Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ginger is the thing

A few years ago, Rachael, the brilliant herbalist at the Common Ground Health Clinic, advised me to increase the ginger in my diet, as a corrective to being "a little too yin." So, I try to have some every day, in one form or another, to bring some internal heat and improve my circulation. Lots of days I just drink some ginger tea, and add ginger into any stir fry or peanut sauce I'm making. This winter, though, I've branched out a little.

For our Yule Ball this year, I made these chocolate ginger cookies and WOW. I am not vegan but I have had many a vegan cookie in my day (good, bad & ugly), and these were by far the best I've tasted. That's right, not just the best vegan cookies I've ever made, but the best I've ever tasted.

I've also been making an extra-gingery version of the African groundnut stew that I've been eating at camp every summer for several years. I've seen a lot of different recipes for this stew, but I use Rowe Camp chef Dan's basic recipe as my starting point:

Oil. Onions. LOTS of Garlic and fresh minced Ginger. Sweet potatoes and I'll dice up some yukons and carrots to make it thick by the end. Veg stock, diced tomatoes in juice and some apple cider for sweetness. Some PB. Stew til its how you like it and season w/ S & P, Sriracha if you want, and fresh cilantro. YUM! garnish w/ more cilantro and toasted peanuts.

So, no amounts listed, I just eyeball things. Also, I usually make a day ahead, which improves the flavor, I think. For a big pot full of stew, I use about 4 sweet potatoes, 2 yukons, 2 carrots. 1 onion, lots of garlic and even more ginger. 1 big can of diced tomatoes, 1 big can of crushed tomatoes. 1 box of veg broth & another of water. When I add the PB, I pour hot broth into half a jar of PB, stir it well. I don't use cider or cilantro, but I add a little cayenne. Also, when it's mostly soft, I use a potato masher on it for a bit, so it's thick yet still chunky.

I sometimes have it over rice. I always have it with salt and sometimes with peanuts and lime juice.