower is lightly charred. Remove from the oven and place on a serving plate. Serve drizzle tahini and cilantro chutney and serve.

For the Cilantro Chutney

You will need:
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 2 bunches cilantro
– 4 garlic cloves
– 1 jalapeno
– cumin, salt, and pepper to taste

To prepare:

Mix two bunches of cilantro, 4 garlic cloves and one jalapeno in a food proceed and work until finely chopped.

Place in a mixing bowl, add half a cup of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste along with a dash of cumin and mix well.

For Tahini

You will need:
– 1 cup tahini
– 1 cup water
– 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
– 3 garlic cloves, crushed
– salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:

Mix one cup of raw tahini with one cup of water , 2 tablespoons of lemon juice salt and pepper to taste and 3 crushed garlic cloves in a mixing bowl. Whip thoroughly for 10 minutes until smooth tahini forms. If too thick, add little more water and whip again.

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My Comfort Food:: Meatless Lasagna

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This meatless lasagna is something I love to make for friends and family. It’s the quintessential comfort food, especially during cold winter days. If you’re looking for a few easy meals to prepare for large groups in the coming weeks, give this one a try. It’s a crowd pleaser!

Meatless Lasagna
Serves 12-14

You will need:
– 1 package lasagna noodles (you will need 12 noodles)
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
– 2 cups mushrooms cut into thin slices
– 6 cups Spinach
– 1 16.oz ricotta ( low fat is fine)
– 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese (reserve 1 cup for the topping)
– 1 egg
– 1 teaspoon dried oregano
– 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (reserve ½ cup for the topping)
– 1 16 oz jar prepared marinara sauce (or your own sauce recipe)

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To prepare noodles:

Preheat Oven 400 degrees F

Prepare noodles according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Note: once the noodles are cooked, I like to rinse them in cool water and then leave them in the water until I am ready to layer the pan, this makes them not stick together.

To prepare filling:

Combine the ricotta, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, and the 1 cup Parmesan cheese, oregano and egg in a bowl and combine until smooth. Set aside.

In a saute pan, add oil, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until browned, then toss in the spinach and saute the spinach and mushrooms until all the moisture in the pan has evaporated. You want the mixture as dry as possible.

To layer:

Separate the noodles in the water some of them may have stuck together, then drain in a colander. I like to line up my fillings and the noodles.

In a lasagna pan (9”x13)” lay in the layer of noodles, 3 to 4 is perfect. Then add the sauce about (1/2 cup), the spinach mushroom filling, and then dollops of the ricotta filling (about 3 tablespoon dollops), finishing off the layer with a sprinkle of shredded Mozzarella ( about 1/2 cup). Repeat this process 3 times, each time starting with the noodle layer. The top layer should be the noodles, sauce and the 1 cup of Mozzarella and ½ cup of Parmesan make sure to cover the entire top layer.

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 degrees F. Let it set up for 15-20 minutes before serving.

xx Annette

 

 

 

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Poached Pears in Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine Poached Pears

Poached fruit is a simple yet sophisticated dessert that will wow your guests this holiday season. It is, in fact, a little trick I use when I don’t want to make a complicated dessert. It’s so easy to just grab apples or pears and poach them in wine which is something I always have on had.

These mulled wine poached pears are the perfect classic dessert for fall and winter. Your guests will be impressed with the presentation, and the flavor is subtle and light which after a heavy meal can be just the perfect finish. Top them with homemade whipped cream for a festive end of meal treat.

Mulled Wine Poached Pears
Serves 8

You will need:
– 8 pears
– 1 bottle of Red Wine (I like to use a Merlot, or a Pinot Noir)
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 3 star anise
– 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons sugar

To prepare:

Peel the whole pears leaving the stem in tact.

In a large cast iron pot, empty the bottle of wine, add the sugar, cinnamon, star anise.

Place the peeled pears on their side, then simmer them in the wine for about 15 minutes, occasionally with a large spoon roll the pears to evenly cook them. Turn off the heat, and leave the pears to macerate in the wine (this literally can be all day). Again occasionally turning them to evenly coat the pears. The pears will become a beautiful pink color from the mulled red wine.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, add the whipping cream and sugar whip until stiff peaks form about 5 minutes.

To serve:

Warm the pears through about 3 minutes and place the warm pears in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of the mulled wine. Add a dollop of whipped cream and serve.

NOTE: This is the perfect make ahead dessert, and it will truly impress your guests! 

xx Annette

 

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Last Minute Recipe:: Kumquat Cranberry Sauce

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you’re spending today surrounded by friends and family eating an incredible meal.

A staple at our Thanksgiving table is cranberry sauce, but I always like to put my own twist on it. Cranberry sauce is a perfect complement to Thanksgiving turkey, but instead of opening a can, give this easy recipe a try instead. Even though the end product is luscious and luxurious, cranberry sauce can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, and this kumquat cranberry sauce is perfection.

Everyone will love the citrus flavors paired with the tart cranberries, and you’ll be the star of the meal. This cranberry sauce is especially good once the flavors come together which makes it perfect for leftovers. I like to serve mine from a jar; it gives it a wonderful homemade quality and is a pretty look for the table. Let me know if you give it a try and what everyone thinks!

Kumquat Cranberry Sauce
You will need:
– 2  cups water
– 1 cup sugar
– 12 kumquats cut into circle slices (cut the kumquat across to create pinwheel like slices)
– 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
– 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon cloves
– 2 12-ounce bags fresh or frozen cranberries

 

To prepare:

Combine water, sugar, orange peel, kumquat slices and ginger in heavy medium saucepan. Bring mixture to simmer over medium heat. Simmer 4 minutes to blend flavors.

Add cinnamon, salt and clove and simmer 2 minutes. Add cranberries and simmer until berries burst and sauce is thick, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Refrigerate cranberry sauce until well chilled. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated)

Photo by Stefania Crudeli on Unsplash

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Picture Perfect Thanksgiving:: Turkey and Gravy

Turkey with Pear Walnut and Crispy Bacon Stuffing

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is here! If you’re prepping the main event this year, give my Picture Perfect Turkey and Gravy a try. The recipe is from my first book, Picture Perfect Parties, and it’s truly a show stopper. You’ll end up with a beautiful, flawless bird that will make your friends and family ooh and ahh. Be sure to let me know how it turns out!

Picture Perfect Turkey and Gravy
Serves 8-10

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

You will need:
– 20 lb. Organic Turkey
– 2 teaspoons flake salt
– ¼ cup olive oil
– ¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary
– 4 cloves garlic minced
– 1 lemon

Ingredients for the *mirepoix mixture for the bottom of the roaster:
– 1 carrot diced
– 2 celery stalks dices
– 1 yellow onion diced
– 2 cups turkey stock (I use store bought)

To prepare:
In the bottom of a roasting pan place carrots, celery, onion and stock. Put a rack into the roasting pan. Place turkey on the rack.

Combine salt, oil, rosemary, and garlic, rub the entire turkey with the mixture, place whole lemon into the cavity of the turkey. Place in the oven with an aluminum foil tent on the top of the turkey for 4 hours, basting every half hour. Remove the tent for the last hour of baking, and bake until meat thermometer reads 150 degrees F

Pull from the oven and let rest.

*Reserve the mirepoix for the gravy.

 

 

Gravy

You will need:
– Mirepoix, defatted
– 2 cups turkey stock
– 2 tablespoons corn starch

To prepare:
Place the mirepoix into a saucepan, heat, and add turkey stock, and warm.

In a small bowl place cornstarch.  Add 3 tablespoons of the warm mixture to the cornstarch, mix with a small spoon until a paste forms. Add the paste to the gravy mixture to thicken. Stir until reduced. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl. Serve on the side with turkey and stuffing.

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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