Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fall In Love With ... Ginger

Ginger reminds me of my dad. The sips of ginger ale for all of those childhood tummy aches.   The bottle of crystallized ginger that I used to secretly climb on the counter-top to reach and marvel at.  The Chinese cooking lessons with a hot wok scented with garlic and ginger.  The home-from-college weekends having sushi with the traditional pickled ginger.  I had no idea that ginger reminded me of my dad until this very moment.  It was sort of there in the back of my mind.

Sort of like ginger always is in my cooking, I guess.  I don't usually give ginger the starring role.  It seems to always be the supporting character actor that just makes the show just that much better and who you wouldn't think you would miss until he is gone.

I love to use ginger in lots of things ... breakfast or dinner, sweet or savory, spicy or mild.   Just yesterday ginger made its way into breakfast pancakes and butternut and bacon pasta for dinner.   Probably because it is suggested that ginger is great for colds and coughs and for stomach upset and well, it is that season.

To learn more about the health benefits of ginger, take a wander over to Eat This!  or Fitness and Freebies.

Tomorrow ginger is going into my VERY favorite ginger-pear cake.  Which is actually just my classic white cake with a few teaspoons of ginger and some diced pear thrown in .  So simple, but so spectacular.  Why don't you try adding ginger to your favorite baked good this week?  Or perhaps make this yummy ginger granola?

Ginger Granola
2 cups oats, ½ cup  sliced almonds, ¼ cup toasted wheat germ, ¼ cup pine nuts, ¼ cup shredded coconut, 2 tablespoons ground flax seed, 3 tablespoons canola oil, ½ cup honey, 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger, ½ teaspoon cardamom, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven 300º F. Mix together oats, almonds, wheat germ, pine nuts, coconut and flax. Stir in canola oil until mixture is evenly coated. Mix honey together with ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and salt. Pour over the granola mixture and stir until coated. Spread into a thin layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan. 
Bake for 30-40 minutes at 300º F, stirring every ten minutes until granola turns a light golden color. Remove from oven. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

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