With the start of the Chinese New Year (sometimes called the Lunar New Year) and the advent of Valentine 2008, we wanted to share some wisdom on an ingredient we love, Ginger:
These knobby, gnarled “hands” of creeping rhizomes, apparently originated over 3000 years ago in Southeast Asia or in Sichuan, China. Long a staple of Asian cuisines, ginger was well known to the Romans but nearly disappeared in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. It was Marco Polo’s trip to the Far East that lured this root back to the continent as one of the most coveted of the traded spices. Today, most ginger comes from Jamaica, India, Africa or China. Shopping Tip: Unfortunately, fresh ginger from China is an ingredient that was involved in a recall because of an illegal pesticide. Due to concerns, some stores (Trader Joe’s, Safeway and Whole Foods) have stopped selling ginger from China. Check the label before buying.
Food historian Toussaint-Samat wrote, “Within the stomach, loins and lung, Praise of hot ginger rightly may be sung. It quenches thirst, revives, excites the brain. And in old age awakes young love again.” As a Valentine treat, we like these tender Ginger Buttons – hand-cut slices of crystallized ginger from the heart of the baby ginger rhizome. Eat them straight up, pair them with cheese, or use them to decorate a ginger martini. Also, consider dipping these intensely flavored bites in melted dark chocolate for a true aphrodisiac.
Recipe: Coconut-Ginger Sauce
A really quick and delicious marinade for chicken, fish, or pork.