Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mac & Cheese: The Church-Lady Way!!!

The other day I made one of my most favorite foods on Earth: Macaroni and Cheese. It is the ultimate comfort food. Pasta, cheese, and not much of anything else. How can you not love that?!?

This mac & cheese recipe is so easy and so yummy, that I thought I'd share it with everyone. So here it is...

Chef Julie's Amazing Mac & Cheese


8 ounces elbow macaroni
6-8 strips of bacon-diced small
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 large egg
16 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a cast iron skillet (or a nonstick pan if you don't own any cast iron) over medium low heat cook the bacon 12-14 minutes until all the fat is rendered out of the bacon and the little bits left are very crisp.

Drain the bacon bits on a paper towel and set aside.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook at medium-low for 10-12 minutes until they are golden brown. Whisk in the flour and whisk vigorously, making sure it's free of lumps.

Stir in the milk, cream, onion, and paprika. Simmer at medium low for about ten minutes-stirring often.

Temper in the egg (see *how to temper below).

Stir in 3/4 of the cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Fold the bacon, and macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

 Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.


*To temper an egg, or multiple eggs, you need a large bowl and a whisk. Give the eggs a brief whisk in the bowl. Take your hot liquid mixture and, working with just a quarter cup at a time, pour it into the eggs as you whisk continuously. Adding the liquid slowly prevents the eggs from being cooked instantly-and thus turning into scrambled eggs-from exposure to heat. Keep adding the milk in small increments until half of it has been added. Then add the remaining liquid in a steady stream. Strain the egg mixture with a mesh strainer back into your saucepan, removing any bits of egg that might have gotten cooked, or sheels that strayed into your sauce, and proceed with your recipe as written.

Curry in a Hurry

All Purpose Curry Powder

I love curries of every type. Now that I am trying to eat more healthfully, and still maintain some flavor, curries are a perfect food option! Not only are most curries fairly healthy, but the spices involved have many health benefits!

This was originally a Vindaloo recipe that I altered to make it more friendly for people who can't take the heat of a real Vindaloo.

I love this recipe because it is easy and adaptable for several different meats. You can use chicken, duck, or game fowl, shrimp, oysters, any oily/flaky white fish (cod, flounder, sea bass, Turbot, etc...), or pork, or even wild boar. I don't recommend this one for beef or venison though as they are tasty enough on their own.

Here is the recipe with a few variations at the end:

All Purpose Curry Powder
1 Tbs. Turmeric
1 Tbs. Coriander
1 Tbs. Black mustard seeds-finely ground (you can use yeloow but the curry will be a little different)
1 Tsp. Chipotle powder (use Cayenne if prefer a very hot curry)
2 Tbs. Smoked Paprika (use hot paprika if you cannot find smoked, use sweet if you prefer it mild)
1 Tbs. Sea or Kosher salt
3 Garlic cloves-mashed to a pulp (use more garlic if you like a stronger flavor)
2 Tbs. Red wine or Malt vinegar (white wine or rice vinegar work in a pinch)
1 1/2 Lbs. of you meat of choice-I used chicken below(I have used extra firm tofu with great success too!)

1 Large onion peeled and sliced
1/2 cup water (or cream if you like a creamier curry)
 about 1 cup of leftover cooked peas (I didn't have them so you do not see them below, but they are great in this curry)

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a glass or nonreactive bowl until you have a dry clumpy paste. Cut your meat into 1 inch cubes-Add your meat (or tofu) and toss with your very clean hands until the spice mix coats your meat. Cover and set the bowl in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 48.

When you are ready to proceed: Heat a couple Tbs. of oil (your choice) in a very large sauté pan. Add your onions and sauté over medium heat until nicely browned (about 10 minutes). Remove the onions fro the pan and add a little more oil. Add your meat and turn the heat as high as it will go.

Allow the spice paste to brown, tossing occasionally to ensure even browning. Add the water (or cream), and onions, and cover the pan. Allow the curry to cook 5-7 minutes until your meat of fully cooked. Uncover the pan and let most of the water evaporate before serving.

Serve with yellow rice (recipe to follow) or Naan bread. And veggies/chutney of your choosing (I like apricot and garlic pickles for this recipe).




Health Benefits of Turmeric

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78

Turmeric (Curcuma longa), the bright yellow of the spice rainbow, is a powerful medicine that has long been used in the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.

A Potent, Yet Safe Anti-Inflammatory

The volatile oil fraction of turmeric has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of experimental models. Even more potent than its volatile oil is the yellow or orange pigment of turmeric, which is called curcumin. Curcumin is thought to be the primary pharmacological agent in turmeric. In numerous studies, curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin. Unlike the drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects (ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin produces no toxicity.

An Effective Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Curcumin may provide an inexpensive, well-tolerated, and effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, recent research suggests. In this study, mice given an inflammatory agent that normally induces colitis were protected when curcumin was added to their diet five days beforehand. The mice receiving curcumin not only lost much less weight than the control animals, but when researchers checked their intestinal cell function, all the signs typical of colitis (mucosal ulceration, thickening of the intestinal wall, and the infiltration of inflammatory cells)were all much reduced. While the researchers are not yet sure exactly how curcumin achieves its protective effects, they think its benefits are the result of not only antioxidant activity, but also inhibition of a major cellular inflammatory agent called NF kappa-B. Plus, an important part of the good news reported in this study is the fact that although curcumin has been found to be safe at very large doses, this component of turmeric was effective at a concentration as low as 0.25 per cent—an amount easily supplied by simply enjoying turmeric in flavorful curries.

Relief for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Clinical studies have substantiated that curcumin also exerts very powerful antioxidant effects. As an antioxidant, curcumin is able to neutralize free radicals, chemicals that can travel through the body and cause great amounts of damage to healthy cells and cell membranes. This is important in many diseases, such as arthritis, where free radicals are responsible for the painful joint inflammation and eventual damage to the joints. Turmeric's combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects explains why many people with joint disease find relief when they use the spice regularly. In a recent study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was compared to phenylbutazone and produced comparable improvements in shortened duration of morning stiffness, lengthened walking time, and reduced joint swelling.

Help for Cystic Fibrosis Sufferers

Curcumin, the major constituent of turmeric that gives the spice its yellow color, can correct the most common expression of the genetic defect that is responsible for cystic fibrosis, suggests an animal study published in the Science (April 2004). Cystic fibrosis, a fatal disease that attacks the lungs with a thick mucus, causing life-threatening infections, afflicts about 30,000 American children and young adults, who rarely survive beyond 30 years of age. The mucus also damages the pancreas, thus interfering with the body's ability to digest and absorb nutrients.
Researchers now know that cystic fibrosis is caused by mutations in the gene that encodes for a protein (the transmembrane conductance regulator or CFTR). The CTFR protein is responsible for traveling to the cell's surface and creating channels through which chloride ions can leave the cell. When the protein is abnormally shaped because of a faulty gene, this cannot happen, so chloride builds up in the cells, which in turn, leads to mucus production.
The most common mutation, which is called DeltaF508, results in the production of a misfolded protein. When mice with this DeltaF508 defect were given curcumin in doses that, on a weight-per-weight basis, would be well-tolerated by humans, curcumin corrected this defect, resulting in a DeltaF508 protein with normal appearance and function. In addition, the Yale scientists studying curcumin have shown that it can inhibit the release of calcium, thus allowing mutated CTFR to exit cells via the calcium channels, which also helps stop the chloride-driven build up of mucus. Specialists in the treatment of cystic fibrosis caution, however, that patients should not self-medicate with dietary supplements containing curcumin, until the correct doses are known and any adverse interactions identified with the numerous prescription drugs taken by cystic fibrosis sufferers.

Cancer Prevention

Curcumin's antioxidant actions enable it to protect the colon cells from free radicals that can damage cellular DNA—a significant benefit particularly in the colon where cell turnover is quite rapid, occuring approximately every three days. Because of their frequent replication, mutations in the DNA of colon cells can result in the formation of cancerous cells much more quickly. Curcumin also helps the body to destroy mutated cancer cells, so they cannot spread through the body and cause more harm. A primary way in which curcumin does so is by enhancing liver function. Additionally, other suggested mechanisms by which it may protect against cancer development include inhibiting the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation and preventing the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth.

Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth and Metastases

Epidemiological studies have linked the frequent use of turmeric to lower rates of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer; laboratory experiments have shown curcumin can prevent tumors from forming; and research conducted at the University of Texas suggests that even when breast cancer is already present, curcumin can help slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs in mice.
In this study, published in Biochemical Pharmacology (September 2005), human breast cancer cells were injected into mice, and the resulting tumors removed to simulate a mastectomy.
The mice were then divided into four groups. One group received no further treatment and served as a control. A second group was given the cancer drug paclitaxel (Taxol); the third got curcumin, and the fourth was given both Taxol and curcumin.
After five weeks, only half the mice in the curcumin-only group and just 22% of those in the curcumin plus Taxol group had evidence of breast cancer that had spread to the lungs.
But 75% of the mice that got Taxol alone and 95% of the control group developed lung tumours.
How did curcumin help? "Curcumin acts against transcription factors, which are like a master switch," said lead researcher, Bharat Aggarwal. "Transcription factors regulate all the genes needed for tumors to form. When we turn them off, we shut down some genes that are involved in the growth and invasion of cancer cells."
In another laboratory study of human non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cells published in Biochemical Pharmacology (September 2005), University of Texas researchers showed that curcumin inhibits the activation of NF-kappaB, a regulatory molecule that signals genes to produce a slew of inflammatory molecules (including TNF, COX-2 and IL-6) that promote cancer cell growth. In addition, curcumin was found to suppress cancer cell proliferation and to induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis (cell suicide) in the lung cancer cells. Early phase I clinical trials at the University of Texas are now also looking into curcumin's chemopreventive and therapeutic properties against multiple myeloma and pancreatic cancer, and other research groups are investigating curcumin's ability to prevent oral cancer.

Turmeric and Onions May Help Prevent Colon Cancer

Curcumin, a phytonutrient found in the curry spice turmeric, and quercitin, an antioxidant in onions, reduce both the size and number of precancerous lesions in the human intestinal tract, shows research published in the August 2006 issue of Clinical Gasteroenterology and Hepatology.
Five patients with an inherited form of precancerous polyps in the lower bowel known as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) were treated with regular doses of curcumin and quercetin over an average of six months. The average number of polyps dropped 60.4%, and the average size of the polyps that did develop dropped by 50.9%.
FAP runs in families and is characterized by the development of hundreds of polyps (colorectal adenomas) and, eventually, colon cancer. Recently, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen) have been used to treat some patients with this condition, but these drugs often produce significant side effects, including gastrointestinal ulcerations and bleeding, according to lead researcher Francis M. Giardiello, M.D., at the Division of Gastroenterology, Johns Hopkins University.
Previous observational studies in populations that consume large amounts of curry, as well as animal research, have strongly suggested that curcumin, one of the main ingredients in Asian curries, might be effective in preventing and/or treating cancer in the lower intestine. Similarly, quercetin, an anti-oxidant flavonoid found in a variety of foods including onions, green tea and red wine, has been shown to inhibit growth of colon cancer cell lines in humans and abnormal colorectal cells in animals.
In this study, a decrease in polyp number was observed in four of five patients at three months and four of four patients at six months.
Each patient received curcumin (480 mg) and quercetin (20 mg) orally 3 times a day for 6 months. Although the amount of quercetin was similar to what many people consume daily, the curcumin consumed was more than would be provided in a typical diet because turmeric only contains on average 3-5 % curcumin by weight.
While simply consuming curry and onions may not have as dramatic an effect as was produced in this study, this research clearly demonstrates that liberal use of turmeric and onions can play a protective role against the development of colorectal cancer. And turmeric doesn't have to only be used in curries. This spice is delicious on healthy sautéed apples, and healthy steamed cauliflower and/or green beans and onions. Or, for a flavor-rich, low-calorie dip, try adding some turmeric and dried onion to creamy yogurt.

Turmeric Teams Up with Cauliflower to Halt Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer—the second leading cause of cancer death in American men with 500,000 new cases appearing each year—is a rare occurrence among men in India, whose low risk is attributed to a diet rich in brassica family vegetables and the curry spice, turmeric.
Scientists tested turmeric, a concentrated source of the phytonutrient curcumin, along with phenethyl isothiocyanates, a phytochemical abundant in cruciferous vegetables including cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi and turnips.
When tested singly, both phenethyl isothiocyanate and curcumin greatly retarded the growth of human prostate cancer cells implanted in immune-deficient mice. In mice with well-established prostate cancer tumors, neither phenethyl isothiocyanate nor curcumin by itself had a protective effect, but when combined, they significantly reduced both tumor growth and the ability of the prostate cancer cells to spread (metastasize) in the test animals.
The researchers believe the combination of cruciferous vegetables and curcumin could be an effective therapy not only to prevent prostate cancer, but to inhibit the spread of established prostate cancers. Best of all, this combination—cauliflower spiced with turmeric—is absolutely delicious! For protection against prostate cancer, cut cauliflower florets in quarters and let sit for 5-10 minutes; this allows time for the production of phenethyl isothiocyanates, which form when cruciferous vegetables are cut, but stops when they are heated. Then sprinkle with turmeric, and healthy sauté on medium heat in a few tablespoons of vegetable or chicken broth for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and top with olive oil, sea salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce Risk of Childhood Leukemia

Research presented at a recent conference on childhood leukemia, held in London, provides evidence that eating foods spiced with turmeric could reduce the risk of developing childhood leukemia. The incidence of this cancer has risen dramatically during the 20th century, mainly in children under age five, among whom the risk has increased by more than 50% cent since 1950 alone. Modern environmental and lifestyle factors are thought to play a major role in this increase.
Childhood leukemia is much lower in Asia than Western countries, which may be due to differences in diet, one of which, the frequent use of turmeric, has been investigated in a series of studies over the last 20 years by Prof. Moolky Nagabhushan from the Loyola University Medical Centre, Chicago, IL.
"Some of the known risk factors that contribute to the high incidence of childhood leukemia are the interaction of many lifestyle and environmental factors. These include prenatal or postnatal exposure to radiation, benzene, environmental pollutants and alkylating chemotherapeutic drugs. Our studies show that turmeric—and its colouring principle, curcumin—in the diet mitigate the effects of some of these risk factors."
Nagabhushan has shown that the curcumin in turmeric can:
  • inhibit the mutagenicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (carcinogenic chemicals created by the burning of carbon based fuels including cigarette smoke)
  • inhibit radiation-induced chromosome damage
  • prevent the formation of harmful heterocyclic amines and nitroso compounds, which may result in the body when certain processed foods, such as processed meat products that contain nitrosamines, are eaten
  • irreversibly inhibit the multiplication of leukemia cells in a cell culture

Improved Liver Function

In a recent rat study conducted to evaluate the effects of turmeric on the liver's ability to detoxify xenobiotic (toxic) chemicals, levels of two very important liver detoxification enzymes (UDP glucuronyl transferase and glutathione-S-transferase) were significantly elevated in rats fed turmeric as compared to controls. The researchers commented, "The results suggest that turmeric may increase detoxification systems in addition to its anti-oxidant properties...Turmeric used widely as a spice would probably mitigate the effects of several dietary carcinogens."
Curcumin has been shown to prevent colon cancer in rodent studies. When researchers set up a study to analyze how curcumin works, they found that it inhibits free radical damage of fats (such as those found in cell membranes and cholesterol), prevents the formation of the inflammatory chemical cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and induces the formation of a primary liver detoxification enzyme, glutathione S-transferase (GST) enzymes. When the rats were given curcumin for 14 days, their livers' production of GST increased by 16%, and a marker of free radical damage called malondialdehyde decreased by 36% when compared with controls. During this two week period, the researchers gave the rats a cancer-causing chemical called carbon tetrachloride. In the rats not fed curcumin, markers of free radical damage to colon cells went up, but in the rats given turmeric, this increase was prevented by dietary curcumin. Lastly, the researchers compared giving turmeric in the diet versus injecting curcumin into the rats' colons. They found injecting curcumin resulted in more curcumin in the blood, but much less in the colon mucosa. They concluded, "The results show that curcumin mixed with the diet achieves drug levels in the colon and liver sufficient to explain the pharmacological activities observed and suggest that this mode of administration may be preferable for the chemoprevention of colon cancer."

Cardiovascular Protection

Curcumin may be able to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the body. Since oxidized cholesterol is what damages blood vessels and builds up in the plaques that can lead to heart attack or stroke, preventing the oxidation of new cholesterol may help to reduce the progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. In addition, turmeric is a good source of vitamin B6, which is needed to keep homocysteine levels from getting too high. Homocysteine, an intermediate product of an important cellular process called methylation, is directly damaging to blood vessel walls. High levels of homocysteine are considered a significant risk factor for blood vessel damage, atherosclerotic plaque build-up, and heart disease; while a high intake of vitamin B6 is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
In research published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, when 10 healthy volunteers consumed 500 mg of curcumin per day for 7 days, not only did their blood levels of oxidized cholesterol drop by 33%, but their total cholesterol droped 11.63% , and their HDL (good cholesterol) increased by 29%! (Soni KB, Kuttan R).

How Turmeric Lowers Cholesterol

Tumeric's cholesterol-lowering effects are the result of the curry spice's active constituent, curcumin, which research reveals is a messaging molecule that communicates with genes in liver cells, directing them to increase the production of mRNA (messenger proteins) that direct the creation of receptors for LDL (bad) cholesterol. With more LDL-receptors, liver cells are able to clear more LDL-cholesterol from the body.
LDL-receptor mRNA increased sevenfold in liver cells treated with curcumin at a concentration of 10 microM, compared to untreated cells. (Liver cells were found to tolerate curcumin at levels of up to 12. microM for 24 hours). (Peschel D, Koerting R, et al. J Nutr Biochem)
Practical Tips:
Help increase your liver's ability to clear LDL-cholesterol by relying on turmeric, not just for delicious fish, meat or lentil curries, but to spice up healthy sautéed onions, potatoes and/or cauliflower; or as the key flavoring for a creamy vegetable dip. Just mix plain yogurt with a little omega-3-rich mayonnaise and turmeric, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with raw cauliflower, celery, sweet pepper, jicama and broccoli florets. Be sure to choose turmeric rather than prepared curry blends. Recent research indicates the amount of turmeric (and therefore curcumin) in curry blends is often minimal.(Tayyem RF et al.,Nutr Cancer)
For the most curcumin, be sure to use turmeric rather curry powder—a study analyzing curcumin content in 28 spice products described as turmeric or curry powders found that pure turmeric powder had the highest concentration of curcumin, averaging 3.14% by weight. The curry powder samples, with one exception, contained very small amounts of curcumin. (Tayyem RF, Heath DD, et al. Nutr Cancer)

Protection against Alzheimer's Disease

Growing evidence suggests that turmeric may afford protection against neurodegenerative diseases. Epidemiological studies show that in elderly Indian populations, among whose diet turmeric is a common spice, levels of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's are very low. Concurrently, experimental research conducted recently found that curcumin does appear to slow the progression of Alzheimer's in mice. Preliminary studies in mice also suggest that curcumin may block the progression of multiple sclerosis. While it is still unclear how it may afford protection against this degenerative condition, one theory is that it may interrupt the production of IL-2, a protein that can play a key role in the destruction of myelin, the sheath that serves to protect most nerves in the body.
A number of studies have suggested that curcumin, the biologically active constituent in turmeric, protects against Alzheimer's disease by turning on a gene that codes for the production of antioxidant proteins. A study published in the Italian Journal of Biochemistry (December 2003) discussed curcumin's role in the induction of the the heme oxygenase pathway, a protective system that, when triggered in brain tissue, causes the production of the potent antioxidant bilirubin, which protects the brain against oxidative (free radical) injury. Such oxidation is thought to be a major factor in aging and to be responsible for neurodegenerative disorders including dementias like Alzheimer's disease. Another study conducted jointly by an Italian and U.S. team and presented at the American Physiological Society's 2004 annual conference in Washington, DC, confirmed that curcumin strongly induces expression of the gene, called hemeoxygenase-1 (HO-1) in astrocytes from the hippocampal region of the brain.

Curcumin Crosses Blood-Brain Barrier, May Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

Research conducted at UCLA and published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (December 2004), which has been confirmed by further research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (April 2006), provides insight into the mechanisms behind curcumin's protective effects against Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's disease results when a protein fragment called amyloid-B accumulates in brain cells, producing oxidative stress and inflammation, and forming plaques between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain that disrupt brain function.
Amyloid is a general term for protein fragments that the body produces normally. Amyloid-B is a protein fragment snipped from another protein called amyloid precursor protein (APP). In a healthy brain, these protein fragments are broken down and eliminated. In Alzheimer's disease, the fragments accumulate, forming hard, insoluble plaques between brain cells.
The UCLA researchers first conducted test tube studies in which curcumin was shown to inhibit amyloid-B aggregation and to dissolve amyloid fibrils more effectively than the anti-inflammatory drugs ibuprofen and naproxen. Then, using live mice, the researchers found that curcumin crosses the blood brain barrier and binds to small amyloid-B species. Once bound to curcumin, the amyloid-B protein fragments can no longer clump together to form plaques. Curcumin not only binds to amyloid-B, but also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, supplying additional protection to brain cells.

Turmeric Boosts Amyloid Plaque Clearance in Human Alzheimer's Patients

The most active ingredient in turmeric root, bisdemethoxycurcumin, boosts the activity of the immune system in Alzheimer's patients, helping them to clear the amyloid beta plaques characteristic of the disease.
In healthy patients, immune cells called macrophages, which engulf and destroy abnormal cells and suspected pathogens, efficiently clear amyloid beta, but macrophage activity is suppressed in Alzheimer's patients.
Using blood samples from Alzheimer's patients, Drs. Milan Fiala and John Cashman have shown that bisdemethoxycurcumin boosts macrophage activity to normal levels, helping to clear amyloid beta. Fiala and Cashman also observed that bisdemethoxycurcumin was more effective in promoting the clearance of amyloid beta in some patients' blood than others, hinting at a genetic element. Further study revealed the genes involved are MGAT III and Toll-like receptors, which are also responsible for a number of other key immune functions. Bisdemethoxycurcumin enhances the transcription of these genes, correcting the immune defects seen in Alzheimer's patients. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jul 31;104(31):12849-54.

Description

Turmeric was traditionally called Indian saffron since its deep yellow-orange color is similar to that of the prized saffron. It has been used throughout history as a condiment, healing remedy and textile dye.
Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. This herb has a very interesting taste and aroma. Its flavor is peppery, warm and bitter while its fragrance is mild yet slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, to which it is related.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Wontons-the southern girl way!

Chinese Style Chicken and Mushroom Wontons

Today I had some leftover chicken to use up, so I made wontons with it for soup. Normally wontons are made with ground raw meat of some kind; such as chicken, pork, shrimp, crab, etc... The raw protein acts as a binder holding all the ingredients together, but since I used leftover, already cooked, chicken-I had to find another binder ingredient...enter leftover, cooked brown rice!

If you'd like to try this recipe with raw meat instead of cooked, just follow the recipe as written omitting the rice, and substituting in ground raw meat for the cooked chicken. Easy Breezy Lemon Squeezy!

As well, this recipe makes 5 dozen wontons. I usually use between 10-12 in a batch of soup, and simply freeze the rest for later. They keep about 12 weeks once frozen.

Chinese Style Wontons for Soup

8 oz. cooked chicken
1 cup cooked brown rice (white rice will do)
12 oz. shiitake or crimini mushrooms-quartered
1 Tbs. sesame oil
1/2 cup onion-diced
4 cloves garlic-minced
1 tsp. minced ginger
60 wonton wrappers
1 egg beaten with 2 Tbs. cold water

In a food processor, with the blade attachment in place, add the mushrooms and pulse until they are finely chopped up and looks like fine beach pebbles.
Remove from the food processor and do the same to the chicken
(if you are using raw meat, process until you have a fine pastes), remove the chicken from the processor and add the rice. Run the food processor until you have a thick pasty rice mash (if you know what MOCHI is, then you want a coarse looking mochi). Pour your sesame oil- please don't substitute a different oil here-into a hot sauté pan and cook the onions over medium low heat until they are translucent and golden brown-stirring often. Add the garlic and the chopped mushrooms, turn the heat up to medium high and cook stirring occasionally for 4-7 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated from the mixture.
Add the ginger and chicken, toss to combine everything. Remove the chicken  and mushroom mixture to a bowl and allow it to cool to a workable temperature. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Add the rice paste and gently mix with your very clean hands until you have a smooth uniform consistency that hold a ball shape when you squish a little in your hand.
Lay out 5-10 wonton skins on your clean work surface, brush with the egg wash and place about 1-1.5 tsp. of chicken mix in the center of each skin.
Fold into a triangle and then fold the points of the long side together to make a wonton. I have put a brief (and very, very rare Video) together for you to watch below.





Now, simply bring your favorite soup recipe to a simmer, drop in as many wontons as you like, and cook for 4-6 minutes.
serve, and feel the love!

You can store the Wontons you don't use in the freezer for up to 12 weeks. Simply lay in one layer on a cookie sheet to freeze the for about an hours. Then transfer to an airtight container for long-term storage.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Laksa-Malasian Red Curry Soup with Noodles

Laksa-Malaysian Red Curry Soup

Hello Fellow Foodies!!!!!

Have you ever had Tom Ka Gai (Thai Coconut and Chicken Soup)? Well...if you have and you like it, you will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this recipe. It is called by a few different names, but as far as I can tell "Laksa" is the original name for this amazing, spicy, and satisfying noodle dish. I used chicken in this version, but feel free to add seafood, pork, or tofu! Shrimp is particularly yummy in this soup. Just remember to omit from the recipe until the very end as it only needs a few moments to cook through!

It has been dreary and rainy here for the past week, and even though it is the middle of July, I'm craving a hearty, spicy soup: So Laksa is what's on my menu for lunch!

This dish does require you to make a pilgrimage to the local Asian grocery, or put in an online order for a couple of items, but I assure you, dearest reader, that the effort will be worth it in the end!

I use Mae Ploy Red Curry Paste for this recipe:


But whatever brand of red curry you prefer, will work just fine. Here is the recipe!!!

Laksa

2 cans Coconut milk (do NOT NOT NOT use low fat coconut milk-you will be very sorry!)
2-4 Tbs. red curry paste (depending on your personal spice tolerance)
2 Tbs. turmeric
1 Lb. chicken meat (white or dark or a mixture)-chopped into 1 inch cubes)
8 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup (about 4 lime's worth) freshly squeezed lime juice
3 Tbs. Fish sauce
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1/3 cup light brown (or palm) sugar

In a very wide bottomed pot bring one can of cocnut milk to a roaring boil.

Allow the coconut milk to evaporate until it starts to break up and separate.

Add the curry and turmeric and whisk to form a loose paste.

Add the chicken and stir to completely coat. Cook over high heat stirring often for about five minutes or so-until the chicken appears to be browning.

Add remaining ingredients and turn the heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime-Cook about 6 ounces of Chinese chowmein (or other wheat based noodle) as per the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Form the noodles into 4-6 nests. On high heat add about 2 Tbs. of sesame or vegetable oil in a 14"-16" sauté pan.  Once the oil is shimmering hot, add the noodle nests. Cook 3-4 minutes per side. Keep warm until you are ready to use them.

Place one noodle nest per bowl and ladle the soup over the nests. Serve with you favorite toppings. Mine are:


Thinly sliced Thai chilies (red or green)
Chopped peanuts or cashews
Green onion slices
Bean sprouts
Cilantro Leaves
Fried garlic slices

Allow everyone to choose their toppings and amounts....EAT and REPEAT!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Tattooed Moose: A new gem in Charleston's Culinary Crown Jewels

www.tattooedmoose.com/#home



The Tattooed Moose is a new restaurant in the newly up-and-coming area of North Morrison (or NoMo as the locals call it) that is a Divey-Hipster-Casual-Chic, trending now kind of a bar/gastropub combo. You can't really label this place easily except to say that it is definitely a grown-ups only kind of joint. I have a little kid, and probably would not bring her here as the crowd can be boisterous.

I have been trying to get in to eat at the The Tattooed Moose for several months. Every time I have been in the area, though, the place is so jam-packed I have not been able to get in. This is, as far as I'm concerned, a very good sign that a restaurant is doing something right. The other day I finally scored a seat!

We ( my sister and I) arrived just before noon on a weekday, and the dining room was already packed to capacity. A waitress directed us to the bar, and we were able to score a pair of seats there.

We Ordered the Duck Club Sandwich, The Reuben Sandwich, and a basket of Duck Fat Fries. For the record, the sandwiches and fries come "a la carte" which means that if you order a sandwich(except the burgers, they come with fries) you will have to shell out extra for the fries. If you have read any of my reviews here or on Yelp, or Twitter; you will know how much I hate that practice. I just shelled out $8.50 for some sliced meat on bread, what the hell!?!

B.U.T...this is one restaurant where I can say that for $8.50 you actually get $8.50 worth of SANDWICH!!!

The Duck Club, and the Reuben arrived in front of us, and they were enormous!!!! I mean like, two very large hungry men could easily split one of these and be satisfied, gargantuan-sized "sammies". Thus, on this one single occasion, I did not mind shelling out a little extra for the fries. Oh and they are DUCK FAT fries let's not forget. How did everything tastes, you ask?

Heaven! My Reuben was a giant pile of ooey-gooey cheesey, Russian dressingy, sour krauty, corned beefy amazingness. My sister's duck club was no less delicious. I got a taste of it, and the duck was a perfect example of proper confit technique. With the added order of fries, though, we only ate 1/2 of our sandwiches.But those Fries, those HEAVENLY fries; Oh My Gawd!!!!! I want to die eating those french fries!

The very nice bartender put our left-over sandwiches into a box, we pad our bill, and left several pounds heavier, happy, and in food-comas!

I've found my new favorite, downtown, divey, lunch spot!
the Rueben, baby!!!

Chicken Piccata



Happy Humpday Fellow Foodies!
One of The Hubs favorite foods is is Chicken Piccata. I will say right up front that this is not a healthy food, nor am I going to ruin it by trying to make it so. This recipe is loaded with butter, and it's perfect just that way. If you feel that you need a low-cal version, then you are DEFINATELY eating too much chicken Picatta! This is a once in a while treat, so treat it that way!

Chicken Piccata
4 Tbs butter-softened to room Temp. but not melted
1 Tbs all purpose flour
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1 shallot (or 1/2 small onion) minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine-or vermouth
1/2 cup chicken stock
1tsp. sugar (trust me on this one)
3-4 Tbs. capers
2 Tb.s chopped italian parsley
salt to taste

4, 6oz. chicken breasts
1 cup flour, 1 Tbs. each salt and pepper- whisked together for dredging

To begin, mix 1Tbs. of flour with 1Tbs. of your butter, with a fork, to form a smooth paste. Place your chicken on a large surface covered with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Cover the chicken with one or two layers of plastic wrap and, with a meat mallet, gently pound the breasts to about 1/4 inch thickness. Dredge the chcken in the flour mixture and set aside for a moment.

Bring a very large skillet to medium high heat, once the pan is HOT add and melt 1Tbs. of butter. Place the chicken in a single layer in the pan. Cook, undisturbed for 4 minutes (seriously-set a timer, AND WALK AWAY!). Meanwhile mix the lemon juice, wine, sugar, and stock together. Turn the chicken over and cook another 4 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.

Leave any little browned bits of flour in the pan as they become part of the sauce. Add the garlic and shallots to the pan and allow them to become fragrant-about 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is reduced a bit and the shallots are translucent. Whisk in the butter/flour mixture to thicken the sauce, add the chicken back to the pan and toss to coat them evenly.

Add capers, parsley, and salt to taste. Turn off the heat. Place the chicken on a serving platter, leaving the sauce in the pan. Off the heat add the last tablespoon of butter, whisk until you have a smooth glossy sauce, pour over the chicken and serve immediately.







Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Roasted garbanzo beans-A healthy-eater's DREAM SNACK!!!!!!

As a mom, I try to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep (yadda, yadda, yadda). Usually I only accomplish those three things about 60% of the time, and usually not simultaneously. I am always on the hunt for some kind of snack food that is high on energy and nutrients and low on fat. If you are a  health-minded individual then to you know how challenging this goal can be. We have, in the USA, sold our  very souls to the gods of convenience, and the big food giants. We Americans love our crunchy, salty, soul-satisfying snacks more than any other culture. I am guilty of this love too. What's a mom to do?

After all, it's very easy to just grab a bag of chips, pretzels, etc...when you are busy running errands, taking to precious cargo to soccer, karate, playdates: well-you know!

So the other day, someone I know posted a recipe to Pinterest (I freakin' love that site), that is easy, healthy, delicious, and inexpensive to make. You can make it in big batches and store it in baggies. The best part? There is more than one best part: this is delicious, and nutrient rich, and vegetarian-friendly. The only real drawback is that there is sodium content, but it's a SNACK! Use a little discretion and you'll have not worries.

I did quite a bit of tweaking  from the original recipe at "Being Vegan Eats", but the end result is still just as yummy! What is this magic snack? Here is the answer...

Spicy Garbanzo Snack

1 15.5 oz. can of Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
dash of cayenne (strictly optional)
olive oil (and an OPTIONAL Tbs. of lime juice), for coating chickpeas
If you are feeling lazy: 1 tsp. Lawry's Season salt, and 1 tsp. smoked paprika instead of above!

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees
Drain, rinse and pat dry the Chickpeas
In medium sized bowl, toss Chickpeas in olive oil (and lime juice if your using it)
Add spices, coat Chickpeas thoroughly, spread out on a parchment lined sheet pan
Place in the oven for 60-75 minutes.

 

Stir them around every so often to ensure proper browning.

Remove from oven and let cool entirely before eating. You can store them in a zip top bag. If you need to re-crisp them, simply microwave the desired amount for 30-45 seconds. Allow to cool, and dig in!

I keep a little travel container in my car full of these little gems for when I am out running errands all day, and need a pick-me-up!

What's New and Beneficial about Garbanzo Beans

PLEASE click the hyperlink above for the full article.
  • There's now direct evidence about garbanzo beans and appetite! Participants in a recent study reported more satisfaction with their diet when garbanzo beans were included, and they consumed fewer processed food snacks during test weeks in the study when garbanzo beans were consumed. They also consumed less food overall when the diet was supplemented with garbanzo beans.
  • Garbanzo beans (like most legumes) have long been valued for their fiber content. Two cups provide the entire Daily Value! But the research news on garbanzos and fiber has recently taken us one step further by suggesting that the fiber benefits of garbanzo beans may go beyond the fiber benefits of other foods. In a recent study, two groups of participants received about 28 grams of fiber per day. But the two groups were very different in terms of their food sources for fiber. One group received dietary fiber primarily from garbanzo beans. The other group obtained dietary fiber from entirely different sources. The garbanzo bean group had better blood fat regulation, including lower levels of LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.
  • In some parts of the world (for example, parts of India), garbanzo beans are eaten daily in large amounts and on a year-round basis. But a recent study has shown that we can obtain health benefits from garbanzo beans even when we eat much smaller amounts over a much shorter period of time. In this study, it took only one week of garbanzo bean consumption to improve participants' control of blood sugar and insulin secretion. Equally important, only one-third cup of the beans per day was needed to provide these blood-sugar related health benefits.
  • Garbanzos are a food you definitely want to keep on your "digestive support" list—especially if you are focusing on the colon. Between 65-75% of the fiber found in garbanzo beans is insoluble fiber, and this type of fiber remains undigested all the way down to the final segment of your large intestine (colon). Recent studies have shown that garbanzo bean fiber can be metabolized by bacteria in the colon to produce relatively large amounts of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetic, propionic, and butyric acid. These SCFAs provide fuel to the cells that line your intestinal wall. By supporting the energy needs of our intestinal cells, the SCFAs made from garbanzo fibers can help lower your risk of colon problems, including your risk of colon cancer.
  • Most garbanzo beans found in the grocery (especially canned garbanzos) are cream-colored and relatively round. This type of garbanzo bean is called the "kabuli-type." Worldwide, there's a far more common type of garbanzo bean called the "desi-type." This second type of garbanzo bean is about half the size of cream-colored type we're accustomed to seeing in the grocery, and it's more irregular in shape. The color is also different—varying from light tan to black. Researchers have recently determined that many of the antioxidants present in garbanzo beans are especially concentrated in the outer seed coat that gives the beans their distinctive color. Darker-colored "desi-type" garbanzo beans appear to have thicker seed coats and greater concentrations of antioxidants than the larger and more regularly shaped cream-colored garbanzos that are regularly found at salad bars and in canned products. Of course, it is important to remember that antioxidants can be found in both types of garbanzo beans and you'll get great health benefits from both types. But if you have previously shied away from darker-colored or irregularly-shaped garbanzo beans, we want to encourage you to reconsider and to enjoy all types of garbanzo beans, including the darker-colored and irregularly-shaped ones.

WHFoods Recommendation

Many public health organizations—including the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society—recommend legumes as a key food group for preventing disease and optimizing health. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends 3 cups of legumes per week (based on a daily intake of approximately 2,000 calories). Because 1 serving of legumes was defined as 1/2 cup (cooked), the Dietary Guidelines for Americans come very close to this as they recommend of 1/2 cup of cooked legumes on a daily basis. Based on our own research review, we believe that 3 cups of legumes per week is a very reasonable goal for support of good health. However, we also believe that optimal health benefits from legumes may require consumption of legumes in greater amounts. This recommendation for greater amounts is based upon studies in which legumes have been consumed at least 4 days per week and in amounts falling into a 1-2 cup range per day. These studies suggest a higher optimal health benefit level than the 2005 Dietary Guidelines: instead of 3 cups of weekly legumes, 4-8 cups would become the goal range. Remember that any amount of legumes is going to make a helpful addition to your diet. And whatever weekly level of legumes you decide to target, we definitely recommend inclusion of garbanzo beans among your legume choices. You will find that many of our recipes containing beans gives you the choice between using home cooked beans and canned beans. If you are in a hurry canned beans can be a healthy option. Unlike canned vegetables, which have lost much of their nutritional value, there is little difference in the nutritional value between canned garbanzo beans and those you cook yourself. However there may be some concern over the BPA content of canned products. To find out if the cans of your favorite canned beans are lined with BPA, you will need to contact the manufacturer. Your best bet to avoid BPA is to factor in a little more time to your meal preparation process and prepare beans yourself. See Healthiest Way of Cooking Garbanzo Beans below.
Garbanzo Beans, cooked
1.00 cup
(164.00 grams)
Calories: 269
GI: low
NutrientDRI/DV

 molybdenum273.3%

 manganese84.5%

 folate70.5%

 copper64.4%

 fiber49.8%

 phosphorus39.3%

 protein29%

 iron26.3%

 zinc22.8%

This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Garbanzo beans (chickpeas) can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.

Health Benefits

Digestive Tract Support

Even though legumes are known for their fiber, most people do not know how helpful the fiber in garbanzo beans can actually be for supporting digestive tract function. First is the issue of amount. Garbanzos contain about 12.5 grams of fiber per cup. That's 50% of the Daily Value (DV)! In addition to this plentiful amount, at least two-thirds of the fiber in garbanzos is insoluble. This insoluble fiber typically passes all the way through our digestive tract unchanged, until it reaches the last part of our large intestine (the colon). Bacteria in our colon can break down the garbanzos' insoluble fiber into short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) including acetic acid, propionic acid, and butyric acid. These SCFAs can be absorbed by the cells that line our colon wall and can be used by these cells for energy. In fact, butyric acid is the preferred source of energy for the cells lining our colon. With the extra amounts of energy provided by SCFAs from the insoluble fiber in garbanzos, our colon cells can stay optimally active and healthy. Healthier colon cell function means lower risk for us of colon problems, including lower risk of colon cancer.

Unique Supply of Antioxidants

Many of our body systems are susceptible to oxidative stress and damage from reactive oxygen molecules. These systems include our cardiovascular system, our lungs, and our nervous system. Plentiful amounts of antioxidant nutrients are critical for the support of these body systems, and garbanzo beans are a remarkable food in terms of their antioxidant composition. While containing small but valuable amounts of conventional antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, garbanzo beans also contain more concentrated supplies of antioxidant phytonutrients. These phytonutrients include the flavonoids quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin (usually found in the outer layer of the beans), and the phenolic acids ferulic acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and vanillic acid (usually found in the interior portion of the beans). Depending on the type of bean and color/thickness of the outer layer, garbanzo beans can also contain significant amounts of the anthocyanins delphinidin, cyanidin, and petunidin. The mineral manganese—a key antioxidant in the energy-producing mitochondria found inside most cells—is also provided in excellent amounts by garbanzo beans. In fact, just one cup of garbanzos can provide you with nearly 85% of the Daily Value (DV) for this key antioxidant. An increasing number of animal and human studies clearly show the ability of garbanzo beans to reduce our risk of heart disease, and we believe that an important part of this risk reduction is due to the fantastic antioxidant make-up of these legumes.

Decreased Cardiovascular Risks

While epidemiologic studies don't always single out garbanzo beans from other beans when determining their relationship to cardiovascular disease, garbanzo beans are almost always included in the list of legumes studied when heart disease is the focus of diet research. Large-scale epidemiologic studies give us a great look at potential heart benefits from garbanzo beans, and the evidence shows garbanzo beans to be outstanding in this area. As little as 3/4 cup of garbanzos per day can help lower our LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides in a one-month period of time. This cardiovascular support is likely to come from multiple aspects of garbanzo beans and their nutrient composition. About one-third of the fiber in garbanzo beans is soluble fiber, and this type of fiber is the type most closely associated with support of heart health. As mentioned earlier in this Health Benefits section, garbanzo beans also have a unique combination of antioxidants, and these antioxidants clearly provide support for our blood vessels walls and blood itself. And while garbanzo beans are not a fatty food, they do contain valuable amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the body's omega-3 fatty acid from which all other omega-3 fats are made. There are about 70-80 milligrams of ALA in every cup of garbanzo beans, and there are about 2 grams of other polyunsaturated fatty acids. Risk of coronary heart disease is one of the specific types of cardiovascular risks that has been shown to be reduced by regular intake of garbanzo beans and other legumes.

Better Regulation of Blood Sugar

No food macronutrients are more valuable for blood sugar regulation than fiber and protein. These two nutrients have an amazing ability to help stabilize the flow of food through our digestive tract and prevent the breakdown of food from taking place too quickly or too slowly. When food passes through us at a healthy rate of speed, release of sugar from the food is typically better regulated. Strong vitamin and mineral composition of a food - including strong antioxidant composition - can also help stabilize its digestive impact on our blood sugar. Given these basic relationships between nutrition and blood sugar control, it's not surprising to see garbanzo beans improving blood sugar regulation in research studies. We've seen studies in which participants consumed as little as 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans per day and still witnessed better blood sugar control in as little as one week. In animal studies, garbanzo-based improvements in blood sugar regulation have partly been linked to better control of insulin output and overall insulin function. We suspect that some of these blood sugar benefits are directly related to improved digestive function. Garbanzo beans are a fantastic food for providing our digestive system with nutrient support. Even though research studies have shown blood sugar benefits with as little as 1/2 cup servings of garbanzo beans, we recommend that you consider more generous single servings of this delicious legume, in the range of up to 1 cup.

Increased Chances for Satiety and Decreased Caloric Intake

We have been excited to see recent studies showing a positive relationship between garbanzo beans and weight management. The best single study we've seen in this regard has been a study that measured food satiety. "Food satiety" is the scientific term used to describe our satisfaction with food—how full it leaves us feeling, and how effective it is in eliminating our sense of hunger and appetite. Participants in a recent study were found to consume fewer snacks and fewer overall calories when supplementing their regular diet with garbanzo beans. They were also found to report greater food satiety, with experiences of reduced appetite and greater food satisfaction. We look forward to some large-scale studies in this area, and we expect to see a clear role being carved out for garbanzo beans in terms of weight loss and weight management. Along with their unusual combination of protein and fiber and their great ability to stabilize digestion, garbanzo beans also stand out as a food that is moderate in terms of calories. At approximately 270 calories per cup, we're talking about 10-15% of daily calories. In return for this moderate calorie cost, we get 50% of the DV for fiber and 29% of the DV for protein. Those nutrient amounts are great trade-offs for anyone struggling with weight loss or weight management.

History

Garbanzo beans originated in the Middle East, the region of the world whose varied food cultures still heavily rely upon this high protein legume. The first record of garbanzo beans being consumed dates back about seven thousand years. They were first cultivated around approximately 3000 BC. Their cultivation began in the Mediterranean basin and subsequently spread to India and Ethiopia. Garbanzo beans were grown by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans and were very popular among these cultures. During the 16th century, garbanzo beans were brought to other subtropical regions of the world by both Spanish and Portuguese explorers as well as Indians who emigrated to other countries. Today, the main commercial producers of garbanzos are India, Pakistan, Turkey, Ethiopia and Mexico.

The Striped Pig Distillery

This is one of Charleston's  best new hidden gems. I came to Striped Pig distillery today with the hubby and we were treated to a complimentary tasting of vodka, rum,  and moonshine: all of which is distilled on property.

We walked up to the front door and were greeted by their ambassador, a huge friendly Golden Retriever.  As we walked in a very nice lady named Jules welcomed us into the tasting room and gave us a great complimentary tasting.

We were then escorted back to the distilling area for a tour by a very passionate and knowledgeable distill master. He explained the entire distilling process from grain to corked and labeled bottles ready to ship. They even hand-apply, sign and number EVERY bottle by hand! When our tour was over, I was actually sad to leave, BUT we did not go empty-handed. I now have a great bottle of Striped Pig Rum front and center in my bar!

 While the whole operation is quite quite small , and the tour is pretty quick, you get a sense that these guys really know what they are doing. You also here in their voices and see on their faces the absolute passion and dedication that they have for their craft.

Charleston is a finer city for having Striped Pig Distillery in it!!!