Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
  • Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
  • Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health

Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health

by Nina Simonds
     
 

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In this groundbreaking cookbook, Nina Simonds offers us more than 175 luscious recipes, along with practical tips for a sensible lifestyle, that demonstrate that health-giving foods not only provide pleasure but can make a huge difference in our lives.

With her emphasis on the tonic properties of a wide variety of foods, herbs, and spices, this book also brings… See more details below

Overview

In this groundbreaking cookbook, Nina Simonds offers us more than 175 luscious recipes, along with practical tips for a sensible lifestyle, that demonstrate that health-giving foods not only provide pleasure but can make a huge difference in our lives.

With her emphasis on the tonic properties of a wide variety of foods, herbs, and spices, this book also brings us up to date on the latest scientific research. In every recipe–gathered from cultures around the world in which good eating is a way of life–Simonds gives us dishes that are both irresistible and have a positive effect on one’s well-being. For example:

-Cardamom, a key digestive, subtly seasons her Steamed Asparagus with Cardamom Butter.

-Cinnamon, which strengthens the heart and alleviates nervous tension, adds spice to her Fragrant Cinnamon Pork with Sweet Potatoes.

-Basil has long been used as a healing salve and in teas. So who wouldn’t feel rejuvenated by a delicious bowlful of Sun-Dried Tomato Soup with Fresh Basil?

-Peanuts, which fortify the immune system and lower cholesterol, provide a tasty, crunchy accent in Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken.

-Mint, which has many healing properties, from taming muscle spasms to dissolving gallstones, can be relished in Minty Snap Peas accompanying Pan-Roasted Salmon or in a Pineapple Salsa served with Jerk Pork Cutlets.

-And peaches give us vitamin C, beta carotene, and fiber. So enjoy them in a wonderful Gingery Peach-a-Berry Cobbler.

To help us understand what part these health-restoring foods can play in our lives, Simonds peppers Spices of Life with lively interviews with a variety of experts, including Dr. Jim Duke, who offers anti-aging advice from his Herbal Farmacy; Dr. Andrew Weil, who discusses his latest nutritional findings; and Dr. U. K. Krishna, who explains basic Ayurvedic practices for healthy living. And more.

With its delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes and concise health information, this delightful book opens up a whole new world of tastes for us to enjoy every day and to share with family and friends.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For many home chefs, reading through most cookbooks is a bit like perusing some high-end fashion magazine: an exercise in aspiration-you'll never get around to making that Boeuf en Croute, but it's nice to imagine a world in which you would. Then there are cookbooks like this one, which is more like an issue of Self than Vogue: full of straightforward but practical recipes, and peppered with loads of health information. Structurally, the book is rich with material, although somewhat confusing: in addition to chapters organized by theme ("Pleasures from the Garden," "Hearty Stews and Braises"), there's interstitial material from alternative health experts like Andrew Weil, with recipes relating to their medical philosophies. The chapters are creative and useful. Why don't more chefs devote a chapter, as Simonds (A Spoonful of Ginger) has, to "Appetizers That Can Serve as a Meal"? Mixing Indonesian, French and Italian recipes within one chapter, Simonds displays her wide-ranging professional and personal experience, sharing meals kids will love, like Teriyaki Beef. For those who relish cookbooks for the elegance they promise, Simonds's side notes may seem less than sexy (learning that dill is supposed to cure bad breath somehow makes the dish the note accompanies less appetizing), but for those open to alternative medicine, and curious about international cuisine, this book is uniquely useful, and Simonds's recipes are easy and inviting. (Feb.) Forecast: Simonds contributes to Gourmet and the New York Times, and is a well-known expert on Asian food and culture. Expect her book to garner reviews and attention, which should yield solid sales. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
From an award-winning cookbook author: 1600 delicious recipes any of us could make. A 12-city author tour. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385349734
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/23/2012
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
File size:
17 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Read an Excerpt

STEAMED ASPARAGUS WITH CARDAMOM BUTTER



Rich Vellante, the talented executive chef of Legal Sea Foods restaurants, developed this wonderful recipe during the "Spices of Life" project when we were working with Chef Suresh Vaidyanathan from the Oberoi Hotel group in India.



2 tablespoons whole cardamom pods (about 50), smashed with the flat side of a knife
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 pounds fresh asparagus, tough woody stems snapped off
1/2 teaspoon salt

Six Servings

First
Toast the cardamom pods in a heavy skillet for about 5 minutes over low heat, shaking the pan from time to time until the cardamom is very fragrant. Add the olive oil and butter and slowly heat to infuse the oil and butter with the cardamom flavor for about 10 to 15 minutes while the asparagus is cooking.

Second
Rinse the asparagus stalks and arrange in a heatproof plate, such as a pie or quiche pan, or in a steamer basket. (If using bamboo, line the basket with a piece of parchment or wax paper.)

Third
Fill a large pot or a wok with several inches of water and heat until boiling. If using a plate, set it on a tuna fish can with both the top and bottom removed. Or, set the steamer basket in the wok. Steam the asparagus 5 to 6 minutes, or until just tender. Remove and arrange on a serving plate.

Fourth
Pour the cardamom butter and sprinkle the salt over the asparagus and serve.

+ Ayurvedic doctors credit cardamom with stimulating the heart and aiding digestion. Cardamom, cinnamon, and bay leaves together are referred to as the "Three Aromatics." The combination is believed to aid in the absorption of medicine.



AVOCADO TOMATO SALSA

This salsa is delicious, easy, and versatile. I serve it with many grilled foods, including seafood, pork, and chicken. It's also excellent as a dip with tortilla chips. To preserve the salsa and prevent it from darkening, bury the avocado pits in it, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator. It will keep for 3 to 4 days.



3/4 pound ripe tomatoes, rinsed and drained, stems removed
2 avocados, peeled, pit removed, cut into 1/4-inch dice
Juice of about 1 1/2 limes (about 4 1/2 tablespoons)
1 jalapeno chile, cored and seeded, or to taste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup minced scallion greens
2 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped coarsely
1 teaspoon salt

Makes 5 to 6 Cups

First
Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut into 1/2-inch dice and put in a serving bowl.

Second
Add the remaining ingredients and carefully stir to mix evenly. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Use as directed in the recipe or served with any type of grilled meat, seafood, or vegetable.

+ Avocados help to lower cholesteral and regulate blood pressure, and are good for the skin.



SPICY SALMON CURRY
Six to Eight Servings

According to Camellia Panjabi, author of THE GREAT CURRIES OF INDIA,"curry," as the word is used in India, simply means gravy. The origin of the word, from kaari, is a meat, vegetable, or seafood dish especially suited to (but not always eaten with) rice. This aromatic sauce, with its unique blending of myriad flavors, is quite different from the typical overpowering curry sauce. Other types of seafood, including shrimp, scallops, or other firm-fleshed fish fillets, may be used in place of the salmon.

2 1/2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped coarsely (about 2 cups)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, seeded and diced, with juice (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
2 pounds salmon fillets, skin removed, cut into 2-inch-wide sections
2 cups fresh peas or thawed frozen peas
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon tamarind pulp dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water, seeds removed*
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of 1 medium lemon)

Seasonings

2 small bird's-eye chiles, ends trimmed and seeds removed**
1 small jalapeno chile, ends trimmed and seeds removed
3 stalks lemongrass, ends trimmed to tender heart and tough outer stalks removed, cut into chunks***
8 cloves garlic
1 2-inch length fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander

First
Prepare the Seasonings by dropping the ingredients in descending order down the feed tube of a food processor, or into a blender, with the machine running. Pulse and scrape down the sides of the work bowl with a spatula until you have a rough but even texture. If the lemongrass remains in large pieces, carefully scrape the seasonings onto a cutting board and chop by hand.

Second
Heat a heavy wok or a Dutch oven or large casserole over medium-low heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the oil and heat until very hot, about 20 seconds. Add the seasonings and stir-fry over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 3 to 4 minutes, until very fragrant.

Third
Add the chopped onions and stir, then cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, and sugar, and cook, partially covered, for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the salmon, peas, salt, tamarind, and lemon juice, stir together, and cover. Cook until the fish turns opaque and a knife passes through easily, about 6 to 7 minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve on a platter or in serving bowls. Serve with steamed jasmine or basmati rice.

+Ayurveda cautions against eating too many tomatoes, believing that they can be toxic to the body, but it also considers them to be healing when cooked with certain spices. Tomato juice with cumin is recommended for improving digestion.

* If tamarind pulp is unavailable, use freshly squeezed lime juice or cider vinegar to taste.
** If unavailable, substitute 1 1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes or to taste.
*** Fresh lemongrass is available at most Asian markets. You may use dried, but first reconstitute by softening in boiling water to cover for 20 minutes.

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