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Spice It Up!

When I say spice I bet you automatically think of something spicy and chili-like, right?    Well today I’m talking about warm spices …think aromatic cloves, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and of course cinnamon. And they’re not just for apple pie, cookies, and cinnamon rolls.

In the Middle East, you will commonly find these flavors used for rubs on meats like lamb, and in curries and stews. In India cinnamon often subtly flavors rice.

These warm spices have been used from Morocco to China for hundreds of years, and in ancient times, spices were used as currency to do all types of trade.

And they are not only delicious but research shows that a blend of these spices has been linked to reduced blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, and lowered heart disease risks.

Great grandma may have told you to chew on a clove for a tooth ache; well today we know that they are great as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant.  And did you know allspice has amazing detoxifying benefits?

So if you’re a juicer add a pinch to your favorite blend or try adding a cinnamon stick and a few cloves to your next batch of steamed rice or vegetables stew.

For this weeks Dishing recipe I have included a Spiced Vinaigrette that is quite unique. It has a load of warm spices as well as a smidge of vanilla. It is really delicious tossed into a cous cous, or quinoa salad, or with your favorite greens. You can basically drizzle it over anything including roasted veggies and chicken. –Kathy

Spiced Vinaigrette
You can get creative with the spices and if you don’t have them all it’s ok! I also like to add a little ground turmeric and Dijon to this recipe and shake it in a jar to combine. It’s best if you let it sit overnight to let the flavors bloom. If you’re watching your carbs and sugars then try with monk fruit sweetener.

Makes about 1 cup

1/4 cup white wine or apple cider vinegar
4 teaspoons light brown sugar (or substitute honey)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
3/4 cup olive oil

Combing the vinegar, brown sugar, extract, spices, salt and ginger in a small bowl and whisking together well.

Gradually whisk in olive oil, emulsifying the dressing.  Let sit 8 hours or longer before using.

Store dressing refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe and Photo © Kathy Casey Food Studios.

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