Roman doctors kept it handy during military marches. Pythagoras, Greek philosopher and geometry whiz, touted it for digestive health. And King Henry VIII of England was convinced that it would protect against plague, although there's no evidence that ginger is that good. But there's plenty of evidence that this gnarled, piquant root can help relieve dozens of conditions, from motion sickness and other digestive complaints to migraines, arthritis, high cholesterol, and even dangerous blood clots. This is why millions of people worldwide swear by ginger as a potent healing food.
Ginger In The Kitchen
If you've never used it, fresh ginger can look a mite mysterious. But don't let its brown, knobby appearance throw you. Fresh ginger is more user-friendly than it looks. Here's what you need to know.
You can't tell the difference in gingers just by looking, though. Ask the produce manager at the supermarket or health food store. He should be able to tell you which variety he's selling.
There's nothing like the aroma of gingerbread to bring out the holiday spirit!
Flavoring foods with herbs and spices, one of the most delightful and creative aspects of the culinary art, began as a dire necessity. In the days when canning as a means of presrvation had yet to be discovered, and modern methods of refrigeration had not even been dreamed of, spices and herbs came to the rescue by retarding spoilage and masking off-tastes of foods that were not as fresh as they should have been.
Those returning home from travel and discovery adventures longed to bring back samples of the exotic fare they had tasted ~ flavorings used in various parts of the world ~ the sweet and the tart, the hot and the mild, the pungent and the subtle ~ were introduced with these imports. Eventually, their original purpose to preserve and disguise was forgotten. The attractive tastes these herbs and spices imparted to homegrown foods as well as the imports solidified their position as basic ingredients of fine cuisine.
Over the centuries refinement and experience have taught us how to use herbs and spices to turn an ordinary dish into a culinary masterpiece. We all know it can be done. Most cooks have had the experience of inquiring about the special quality of an admirable concoction, only to learn that its success is due to a hint clove, a dash of cinnamo, or a pinch of ginger.
The sweet hot zing of gingerroot fits into a variety of dishes that range from appetizers through main courses to desserts. It's most familiarly used to flavor cooked fruits, pastry, and sauces. In the recipes below we're concentrating on incorporating ginger into memorable holiday sweets. We'll leave other recipes using ginger (like stir-fry dishes, vegetables, fresh fruits, salads and Far Eastern meat dishes) for another feature. Believe me, there are plenty of other uses for this remarkable spice!
If you're a salt-and-pepper cook, don't deny yourself the pleasures of creative seasoning any longer. Start now by adding elegance to one of the dishes you plan to cook today. Don't be afraid to experiemnt, but remember this basic rule: less is better! To jump-start your creative juices, join us in treating your family and guests to one of our tempting ginger recipes this holiday season!
Sources: Rodale's Naturally Great Foods Cookbook, by Nancy Albright; and Prevention's New Foods For Healing, by Selene Yeager and the Editors of Prevention Health Books.
3/4 cup unsweetened
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8- x 8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the applesauce, molasses, egg substitute, and oil. Stir to mix well.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to mix. Add to the applesauce mixture and stir until just mixed.
Mix in all but 1 tablespoon of the candied ginger. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares. Sprinkle each piece with the remaining candied ginger just before serving. Makes 9 Servings.
Per Serving: 211 Cal; 5 g Total Fat; 39 g Carb; Trace Cholesterol; 193 mg Sodium; 3 g Protein; 1 g Fiber. Exchanges: 2-1/2 Starch/Carb; 1 Fat.
Ed Note: This
is a gorgeous children's cookbook with 160 fabulous full-color pages; heart-healthy
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There's even a chapter of Kitchen Crafts and Experiments -- simple ecology-related
experiences and kitchen art projects just right for curious young minds. Enthusiastically
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1/2 cup sugar
In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, oil, molasses and water on low speed with electric mixer until blended. Add salt, ginger, baking soda, allspice and flour; blend at medium speed 1 minute. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Lightly sprinkle table or countertop with flour. Roll out dough with a rolling pin until about 1/4-inch thick.
Cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Carefully lift cookies with spatula onto cookie sheet.
Decorate Gingerbread People with raisins and candies. Bake on upper oven rack for 8 to 10 minutes.
Use oven mitts to remove the cookie sheet from oven. Let Gingerbread People cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Carefully remove cookies with spatula to cool on wire rack. When cookies have cooled to room temperature you can add frosting. Makes 12 Gingerbread People.
Per Cookie (without candies or frosting): 198 Cal; 5 g Total Fat; 36 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 24 mg Sodium; 99 mg Calcium; 3 g Protein. Exchanges: 2 Starch/Carb; 1 Fat.
6 Tbsp butter (no substitutes),
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and 1/2 cup sugar; set remaining sugar aside. Add molasses and coffee to creamed mixture; mix well. Combine the remaining ingredients; add to creamed mixture. Mix well (dough will be soft). Cover and freeze for 15 minutes. Shape dough into a 7-inch roll; flatten to 1-inch thickness. Wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze for 8 hours or overnight.
Unwrap dough and cut into 1/8-inch slices; place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with reserved sugar. Bake at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until firm. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield 3-1/2 Dozen (42) Cookies.
Per (2 Cookie) Serving: 81 Cal; 3 g Total Fat (2 g Sat Fat); 12 g Carb; 8 mg Cholesterol; 75 mg Sodium; 1 g Protein; Trace Fiber. Exchanges: 1 Starch (Carb).
WHITE CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI
2 cups all-purpose flour
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine eggs, egg white, and vanilla; add to flour mixture, stirring until well blended (dough will be dry).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 7 or 8 times. Shape dough into a 16-inch-long roll.
Place roll on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray, and flatten roll to 1-inch thickness.
Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Remove roll from cookie sheet to a wire rack; cool 10 minutes.
Cut roll diagonally into 24 (1/2-inch) slices. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F; bake 10 minutes. Turn cookies over, and bake 10 additional minutes. (Cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove from cookie sheets and cool completely on wire racks. Yield 2 Dozen (24) Cookies.
Per Cookie: 96 Cal; 2 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 27 g Carb; 19 mg Cholesterol; 114 mg Sodium; 2 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Starch (Carbo).
2 cups reduced-fat biscuit and baking mix
*Note: To make your own cinnamon sugar, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.
Combine baking mix, 3-1/2 Tbsp cinnamon sugar, and ginger in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine egg and next 3 ingredients, stirring well; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Spoon batter into muffin pans coated with cooking spray, filling half full; sprinkle remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar evenly over batter. Bake at 400°F for 12 minutes. Remove from pans immediately. Makes 12 Muffins.
Per Muffin: 122 Cal; 2 g Total Fat (<1/2 g Sat Fat); 24 g Carb; 19 mg Cholesterol; 247 mg Sodium; 3 g Protein. Exchanges: 2 Bread/Starch.
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, combine all streusel ingredients except margarine; mix well. Using fork or pastry blender, cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine 1-3/4 cups flour, baking powder, ginger, baking soda and salt; mix well. Add milk, molasses, oil and egg; beat with wire whisk about 1 minute or until smooth. Pour batter evenly into sprayed pan. Sprinkle with streusel mixture.
Bake at 350°F for 18 to 23 minutes or until center is firm to the touch. Cut into squares; serve warm or cool. If desired, serve topped with light whipped topping or nonfat vanilla yogurt. Makes 9 Serving.
Per Serving: 220 Cal; 7 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 36 g Carb; 25 mg Cholesterol; 190 mg Sodium; 4 g Protein; 1 g Fiber. Exchanges: 1-1/2 Starch; 1 Fruit; 1 Fat. (2-1/2 Carb + 1 Fat).
6 medium carrots (about 3/4 pound), peeled
*Slice the carrots into coin shapes, matchsticks, or use sweet baby carrots to cut prep time.
Combine the carrots and broth in a medium saucepan. Cover and simmer over low heat until almost tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the orange juice, margarine, and ginger; simmer, uncovered, until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Serve hot. Makes 4 Servings.
Per (1/2-Cup) Serving: 52 Cal; 2 g Total
Fat; 8 g Carb;
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 15- x 10- x 1-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In large bowl, combine sugar and 1/2 cup margarine or butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; beat well.
In small bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda and ginger; blend well. Add to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk; mix well. Stir in 2 teaspoons orange peel. Spread evenly in sprayed pan.
Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes or until completely cooled.
In small bowl, combine all frosting ingredients, adding enough orange juice for desired spreading consistency; beat until smooth. Spread over cooled bars. Cut into bars. Yield 48 Bars.
Per Frosted Bar: 80 Cal; 2 g Total Fat; 14 g Carb; 5 mg Cholesterol; 60 mg Sodium; 1 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Starch (1 Carb).
BAKED PEARS WITH GINGERSNAP CRUMBS
Preheat oven to 425°F. Crush gingershaps between two pieces of plastic wrap or wax paper with a rolling pin or heavy pan. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, lemon juice and ginger.
Place pears, cut-side up, in a shallow 1-quart baking dish. Pour the honey syrup over the pears and sprinkle with the gingersnap crumbs.
Bake for 10 minutes, baste with the syrup, then bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until the pears are tender when pierced with a skewer and the syrup has thickened. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the sauce spooned over the pears. Makes 4 Servings.
Per Serving: 215 Cal; 1 g Total Fat; 54 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 45 mg Sodium; 1 g Protein. Exchanges: 4 Starch (Carb).
GINGER-SPICED WINE & FRUIT
1 cup white wine, preferably
a slightly sweet Rhine or Mosel
In a saucepan, combine wine, sugar and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Tie vanilla bean, ginger and cinnamonstick in cheesecloth and add to the wine mixture. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes.
Add plums, cover and simmer gently for 5 to 7 minutes, turning once or twice, or until tender. Remove the pan from the heat and gently stir in raspberries and lemon juice. Let stand for 20 minutes. Discard the spices. (The fruit can be prepared ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days). Serve warm or cool, with yogurt, if desired. Makes 4 Servings.
Per Serving: 180 Cal; 00 g Fat; 49 g Carb; 00 mg Cholesterol; 3 mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1-1/2 Starch; 1-1/2 Fruit.
2 cups all-purpose white flour
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat it with nonstick cooking spray.
Sift together flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir in ginger and lemon zest. Combine buttermilk and oil and add to the dry ingredients, stirring just until blended. (The dough will be slightly sticky).
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat to a thickness of 1/2-inch. Using a floured 4-inch round cutter, cut out the dough. Cut each circle in half to make half-moons. Reroll and cut the scraps, handling the dough as little as possible. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
Brush the tops with egg glaze. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and firm to the touch. Serve warm. Makes about 16 Scones.
Per Scone: 110 Cal; 1 g Total Fat; 21 g Carb; 14 mg Cholesterol; 139 mg Sodium; 2 g Protein. Exchanges: 1-1/2 Starch/Carb.
3/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil; cook, without stirring, until mixture is caramel-colored and candy thermometer registers 340°F. Remove from heat, and immediately pour mixture into an 8-inch round cake pan, tilting to coat bottom of pan evenly; set aside.
Place low-fat milk in a heavy saucepan; cook over medium heat until thoroughly heated. Combine egg substitute and 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl; stir with a wire whisk until well blended. Gradually add warm milk, stirring well. Stir in ginger. Pour into prepared pan.
Place pan in a 13- x 9- x 2-inch pan; pour hot water into pan to a depth of 1 inch. Place in preheated 350°F oven. Reduce heat to 325°, and bake 1 hour or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Remove pan from water; let cool on a wire rack.
Cover and chill 8 hours. To serve, unmold custard and sauce onto a serving platter. Yield: 8 Servings.
Per Serving: 175 Cal; 1 g Total Fat (<1/2 g Sat Fat); 36 g Carb; 3 mg Cholesterol; 102 mg Sodium; 6 g Protein. Exchanges: 1/2 Milk; 2 Starch; 1 Lean Meat.
Vegetable cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 16 nonstick muffin cups with vegetable cooking spray. (Note: Before baking, pour several tablespoons of water into unused cups to keep pan from warping).
Put gingerbread mix, apple juice, and egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Mix according to package directions.
Stir in mashed banana and nutmeg. Spoon batter into muffin cups.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until muffin springs back slightly when pressed lightly on center. Meanwhile, combine sugar with cinnamon. When muffins are done, put pan on cooling rack and sprinkle muffins with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Makes 16 Muffins.
Per Muffin: 140 Cal; 3 g Total Fat (1 g
Sat Fat); 26 g Carb;
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp stick margarine,
*Quick Tip: Rather than wait for margarine to soften, unwrap and place on a microwave-safe plate. Just pop the plate into the microwave oven and microwave at LOW (10% power) for 30 seconds or more until softened.
Beat margarine at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add 2/3 cup sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; beat well.
Combine flour and next 4 ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture, stirring until well blended. Divide dough in half; wrap each portion in plastic wrap, and freeze 30 minutes.
Shape each portion of dough into 26 (1-inch) balls, and roll in remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheets; cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 52 Cookies.
Per Cookie: 46 Cal; 1.5 g Total Fat; 8 g Carb; 4 mg Cholesterol; 49 mg Sodium; 1 g Protein. Exchanges: 1/2 Starch.
1/3 cup stick margarine, softened
Warm Lemon Glaze:
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
To prepare Gingerbread:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch square pan with nonstick vegetable cooking spray; set aside.
Beat margarine at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add molasses and egg; beat well.
Combine flour and next 5 ingredients; add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with hot water, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix after each addition.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; pour Warm Lemon Glaze over cake. Cut into squares; serve immediately. Yield: 12 Servings.
To prepare Warm Lemon Glaze:
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan; cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is melted and mixture is warm. Yield: 1/3 Cup. Continue with directions above for glazing the gingerbread.
Per Serving With Lemon Glaze: 289 Cal; 6 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 57 g Carb; 18 mg Cholesterol; 270 mg Sodium; 3 g Protein. Exchanges: 4 Starch.