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  • Writer's pictureElise

Cook Book Club: May's Spice is Turmeric!

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

We've made our cook book club virtual! We may not be able to meet in person and cook for one another, but that doesn't mean we can't create together. Each month we will highlight a different spice or seasoning. Kits will include this spice, a recipe that highlights it, a little history on the spice or recipe, and some best practices. I'll post the recipes and information here as well, so let's get cooking! Oh, and we are changing some things. The kit has undergone an upgraded appearance. If low pandemic numbers remain the same or better, our first in-person meeting in two years of the Cook Book Club will be May 23rd @5pm in our Community Room A in addition to the spices and recipes. We are excited to bring back this element of our cookbook inspired club and the community building it will undoubtedly allow us to do.

 

This month is our first in-person meeting. Think of it like a community pot luck. Each month has a different theme/request. This month's is to bring a dish inspired by or honoring another culture, just as this month's recipe was created out of the makers' desire to bring an element of India back home with them to the Midwest.


Interesting Facts on Turmeric

Primarily adapted from PBS Food

Turmeric, a golden colored spice prized for its anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties as well as its strong but subtle flavor and stronger color, originates as the rhizome (distinctive underground stem system that looks like an iris, ginger, or bamboo) of the Curcuma longa and has been found throughout the tropics with India being the largest exporter of the spice.

It has been an important healing herb in India for at least the past 4500 years and later became an important part of Ayurvedic medicine around 500 BCE, Ayurveda being the ancient Indian system of natural healing that is still being practiced today. It is said that the Ayurveda has over 100 terms for turmeric and even more uses. Some say it nearly has the anti-inflammatory effects of ibuprofen. This is in addition to various other health benefits for everyone from arthritis sufferers to those afflicted with smallpox, certain cancers, and brain disorders.

Speaking of uses, in addition to medicinal and culinary, it is also prized both as a holy symbol, capable of warding off evil, and used in dying Buddhist robes their distinctive saffron color. In fact anything it comes in contact with is liable to pick up some of that hue.

 

The Main Event

Creamy Cauliflower Pakora Soup

As Adapted from Taste of Home for use by the Brown Deer Library Cook Book Club

Prep: 20 min. ● Cook: 20 min. ● Total: 40 min. ● Serves: 8 (3 quarts)*

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets

  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and diced

  • 2 celery ribs, diced

  • 1 carton (32oz) vegetable stock

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp ground coriander

  • 1 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp pepper

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • Water or additional vegetable stock

  • Fresh cilantro leaves

  • Lime wedges, optional

Directions

  1. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, bring first 14 ingredients to a boil. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

  2. Process in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Adjust consistency as desired with water or additional stock.

  3. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Serve hot, with lime wedges if desired.

Freeze Option

Before adding cilantro, freeze cooled soup in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally; add water if necessary. Sprinkle with cilantro. If desired, serve with lime wedges.

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