Turmeric: A Spice for all Seasons

 

Turmeric, sometimes called Indian saffron, is most widely known as the spice that gives curry powder its distinctive color. The gingery/peppery, deep yellow spice is a cooking staple throughout Asia. It perfectly complements an assortment of vegetable, lentil and rice dishes. The pungent, earthy flavor of turmeric also enhances seafood or poultry with its warm color and hint of ginger flavor.

Often used as food coloring, the hues of turmeric range from bright yellow to deep orange, depending on the variety. Think of yellow mustard, golden butter and orange cheese, all of which can get their vibrant color from turmeric. Because of its rich color, turmeric is sometimes used in place of the more costly saffron, though the flavors are completely different.

Turmeric is a tropical plant native to China, a perennial member of the ginger family botanically known as Curcuma longa. It is also grown in tropical areas of India and South America.

Its cone-shaped spikes contain small yellow flowers and long leaves that are dark green above and light green below. The bright yellow powder comes from the dried and ground root of the plant.

Try it in a breakfast dish. Turmeric is pleasantly spicy, but very pungent, and gets stronger when cooked. A little goes a long way, so it should be used sparingly. When melted with butter and drizzled over egg dishes, it adds a bright splash of color to your breakfast or brunch offerings.

The uses of turmeric in main dishes are endless. Used in India mostly for its color enhancement in food, its taste is warmly aromatic—so the ginger and pepper flavor is used in Morocco to spice meat, (especially lamb) and vegetables. It’s also widely used with fish. It can be combined with coriander and cinnamon to create pungent meat or poultry rubs. Here’s a variety of ways to serve a main dish livened up with turmeric.

Turmeric’s golden hue brightens curries and condiments. It’s an important ingredient in side dishes like curry mixes, chutney, pickles, rice, and salad dressing. Try it out in some of these all-occasion side dish offerings.

Here’s a fun recipe for a dish that can serve as a breakfast, main or side dish. It’s also a fun snack to make for a party, and your guests can join in.

    Egg Fritters

 

 

 

Ingredients

1 cup chickpea flour

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1  dash of cayenne

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup water

1  dozen eggs, hard-cooked, peeled and halved

2 cups oil for frying

Directions

Using a wooden spoon, mix the first six ingredients to make batter. Add water slowly, until batter reaches the consistency of a pancake batter.

Dip egg halves in batter, and deep-fry, one at a time.

Chef Suggestions:

Instead of eggs, use 1/4 pound cheese cut in 1-inch cubes, or pieces of raw vegetables. Or incorporate 1/4 cup roasted peanuts and 3/4 cup cooked, drained, chopped spinach in the batter.

Some things to keep in mind when using turmeric:

• Turmeric was used as a skin and textile dye in ancient times. Be sure to avoid touching your clothing when working with turmeric; you’ll find it’s quite a powerful yellow dye.

• The most widely used form of the spice is ground. This form is especially susceptible to moisture and light, so store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

• Turmeric will begin to lose its potency after about six months — even sooner if exposed to light and/or heat. Replenish your supply regularly.

More turmeric recipes are here.

Please share your favorite uses for turmeric. We’d love to hear them.

Grilled Vegetables – Endless Possibilities

What a great feeling it is to clean off that grill and get it ready for the summer season. Some of you are lucky enough to live in climates that allow you to be outside grilling all year. Some of us relish an all-too-short season. We’re here to help you make the most of it, no matter how long it lasts.

Experienced grillers are familiar with how flavors and textures of vegetables are enhanced by grilling. But with a little direction, even beginning grillers will find that soft, juicy vegetables like squash, asparagus, peppers, and mushrooms are well suited to grilling because they absorb oils and seasoning well.

Try artichokes, eggplant, garlic, and all varieties of onions and beans on the grill as side dishes or main dishes. Imagination and exploration are key. Hit up your local farmer’s market for whatever is in season.

We decided to turn things over to our Facebook fans for some new ideas on grilling vegetables. We posed this query, and the responses that followed are downright mouth-watering.

Grilling and fresh veggies — a match made in heaven. Tell us your favorite way to prepare grilled vegetables.

  • Garlic, cayenne pepper, oregano, and a little bit of water.
  • Marinate peppers in garlic, olive oil, basil & capers…then grill. Zucchini only needs a little olive oil, salt & pepper. Love to skewer asparagus, brush with oil, salt & pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan as it comes off the grill!
  • Olive oil and garlic salt!
  • I use your All-Purpose Seasoning on everything. I like to brush veggies with coconut oil and then season with the All-Purpose Seasoning. Key is doing both sides!
  • Lots of extra virgin olive oil, garlic cloves, and chopped shallots, plus whatever dried herbs mix compliments the rest of the meal; e.g., Italian Herbs, Herbes de Provence, Fine Herbs, etc. Your Garlic and Herb marinade is the best.
  • Your pepper grinders truly make a difference on all the roasted vegetables that I love to grill – corn, tomatoes, squash, onions.
  • I discovered your Salad Sprinkle is a great rub not just on veggies but on meats, and for grilling bread!
  • I put olive oil on mushrooms, squash, eggplant, red peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and then usually I sprinkled with salt and pepper, but I have now discovered your Lemon Pepper Marinade!
  • My favorite roasted veggies are sweet potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, with onions and mushrooms. I like to season them with a little olive oil and a little safflower oil to cut down on the burning because we like them to be a little bit crunchy on the edges like fries. I season them with several different varieties of seasoning, depending on the evening.
  • I frequently add fresh lemon juice and lemon pepper, or lemon juice and Tuscan seasoning, or lemon juice and fresh garlic, or lots of whole cloves.

It sounds like our fans think the key is finding a mix that adds just the right flavor to whatever you put on the grill.

We’ve got a multitude of grilling features on our website; help yourself to some ideas.

We’d LOVE to hear more of your tips!

Meet Liz Hopkins, chef at the Frontier Café

In a recent blog post about our LEED® Silver certificatied renovation, we showed you a photo of the beautiful café at Frontier’s Norway facility.

A real bonus for our café is its wonderful chef, Liz Hopkins. Liz creates the healthy organic lunch offerings our employees enjoy each day. Talk about an employee benefit you don’t find just anywhere! Besides being the chef at Frontier, Liz makes beautiful jewelry that we look forward to seeing at our employee craft fairs. She’s a dragon boat enthusiast too. Versatile gal.

Liz Hopkins, chef at Frontier café. Photo by Kathy Larson

Liz took time out from her duties in the Café kitchen to talk to us about her work at Frontier.

Tell us a bit about what you do at Frontier. What was your background that prepared you for this?

I’m the chef and café manager in the employee Café at the Norway facility.  When I was in my early 20s, I worked at a resort hotel in Arizona and was taught the basics of cooking, so that’s how I knew I could handle this.  A lot of what I do is also self-taught.

What are your favorite go-to spices when you work in the Café?

I really like Simply Organics Vegetable Seasoning, and basil is a favorite spice of mine.  Seriously, I use the Simply Organic Vegetable Seasoning in almost everything: grilled veggies, salad dressing, and salads.

What have you learned about spices from working in the Café that you can share with us?

I have learned to experiment with herbs and spices.  It’s important for people to remember you can add a small amount of a spice to your cooking, and then build on it. You can always add but never take out. Soon you’ll learn what you like.

Can you tell us a few quick tips that you use all the time? Any spices that match certain foods perfectly? (For example, we love the veggie seasoning on the fish you serve at the Café.)

Dill goes with fish.

Thyme goes with chicken.

Basil is always good with tomatoes.

Simply Organic Vegetable Seasoning goes with anything, and I use it on grilled veggies a lot.

For more savory flavor, use oregano or rosemary.

Also, I’ve learned that if food looks good, it usually is. People eat with their eyes! It’s really true.

Do you have any dishes you prepare that seem to be crowd favorites in the Café?

People seem to like my potato pancakes, grilled tofu, roast beef w/smashed potatoes, grilled veggies, and garden burgers. Lots of varieties of sandwiches are popular.

Can you share one of your favorite recipes with us?

GARDEN BURGER

1 cup finely shredded carrots

3/4 cup of cooked brown rice

1/2 cup shredded cheese (what ever flavor you like)

1/4 cup finely chopped onion  (I use a green onion)

1/8 cup finely ground sunflower seeds

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1/4  teaspoon ground ginger

1/4  teaspoon ground coriander

2 egg whites

1 tablespoon tamari

Mix carrots, rice, cheese, onion, sunflower seeds, bread crumbs, parsley, ginger and coriander together in large bowl. Mix well.

In another bowl, mix egg whites (beaten) with tamari.

Add this to dry ingredients and mix well.

Cover, place in refrigerator for one hour.

Scoop into patties and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 min.

What do you like to cook or bake at home for your family?

We like Mexican dishes, and I make a rhubarb crisp we like. To be honest, I cook more at work than I do at home!

Book Review: Truly Mexican by Roberto Santibañez

Happy Cinco de Mayo! We hope you’re celebrating with some fabulous Mexican cuisine today.

We’re feeling especially festive because we’re introducing our first cookbook review, too! We look forward to sharing reviews and recipes from the latest cookbooks, both here and on our website.

We’ll start off with Truly Mexican, by Roberto Santibañez, chef and owner of NYC’s Park Slope restaurant Fonda, which has become a popular dining destination for authentic Mexican cuisine.

Reviewed by Karen Miles

Remember what Julia Child’s cookbook did for French cuisine? Well, Roberto Santibañez similarly — and successfully — offers us the art of preparing a foreign cuisine in his new book, Truly Mexican. While walking us through the process of composing authentic Mexican sauces and condiments, we learn techniques that are important to Mexican cooking, such as toasting chili peppers and roasting tomatoes. We learn about Mexican staples, including spices, nuts and seeds, and fruits and vegetables.

Because the focus of the book is on sauces and condiments, entire chapters are devoted to salsas, guacamoles, adobos, and moles and pipianes. “I chose those sauces and dishes that contain accessible ingredients, illustrate important culinary concepts, and of course, taste amazing,” explains Santibañez. That’s not to say you can’t craft an entire Mexican meal from these recipes.

In fact, we learn how to use the sauces and condiments to transform a piece of meat or poultry into an irresistible, authentic ethnic dish. (There’s even a chapter on “More Ideas for Using Mexican Sauces.”) A chapter on “Sides for Rounding Out Your Meal” includes such basics as Mexican Fried Rice and such delicacies as Chipotle-Avocado Leaf Black Beans. And there’s no shortage of inspiring photos.

Don’t buy this book if you’re looking for something to whip up in a flash for dinner tonight. But if you love Mexican food and want to expand your repertoire beyond the usual taco Tuesday fare, invest in this cookbook. What you’ll get in return is a thoughtful, inspiring course in authentic Mexican cooking.

For a sampling of the recipes in Truly Mexican, check out these three from the book on our website: Peanut and Arbol Chile Salsa, Lamb in Modern Yellow Mole, and Mexican Red Rice. For more about Mexican cooking — and additional recipes — check out Cooking Great Mexican.

Watch the beautiful preview of the book, and see if you don’t feel like celebrating Cinco de Mayo right now.

A Chat with a Customer

We’re always grateful when one of our customers takes the time to drop us a line to let us know what they think about our products. Awhile back we got a nice message from Gina, a customer in Minnesota, telling us she was a fan of our spices. We shared her kind words in our internal employee newsletter.

Gina, Frontier customer from Minnesota.

We thought we’d reconnect with Gina for a more in-depth conversation to share with you. Happily, she was willing to share some thoughts and a recipe. We can’t say it enough: our customers are the best.

Hi Gina. We know you cook and bake often. Let’s start by talking about which spices you use most in your kitchen.

OK, I had to clean out my spice cabinet to get a good idea on this one. And I hope you don’t mind, I grouped them!

  • Pepper: we use fresh ground peppercorns every day. It’s the first bulk spice I bought after getting a nice pepper mill.
  • Cinnamon: fresh cinnamon is great in both sweet and savory dishes; I love to use several varieties for different dishes and baking. My current favorite is Vietnamese because it has a great kick!
  • Ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves: key for making my son’s favorite, molasses ginger cookies. I recently tried mace because I love to experiment and try to concoct the perfect match to make a great taste.
  • Garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes are needed to make my daughter’s most requested dish, Gramma’s spaghetti sauce with pork.
  • Cumin, cayenne, and paprika for chili, pulled pork and ribs.

Wow, that’s an array. You really know your way around your spice cabinet. And we don’t mind that you grouped them, we do that often in our web features. It really helps when you’re learning about flavors and uses.

So where did you get your love of cooking?

My mom is an incredible cook; even at 85 she experiments with new recipes. I owe my love for everything in the kitchen to her. She encouraged me, and I had a chemist for a father, so I’m still hooked solving the science of cooking and baking.

But interestingly, my mother used very few spices. Honestly, even today when I cook at her house I have to bring my own. So my love for spices is something that came about when I started cooking for friends and family.

Here’s that recipe I mentioned earlier that my daughter loves.

Gramma’s Pork Spaghetti Sauce (serves 6)

2 tablespoons butter

3 pork chops

1 chicken breast

4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 28-ounce can peeled tomatoes, preferably with basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat butter in a large pot or skillet over medium heat.

Add pork and chicken and simmer until browned.

Remove to plate to cool.

Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat in the skillet.

Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add tomatoes with puree, oregano, and crushed red pepper scraping bottom bits into sauce.

Simmer sauce over medium-low heat until thickened, breaking up tomatoes with spoon, season with salt and pepper.

As soon as you can handle the meat, remove it from the bone and add it along with any juices back in the sauce.

Cook until meat falls apart.

Serve over spaghetti, and top with cheese.

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Do you buy spices in bulk? If so, which ones? And go ahead; give a shout-out to your favorite co-op.

We joined a co-op in 1995 to get fresh organic produce and bulk spices right away when we moved to this community.

My first choice is always bulk for spices, because I buy just what I need, and that way it stays fresh. There are so many varieties of paprika and cinnamon to explore and bulk allows me to do that. My next adventure is to enhance fresh berries using flavored tea in baking.

I’m very fortunate to have River Market Coop in Stillwater, MN, less than 1 mile away and they have a large assortment of tea and spices.

Thanks so much, Gina. We expect a report on the intriguing-sounding fresh berries baked with tea!  See you in the spice aisle.

And now, readers, we’d love to hear what spices you use most often in your kitchen.

Meet author Terry Walters, and enter to win a copy of CLEAN START

Last summer, we had the pleasure of meeting cookbook author Terry Walters at the Rhinebeck, NY Farmers Market. Terry’s first book, CLEAN FOOD, presented recipes that deliciously explained the benefits of eating locally grown, seasonal, and fresh foods. Her new book, CLEAN START, features 100 exciting new recipes designed to inspire you to make that clean start yourself.

Terry was kind enough recently to take some time out from her busy book tour schedule to answer a few questions for our blog.

Terry, tell us about your earliest realization about clean food — how did it come about for you?

I grew up in a home where we sat down as a family to dinner made from scratch every night, where soda was kept in a removed cabinet for company only. Every now and again we would get lucky and mom would let us pick a “sugar cereal.” I knew the difference between junk food and healthy food, but when I was in college, my father had a heart attack and I discovered that I, too, had high cholesterol.

My family already ate almost no meat, never drank milk, and ate what we thought was a healthy diet. My choice was to go on cholesterol-lowering medicine, or figure out a diet that would allow me to maintain a healthy cholesterol level.

My cookbooks are full of the recipes and information I wish someone had given me all those years ago when I was trying to figure out how to make brown rice and kale both satisfying and delicious!

The day we met, your young daughter was helping you with your demo. What is your daughter’s perception of Clean Food? Do you ever have to steer her away from junk food?

That was my youngest daughter you met. She never had baby food. When she was 7 months old she reached across the table, grabbed a roll of brown rice and avocado in nori and gummed it until it was gone! She’s always been a healthy eater, but she’s human too. I served kale and collard greens for dinner for years before my girls gave in and started eating them. Now they are among their favorites.

I’ve never kept foods in the house that I don’t want my girls (or myself, for that matter) to eat. That makes my role more like the cruise director, directing my children to healthy choices, as opposed to the police, always having to say “no.”

We follow the 80/20 rule. At home (80% of the time) we eat clean, so that when we’re out, we can eat whatever we want. My children like the freedom that gives them, but what they don’t realize is that 80% is not only good enough for good health (thankfully), but also enough to influence their tastes and choices the other 20% of the time. We splurge, we treat ourselves and we enjoy a variety of food, but we also talk about how to make healthy choices and empower ourselves with the knowledge to do so. All that said, if you asked my girls what CLEAN FOOD is, they would tell you it’s their mommy’s cookbook!

Terry and her daughter at the Rhinebeck Farmers Market.

Talk to us a little bit about your whole family’s food habits. How do they manage their meals while you’re traveling on book tours and such?

I can tell you that feeding a family-on-the-go is a challenge, and I’m sure many (if not all) of your readers would agree. It’s been clean for my family from the start, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a process and a constant challenge. Even when I’m home, the girls have activities most nights after school, and more often than not I’m picking them up with dinner prepared for them to eat in the car! It’s far from ideal, but I still do my best to make sure it has a rainbow of color and comes from the green kind of plant and not the cement kind of plant!

My traveling for work definitely makes things harder on everyone. Sometimes the choices are not nearly as clean as they would be otherwise, and sometimes they’re even cleaner! In the colder months, I make a lot of soups and stews that I freeze so they can have them easily in my absence. I’m blessed to have a mom that not only helps out when I’m unavailable, but also prepares lots of delicious clean food for my husband and girls.

My oldest daughter likes to create in the kitchen and has a few healthy meals she likes to prepare. My youngest isn’t nearly as comfortable or even interested in cooking, but before I went on my first trip she asked me to teach her how to make her favorite collard greens so she could have them while I was gone. I know they get more take-out and treats in my absence, but I also know that their comfort foods, the meals and recipes they’ll come back to year after year, are healthy and clean.

We watched you at the cooking demo, and you made it look so easy. What’s it like to do cooking demos? Any stories about when things may not have turned out, or you forgot something you needed?

I’ve been teaching for over a decade and I’m a mom, so multi-tasking comes naturally to me. Is there any other way? Talk, chop, talk, stir…it’s what I do! I love connecting with others, benefiting from our shared perspectives and wisdom and, of course, sharing the journey.

There are all sorts of cooking demos – from 2+ hour in-depth classes to 3 ½ minutes on live television to make 3 recipes and get your message across. I love them all. The message that eating clean can be easy, delicious and help you live a great life is what fuels me. If one person leaves my demo with newly gained tools and the confidence that they can improve their health and diet, then I am happy. One demo, one person at a time…that’s how we’ll change the way we nourish ourselves as a nation.

I forget things all the time, but as my mother taught me, “If you put good things in, you’ll get good things out.” Fortunately, that’s been true for me. There have, however, been a couple of tense moments in cooking demos. There was the time when we had 10 minutes left in class to bake the apple crisp. Did you know you can cover a crisp with foil and bake it at 500 degrees? I don’t recommend trying this at home, but it definitely saved me that night!

There was also the time I put the tofu kale lasagna in the oven, the oven switched to self-clean, the door locked, the temperature started to rise and my heart skipped a beat! I kept tugging on the door to no avail. After 15 minutes I discreetly broke the door free and casually said, “Well look at that! The lasagna really got done quickly!”

Finally, my favorite blunder was during a class focused on getting children to eat clean. My daughter thought it would be nice if we co-taught the class, so I asked her to show everyone how to make nori crisps. She laid out all the ingredients, was just about ready to go, and then sneezed all over everything! It was clearly a room full of moms who took instant pity on me, and they said, “Don’t worry about it! It’s fine!” which of course it was absolutely not! Everything was cleared and thrown away, the work surface sanitized and a new batch of ingredients taken out to start all over again. She did a great job, but none of us will ever forget it or let her live it down!

Talk, chop, talk, stir -- the formula for a cooking demo.

Have you noticed any particular “fan favorites” from your demos?

Favorites really depend on the season. When you and I met at the Rhinebeck Farmers Market, the Yellow Plum and Tomatillo Salsa was definitely the hit that day, and many days thereafter! This past winter, people were devouring my Carrot Cashew Miso Spread, the Shallot Fig Spread and the Red Lentil and Turnip Soup with Parsley – all from CLEAN START. More recently, I’ve made dozens of batches of Cocoa Brownies and I guarantee you there have been no complaints!

The Watercress and Fennel Salad with Blood Orange Thyme Vinaigrette is popular, as is are the Stuffed Mochi Dumplings… I could go on and on, and the point just becomes clearer and clearer. We don’t need to sacrifice our good nutrition for convenience. Eating clean is fun, it’s quick, it’s easy and it’s delicious!

The day we met you, you were traveling with our cinnamon. Do you have a favorite recipe for our cinnamon?

Was it Frontier cinnamon or was it cumin? I recall making my Black Bean Salad, which would have used cumin. It could have been any number of Frontier or Simply Organic products. I grind your milk thistle and flax seeds nearly every morning to add to my granola (which is full of Frontier cinnamon and whole nutmeg), I thicken my soups, sauces and even my brown rice pudding with your arrowroot. My favorite always depends on what I’m craving at any particular moment, but I’ve made a lot of friends by gifting my granola recipe! It’s from my first book, CLEAN FOOD, and you can season it with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves…whatever suits you!

MAPLE NUT GRANOLA

The key to making delicious granola is to bake it at a low temperature for a long time. Of course, a little bit of shredded coconut and a lot of cinnamon and maple syrup help, too! My husband devours this granola every morning and at the end of each week leaves the nearly empty Mason jar on the counter to remind me to make more.

4 cups rolled oats

2 cups crispy brown rice cereal

1 cup toasted sunflower seeds

1 1⁄2 cups shredded dried unsweetened coconut

1 cup sliced almonds

1⁄2 cup pecans, cashews, or walnuts

1 cup raisins

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

3⁄4 cup canola oil

3⁄4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 250°F.

In large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. In separate bowl, whisk together oil, syrup and almond extract. Pour wet mixture over dry and stir to coat. Transfer granola to 9 x 12-inch glass casserole, spread evenly and push raisins into granola so they are not on the surface.

Place on top rack of oven and bake 60 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cool completely to set. When cool, slide spatula along bottom of casserole to release granola. Break into chunks, and store in airtight container.

Makes 10 cups.

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As we’re headed into summer, you may want to try my Black Currant Plum Crisp with hints of nutmeg. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

BLACK CURRANT PLUM CRISP

Crisps are so easy to make and so satisfying – whether you’re serving them for breakfast, a snack or dessert. Make sure your plums are ripe, and be sure to select a variety of plum that is more sweet than tart to avoid ending up with an overly tart crisp. A scoop of vanilla rice cream or ice cream is the perfect accompaniment.

FILLING

2 1⁄2 pounds plums (10–12)

1⁄2 cup dried currants

2–3 dashes ground nutmeg

Pinch of sea salt

1⁄4 cup maple syrup

1⁄4 cup ivory teff flour

CRISP

1 cup almond meal

1 cup ivory teff flour

1⁄4 cup sliced almonds

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Pinch of sea salt

1⁄4 cup virgin coconut oil

1⁄4 cup maple syrup

1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.

PREPARING FILLING

Leaving skins on, halve plums, remove and discard pits and slice into thin wedges (about 1⁄4 inch thick). Place in large mixing bowl and set aside.

In small pot over medium heat, place currants with just enough water to cover, bring to boil and simmer 5 minutes to soften and plump. Drain well and add to bowl with plums. Add nutmeg and salt, and stir. Add maple syrup and teff flour and stir until plums are evenly coated and ingredients are combined. Pour mixture into 8 x8-inch casserole and set aside.

PREPARING CRISP

Using same mixing bowl, combine almond meal, teff flour, almonds, nutmeg and salt. Over low heat, melt coconut oil in small skillet. Remove from heat, whisk in maple syrup and vanilla and pour over flour mixture. Stir to combine and crumble over plum mixture.

Bake 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and plums are soft. Remove from oven, and cool slightly before serving.

Serves 6.

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Visit Terry’s website for more inspiration about making a clean start, recipes, her blog and much more.

She’s on Facebook and Twitter too.

Terry and her publisher, Sterling, have given us 4 copies of CLEAN START to give to you! We’ll randomly choose 4 winners from comments here.  Leave yours by May 5, and you’re eligible.

With farmers’ markets on the horizon (finally!) tell us what produce you’re looking forward to finding at your local market, and how you plan to use it in your own healthy cooking.

Guest Post: Cole Daily

Cole Daily is Vice President of Global Sourcing for Frontier Natural Products Co-op. As a member of Frontier’s sourcing team, Cole has helped build Frontier’s pioneering organic spice business into one of the largest in the United States.

Most recently, Cole and our company have focused on developing strong relationships with organic suppliers around the world through our Well Earth program.

Cole has served as a board member for the American Spice Trade Association and holds a B.A. from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and an M.B.A. from the University of Iowa.

Cole Daily, Frontier Vice President of Global Sourcing. Photo courtesy of Cole.

Cole recently shared some insight with us about how the situation in the Middle East impacts us at Frontier, and why our Well Earth program continues to be a positive force when these very situations occur.

Here’s what he had to say:

In 1814, Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, a brilliant Austrian/German statesman, said, “Quand Paris eternue, l’Europe attrape la rhume” or “When Paris sneezes, Europe catches a cold.”

What he meant was that whatever happened in Paris had major ramifications throughout Europe. Since those days of the Napoleonic Wars, the world has become a much smaller place, and, as you know, Frontier has become involved in countries all around it. So it probably won’t surprise you to learn that, to paraphrase the prince, “When the Middle East sneezes, Frontier catches a cold.”

In this case, Egypt has sneezed and triggered some wheezing and coughing among our purchasing group. A number of our products come from Egypt, a key one being organic onion, and we have seen some ramifications from the political upheaval there. Our supplier is located in the 6th of October City outside of Cairo. The city’s name commemorates Egypt’s military operations in the 1973 6th of October/Yom Kippur War.

Although our supplier was not affected directly at their location, they’ve seen the ports shut down, and the disruptions in day-to-day services has affected their plant as well. To date, we haven’t had any out-of-stocks because of the situation — nor do we expect any, as we have some contingency plans that we are quickly implementing — but it points out the fact that we are a global company, and we must continue to evolve our sources as the world evolves.

That’s why our Well Earth program continues to be the cornerstone of our sourcing efforts. By creating strong relationships throughout the world, we can, to stay with our metaphor, avoid any germs that come from a sneeze here or there.

While buying more than 2,400 different products from over 45 countries throughout the world has its challenges, our focus remains on providing exceptional quality products with exceptional service to our customers — even though we require a “gesundheit” every once in a while.

May 14 is World Fair Trade Day: Wake Up the World!

Been wondering what the term Fair Trade Certified means when it comes to food? If you have a general idea that it may be a “good thing” but aren’t sure where to find these foods, or how to use them, your day is coming.

You can join Fair Trade supporters from around the world to celebrate World Fair Trade Day with a Fair Trade Breakfast on Saturday, May 14.  It’s easy to get involved and take action in support of social, economic and environmental sustainability for farmers and workers around the world.

The Fair Trade USA website is full of creative ideas if you’d like to raise awareness about Fair Trade while having fun and enjoying good food in the process. You can also join the Facebook page for Fair Trade Certified and exchange ideas there.

One suggestion is to prepare a Fair Trade Breakfast for your family and friends. Take a moment to educate guests about Fair Trade by identifying the Fair Trade Certified ingredients used for each dish. Or enjoy a Fair Trade breakfast on your own. It can be as simple as making a cup of Fair Trade Certified coffee or tea and eating a Fair Trade Certified banana.

When you see the Fair Trade Certified mark on food and other goods, you can be assured that the producers in developing countries have received a fair price for their products that allows them to make investments into improving their local community and infrastructure.

With Fair Trade Certified ingredients ranging from pasta and spices to cocoa and tea, you now have many options for making a positive contribution to the lives of producers, sustaining the earth and the global ecomomy. And of course you can use Fair Trade Certified spices to enhance your dishes.

You can prepare entire Fair Trade meals for any time of day. As you plan a meal, simply check through your list of ingredients to see which ones may be offered in a Fair Trade version.

Here are some suggestions for easy ways to integrate Fair Trade ingredients into your cooking:

  • For main dishes, you might go with Fair Trade pastas, vegetables and spices.
  • Use Fair Trade avocadoes, tomatoes, or other veggies for salads or side dishes.
  • You can find many hot drinks and beverages in the Fair Trade range.
  • Enhance your meal with home-baked breads, cookies and desserts using Fair Trade fruits. Those Fair Trade bananas mentioned above can now be found at almost any food store these days. They were one of the original fruits to become widely certified; now the products available are much broader. You can discover your own creative fruit combinations.

Your support of Fair Trade doesn’t have to end with food items. More and more Fair Trade kitchen and table items are becoming available: place mats, tableware, napkins, serving dishes, etc. Explore the possibilities — many stores will be offering suggestions and specials for World Fair Trade Day, so check with your local natural and organic retailer.

Please let us know if you have any plans for this day, or if you have any favorite Fair Trade Certified foods or products.

Thanks for stopping by.

A Trip Through the Frontier Recipe Files

If you’re a fan of Frontier on Facebook, you’ve seen the recipe links we post there often. If you’re not a fan on Facebook, you can become one here.

Sometimes when we post a recipe, one of our customers will comment, “Where can I find more recipes like this?” On our website, that’s where!

We’ve spent many hours gathering and editing our collection of recipes. A lot of them were developed in our test kitchen or were contributed by talented friends and employees, but we also have gotten permission to share over a thousand natural food recipes we’ve chosen from wide range of cookbooks.

You’ll find a nice variety of recipes — from appetizers to vegetarian — in 14 categories with subcategories for ethnic cuisines and ingredients. There’s also an ingredient and recipe title search box. There’s a print version of every recipe, too, so you can save your favorites. We hope you think of our website the next time you need a new idea for a natural dish.

We’ve got quite a file of cooking articles and tips too, and that’s a story for another day.

Some of our Facebook fans are starting to let us know how recipes turn out when they try them. We love this!

On that note, here’s a quickie you can make and use tonight. It’s a lemony butter you can put on your favorite noodles, on bread, or on a baked potato.

Lemony Pasta Butter

Place a big dab of this flavorful butter on hot pasta, sprinkle with Parmesan and coarsely ground pepper, and you’ve created a delightful main dish! It’s also terrific on baked potatoes.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup softened butter or soy margarine
1 teaspoon chervil leaf
1 teaspoon marjoram leaf
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in a small glass jar in the refrigerator, or freeze for use as needed.

Let us know if you try it. Or, give us your own tip for adding spices to butter to turn up the flavor.

Thanks for stopping by.