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Ginger Golden Milk

Ginger Golden Milk - anneliesz

The world does not need another Golden Milk recipe. Or does it? Over a year ago, my mom and I sat in the backseat of a friend’s car shuttling around Mexico City or attempting to, moving at a speed less than a crawl. Her friend passed back a capsule filled with a mustard colored spice–cúrcuma, known in English as turmeric. We waded through traffic talking about turmeric, its anti-inflammatory properties, and how each of them could swallow the pill without a lick of water. At the time, I still only thought of turmeric in reference to what gives Indian curry its bright yellow hue. I had elected to take a hiatus from digital media, wanting to be fully present in the sounds, smells, and sights of the rambling city that mystifies me each time. We wound our way past the Zocalo with riot cops marching into formation (they quickly dissipated). In Coyoacan, we ate a favorite street side snack, esquites, happily silencing our conversation with maize kernels and chili. Around 10 p.m. one evening, we parked the car in a neighboring lot to a street-side vendor purported to make the best tacos in Reforma. I didn’t want to miss a minute.

Several years ago, the word cancer entered what had started as a mostly casual conversation by phone. Followed by the word surgery. For two weeks, I turned my life inside out to step in as caretaker while the one who had weaned me healed. That word, anti-inflammatory, became a pinnacle word, a walking stick to help me down the mountain.

turmeric root - anneliesz

I wonder sometimes how much is appropriate to share in this space on the internet. What is prudent. What is off-color and irrelevant to why you come here. It may be surprising to find an intensely private person wrestle with how much of themselves to put on the page online. Recently I read a small shift of direction for a blogging friend who had elected to turn her focus away from her personal narrative to only discuss recipes. She had begun feeling like her life had become a commodity. I never know how much to share here. It’s always more than my Dad would have ever felt comfortable sharing and less than my Mexican cousins offer up to the digital ether everyday.

The world does not need another Golden Milk recipe, but I wanted to make one for my mom anyway. And though I know turmeric is en vogue right now as is its golden girl, golden milk, what warms me to turmeric is that it’s been eaten and stirred into drinks a lot longer than I’ve been alive. Ingredients’ potency lies in their ability to last. We find comfort that even as the world and its current obsessions change, some recipes are too good to remain secret, and instead get passed down from generation to generation, perhaps tweaked along the way by taste.

Turmeric Juice - anneliesz

For this recipe, I started by using ground turmeric but found the consistency chalky, even after blending the drink. I tried cutting down the amount of turmeric, but the drink was not made better for it as I wanted a turmeric-strong drink. My obsession with ginger juice led me to consider making turmeric juice and that provided the solution I sought. I attempted this drink with coconut milk and cow’s milk, but ended where I started, with unsweetened almond milk. This golden milk is not something to swig, but instead, something to sip. Its spicy flavor owes everything to ginger juice and a touch of freshly ground black pepper for extra heat. If you keep a jar of ginger juice and another of turmeric juice in the fridge, you have enough for about a week’s worth of daily drinks– and really you wouldn’t want to keep them for longer than that. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to Golden Milk? Swap out your morning tea or coffee habit to be surprised how much bounce this cheery drink brings to your days.

Ginger Golden Milk - anneliesz

Ginger Golden Milk

Make the turmeric juice by blending 2 cups of water with 4 1/2 ounces fresh turmeric root, roughly chopped until smooth. Drain the liquid in a fine gauge strainer set over a bowl, raking and pressing on the pulp until all of the trapped liquid has been squeezed out and the pulp appears dried out and clumpy. Discard the pulp. Store the turmeric juice in the refrigerator. Looking for more ways to use turmeric juice? Stay tuned…

Makes 1 drink

1 cup almond milk

1/3 cup ginger juice

3 tablespoons turmeric juice

3 teaspoons agave

Dash of ground black pepper

Dash of ground cinnamon

 

Heat the milk, ginger juice, turmeric juice, agave, pepper, and cinnamon until warm.

Ginger Golden Milk - anneliesz

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Ginger Carrot Soup

Ginger Carrot Soup

From the open window, a breeze tickles the tall trees outside in such a way that lets me know rain will soon fall. This morning I lolled in bed for an hour longer than usual. Do you find lazy mornings one of the most luxurious and decadent ways for the day to unfold? The ultimate morning for me would involve a book of poetry, heavy covers, and no clock. I meandered down to the farmer’s market, stumbled upon ingredients still in season that made me giddy. Early Girl Tomatoes! Concord Grapes! Lemon Verbena! Albion Strawberries! Last Monday, I flew back from Texas and sat next to an 85 year old woman from Arkansas who helped me think differently about the seasons of life. A big birthday looms in the not-so-distant future for me and I’ve begun to understand the reticence some people have for announcing their age. People ask me if we have children. They ask me if we plan to have children. To answer that question is to try to explain what has kept you from answering it the other way. The adage that time flies sometimes applies, other times, it stealthily slips through our fingers. I thought I had more time. I still do. 

I hadn’t walked the farmer’s market in weeks and felt out of step with what was in season. Did I miss the tail end of zucchinis and summer squash? Would eggplant still be around? Earlier this week, I scouted around in the refrigerator for jam to smear on toast. Wistfully I uncorked one of two remaining jars of Morado Jam, 2015 reserve, thinking I had missed making reserve 2016. This jam walks the line between summer and autumn. It’s a bit like me right now in this season of my life. So, imagine my surprise and glee when I spied Concord grapes at the market this morning. Without hesitation, I bought several pounds of the dusty dark clustered orbs, knowing the work ahead of peeling, pitting and cooking them down into something sweet to be preserved for a different season. 

It’s a funny thing when a jam hijacks a recipe for soup, but I could easily see a plate of crostini, dabbed with Morado Jam and chèvre served alongside this soup. The ginger juice obsession that started this spring continues. I’m still tinkering with a few recipes that when ready, will be wonderful additions for autumn. My first pot of Carrot Ginger Soup came together in an in-law apartment so near to the Ocean we could almost taste the saltwater in the air. At that time, I was in my early 20’s and according to my Dad, was in an age of invincibility. I’m not there anymore. Instead, I see the delicate webbing of our lives. The rain is about to fall. A stillness inhabits the space around us. We wait for autumn to come in earnest, girded with a bowl of soup.  

Ginger Carrot Soup

Makes 4 to 6 servings

10 carrots, peeled 
1 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 white onion, minced
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup ginger juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
Carrot Top Pesto, optional

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the carrots with the olive oil, using the pastry brush. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a fork can easily penetrate them and they almost fall apart. Cool the carrots for 2 to 3 minutes.

Sauté the onions until caramelized. Pour the orange juice, ginger juice, carrots, onion, celery seed, turmeric, salt, and chicken stock into a blender. Purée in batches until smooth. Warm on the stovetop for 5 minutes. Season with pepper. Serve with a dollop of pesto on top, if desired.

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Ginger Lemon Limeade

Ginger Lemon Limeade

I never knew an Oakland summer might transport me back to Texas. And yet, last summer if the house already pulsated with warmth as we woke up, we knew the day would unfold, sticky and sweltering. I contemplated visiting a mall or seeing a movie just for the coolness of the commercial space or darkness of the theater.

We survived Texas summers in swimming pools, air-conditioned domiciles with doors that palpably cut off the heat from entering, and tall glasses of iced drinks, sweating from the effort. In Oakland as with most of the Bay area, you’ll be hard pressed to find a pool unless it’s indoors at a gym. Air-conditioning is a novelty of other places. But, iced drinks, they are quite possibly the one salvation for cooling down, to be sipped even if your impulse is to chug.

So it brings me back to my obsession with ginger juice. It might seem anachronistic to suggest drinking something heating as a method for cooling down, but whole cultures rely upon hot tea in the heat of summer for the body to self-regulate through the surprising method of sweating. I still find it hard to abide by this idea personally as my mind logically reaches for cold brew tea or coffee instead of pining for a cup of hot. When I set out to make a pitcher of Ginger Lemon Limeade, my goal was a drink spicy enough to make your head whirl, tart with citrus, and just sweet enough. I wanted a drink that would keep me coming back for another taste, but not so pared down that I could drink it quickly. After several attempts, this is what I will be sipping on summer days that have yet to unfold. And, I would invite you to make the drink your own—add chia seeds to it for texture. Perhaps muddle a sprig of mint leaves to add to the mix. I like to drink it with a splash of sparkling water just for the bubbles and effervescence. Whatever you do, stay cool this summer.

Ginger Lemon Limeade

Ginger Lemon Limeade

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 7 limes)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/2 cup ginger juice
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons simple syrup
4 cups still water
1 3/4 cups sparkling water

Stir together the lime juice, lemon juice, ginger juice, simple syrup, and still water. When ready to serve, pour 1/4 cup sparkling water into a glass full of ice and top off with about anywhere from 3/4 cup to 1 cup of the ginger lemon limeade until the glass is filled. Stir and serve.

 

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Obsessions: Ginger Juice

ginger juice - anneliesz

Talking about food is almost as good as actually eating it. Obsessions can start innocuously. Trolling the farmers’ market and tasting the sweetness of the season’s first albion strawberries. Tasting beets as if for the first time in Santa Monica. Once an obsession is in its full throes, it makes a person practically quicken creatively in the kitchen.  

It started with golden milk. But, more on that later. Instead, I’ve been on a bit of a tear, trying to find as many ways as I can to get this one ingredient into as many dishes as possible. No, it’s not tea. It’s ginger. I’ve always appreciated the bit of zing it brings to chai but before now, I hadn’t played outside of fresh or ground. Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook’s cookbook Zahav included a tahini sauce that’s been a mainstay in our refrigerator ever since we first tried it. You toss in unpeeled cloves of garlic into the blender, blend, and strain. On a lark, I turned my attention to ginger and wondered how our high speed blender might make mincemeat of its golden fibrous chunks. Color me obsessed. This flaxen hued liquid made its way into one dish after another. I wanted to figure out how to use the entirety of the glass jar in as many ways as possible not letting a drop go to waste.

What’s not to love about ginger? It’s helped in a pinch of digestive distress brewed hot as a tea and offers other health benefits.  When pickled, a slender slice makes cucumber avocado rolls perfect. Candied, it’s the niblets inside chewy ginger cookies like tiny crystalline treasures to discover in baked batter. This Ginger Juice is a concentrated flavor bomb. It adds an extra layer of heat, where a little goes a long way. I’ve got a bevy of recipes headed your way in coming weeks to feature my latest obsession and to fuel your own. 

Ginger Juice

Use fresh ginger root that’s firm and unwrinkled. Don’t worry about peeling the ginger root, just chop it into chunks and lob them into the blender–you will be straining out the fibrous bits and peel leaving a smooth, silky liquid behind. 

YIELD: 2 cups ginger juice

2 cups water
8 ounces fresh ginger, chopped into 2-inch chunks

Pour the water into the receptacle of a blender. Toss in the chunks of ginger. Puree until smooth. Pour the ginger juice through a fine gauge strainer set over a large bowl. Stir the ginger juice with the fibrous pulp in the strainer until the pulp is dry and all the liquid has been extracted. Store in a quart-sized mason jar in the refrigerator.