BLACK CUMIN 

KALA JEERA vs. NIGELLA SATIVA

BOTH OF THESE SPICES ARE CALLED "BLACK CUMIN". KALA JERRA ON THE LEFT HAS A DISTINCTIVELY DIFFERENT SHAPE AND IS NATIVE TO CENTRAL ASIA AND NORTH INDIA AND GROWS MAINLY IN KASHMIR. NIGELLA SATIVA, ON THE OTHER HAND, IS NATIVE TO THE MEDITERRANEAN REGION, CULTIVATED MAINLY IN EGYPT AND OTHER PARTS OF NORTH AFRICA, SOUTHERN EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST.                                       

                                         A LITTLE ABOUT BOTH:

                                                                 

                                                   KALA JERRA

Taste: Kala Jerra has a more mellower, slight floral and more fresh notes than Nigella Sativa. The taste is nutty, peppery, warm, pungent, and reminiscent of caraway. Because the seeds are so thin, they can be eaten whole in salads or sprinkled on cooked dishes for an added crunch with a hint of saltiness. Toasting is recommended.

About: It is commonly mistaken for caraway seed. Despite it's identity crisis, it belongs to the Apiaceae family, alongside parsley, dill and it's fennel brethren. 

PAIRINGS: Rum punch, potato salad, grilled cheese sandwich, rice salad and with grilled salmon.

                                           NIGELLA SATIVA   

Taste: The seeds have a savory scent with hints of oregano with herbaceous notes and a slight bitterness and a warm toasted onion flavor. Add it whole to salads, sauces and even soups at the last minute just before serving. They are great replacement for sesame seeds without the sweet element.

About:  Nigella is a member of the buttercup (Ranunculaceae) family with about 1,700 other species of flowering plants. Nigella seeds were said to have been found in King Tut's tomb and have been used  for thousands of years as a preservative, a spice and was believed to have healing powers.

Pairings: Spinach omelet, red onion salad, barley risotto, grilled calamari and yogurt pound cake.

               

                                                        

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              WINE AND FOOD PAIRINGS

                      (Cooking together)

Cream Soup                Marsala, sherry               Add 1 tsp wine for 1 1/2                                                                                         cups soup just before serving.

Minestrone Soup        Burgundy                                (Same as above).

Beef                               Burgundy, Chianti, Sherry   1/4 cup per pound

 BLACK GARLIC!

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       BLACK GARLIC BULBS/CLOVES                             BLACK GARLIC POWDER                              BLACK GARLIC SHRIMP SCAMPI

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   The mystery of Black Garlic is not really a mystery. It is just coming into its own. 

THE HISTORY:  

Black Garlic has a murky history. A garlic farmer in the United Kingdom claimed in 2009 he used a 4,000 year-old Korean recipe to make it. The origin of Black Garlic did start in Korea. It possesses a caramelized (actually it is created through a maillard reaction), savory richness that will make your mouth feel like it is eating a date. That is because it is sweet and mild and it is hard to believe you are eating garlic.

THE WHAT:

It is centuries old and was originally introduced as a health product. It does have 3 times the amount of antioxidants and Amino acids of regular garlic. It is garlic that has been fermented. During the process the garlic maintains a constant humidity and a temperature of around 150 degrees for 7 to 10 days, depending on the method of fermentation. Reducing it to a powder requires a rest period and dehydration before grinding to a fine powder. It entered the mainstream food community in 2008 with top restaurant chefs and TV chefs seeking its complex, sweet and savory flavor. It is believed to increase a person's longevity.

 

                                

                                                                   BLACK GARLIC AIOLI

6 black garlic cloves

2 regular garlic cloves

1 whole egg 

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp of salt

white pepper to taste

3/4 cup olive oil

METHOD:

  • Put everything except the olive oil in the bowl of the food processor (use steel blade).

  • Process at high speed for 2 minutes.

  • While the machine is running, pour the olive oil into the pierced food pusher - do it in parts if it's too small to accept the entire cup of oil at once.

  • Just let it drip in. In about 2 minutes more, open the food processor and behold your aioli!

                                                      USE:

  • Spoon over vegetables, or use as a dipping sauce

  • Try it over grilled salmon or other fish or chicken.

  • Spread it over bread.

  • Use Aioli instead of plain mayo next time you make egg or tuna salad.

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COOKING TIPS

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ASPARAGUS

Personally, I am not a great vegetable eater and Brussels Sprouts are high on the no/no list. But asparagus... I have learned to like. I usually cook them on my Blackstone flat top grill. However, try this Asparagus Stir-fry it is very good:

Mix 1 tbsp warm water with 1 tsp cornstarch and 1 tsp of soy sauce and set aside. Slice 1 pound asparagus. Stir-fry them in 1 tbsp of peanut oil with 4, 1 inch sliced scallions about 4 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of sliced mushrooms and cook for a minute. Stir in soy sauce and mix until thick. Cut into wedges 2 tomatoes and add them. Serve over rice or pasta!