Tag Archives: spices

Magic Soup

14 Mar

Even though winter’s winding down, we keep encountering folks who have that ‘change of seasons’ flu- especially here in the northeast right now. It seems the timing is perfect for this soup recipe sent to us by Kathy Larson, Frontier’s VP of Sustainability and Education. It might be just what’s needed if you’re battling the blahs while waiting for spring.

by Kathy Larson

Some years ago while we were in the city shopping, I started getting a sore throat, feeling achy and blah.  We had planned to eat supper before going home but I was looking forward to getting home and wrapping up in a warm blanket with a cup of tea.  However, my husband really wanted to stop at a Thai restaurant that was on our way home, so thinking perhaps some hot soup would be good, I agreed.

I got a hot, spicy and brothy soup with cilantro, mushrooms, onions, chili peppers and other goodies at the bottom of my bowl.  I like spicy foods, but this was just at the limit of comfortable eating and I remember taking careful spoonful after spoonful to avoid coughing.  Soon I was sweating and panting a bit but I cleaned up every drop of that tasty soup because it just felt healing.  And the best thing was that the next day, I felt healed!

Ever since, when I start getting that achy, sore throat feeling I make a hot, gingery soup that always warms me up and makes me feel better.  I vary this soup depending what I have on hand, as I usually am making it when I can’t plan ahead.

Magic Chicken Soup

1 small chicken (or 2# deboned, skinless chicken pieces)

Water to cover and cook chicken (2 to 3 quarts)

3 astragalus root slices

3 bay leaves

2 to 4 whole red chilies

2 large onions, chopped

1 cup chopped carrot

3 celery stalks, chopped

1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms

2 tbsp tamari

1 2-inch pieces of fresh ginger, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp parsley flakes

3 cups bok choy or other Chinese cabbage, chopped

juice of one lemon

Garnish: 2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaf chopped

Place the chicken, bay leaf, chili peppers and astragalus in a large soup pot, cover with water and cook until tender (about an hour).  Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool.  Rinse shiitakes under cool water to remove any grit, then place in a small bowl and cover the mushrooms with hot water to soften (15 minutes).  Add onion, celery, carrot, tamari and drained, chopped mushrooms to stock and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove chicken from the bone and add it along with the garlic, ginger and parsley flakes to the soup and continue simmering another five minutes.  Add bok choy and lemon, stir well, taste and adjust seasonings if desired.  If soup is not as spicy as you would like, add cayenne ¼ tsp at a time.  Serve piping hot and garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

Kathy says: I also make this soup without chicken and add chicken broth powder to the veggies while they are cooking to get a richer broth.

 We’d love to hear about your magic soup recipes!

A Visit With Nikki and David Goldbeck – and a book giveaway!

28 Feb

The Wall Street Journal called The Supermarket Handbook the “manifesto” for a food revolution “that may be in the wind” back in 1973. And Nikki and David Goldbeck’s 1973 best-seller did help revolutionize America’s diet. The Goldbecks were early proponents for a broader acceptance of healthful foods and better food labeling, now mainstream ideas.

Over 30 years and many books later, David and Nikki still believe experiencing the joys of real food is the best incentive for people to do something about what is happening to our food supply.

It’s a full circle moment when we can stop and compare notes with our fellow organic food pioneers. We’re lucky to have become acquainted with the Goldbecks in their current hometown of Woodstock, New York, where they agreed to chat with us.

Nikki and David Goldbeck. Photo courtesy Hudson Valley Life.

How does it make you feel to see that the mainstream has come around to your way of thinking about food? Did you think that would happen?

Of course, it feels great. At the same time it’s amusing and at times frustrating to hear people telling us about these “new” ideas. But this isn’t the first time we’ve been there ahead of the crowd. David’s book, The Smart Kitchen, pioneered green kitchen design. We wrote Choose to Reuse, a book on reuse in 1995, when reusable shopping bags were still a novelty, and we published Clean & Green, a book on nontoxic cleaning, before the stores were stocked with more benign cleaning products. We are glad to see all of our concepts are finally catching on.

How did you get started with eating a wholefoods cuisine? Can you take us back to the beginning? What led you down this path?

In the late 1960s, we were living in NYC, where David was practicing law in legal services and Nikki was working on Madison Ave. doing food PR and recipe development. Influenced by friends and the times, we became aware of how meat was “manufactured” and decided on New Year’s Eve to go vegetarian for a week. After a week, we never looked back. This “experiment” led us not only to experience the joys of meat-free cooking, but began an awareness about food additives, food processing, chemical farming and the like — that launched us on our way.

We have always advocated a diet focused on wholefoods, a term we coined in American Wholefoods Cuisine, and define as “fresh and unfragmented foods that are as close to nature as possible.” Our “Wholefoods Philosophy,” which expands on this concept and is explained in more depth in that book, has remained essentially unchanged since we began this journey some 40 years ago.

What’s the easiest way for people to change their eating habits, if they feel they should?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to eating. What is of utmost importance in staying with any diet is enjoyment. Whether you are one person or a family, hate to cook or love it, there are choices you can make that are simple, healthy and fun. One of the ways we think about food is to “dine each day as if you were in a different foreign country.” That way you get both variety and pleasure.

How can people use spices to make simple foods more interesting? Do you have a go-to spice that you find yourself using on lots of dishes?

Spices are the foundation of every good cuisine. Remember our advice to eat each day as if you were dining in a different foreign country? What distinguishes all of these cuisines is the way in which they take basic foodstuffs and flavor them to create the world’s great culinary delights. Oddly, the spice we turn to quite often is cumin – it seems to work with so many different cuisines … Arab, Israeli, South American, Indian, African, and more.

Let’s get back to your books. What was your first book? How did you write it? Did you test the recipes yourself?

The first book was Nikki’s cookbook, Cooking What Comes Naturally, A Month of Vegetarian Menus. Following the “trial” vegetarian week, and constant questions from family and friends about what we were eating, David began writing down what we had for dinner on a calendar. After 30 days, we realized we had eaten more interesting and varied meals than ever before.

As a result, Nikki began to refine the recipes, David served as the #1 food taster, and a book was born. As luck, or timing, would have it, Nikki made friends with a woman on the bus going to work who told her that Doubleday, where she worked, was considering a vegetarian cookbook. And as they say…the rest is history.

Did you go on a book tour then?

We went on a small tour. But what stands out is our appearance on the Donahue show, which was just ending its run in Dayton, Ohio and about to move into the big time in Chicago.

Tell us about your visits on Donahue. (For our younger readers, Phil Donahue’s show was the precursor to Oprah)

Over the next few decades we appeared three more times on Donahue, filling the entire hour talking about each of our subsequent books, starting with The Supermarket Handbook and then American Wholefoods Cuisine. He was a terrific host (even though he did wave around tofu and compare it to wallboard!) And it was quite a challenge, since there was no TV kitchen. We still laugh about the time we were holed up in the Drake Hotel in Chicago cooking on improvised equipment in preparation for the show where we introduced vegetarian wholefoods cooking to America.

Nikki & David cook with Phil Donahue.
Donahue turned over four one-hour shows
(c1974, 1977, 1979, 1983) to the Goldbecks to present their
approach to wholefoods shopping, cooking and nutrition.

You’ve also written a restaurant guide, Healthy Highways, to help people “avoid the fast-food lane” when dining away from home. Do you see this as a new direction in your work?

Healthy Highways is the next logical step in our food writing as we see it. We have written about how to shop for wholefoods, how to cook them, how to choose a healthy diet, and how to set up an environmentally-friendly kitchen.

But the missing piece was how to eat healthfully away from home. In Healthy Highways, we “travel” state-by-state, city-by-city, letting people know where they can find a natural foods store or restaurant that features vegetarian and vegan meals.

Our goal is three-fold: to help people eat well away from home; to bring customers to natural food stores and vegetarian and vegan restaurants; and, to encourage restaurants everywhere to pay more attention to people looking for meatless meals and healthier options. We are happy to say that there are more eateries around the country offering real (and creative) choices – not simply a plate of vegetables or salad.

Thanks so much, David and Nikki! It’s been great to connect with you and to see you’re still stirring things up in the food world.

Now in its second edition,  American Wholefoods Cuisine contains more than 1300 recipes and has been hailed as “the new Joy of Cooking.” Admired by M.F.K Fisher and nominated for the prestigious Tastemaker Award, this book is a culinary triumph of vegetarian cuisine and foreshadowed today’s emphasis on wholesome foods.

And the Goldbecks have given some of the delicious, practical and healthy recipes you’ll find in the book to our website.

Check out the simple goodness of such dishes as White Bean Paté, Potatoes Nicoise, Stuffed Clam Shells Areganata, Hot Open-Face Tempeh Sandwiches and African Bean Soup in our recipe collection.

We think this book belongs on every cook’s shelf. And Nikki and David want to give a copy of American Wholefoods Cuisine to a lucky fan on their Facebook page! Their page is a handy resource for recipes, tips and articles about a natural vegan diet.

Just visit their page, click “Like” and leave a comment telling them why you’d like a copy of the book, between now and March 6. 

 They’ll choose a winner at random after March 6 and send that lucky fan a copy of American Wholefoods Cuisine. 

REMEMBER — don’t leave your comment to win the book here, please leave it on the Goldbeck’s Facebook page – link above.

Refocus on Simple Healthy Eating

3 Jan

Refocus is a positive word, an action word that implies moving forward. It suggests doing something again that you once did, and maybe did well. You were focused, now let’s refocus.

It’s what we like to do when the new year dawns – refocus our energies on some things we’ve maybe lost sight of, or not been as vigilant about as we’d hoped. Often this involves food and our health. Maybe this is the year you really want to learn to cook simple, healthy meals.

One of the easiest ways for a busy person to do this is with a slow cooker. We’ll offer you some other tips in the coming weeks, but let’s start with a simple slow cooker recipe. Almost all of us have a slow cooker, in the form of a crock that plugs in.

Here’s a recipe for chicken tortilla soup that combines some hearty vegetables with spices, as good as anything you’ll find at the restaurant down the street! Serve it at home, knowing exactly what ingredients are within: simple and healthy.

CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
Ingredients
1 pound boneless chicken, cooked and shredded
1 can (15-ounce) crushed tomatoes
1 can (10-ounce) enchilada sauce
1  medium onion, chopped or 1/2 cup dried minced onion
1 can (4-ounce) chopped green chilies
2  cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 can (14.5-ounce) chicken broth
1 can (15-ounce) whole kernel corn
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried chopped cilantro
Directions
Combine all ingredients in greased 4 1/2 to 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat 6 to 8 hours or on high heat 3 to 4 hours.
Chef Suggestions
Serve with tortilla strips and garnish with grated pepper jack cheese and guacamole.
Add 1 cup shredded carrots or shredded zucchini at the beginning of cook time.
In the coming weeks, we’ll present more ideas to help you renew your efforts in the areas of healthy eating and sustainable living under the “Refocus” heading.  We’d love to hear your tips and plans, too.

Divinity Drink: A White Hot Chocolate

28 Dec
The wind’s howling out there. You’re sitting by the fire, pondering New Year’s resolutions. Let’s make the first one about being good to yourself.
If you have milk, cinnamon and nutmeg left over from your Christmas celebration, you’re on the way to creating this delicious treat to warm up a long winter’s night.
DIVINITY DRINK
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon maple syrup or maple syrup granules
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg powder
pinch of saffron
2 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions

In a small pan, combine milk, maple syrup, spices, and baking chocolate pieces. Warm over very low heat until chocolate is melted. (Don’t allow it to scald.) Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract. Warm again over low heat, then serve immediately.

Vary the taste and scent of this heavenly white hot chocolate by substituting almond extract for the vanilla now and then.

Our Segment from the Whole Foods Market® Whole Story Blog

16 Dec

As Marc Hamel and Ha Lam wrote in their recent blog post on the Whole Foods Market® Whole Story blog, “Frontier knows the quality of spices can make or break a recipe — just a dash of spice can make a world of difference. Frontier focuses on sourcing the best to ensure that home cooks and home bakers can perfect flavors in recipes when using spices.”

We do, indeed.

Here’s what happened when they paid us a visit, with our CEO Tony Bedard giving Martha Stewart a run for her money.

 

And here’s that recipe for the Sugar-Coated Gingerbread Twists.

The Whole Story blog gives you a fun behind-the-scenes look at some of Whole Foods’ suppliers, vendors and producers.

Please visit the Whole Story blog for more of our story.

Green is Good fm

28 Nov

For those of you looking for new ways to be sustainable and new ways to make a difference, green-wise: Meet “Green is Good” Radio.

Each week “Green is Good,” hosted by Electronic Recyclers International’s John Shegerian and Mike Brady, features people and organizations that are making a green difference. John and Mike discuss sustainability practices, environmental issues, recycling, reuse and more with some of the green world’s influential people. Read more about John and Mike here.

The show is broadcast weekly on Clear Channel Radio Network, and you can listen online. “Green is Good” offers advice, suggestions, information and solutions from green experts. Recent guests have included Andy Perlmutter ofBetter World Books and urban homesteader Sundari Kraft. The website has an easily accessible archive, so you can browse through topics and listen to past shows.

Speaking of past shows, here’s one for you now! Our own Clint Landis recently spoke with John and Mike about all things bulk, including the mission of the Bulk is Green Council.

As Clint says, “There are a number of things people don’t understand about buying in bulk, and it’s because they haven’t done it yet. Everything from saving packaging to saving money — with the economy the way it is, who doesn’t need to save money? Bulk is a phenomenal way to save.”

Please enjoy the segment, and let us know if you have any thoughts to add.

Click here to listen.

Spice Minute: Chef Jorge Pineda, Candle 79, New York City, NY

11 Nov

We recently stopped by Candle 79, NYC’s “premiere vegan oasis” to chat with Chef Jorge Pineda about why he uses Frontier spices.

Here’s what the rather camera-shy chef had to say.

 

Candle 79 is the sister restaurant of the famous Candle Cafe.

The Candle story began in 1984 when Bart Potenza purchased a  health food store and juice bar on Manhattan’s Upper East Side which had a nightly ritual of lighting candles to bless the establishment. Bart renamed his place the Healthy Candle, and was later joined by Joy Pierson, a customer and friend.

Their dedication to the vegetarian movement combined with some luck (think lottery) has allowed them to grow into one of the power teams in New York’s restaurant industry.

More on Jorge, Bart, Joy and the team at Candle Cafe.

An Adventure in California

6 Nov

Some of our marketers had quite the adventure on their way to product development meetings in San Francisco last week.

Follow along with them as they’re treated to some very special hospitality by one of the pioneering local/organic chefs in the Bay Area, restaurateur and cookbook author Jesse Ziff Cool. Jesse has traveled the world meeting farmers, chefs, shop keepers and families, seeking and enjoying local and sustainable foods and traditions along the way.

We met Jesse at an Expo event, and have maintained a friendship and mutual admiration ever since. We’re also fans of her cookbook, Simply Organic.

She invited our group of marketers — Kory, Brian, Clint and Brett, to visit her at her beautiful home and one of her restaurants while they were in the area.

First stop was Jesse’s beautiful home. Kory and Brian posed for a photo in front of the house. Note the CoolEatz license plate – the name of Jesse’s restaurant and catering company.

Inside, Jesse graciously treated the group to some delicious appetizers featuring our herbs and spices.

Jesse has served a colorful array of guests in her home. Her neighbors include some of the most famous names in Silicon Valley. Here, Clint and Brett decide to reenact Steve Jobs and Bill Gates’ visit to Jesse’s house, since they were sitting at the same table.

Jesse spontaneously showed off the contents of her spice drawer. Very impressive!

She then hosted a tour of the grounds, including her garden and chicken coop.

The group then moved on to one of Jesse’s restaurants, the Flea Street Café in Menlo Park. From left, Brett, Clint, Jesse and Kory.

The Flea Street Café menu features fresh organic local and seasonal foods. Menu items range from superb salads to elegant entrees.

The crab cakes – beautiful presentation and delicious, by all accounts.

Jesse truly believes that sustainable cuisine links together people, ingredients, respect for the environment and culinary traditions.

Our group certainly enjoyed her demonstration of living these principles on a daily basis.

Thanks again, Jesse!

Homemade Salad Dressings

31 Oct

Today’s post is from Luann Alemao, a chef and health/wellness speaker we’ve worked with over the years. Luann hosts a TV show titled Get Fit, operates several Kids Culinary Camps and offers presentations to corporations on healthy eating.

Here, Luann offers a quick tutorial on making your own simple oil and vinegar dressings. 

Oil and vinegar don’t mix. I had heard that phrase while growing up, but as I attended food and nutrition courses and did my own experimentation in the kitchen, I recognized they are compatible on the salad plate.

When making basic vinaigrette keep in mind that it’s 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.

From that point, the type of oil, the kind of vinegar and the choice of seasonings or add-ins are up to you.

Here are some basics.

EVOO, Virgin, Pure or Seasoned– these are referring most of the time to olive oils in recipes. Other oils, such as soy, almond, and avocado will make great vinaigrettes too and will offer a distinction of their own originality in your vinaigrette.

You can make fine vinaigrette in just a pint jar or a salad cruet; you just need a vessel to shake up the ingredients and create an emulsifier for a short duration anyway.

So let’s get started:

1) Olive oil is the typical choice of taste and rightly so, as it has a fresh taste and natural fruitiness. My second favorite is soy oil as it is clean and light and doesn’t add an oily taste to vinaigrettes.

Light and extra light refer to the color of the oil and not the caloric content – don’t be misled. Fats do have calories and so does olive oil at 120 calories per tablespoon. Experiment with different regional oils and you will notice the differences.

2) Next is the acid or the vinegar.  Balsamic vinegar is my favorite, with its sweeter aroma and sweeter taste. It is rich in color, has undergone a special aging process and may be cured 12-25 years. Vinegar, because of its strong acidic makeup, does not require refrigeration. Other vinegars such as flavored vinegars, apple cider or rice wine vinegar are great culinary choices as well. White distilled is too harsh and best used for cleaning purposes afterward.

3) The add-ins: The combinations you can create are endless. Some dried mustard or Dijon adds a savory flavor.  Don’t forget the garlic and seasonings. Beyond the salt and pepper you can flavor with basil, Italian herbs, ginger, cilantro or tarragon.

Use the zest from limes, oranges and lemons. They add a citrusy blend that is clean and fresh.

Don’t have vinegar? A lemon will work just as well. I personally use a lemon along with the balsamic vinegar as I like the aroma and the pungent taste it offers. Make sure you use some of the zest (the outside peel) for more flavor and aroma.

Making your own salad dressing is cheaper too. It costs just pennies per tablespoon and to buy will be 4-5 times more. Save and FLAV! What more could you want?

Here are some recipes for delicious vinaigrettes:

BERRY-GINGER VINAIGRETTE

½ cup of oil

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 squirt or 1 teaspoon of lemon juice from a real lemon

1 tablespoon berry preserves

2 Frontier crystallized ginger pieces

Shake in a tight container and serve over greens.

**********

HERBED SALAD VINAIGRETTE

6 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons vinegar

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon Frontier dry mustard

1-2 cloves crushed garlic

1 tablespoon of Frontier Italian Seasoning or Herbes de Provence

Fresh ground pepper

Shake in a tight container, let sit for about a ½ hour for flavors to macerate and pour over dark greens.

How do you use oils to make dressings?

Gumbo File Seasoning

19 Oct

A signature ingredient in gumbo and other Creole dishes, file powder, or Gumbo File, is used for its delicate but distinct flavor and thickening characteristics.

File was introduced by the Choctaw Nation in Louisiana. File is a sassafras leaf — we added thyme to give it our own deep, distinctive flavor.

LOUISIANA VEGETABLE GUMBO

Gumbo is one of the great comfort foods to come out of Louisiana. This spicy, rich concoction is actually more of a stew than a soup, but it is really in a class by itself. The word “gumbo” means “okra,” and there is plenty of it in this recipe. The amount of rice served with the gumbo should be dictated by personal preference. File powder is made from ground sassafras leaves.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1  large onion, diced
1  medium-size green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1 can (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes, with their juices
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh or frozen okra
1  small zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon file powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Tabasco sauce
2 to 3 cups hot cooked long grain rice
Directions:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic, cover, and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, tomatoes, okra, zucchini, thyme, file powder, salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste. Simmer, partially covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes. Taste to adjust the seasonings.To serve, spoon about 1/2 cup of the cooked rice into each soup bowl and ladle the hot gumbo over the top.
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