In a recent cooking class I used the dried powder of a root called Maca to enhance the malty caramel notes in a raw truffle. Ok well I also used it to boost the libido of those who ate the truffles too, tee hee.
When I told my students this their eyes lit up and they all acted like giddy teenagers. Of course they all wanted to know more about this interesting plant that only grows naturally in the mountains of Peru.
Maca is a vegetable that has been used as a food and medicine by Peruvians for thousands of years, over a 100 years in Chinese medicine, and is now rising in use in the global market...and for good reasons. It is thought to be an adaptogen herb that boosts libido and fertility, reduces the stress response, balances hormones, aids in anemic conditions, and is an all around tonic.
The root of the maca plant is the part primarily used and is dried into a powder. This powder is creamy yellow in color and has a malty flavor to it. The way Westerners use it is to add it to smoothies, shakes, raw desserts, porridge, and baked goods. The Peruvians generally would boiled it, ferment it, and make a porridge.
Whether the Western way of just adding the dried root powder works as effectively as the boiled and fermented version is something for you to simply experiment with and see. I have personally experienced and heard from clients that the dried root powder has worked great. All happy clients for sure!
If you are interested in learning more about this plant here are some good reputable sources. This article from the University of Michigan is short and sweet. But if you want solid info and research data, check out this article from the National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health.
If you are already sold and want to explore this amazing plant's tonic and balancing properties, then go to your local health food store and purchase a quality brand of maca root powder. Again you can add it to your favorite smoothie recipes, hot oatmeal or quinoa porridge, raw truffles, or protein shake. Or check out The Maca Team website for a database of recipes and ideas.
And comment below if this herb brings you any magic ;)
Love and vitality to you....
The gratification one gets from creating a fresh, warm, comforting loaf of bread from scratch is one of indescribable measure.
Amazingly hard working yeasts, fluffy flour, sweet maple syrup, soothing oats, and a little salt of the earth are the basic ingredients in one of the culinary delights of man. Combine these with the raw element of hand mixing, kneading, and rolling the dough, and one feels like a true creator.
Slicing into the bread yields a gentle puff of steam and a whiff of that insanely delicious fresh bread smell. One taste makes your mind stop for a moment to enjoy this simple pleasure of life. Ahhh, and this is the end result of your love, patience, and hard work.
To try your hand at bread baking simply follow the recipe written on the back of a King Arthur bread flour bag, or you can check out their website at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/. They are a great resource for all things baking.
Bread is easy to make. It just takes a little love and patience.
Baking bread from scratch, and I mean no bread makers or Kitchen Aids, is something that everyone should try at least once. The main issues are to make sure your yeast is alive and fresh, that the water you use to dissolve the yeast in is the proper temperature, and that you have patience.
After you mix the ingredients you have to knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes, or until it becomes as smooth as a baby's bum. Then you let it rest and rise. Next you may have to punch it down and knead it again or simply shape it into a loaf and put it in your bread pan.
Then you let it rest and rise. Once it has risen about two inches over your loaf pan it is ready to bake.
Don't be scared of the dough. Just follow the directions, experiment, release some stress, and most of all have fun!
Here is a recipe I created that will make your morning more glorious…If you want to sub spelt flour for the all purpose flour, go for it! Or maybe sub coconut oil or applesauce for the vegetable oil. You could also experiment with lessening the white sugar and subbing with a bit of maple syrup or honey. As usual, I encourage you to play with your food, be creative and have fun!
And of course make every morning, glorious!
Stacey’s Morning Glory Muffins
2/3 cup raisins
2 cups organic all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups organic sugar
1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
3 Tablespoons water & 1 Tablespoon flaxmeal (or add one more egg)
2 organic eggs (or flax eggs: 2 Tbsp flaxmeal, 6 Tbsp water, let sit till thick)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 – 15oz can of crushed pineapple, drained. Reserve 1/4 cup of the juice
For all you banana bread fans who either want to cut down on the amount of wheat you are consuming or are gluten intolerant, here is a DELICIOUS recipe I created for you:
2 cups Gluten Free flour blend (I used Trader Joe’s)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 organic eggs (try substituting 6 T water plus 2 T ground flax meal to make vegan)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (try coconut oil also)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 mashed bananas (if you are able to find apple bananas try 4 of these!)
If you want more recipes on gluten free baking, check out my past blogpost that contains mexican chocolate chip cookies and sundried tomato basil muffins. Bye Bye wheat, hello yum!
This blog is an exploration of life, love, adventure and art primarily through the medium of food.