Focus Corner

Super Spices

February 9th, 2010 by   (View Author Profile)

corn-bread1Spring is in the air and as the weather finally changes, everyone around me seems to be coming down with a cold. Like so many Irish folks, I am sensitive to foods containing gluten.  And, I try to stay away from dairy in the damp weather.  And, I’m a vegetarian, hmm…. No meat, no wheat, and (mostly) no dairy.  Alas, I’m a professional cook so I spend a lot of time creating recipes to suit a variety of diets. Here’s one of my favorite cold weather  meals that’s tasty, satisying, easy to make and good for ya!

Traditional Cuban Black Beans are made with a piece of salt pork or ham hocks.  But, with the correct seasoning and a rich, organic vegetable stock this vegetarian version  hits the spot.  It’s great with yellow rice flavored with turmeric. These 2  recipes have 5 of the 7 super spices: turmeric, cayenne pepper, paprika and cumin. Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that is an antioxidant and cancer fighter, as well as promoting brain health by protecting against cognitive decline. Cayenne and paprika enhance metabolism, increases satiety and stimulates fat burning. Cumin  also has cancer fighting properties, aids in digestive disorders and has antiseptic value in fighting the common cold. Garlic has cancer protective benefits.

Cuban Black Beans with Yellow Rice – gluten and dairy free

  • Rinse l lb dry  black beans and cook in 4 cups vegetable stock .
  • While the beans are cooking  heat 2 Tbl. olive oil in a heavy skillet.
  • Add 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed and l medium yellow onion, chopped. Cook until transparent.
  • Add 2 tsp. paprika,  3 tsp. ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, 2 bay leaves and sea salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add this mixture to beans and simmer until tender, about 1 1/2 hours, adding more stock if necessary – beans should be thick but there should be enough stock for a nice gravy.

Yellow Rice

  • In a heavy pot, heat 1 Tbl. olive oil. Add 1/2 cup diced shallots.
  • When they are softening, add 2 tsp. turmeric and 2 cups water or stock. Bring to a boil and add 1 cup white basmati rice.
  • Cover with lid, lower heat and simmer until rice is cooked, about 25 minutes. Add sea salt & pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chopped coriander .

Optional: serve with shredded monterey jack cheese and/or a dollop of sour cream.
Serve with Skillet Corn Bread – gluten free (recipe below)

Skillet Corn Bread

  • In a mixing bowl combine 2 cups stone ground cornmeal, 2 cups gluten free bread flour *, 4 tsp. gluten free baking powder, 1 tsp. bread soda, 1 tsp. salt. Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl mix 6 Tbl. vegetable oil, 1/2 cup honey, 2 cups plain yoghurt and 2 beaten eggs.
  • Mince 2 Tbl. red pepper and 1 Tbl. coriander.
  • Combine all, the batter will be thick.
  • Oil a large cast iron skillet and pour batter in.
  • Bake at 180 for 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

* Health Shops have a good selection of gluten free products and many companies now make a good bread flour substitute, usually a combination of rice, potato and grain flours.


Posted in Food, Food and Drink, Nutrition, Organic, Recipes, Sustainable Living. Tagged with : , , , ,
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