Monday, August 24, 2009

Introducing: The Aduki Bean

Aduki beans, otherwise known as azuki or adzuki beans, are small red beans cultivated throughout East Asia. They are loaded with protein, soluble fiber and have significant amounts of iron, potassium, folate and magnesium. They are easy to digest in comparison to other legumes. Their low "glycemic index" makes them an optimal choice for individuals affected by diabetes and blood sugar management issues.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, aduki beans are known for their "strengthening" qualities and yang energy. They are packed with iron so can help resolve iron deficiency anemia. Their iron content also makes them a good choice for women's health. For instance, in Japan aduki bean soups are often consumed after menstruation to replenish red blood cells.

In East Asian cuisine, aduki beans are used as core ingredients of sweet dessert-like soups or porridges. They may also be boiled and pureed with sugar to form a red bean paste, then used as a stuffing for rice dumplings or pastries. In addition, they are superb in savory dishes with rice and other grains, veggies, and in soups and stews.

Aduki Bean Rice Tacos

Aduki beans are wonderful in savory dishes with grains and veggies. Try incorporating them into your cooking with this Asian and Mexican inspired dish.

1 can Eden brand aduki beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup brown basmati rice
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons umeboshi plum vinegar
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup sprouted almonds or raw cashews, crushed
4 soft corn tortillas

Bring rice and 2 cups of water to a boil in medium saucepan, and add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes, or until water is absorbed and grains are dry. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.

Heat ginger and sesame oil in medium skillet over medium heat until ginger begins to sizzle, about 3 minutes. Add beans, vinegar, chili flakes, nuts and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 3 minutes, or until liquid evaporates.

Stir rice into bean mixture. Taste, and add more salt if desired. Sprinkle with chopped green onions and cilantro. Serve on warm corn tortillas.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Makes: 3-4 servings
Recipe adapted by Genevieve Sherrow from the
Vegetarian Times

Aduki Bean Stew

2-3 medium shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 rib celery, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, cut into ¼” pieces
1 cup dry azuki beans
4 cups water
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a large sauce pan, add shallots and sauté until soft. Add celery and sauté a few minutes longer. Add aduki beans and water, increase heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Next, add sweet potato and simmer for 15-20 minutes longer or until beans are soft (if you add the sweet potato sooner it may disintegrate). Taste and adjust salt if needed. Serve alone or over your grain of choice.

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Anti-inflammatory Properties of Turmeric

Turmeric, a member of the ginger family, is a vibrant yellow spice that has been a core component of Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Turmeric contains bioactive constituents, "curcuminoids" which have a wide range of beneficial properties. Laboratory and animal research has demonstrated that curcumin, the most active curcuminoid, may have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant activities.

Scientific research has also demonstrated that turmeric may be beneficial in reducing symptoms associated with Alzheimer's, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn's, cardiovascular and liver diseases.

In ancient Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used as a folk remedy to treat eye infections, wounds, bites, burns and skin diseases. Apparently, Johnson and Johnson, Inc. makes turmeric Band-Aids for the Indian market.

Turmeric can be found in curry powders, although in minimal amounts, so it's best to purchase turmeric as its own spice. Turmeric is a fat-soluble spice which means that it is best absorbed when consumed with fat, specifically medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). It's no surprise that coconut milk, a food often paired with curry, is high in MCTs. Turmeric's nutritional profile includes moderate amounts of iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6.

Turmeric enhances any egg dish, cooked or cold. If you're egg-free, sprinkle turmeric on scrambled tofu to mimic the appearance and flavor of eggs. Turmeric meshes well with cauliflower, leafy greens and broccoli. It also injects unique flavor to garbanzo beans or lentils and white meats such as chicken, turkey and pork.

Enjoy this golden recipe.

Golden Quinoa

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 tablespoons high quality unrefined olive oil
1 cup sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup whole raw cashews, crushed
3 teaspoons turmeric
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
Crushed black pepper to taste

Combine water and quinoa in covered pot. After water comes to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and cool.

Heat saucepan to medium-high, then add olive oil. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and stir. Combine quinoa, raisins, cashews, turmeric and honey (in that order) with garlic and onion. Stir until ingredients are well-coated.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Healing Powers of Ginger

Ginger is a root that is used in many culinary as well as medicinal applications. Versatile ginger has played a significant role in Chinese, Japanese and Indian medicine since the 1500s. It has been prescribed for a variety of ailments including stomach aches, colds and flu, nausea, diarrhea, arthritis and respiratory disorders.

Ginger is especially well known for its effectiveness in alleviating gastrointestinal distress. Extracts of ginger are found in a multitude of commercial digestive, laxative and antacid remedies. Ginger relaxes the intestinal tract and promotes elimination of intestinal gas. It has also been shown to be effective in alleviating nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy, chemotherapy, surgery, or motion. Ginger may also be helpful in reducing symptoms associated with arthritis, joint and muscle pain because of its anti-inflammatory constituents called "gingerols." Nutritionally, ginger contains moderate amounts of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6.

Ginger’s warming nature makes it good candidate for wintertime consumption, but it can be consumed during any season. Working with ginger in the kitchen is fairly simple. Fresh ginger root can be found in your local grocery store. Before use, remove the skin with the edge of a spoon or a pairing knife. Mince or grate and add to a salad dressing, vegetable sauté, fish or poultry marinade. Steep in boiling water and drink as a tea with honey and lemon or chill and enjoy a ginger cooler.

Enjoy this spicy, sweet salad dressing. Serve with your favorite fresh salad greens.

Ginger Tahini Dressing
2-3 tablespoons raw sesame tahini
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar (optional)
2 tablespoons mirin or cooking sake
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2-3 teaspoons fresh ginger root, minced
1/2-1 clove of garlic, crushed
Crushed black pepper and sea salt to taste

In a mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients until mixture achieves a thickness.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4-5
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.

Ginger Honey Carrots
Simple. Nutritious. Delicious. A recipe need not be complicated to pack in the flavor and all those good-for-you ingredients. Prepare this tasty side dish in about 15 minutes.

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into half moons
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons unrefined extra virgin olive oil
Pinch sea salt
Pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced

Coat carrots with honey, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat sauté pan to medium high, then add the remaining olive oil. Sauté minced ginger in pan until it turns light brown and starts to crackle. Add carrots and sauté until soft, approximately 10 minutes.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Makes 1-2 servings
Copyright 2009, Genevieve Sherrow, Original Recipe.