Spice Up Your Life!
Spice It Up!
From a health perspective, many herbs and spices contain huge amounts of anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. Nothing packs more nutrients, gram for gram, than herbs and spices, which is why you’ll find them in nearly all of my recipes. They are incredibly stimulating to our sense of taste, smell and sight, offering a culinary telegram to the brain consisting of the words: It’s time to eat!
Herbs and spices can also keep things new in the kitchen, as well as take you around the world. Don’t worry if you haven’t used many herbs and spices. My recipes will help you get more comfortable with using them.
Here’s a tip to release maximum flavor: when cooking with spices, add them at the beginning of the process. Heat, especially with a little olive oil, breaks down the oils in the spices and releases the flavor into the food.
How to add more herbs and spice to your life!
- Use whole or ground spices when roasting vegetables
- Add ½ teaspoon turmeric to a vinaigrette with lemon, olive oil, a pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper. (Black pepper is what turns on the curcumin in turmeric, making it easy for your system to absorb, or as we say “bioavailable”.)
- Incorporate ½ teaspoon of turmeric or curry powder into your scrambled eggs
- Infuse a pot of rice or quinoa with a teaspoon of whole cumin seeds or cardamom pods and a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add 1 teaspoon curry and/or 1 teaspoon ground cumin to kick up store-bought plain hummus
- Infuse whole spices in a tea (this month’s recipe!)
As the days get shorter and the nights get cooler, we shift from the bright flavors of summer to warm spices. All of the spices in classic chai—a combination of cardamom pods, fresh ginger, peppercorns, cinnamon, coriander seeds, clove—provide a power-packed boost for your immune system. Interestingly, turmeric is not in traditional chai. But, since it’s super anti-inflammatory and warming, it’s particularly good for this time of year, so I’ve added it to my masala chai recipe. Plus I love the color.
All of the chai spices are excellent for digestion, and are antimicrobial and antibacterial. Black and green tea in themselves have a lot of anti-inflammatory properties. With these nourishing brews you can get a really great concentration of these spices in one DELICIOUS cup of tea.