6 quick ways with GINGER
by Chris Halpin
Ginger is commonly called a root. However, in fact, it’s an underground horizontal plant stem, as are lotus and turmeric. These types of plants are called rhizomes. Ginger has for centuries been sought out for its flavour, as much as its medicinal properties. The active ingredients in ginger are shogaols and gingerols, these most notably neutralize stomach acids and encourage the production of digestive juices and this is why it makes us feel better. Getting to eat and feeling better – that sounds like a win, win to me!
Ginger, St.Germain Hot Toddy
This is so soothing and delicious, great either hot or cold. To a pot add 2 c. water, 1/4 c. sugar, place over high heat and stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved, then from time to time. When the sugar has dissolved, add 1 camomile tea bag and 1/4 c. chopped fresh ginger. When this to comes to the boil, allow it to boil rapidly for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow this to steep for another 2 minutes before straining the ginger and tea. In a heavy glass tumbler add 1 oz. of St. Germain liqueur, 1/2 ounce vodka, 1 thin slice of ginger and 1 thin slice of lemon and fill the glass with the warm ginger tea.
Makes 4 servings.
Ginger Vermouth Mussels
This is one of my favourite fast meals, with a simple salad and a fresh baguette, Mmmmm. In a large skillet add 2 T. butter and place over medium heat. Once the butter is foaming, add 2 garlic cloves, minced, 1 T. grated fresh ginger, 1 t salt and sauté for 1 minute. Then add 1 kg. fresh mussels and 1/2 c. vermouth, give them a quick stir and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Allow this to steam for about 3 to 4 minutes or until almost all the shells have opened. Add 1/2 c. whipping cream, give them a quick stir, adjust the salt to taste. Remove from heat and spoon the mussels into 2 bowls and divide up the sauce, garnish with chopped parsley and lemon zest. Serve 2.
Ginger Peanut Lamb Chops
This is the sauce I also use for salad rolls, satays and I even add a little more water to make a dressing for salads, so good. In a small bowl add 1/4 c. peanut butter, 2 T. lime juice, 3 drops of fish sauce, 1 T. grated fresh ginger, 1 garlic clove, finely minced, 1/2 t. Sriracha, 1/4 c. water. Whisk until smooth, place in a pot for later. Place a skillet over high heat and allow the pan to get very hot. While this is happening rub some salt and pepper into 4 lamb chops. Add 1/4 c. canola oil to the hot skillet, then the lamb chops. Sear each side for about 2 minutes for medium rare. Remove them from the pan and allow them to rest while you gently warm the peanut sauce over low heat. Arrange the lamb onto plates and generously drizzle the sauce, garnish with sliced green onions and chopped peanuts. Serves 2.
Best Chicken Noodle Soup, Ever!
The trick to making chicken broth taste intensely of chicken is ground dried ginger! This is a case where ginger is being used as a flavour bridge. To make the perfect chicken noodle soup, I always cook my noodles separately and store the leftovers separately. I only add the noodles to the soup just before serving. Put a pot of water on to boil. Once boiling add 1 t. salt and 2 handfuls of pasta of your choice. In another pot over medium heat add 2 T. olive oil, 1 onion, diced, 1 chicken breast cut into thin strips, salt and pepper. Sauté a minute or so before adding 2 medium carrots, diced, 2 celery sticks, diced, continue to sauté for 2 minutes more before adding 3 c. chicken stock, 1/2 t. ground dried ginger, 1/2 t. dried thyme and a pinch of dried sage. Once this comes to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer. When the pasta is cooked, drain and run under cold water until cooled, roll with 1 t. olive oil to evenly coat, set aside to continue to drain. Once the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes, add 1/2 c. frozen peas. Just before serving the soup adjust the salt to your taste. Place some of the noodles into four bowls and ladle soup over this and serve. Serves 4.
Squash Ravioli in Ginger Butter with Leeks and Roasted Peppers
The ginger butter has such a bright flavour, yet it really complements the squash. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat. When the water is boiling rapidly, add 1 small package of squash ravioli and give it a stir. While the ravioli is boiling, place a large pan over medium heat and add 1/4 c. butter and allow it to melt. When the butter is foaming, add 1 leek, thinly sliced, 3 roasted red pepper fillets from a jar, thinly sliced, 2 T. grated fresh ginger, salt and pepper to taste, sauté gently for about 2 minutes. When the raviolis are tender, drain and add them to the pan with the ginger butter, gently stir to evenly coat. Spoon into two bowls and garnish with crumbled feta and fresh ground pepper. Serves 2.
Ginger Almond Peach Upside-Down Cake
The dried ginger really enhances the almond flavour in the cake and the fresh ginger with the peaches brings out the citrus tones in the fruit. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Into a bowl, whisk together 2 c. flour, 1 t. baking powder, 1/2 t. baking soda, 1/2 t. salt and set aside. Break 2 eggs into a larger bowl and, with a whisk, slowly beat in 1/2 c. canola oil then beat in 1 c. sugar. Once this is fully incorporated, beat in 1 c. ground almonds. Set aside for later. In a pot that is about 8” wide and at least 4” deep, add 1/4 c. butter and place over high heat. Once the butter has melted, add 1 c. sugar, 1 T. grated fresh ginger and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Now add 3 c. frozen peach slices and sauté for about 4 minutes or until the peach slices have thawed and are warm. Stir in 1/2 c. whole almonds and give it a stir and remove from heat. To finish the batter, stir in 1 c. milk, then stir in the flour until smooth. Pour the finished batter over the peaches in the pot and place the pot in the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake springs back in the centre when you touch it. Remove from the oven and let the cake rest for about 2 minutes before turning it out onto a platter. Serves 6 to 8.
Chris Halpin has been teaching Calgarians to make fast, fun urban food since 1997 and is the owner of Manna Catering Service. mannaonline.com. Recipe photos by Chris Halpin.