Sunday, May 2, 2010


This spicy deep undertoned root herb is most well known in Asian cooking but let's look at this little gem a little deeper and learn about how it is used for a number for medicinal uses. Ginger has a number of healing assets; it's high in vitamins A, B complex and C, minerals, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium and magnesium.

The health benefits of Ginger come from the natural chemicals called volatile oils, which gives ginger its spicy pungent taste. Those oils stimulate your body to produce more digestive juices and help neutralized stomach acids that cause cramping, nausea and diarrhea. Ginger is also a natural decongestant and antihistaminem, which makes it a natural treatment for head colds.
The Greeks and Romans used it extensively and Arbian traders took it to them from India by the way of the Red Sea. By the 11th century it ws a common trade from the East to Europe. In Medieval times in Europe they thought it came from the Garden of Eden.

Ginger has an ancient history of at least 3000 years. It was used as a culinary and as a medicinal herb for a number of ailments from stimulating circulation, aching joints, headaches, disgestive problems, nausea, sickness, and sipping as tea to diminish the first signs of sore throat, mucus, cold or flu.

Today most of the supply of ginger comes from Jamica, India, Africa and China. Ginger grows wild in Jamaica and other islands of the Caribbean because the tropical climate offers the best conditions. Giner int he wild produces flowers when the herb is at its most rip stage.
Jamaicans and early Americans would make beer from it; and today, natural ginger ale is made with fresh ginger as a digestive tonic. But don't be confused by the common commerical brands of ginger ale - those are loaded with artificial flavorings with no medicinal value.

I love ice cream especially homemade. This ice cream was made for a client of mine when she wanted a unique dessert. I made up a batch of this ice cream to use as a base then and I took wonton wrappers, added chocolate and baked until crispy for a garnish. It was a huge hit that night and this ginger ice cream remains one of my favorites to make. It's wonderful smashed between two chocolate cookies as an ice cream sandwich or over peach cobbler.
Crystalized Ginger & Coconut Ice Cream
Yields about 1 liter
1 14oz Can Coconut Milk
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3 Egg Yolks
3 Tablespoons Crystallized Ginger, Chopped
1 Vanilla Bean
In a large heavy bottom saucepan, mix the coconut milk, cream, sugar and salt. Mix to combine using a wisk and heat until the liquid is not NOT BOILING and the sugar has dissolved. This will take approximately 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Pour a ladle full of the cream mixture into the yolks and whisk fast to temper the eggs so they won't curdle. Repeat and do this about three times to incorporate the egg yolks and cream. Bring pot back to the heat over medium low and cook stirring until the the mixture begins to thicken and covers the back of a spoon. The temperature should read between 175-175F. Be careful not to boil the mixture or it will curdle.
Strain the custard into a container, let it come to room temperature and then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours. Then add the ginger and vanilla bean,, mix together. Then freeze according to your ice cream machines instructions. Trasfer to a plastic container and freeze until ready to serve. Make sure to freeze at least 3 hours so it is firm to scoop.
Ginger -Carrot Dressing
3 Medium Carrots, Chopped Coarse
1/4 Cup Ginger Root, Fresh Peeled
1/4 Cup Shallots, Chopped
1/4 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar, Seasoned
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Dark Sesame Oil
1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Canolia Oil
1/4 Cup Water
In a food processor, add the carrots that have been peeled and coarsely chopped. Pulse until the carrots are finely ground and almost pureed. Add the chopped ginger, shallots, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, dark sesame oil, salt and pulse until the giger and shallots are miced. Slowly add the canolia oil in s slow stream with the motor running on the food processor.
Add the water and blend until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Refrigerate for a last 3 hours so that all the flavors meld together.
Serve with chopped fresh escarole, arugula and romaine. Garnish with sliced tomatoes and radishes. This salad is very refreshing and makes a great slaw dressing with cabbage or broccoli mix.