Saturday, November 15, 2014


LAVENDER is a very fragrant herb that scents the air in a garden and is extremely aromatic when it is dried. Dried lavender is used to make sachets and to scent lotions, creams and perfumes. Only the buds contain the essential oil of lavender, from which the scent and flavor of lavender are derived. Lavender syrup and dried lavender buds are used to make lavender scones and marshmallows. Lavender flavors baked goods and desserts (it pairs especially well with chocolate), and is also used to make "lavender sugar. Lavender is sometimes paired with sheep's-milk and goat's-milk cheeses. It gives a floral and slightly sweet flavor to most dishes,
PINCH OF WISDOM:  As lavender has many uses and gives a fragrant odor and slightly sweet flavor so Christians need to be this type of person in their environment.  A slightly sweet flavor in a discussion is a blessing to those involved.  As a sweet fragrance remains so should the  presence of Christians be felt after they are no longer present.

TASTE OF SCRIPTURE: “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”  2 Corinthians 2:15


 1 c. softenedbutter
2 c, granulated sugar
5 large eggs
3 c. cake flour, stir before measuring
½ t. baking soda
½  t. salt
8 ounces sour cream
1 ½ tablespoons dried lavender flowers
juice and zest of 2 lemons
about 5-6 tablespoons juice
and 1 tablespoon finely grates zest
Cream butter with granulated sugar until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, along with half of the sour cream. Beat until well blended. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining sour cream, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until smooth and well blended.Fold in the 1 1/2 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers and the juice and zest of 2 lemons. Spoon into the prepared baking pan. Bake 50-60 min.
Make Glaze:
 Heat lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon) and 2 teaspoons lavender flowers in the microwave or on stovetop. Strain out flowers; set juice aside and discard the flowers.
In a bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, hot lemon juice, and enough hot water to make a good drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the cooled (can be slightly warm) cake.

Recipe taken from internet:  Donna Rattray 

Sunday, October 26, 2014


ROSEMARY is an fragrant evergreen shrub. The leaves have a bitter, sharp and highly scented taste that complements a wide variety of foods. The leaves are often used as a flavoring in stuffing and to flavor roast lamb, pork, chicken and turkey. It is native to the Mediterranean and Asia, but is reasonably hardy in cool climates. It can withstand a severe lack of water for lengthy periods. Legend has it that the Virgin Mary spread her blue cloak over a white-blossomed bush when she was resting, and the flowers turned blue. The shrub then became known as the 'Rose of Mary'.
PINCH OF WISDOM:  The phrase “highly scented” brings a pleasant thought to most of us.  A lasting aroma that brings pleasure even when the source is no longer around is a pleasant remembrance. Christians in the world should attempt to be described in the same manner. Even when one is not present the pleasing memory of a Christ-like presence should continue. We may be all the world around us will ever know of the “pleasing aroma” of Christ.
TASTE OF SCRIPTURE: “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:15 (NIV)
3 pounds pork tenderloin
1 tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbs. dried rosemary

.                 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
.                 Rub the roast OR tenderloin liberally with olive oil, then spread the garlic over it. Place it in a 10x15 inch roasting pan and sprinkle with the rosemary.
.                 Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 145 degrees F (63 degrees C).

Monday, October 13, 2014


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Cardamom spice is the ground seed taken from the capsule of the fruit produced by the cardamom plant. In the Middle East the pods are often ground with coffee beans, boiled and served as coffee. Cardamom is best stored in pod form because once the seeds are exposed or ground they quickly lose their flavor. Cardamom can be found in many Indian recipes and also in the sweet breads of the Nordic countries. The pullah (a Finnish sweet bread) and the Swedish Julekake both contain cardamom. In South Asia, green cardamom is often used in traditional Indian sweets and in Masala cha The spiced tea of South Asia and the traditional Indian sweets use the green cardamom and black cardamom is used for curries and sometimes as an embellishment for basmati rice

PINCH OF WISDOM Often we find the best in people when we wait until they shed their outer shell and reveal their true nature. When we take time to truly know and understand an individual, it is then we often discover that much like the cardamom plant the outer layer hides the most excellent part.

TASTE OF SCRIPTURE “For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45


Streusel 6 tablespoons sugar ,6 tablespoons all purpose flour,1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted,3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom,1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon For streusel: Mix all ingredients in small bowl until moist clumps form.
2 1/3 cups cake flour , 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup orange juice, 2 teaspoons grated orange peel,1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/3 cup poppy seeds (about 2 ounces)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 12-cup angel food cake pan with removable bottom. Sift first 5 ingredients twice into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in sour cream, juice, peel and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients to blend. Mix in poppy seeds. Transfer batter to prepared pan (batter will fill less than half of pan). Bake cake 25 minutes. Sprinkle streusel over top of cake. Continue to bake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using small knife, cut around sides of pan and center tube to loosen cake. Push cake up. Cut cake free from pan bottom. Transfer cake to platter.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Thyme is a low-growing plant that can be safely called a 'distant cousin' of the mint family. Due to the its  range of scents and fragrant intensities it is considered a valuable additive to food, especially when paired with other aromatic herbs such as rosemary and marjoram. Thyme retains its flavor on drying better than many other herbs. Substitution is often rather complicated because recipes can specify sprigs, and sprigs can vary in yield of leaves. Fresh thyme is commonly sold in bunches of sprigs. A sprig is a single stem snipped from the plant. A recipe may measure thyme by the bunch (or fraction thereof), or by the sprig, or by the tablespoon or teaspoon. Thyme is sold both fresh and dried. The fresh form is more flavorful, but also less convenient; storage life is rarely more than a week.

PINCH OF WISDOM: “Substitution is often rather complicated” No substitute can be found for Christ and his love for us.  We try in many ways to fill the emptiness in our soul with worldly things…alcohol, drugs, money, fame, family, jobs; but only Jesus and his love for us can fill this empty spot in our soul.  He is above everything No substitute!

TASTE OF SCRIPTURE:  “All things were created by him. He created everything in heaven and on earth. He created everything that can be seen and everything that can’t be seen. He created kings, powers, rulers and authorities. Everything was created by him and for him. Before anything was created, he was already there. He holds everything together. Colossians 1:16-17 NIV


Sauteed Butter-thyme mushrooms

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • (8-ounce) packages presliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Preparation1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and shallots; cook 1 minute or until tender. Add salt and mushrooms to pan; cook 13 minutes or until mushrooms are brown and liquid evaporates. Add wine to pan; cook for 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in thyme, and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Phoebe Wu,  
  • April 2012

Monday, September 22, 2014


MINT, known from antiquity, is an herb with medicinal properties and is often used in specific Arabian cuisine as a spice. The most common and popular mints for cultivation are peppermint, spearmint and apple mint.
Spearmint and peppermint offer sweetly clean, refreshing taste and are the most widespread mint varieties used in cooking.  Peppermint is more often used for candies and teas while spearmint complements savory dishes like lamb, peas and other vegetables as well as fruits and chocolate. Mint is common to Middle Eastern cooking. Leaves can be snipped into fruit salads and rice pilaf or added to a marinade for chicken.  In India they hang fresh bunches of mint in doorways and open windows as the aroma of mint is said to symbolize hospitality.

PINCH OF WISDOM: Clean and refreshing is often used to describe not only the flavor but also the fragrance of mint. As Christians, we, too, ought to be recognized as clean and refreshing people who complement their surroundings. Knowledge of our hospitality should be spread throughout our community much like the aroma of fresh mint permeates its environment.

TASTE OF SCRIPTURE: Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:9-10

                2 cups mint semisweet chocolate chips, divided (can use Andes Mint pieces)
                6 tablespoons butter (no substitutes), softened
                1 cup sugar
                2 eggs
                1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
                1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
                1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
                1/4 teaspoon salt
                  confectioners' sugar

                In a microwave, melt 1 cup chocolate chips; set aside to cool. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the melted chocolate chips and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until easy to handle.
                Roll into 1-in. balls, then roll in confectioners' sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until edges are set and centers are almost set. Cool for 10 minutes

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


AMCHUR is whole or ground unripe dried mango fruits, thus it is often referred to as mango powder. The spice is either whole or ground and sometimes seasoned with turmeric. Finely ground amchur powder has a slightly fibrous texture and is beige in color. Amchur has sour-sweet, warm and slightly resinous bouquet and tastes
 somewhat sweet and acidic.
 Amchur is used chiefly in Indian cookery, where it is used as an acid flavoring in curries, soups, chutneys, marinades and as a condiment. It is particularly useful as an ingredient in marinades, having the same tenderizing qualities as lemon or lime juice. However, one teaspoon of amchur will be as potent as three teaspoons of lemon or lime juice. Chicken and fish are improved by amchur and grilled fish on skewers, machli kabab, is highly recommended. 

PINCH OF WISDOM: Many tough relationships are improved with a tenderizing moment. Most people respond to kindness. A sweet smile, a tender word. or a soft touch calms and renews various circumstances. As amchur powder can be used for its tenderizing qualities, so a little tenderness can make all the difference in response to a cross word or bad attitude. Tenderness is a potent weapon in handling tough relationships.
TASTE OF SCRIPTURE: If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, have the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:1-8
RECIPE Amchur Fish Kebabs (Machli kebab) Please note: I have not tried this recipe. 2 lb fish, white fish. Choose fish that is firm enough for skewering, such as cod, snapper, etc. Makes 8 skewers, 4-5 pieces per skewer.
1 tsp amchur powder
• 1 tsp besan (chick pea flour)
1/2 tsp chilli powder
• 1/2 tsp cloves, ground
• 3 tsp coriander, ground
• 1 tsp cumin, ground
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 tsp ginger, ground
• 1 tsp pepper, black, ground
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 cup yogurt
4 oz (115 g) ghee or clarified butter (See note below. I found this interesting.) Wash and skin fish. Cut into skewerable pieces, about 40 mm (1 1/2”) across.Mix together all the marinade ingredients. Add more yogurt if too thick. Gently immerse fish pieces in the marinade so that each piece is completely covered. Leave for up to one hour.Melt the ghee. (Skewer fish pieces and coat with melted ghee.Grill under medium heat until a nice brown, basting constantly with juices and marinade remnants. Serve with plain rice.
Ghee: Ghee is a Indian clarified butter without any solid milk particles or water. Ghee is used in India and throughout the South Asia in daily cooking. A good quality ghee adds a great aroma, flavor and taste to the food.Ghee can be great assets for people who are on low fat diet since even a lower quantity of ghee can add lot of flavor to the food than any other oil or fat products. According to the ancient Ayurveda, a moderate amount of ghee is the best cooking oil.Traditionally, ghee is made from from butter churned out of Indian yogurt (curd). It is boiled and constantly stirred until the all the water is evaporated. Then, further heated to get a pleasant flavor, slightly cooled and filtered through muslin to remove sediment.Cow ghee is yellow in color, and buffalo ghee has off-white cream color. Ghee made from other animal milks, such as sheep milk, mare milk, are valued for their unique health benefits.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

SAFFRON-the most expensive spice

SAFFRON has many therapeutic applications. It is found in several traditional medicines such as antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-oxidant, digestive, and anti-convulsant. It is also rich in various vital vitamins, including vitamin A, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-C which are essential for optimum health.
Fresh saffron is available in the special spice market. It is often referred to as the most expensive of all spices. Try to buy dried whole stigma instead of powdered saffron since oftentimes it may be impure. Choose a well-sealed container and keep it in cool dark place away from the light, This spice has a characteristic pungent bitter-honey taste with pleasant aroma.It is the yellow/orange center which is used for the spice.
It has been in use in the preparation of sweet dishes in many Indian, Pakistani, and Central Asian countries. It is also used as a color and flavoring base in the preparation of ice creams, cakes and drinks.
PINCH OF WISDOM: Saffron is easily contaminated if not taken care of properly. Much like our Christian life style can become impure if we are not mindful of the influences around us.  It is important that we take care of our spiritual life in order to be the “whole” Christian instead of a “powdered” down example.
TASTE OF SCRIPTURE:” Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
SAFFRON RICE-4-6 servings
2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
3/4 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
4 tablespoons butter
6 whole cardamom seeds
4 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
1 onion, chopped
3 cups boiling vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
Cover rice with cold water and set aside to soak for 30 minutes.Soak saffron threads in 2 tablespoons boiling wate.Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; add cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and fry 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Stir in the rice, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.Pour in the boiling broth and stir in the salt and saffron.Cover and cook until rice is cooked and all liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes