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Archive for March 9, 2010

RECIPE: Turmeric-Spiced Chicken with Tomato-Avocado Salsa

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Enjoy the recipe as a taco or atop salad
greens. Photo courtesy McCormick.

Turmeric and vine-ripened tomatoes, the 10th and last in the series of McCormick’s 2010 flavor trends requires a bit of a wait—unless you’re into “faux” vine-riped tomatoes (more about that in a moment).

Turmeric, long consumed as a restorative tea in Okinawa, the Japanese island famed for health and longevity, is a vibrant spice from the ginger family that’s now attracting the attention of Western science for its numerous health benefits. Curcumin, the substance that gives turmeric its yellow color, has compounds that laboratory studies indicate have potential health benefits, from cancer-fighting powers to the ability to block the progression of multiple sclerosis. (Read our review of Dr. Andrew Weil for Tea’s Turmeric Tea.)

Turmeric is the key ingredient in many Indian, Malay, Persian and Thai dishes and an element in many curry powders. As a cheaper alternative to saffron, it’s also used as a natural yellow food coloring in prepared food, cheese, mustard and chicken broth.

 

Vine-ripened” tomatoes are actually something of a misnomer, when purchased at most retail stores. Most tomatoes sold in supermarkets are picked while still fully green, then ripened with ethylene gas or in warming rooms. Tomatoes listed as “vine-ripened” in grocery stores are usually left on the vine only a little longer than usual, so that they’re allowed to turn just barely pink (not even a full “blush”) before being subjected to the artificial ripening treatment. However, the longer a tomato is allowed to ripen on the vine, the better and more flavorful it will be.

The best place to find true, vine-ripened tomatoes is at a farmers market in late summer (August and September) when they’re in season and memorable. But for the purpose of this pairing, look for the best “vine ripened” tomatoes you can find—or hold off until summer.

RECIPE

Turmeric and vine-ripened tomatoes are an earthy and naturally sweet blend. Try them in this recipe for Turmeric-Spiced Chicken with Tomato-Avocado Salsa. It’s a chicken taco recipe, but you can serve the chicken atop salad greens instead of in taco shells.

The recipe has three very healthy ingredients:

  • Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, has been long known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Recent medical research is revealing much more, as turmeric is being used to treat health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The lycopene in tomatoes is a powerful antioxidant that shows promise with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, prostate cancer and even male infertility.
  • Avocado is very heart-healthy: Avocado oil can help lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure. (Learn more about avocado oil.)

So you can legitimately tell guests who watch their diets that they’re eating “healthy tacos.”

 

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TIP OF THE DAY: A Pot Or Topiary Of Rosemary

We love our pot of rosemary—it’s a beautiful and fragrant houseplant (woodsy, like pine). It’s also a delicious fresh herb, at the ready several times a week to add fresh flavor notes to whatever we’re cooking.

Use it with olive oil and garlic for a delicious focaccia; with lamb, poultry and fish; in pasta and potatoes; in Mediterranean soups and stews.

The sprigs make beautiful garnishes for any course, from eggs to sandwiches and mozzarella kebabs (they can work like toothpicks) to cocktails (think swizzle sticks) and desserts.

Rosemary is also made into beautiful topiary. See a selection here.

Find more favorite seasonings in our Salts & Seasonings Section.

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Rosemary for the kitchen. Check out beautiful
rosemary topiary as decorative houseplants.
Photo courtesy USFreeads.com.

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GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Dolce Nonna Marinated Vegetables Gift Set

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You might win this gift tote with three
delicious jars of Dolce Nonna marinated
vegetables. Photo courtesy Dolce Nonna.

If you like to dine and entertain with flair, you’ll want this week’s Gourmet Giveaway prize.

Everyone from foodies to those looking for shortcuts in the kitchen will appreciate Dolce Nonna Marinated Vegetables.

The Italian-style marinated veggies are made in small batches from the highest-quality ingredients. The Sweet Red Peppers, Eggplant and String Beans are hand-packed in the highest quality extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, Sicilian oregano, garlic and spices, creating versatile, all-natural ingredients that are a godsend.

Pull them from the pantry to create hors d’oeuvre, glamorous sandwich and salad garnishes, bruschetta, pasta toppings and more. The delicious, nutritious vegetables packed in heart-healthy olive oil are a guilt-free way to accessorize food.

  • THE PRIZE: Dolce Nonna Marinated Vegetables Gift Set. One winner will receive three-jar gift set of Dolce Nonna marinated vegetables in a handsome reusable bag with a dish towel, wooden spoon and recipe cards. Marinated vegetables include Sweet Red Peppers, Eggplant and String Beans. Approximate Retail Value: $45.00
  • TO ENTER THIS WEEK’S GOURMET GIVEAWAY: Go to the box at the bottom of our Gourmet Vegetable Products Section and enter your email address for the prize drawing.Learn more about Dolce Nonna at DolceNonnas.com.

     

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DISCOUNT: Walkers Shortbread, Biscuits & Cakes

If there’s anyone in America who hasn’t had Walker’s shortbread, then he or she isn’t a cookie person.

But store shelves have limited space: Unless you visit a theoretical Shortbread Emporium, you’re not likely to find all the different types of Walkers Shortbread—the variety of shapes (fingers, ovals, rounds, petticoat triangles) and flavors (chocolate chip, chocolate covered). And there are oatcakes, which we love with cheese (and so must Queen Elizabeth II, as the boxes carry her royal warrant).

There is also a bevy of biscuits (the British word for both cookies and savory biscuits): Belgian Chocolate Chunk, Chocolate Chunk and Hazelnut, Fruit and Lemon, Oatflake and Cranberry, Stem Ginger, and White Chocolate Chunk & Raspberry.

Walkers has been baking shortbread in the Scottish Highlands since 1898. While other old-time bakers have substituted cheaper ingredients in their original recipes, Walkers still uses only the finest pure ingredients with no artificial colors, flavorings or preservatives. The cookies are certified Kosher OU-D and are suitable for vegetarians.

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Crown a sundae with a Petticoat Tail short-
bread for an unforgettable presentation. Photo courtesy Walkers.

For those who can’t succumb to the regular shortbread and biscuits, there’s an entire line of Weight Watchers sweet biscuits and savory biscuits, but it is not available in the United States.

And then there are the cakes: Courvoisier Liqueur Fruit Cake, Drambuie Liqueur Fruit Cake, Glenfiddich Whisky Cake and more (sorry, the alcohol is not kosher-certified).

Save 20% Through April 1st

NIBBLE readers enjoy a 20% discount through April 1st. So try new things—and pick up a few Easter Basket gifts for your friends. Use code nibblewalkers at checkout. Head over to WalkersUS.com and dig in!

 

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