Ginger Preserve with Lemon - the perfect pairing cheese. I also love Salmon glazed and then baked with this delicious spicy preserve.
One of the great joys of food is being creative, of being unique.
The "small plate" takes many forms. The Spanish "tapas," the Mexican "bocas," the French "charcuterie," the Chinese "dim sum" all celebrate the art of arrangement and of contrast.
When we think of "cheese boards," we typically think of a flight of cheeses perhaps arranged by region or style or type of base milk. Often these plates have some fruit or preserve to complement or contrast.
At the recent Institut du Fromage training meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, meeting host Michael Landis of Gourmet Foods International took the concept up a level of creativity. In this expression of creativity, the focus was on pairings. Each with a cheese style at its core, but each one designed to complement and contrast prime flavor, flavor taste sequence, aroma and textures.
Clearly each of the presentations could have been presented on a cheese board as a highlight, as an appetizer or amuse bouche, or as a side dish in any course of the meal.
It taught me three things:
1. Be brave and experiment
2. Think about texture as well as flavor
3. You eat with your eyes first, then your nose, and finally your mouth. Each brings something to the experience.
Our pairing was as simple as it was delicious.
1 teaspoon plain goat cheese rolled in a ball
Use the Savannah Snap as a base and stage. Place the ball of goat cheese in the center and top with the Ginger Preserve with Lemon. Garnish with the Ginger Bites.
Tasting Notes and Pairings:
Consider a Pinot Noir or drier Riesling.
The Savannah Snap gives a crunch and crumb. You taste the Ginger Preserve first and then the creaminess of the goat cheese. They combine to give you a long, clean and warm flavor. EXTRA INFO: Many of the compounds in Ginger that provide its distinctive citrus and warm spices notes are fat soluble. The fat in cheese impacts these compounds and the combination in your mouth releases a cascade of delicious flavors and aromas.
Here's a short video of the team constructing these delicious pairings.
Recipe - Sparkling - Turmeric Dusted Baby Ginger
Choose your favorite bubbly mixer - Champagne, Cremant, Cava, Sparkling Water...
Prep Time : 2 Minutes | Cooking Time: 0 Minutes | Servings: 1
Calories: varies based on choice of mixer
Verdant Kitchen® Products in this recipe:
Turmeric Dusted Baby Ginger brings the bright earthy palette of USDA Organic Turmeric to warm peppery early season preserved Ginger.
Recipe - Peanut Butter Turmeric Energy Balls
Prep Time : 10 Minutes | Cooking Time: 0 Minutes | Servings: 16
Calories: approx 80 each
Verdant Kitchen® Products in this recipe:
Turmeric Infused Honey brings a bright yellow color and is packed with Turmeric anti-inflammatory power.
The days get warmer, the trees bloom, and with that comes a deluge of pollen that can often make us miserable with allergies. There are natural foods, however, that can help reduce the impact of these allergies and the need to reach for synthetic drugs with their many unwanted side effects.
To better understand what is happening in our bodies, and how we can help, let's look at how our immune system works and responds.
The National Institutes of Health has an excellent publication (NIH Publication No. 03-5423) that provides a clear explanation of how our immune system works.
"The most common type of allergic disease occurs when the immune system responds to a false alarm. A normally harmless material such as grass pollen or house dust is mistaken for a threat and attacked. Allergies such as pollen allergy are related to an antibody known as IgE. Like other antibodies, each IgE antibody is specific; one acts against oak pollen and another ragweed."
Our amazing immune systems have fast response mechanisms. Once we encounter an allergen such as a pollen, our B cells make specific IgE antibodies. These antibodies attached to mast cell. These mast cells are the bodies fast allergy storm troopers. Inside them they have granules of histamine and heparin - chemicals that the body uses to speed the diffusion of white blood cells into muscle to help fight against infection. The next time these primed mast cells encounter the same pollen, they release their payload of histamine. When this happens in a cascading way, we can suffer from a major allergic response out of balance with the threat.
There are a wide range of chemicals both artificial and natural that can mediate the action of these mast cells to reduce over-reactions to common allergens. Nature has produced broad classes of chemicals that are particularly effective at stabilizing the mast cells.
Foods high in flavonoids and polyphenols are of special interest. These are some of our favorite brightly colored foods. They include Quercetin, which is found in high levels in the skin of apples, berries and capers; Resveratrol found in grapes, red wine and raspberries; and Curcumin, one key active ingredient in Turmeric.
A lot of study has focused on the role Turmeric can play in the mediation of allergies and inflammation. In recent studies, Curcumin has been found to suppress the IgE-mediated allergic response. It appears that Curcumin has anti-allergic activity - it significantly inhibited antigen-induced degranulation of the mast cells and the release of their histamine.
The effect of Curcumin appears to function to mediate the Mast cell at low concentrations. The Curcumin is naturally manufactured in the rhizome of our organically grown Turmeric and provides its bright orange color.
With this knowledge, we can create allergy-fighting menus that can keep levels of naturally occurring Quercetin, Resveratrol and Curcumin in our blood stream while enjoying delicious, nutritious and healthful foods. Our suggested menu is enhanced for spring with the addition of Turmeric Capsules. It includes allergy-fighting raspberries, ginger, turmeric, onions, capers and apples that will keep you satisfied and ready to face these spring days.
A Daily Menu Packed with Allergy-Fighting Natural Goodness
Lunch - Lox and Bagels with onions and capers
Snack - Red Apple + Ginger Turmeric Green Tea
I wish we had the ability to share aromas online. Today we are fresh grinding our USDA Organic, USA Grown Ginger and Turmeric from our Savannah Organic farm for a batch of Ginger Turmeric Green Tea that will be produced this week in our Organic kitchens in Atlanta, GA.
But back to how it smells. I can't share the aroma, but let me try and describe it.
Our USDA Organic spices, including Ginger and Turmeric, are grown in sandy loams near the coast. They have that terroir. We grow over nine varieties of Ginger and four varieties of Turmeric (and several varieties of Galangal) and each has a unique flavor profile.
Careful processing does not mean low tech. Once harvested and washed, the spices are sliced and carefully raw food dehydrated in atmospheric-controlled rooms. They are then ground in air flow, all designed to minimize heat and maximize the existing essential oils, polyphenols, phytochemicals and other nutrients and functional products. The assault on your senses comes in no small part due to the careful way we prepare the ingredients. At Verdant Kitchen® we believe strongly that the end product can never be better than the ingredients used to make it. Take this concept and walk backward through the process. You come back to the soil, the farm, the seedlings, the irrigation, the harvest, and worry and work to make it the best it can be at every step.
The Ginger - intense citrus, but much more complex. Perhaps a reminder of Bergamot in a morning cup of Earl Grey. Sweet like a Hungarian Pepper. Something complex underneath, something that makes you feel happy, but what is it? Your mouth waters, ginger has that effect. Suddenly you feel it more than smell it. The essential oils are being absorbed and connecting with your brain. You almost sneeze and smile.
The Turmeric - carrots, is it carrots? No not carrots, but perhaps carrots mixed with butternut squash and something else. Savory, similar to the sea breeze from the marsh near the fields. Fresh pepper, a hint of camphor like your Grandma's old cupboard. Something familiar and friendly.
The Green Tea - grassy, fresh a little bitter. We speak a lot about the benefits of Ginger and Turmeric, but Green Tea especially when consumed several times a day has well proven positive impact including clinical research on the reduction of the development of Prostate Cancer. Here is a link to our blog and video on Green Tea and Prostate Cancer.
Together they are a potent blend of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and polyphenols that can provide joy and wellness benefits across a broad range of critical body functions.
Making a cup of this tea could not be simpler. Here is a video where I have used our office Keurig. Use really hot water and let it steep for a few minutes. Some of the active ingredients, especially in the Turmeric, have limited solubility in cold water. The hot water will extract the oils and essential chemicals and provide you with enhanced bioavailability.
Ginger and Turmeric under the Live Oaks - Verdant Kitchen USDA Organic Farm Savannah, GA.
The hands-down favorite from a recent Manhattan product tasting, this simple heart-healthy combination is delicious, nutritious and packed with energy.
Energy + boosted anti-inflammatory and antioxidant bioavailability. Three simple ingredients combine to provide four wellness advantages in every serving.
We often get questions about the sugar content of preserved ginger. When we grow and harvest Ginger, it is not naturally high in simple sugars. Unlike many fresh fruits that average around 10% sugar, ginger naturally has only a few percent. When we dry fruit, we remove the water and concentrate the sugars. This gives dried fruit both its delicious sweet concentrated flavor, but most importantly also acts as a natural preservative. To provide the same level of natural preservation, fresh early season ginger is steeped in a cane sugar solution. Some of the water is replaced by the cane sugar. The result is a product very similar to dried fruit. You should enjoy preserved ginger as you would dried fruit. Be mindful that they contain sugar and combine them with healthy fiber for slow and steady glycemic release.
Enjoy the mix as a snack, or my favorite, sprinkled over a salad.
Prep Time : 1 Minutes | Cooking Time: 0 Minutes | Servings: 12
Verdant Kitchen® Products in this recipe:
Fast, no-fuss, delicious and packed full of heart- and liver- healthy antioxidants (ginger) and beta-glucan (oats). This simple breakfast is a perfect way to start the day and help undo the free radical damage from last night's excess.
Ginger and oats are a liver-healthy power couple. See our Blog for more information on what the research shows on the role they play in reducing liver damage.
Prep Time : 1 Minute | Cooking Time: 5 Minutes | Servings: 1
Calories approx 300
Verdant Kitchen® Products in this recipe - click for more information:
We all enjoy a glass of wine or a delicious cocktail, but spare a thought for your liver health and make sure your diet is full of liver healthy natural antioxidants. When we overdo it, we turn to our liver to help us clean up after the party. A simple breakfast of oats and ginger can make a world of difference....
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A lot has been said about the trend in warming weather. You can choose to call it climate change or not, but what is fact is that we have seen warming average temperatures for the last 30 years.
Looking across the US we can see this trend as increases in average mean temperatures by state.
You can customize you information at this NOAA site
If seems like every other person I have met in the last week has a cold of some sort. Changing temperature profiles changes disease spread. To focus on immunity and recovery, see FightBack5
We will hear a lot more about climate change and sometimes it seems a bit abstract and difficult to apply to your daily lives. On the farm it is only too obvious. Planting and harvest times are keyed to last frost, first frost and average temperatures. The temperatures and associated rainfall drives insect emergence, which has a very direct impact on quality and yield. Crops that have never been grown in a region suddenly become possible, while long-term staple crops become uneconomic.
Last week in mid-February on the farms at Verdant Kitchen in Savannah GA, the camellias were finishing their flowering. The azaleas were finishing a big bloom. It was 79 F. The weed seeds had shot and clover was 6 inches high and lush.
Farms worry about lots of things, but above all they worry about uncertainty. Uncertainty generally means reduced yields and increased costs. These are costs that in the end are borne by the consumer. We should understand climate change and all do our part to reduce the impact. The consequences of changing climate will hit our pockets and our environment.
We can watch our graphs and first and last frost almanac dates - but just go stand by a flowering shrub. The bees will tell you when it's spring.