DO YOU KNOW ANNATTO?
Cheeky earth-red seeds ripen
Bird-beaked in form, colour dangerous.
Why discover you now?
With so much prickly pain outside this primal pod.
Are you ready to share your secrets?
This Summer I became obsessed with Annatto seeds as I recalled a certain soup. Late Summer corn. Recipe by my best friend Myra Kornfeld in her first cookbook, “The Voluptuous Vegan”
It was sooooo VOLUPTUOUS.
Roasted corn with a sexy sofrito infused with the hue of this prehistoric-looking spice.
I made it again and again, the colours, flavours, and scent memories of friends gathered.
After I moved from New York and then Seattle, those feasts with best friends over the border became like rubies, precious and rare. Until one trip to the spice market where I rediscovered this jewel. Oh the happiness. Infusing oils, sauces, soups and ecstatic spice blends. I cannot even tell you how these beauties will make you feel.
When I step into my kitchen knowing they are there, I feel like a traveller, never lonely, free to go off on some adventure or another deep into my world of colours, aromas, and wild imaginings.
While playing with my new spice friends in a whole new way I created this tangy spice masala and I’m using it like crazy on my Late Summer corn on the cob with plenty ghee. Definitely a blend for adding to veggies like cauliflower and potatoes, as well as to various types of white fish. Its citrusy, slightly sweet and a little bit of spicy.
ANNATTO LEMON ZEST RUB
2 TBSP Annatto seeds
Zest of 2 medium lemons
3 TBSP Coriander seeds
1 TBSP Whole Black pepper
1 tsp salt
Toast the coriander and black pepper and grind to a rough consistency. Grind the annatto seeds until roughly powdered. Zest lemon skins. Add salt and meld all together.
Use as an aromatic rub directly on corn, tofu, poultry, fish, root veggies.I hope you enjoy making this rub, so easy and fresh and a really really great way to enjoy the Summers corn bounty!
NOTE: Annatto lends a deep crimson colour to dishes either as an infused oil, rub or marinade traditionally for meat and fish but is definitely a gorgeous rub. The seed’s rich pigment infuses oils and vinegars with its golden-red hue imparting not only colour but a subtle citrus flavour to foods. Kitchens around the world use annatto to add its yellow-red colour to foods. The peppery, citrusy and earthy flavour of annatto, best ground raw or infused whole into oils, enhances and pairs well with most spices especially coriander, lemon/orange zest, black pepper, cumin, ginger, and cocoa.
As an Ayurvedic spice benefit, annatto assists liver and kidney function and strengthens bone tissue.
MYTH, MAGIC, & SACRED MEDICINE
I love that this stunningly vibrant seed was originally used as a ceremonial pigment and that nearly all Mayan scriptures were written in its red-staining ink. The Mayans and Aztecs considered this juice sacred and revered it as a symbol for blood in their rituals. These early civilizations went on to use annatto in foods ranging from spicy stews to powerful ritual chocolate drinks. Due to its rich hue, annatto was also valued as a pigment for war paint and is still used for colour in cosmetics (mostly lipstick), food and fabric dye.
Known as an aphrodisiac for women, annatto is imbued with the fire element and provokes desire. Mmmmm I must say just cooking with this amazing spice makes me feel totally luscious. So satisfying. With all this and its many health benefits, I implore you my darlings to go find some and try it.
Love and Fragrant Blessings,
Glynnis, Your Spice Mistress xox
Twelve Spice Solstice Blend
Hello Sunshine. Happy Summer Solstice 2017!
DO YOU KNOW THE NAMES OF THE SUN AND WHY THEY IMPACT YOUR DAILY WELLBEING?
If you’ve ever taken a yoga class (and I’m 99.9% sure that you have!), you’ll have practiced at some point SURYANAMASKAR, the sun salutation. You may know that this health-giving yoga practice actually has 12 names to salute the sun and each one is specific to each part of this life-giving yoga flow.
This morning as I woke up to the first day of Summer, the first thing that popped into my head was “Salutations to the Sun”. The second thing was “ohmigosh that is going to be my Solstice Spice Blend.” I originally was going to make a Solstice Rose Spice Blend and I had already harvested, washed and dried the rose petals and they were ready. I knew EXACTLY where these would go in my 12 Spice Solstice blend. Beauty! Roses are all about beauty.
I was on fire. I jumped out of bed and went to gather my spices. Twelve spices for 12 Sun salutations. Yes, perfect. Now to tune in and listen to which spice aligns with what name. It was so easy because the spices speak to me (seriously tho’) and this all happened through a deep relationship of listening I’ve been cultivating with them for many years.
First I had to refresh my memory and chant the full Suryanamaskar before getting started.
It was so completely fascinating to me as I began to chant each one and remember the meanings of the names matching them to a specific spice. The qualities and actions of the spices harmonize with the names of the Sun to create this nourishing, enlivening spice blend. A digestive tonic activating the fire God Agni, stimulating digestion, nourishing all tissues, bringing illumination and pleasure and adorning your food.
The 12 Names of Surya the Sun God Agni, and the companion spices.
- Om Mitraya namah: Salutations to Him who is affectionate to all
FENNEL: The Friend of all.
Fennel is tridoshic and good for all digestive issues. Good digestion=happiness.
- Om Ravaye namah: Salutations to Him who is the cause for change
CARDAMOM: Praised by all.
Cardamom is a warming sweet spice that gently enkindles the digestive fire and sweetens the breath.
- Om Suryaya namah: Salutations to Him who inspires movement
STAR ANISE: The Guiding light to all.
Star anise blasts through congestion in the micro channels of the body making way for light.
- Om Bhanave namah: Salutations to the One who diffuses light into everything
ROSE: The Bestower of beauty.
Rose reduces inflammation in the body and brings love and beauty to the mind.
- Om Khagaya namah: Salutations to Him who moves across the sky
SALT: Stimulator of the senses.
Salt is townifying to the system and enhances the flavour in foods, herbs and spices.
- Om Pushne namah: Salutations to Him who nourishes and sustains all.
SESAME SEED: The Nourisher of all.
Sesame seeds nourish the deeper tissue layers of the body and are grounding and fortifying.
- Om Hiranyagarbhaya namah: Salutations to Him who contains everything
COCOA: The Light in the Spiritual Heart.
The flavanols in cocoa ease depression, are antioxidants and bring pleasure to life, increasing healthy longevity.
- Om Marichaya namah: Salutations to Him who’s rays destroy ignorance.
BLACK PEPPER: The Destroyer of Disease.
Black pepper is a potent digestive, helping other foods and medicines to become bioavailable. Decongestant.
- Om Adityaya namah: Salutations to Him who is God of gods.
COCONUT: The One who inspires.
Coconut is deeply nourishing as a healthy bioavailable fat. Boosts the immune system, heals the skin.
- Om Savitre namah: Salutations to the One who produces light.
GINGER: The Purifier.
Ginger is a digestive, aids in the assimilation of nutrients and other herbs and spices.
- Om Arkaya namah: Salutations to The Beloved.
TURMERIC: The Radiant One.
Turmeric is called the ONE MEDICINE. Anti-inflammatory, blood and liver purifier.
- Om Bhaskaraya namah: Salutations to The One who Shines so we may Shine.
SAFFRON: The Illuminator.
Saffron pacifies Pitta and excess heat in the body. Revitalizes the reproductive system. Aphrodisiac.
12 SPICE SOLSTICE RECIPE
This aromatic sweet, salty, spicy, solar spice blend will bring great rasa/taste to your food and innumerable health benefits to your body, aiding digestion and uplifting the heart. Sprinkle lavishly on all your foods from popcorn to salads to veggies to grains to avocado toast.
Individually toast each spice until the aromatic seeds begin to pop. Watch the coconut, it toasts quickly and will be ready when it turns a light caramel colour. Do not toast the turmeric, salt, ginger or saffron.
Individually toast and grind (crack the seeds unless specified so they are textured and not completely powdered)
1 TBSP Fennel seed, 1 TBSP cardamom seeds (not the pods), 1-2 whole star anise well ground, 1/2 cup dried rose petals (to make 2 TBSP ground petals), 1 TBSP salt, 1 cup sesame seeds, 2 TBSP cocoa nibs, 1 TBSP Black Pepper, 1/2 cup desiccated unsweetened coconut (no need to grind), 1 TBSP ground ginger, 1 TBSP ground turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp saffron.
Grind each spice while chanting the correlating name of the sun. Pour into a bowl.
Meld all 12 spices together while chanting the 12 names of the sun.
Sprinkle lavishly. Enjoy as the potent solar energy imbues your food and life with pleasure and illuminates your healing capacity. You are radiant as the sun. The seeds know this and they are here to remind you.
Let me know how you are enjoying your blend. Inspire the community and share photos of your Solstice blend on Facebook. You can eat this Tridoshic blend through the Summer season.
Fragrant Solstice Blessings,
I have been bursting to share this GORGEOUS three and a half page spread in VISTA Magazine’s Summer Issue. I almost passed out with pleasure when it came out. My good friends Katharine Herringer (Editor) and Iván Álvarez de Lorenzano (Art Director) have turned this magazine into a feast for the eyes. These recipes were part classic Ayurvedic faves that I make again and again like the Kichadi cakes (with a twist), and perfumed chocolate Goddess brownies, and part experimental taste explosions like the 3 Divine Dips and the incredible Tridoshic breakfast smoothie (actually more like a pudding).
The theme was Women’s Health. My perspective was an Ayurvedic one. PERFUME was my first thought leading me to add just a few drops of Floracopeia’s Rose Geranium essential oil in both the brownies and the chia 3 level breakfast smoothie. (for safety the ingestion of essential oils must be done in a very small dosage of carrier (fat or liquid) to EO and never to be taken internally in it’s undiluted form).
Now I really do get the hashtag #foodporn. Sensual, orgasmic, pleasurable, beauty-full, tasty experiences while preparing, discovering and enjoying the uplifting health benefits of good food made with passion and awareness.
KICHADI CAKES WITH 3 DIVINE DIPS
These jewel-tone dips were inspired by the six taste principle and the desire for tangy, spicy, creamy condiments. These totally jazz up the crunchy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside kichadi cakes. (fried in ghee, oh my they are TASTY). Read the digital version at VISTA ISSUE 112 (Pg 54/55) #foodporn
AZTEC BLESSING GOMASALA
SPICES that played a starring role in the recipes and photo shoot appeared in my special AZTEC BLESSING GOMASALA ( Gomasala being the name I created for a spice blend inspired by the Macrobiotic Japanese Gomasio with a base of sesame seeds and salt, and the East Indian Masala). Crushed Volcanic rock-ground corn chips, cumin, cardamom, cayenne, paprika, black pepper, turmeric, coriander sesame seeds and Himalayan pink salt. For the full recipe read the article in VISTA ISSUE 112 (Pg 56/57) #foodporn
TRIDOSHIC BREAKFAST SMOOTHIE
This was my favourite experiment in the kitchen. I had never made a breakfast smoothie that is more like a breakfast PUDDING before. Straw or spoon? Definitely a spoon. The three layers are distinct, starting with a creamy coconut milk chia piece of heaven at the bottom, a sweet and tangy very berry rose-geranium EO and shatavari infused middle, and a tart refreshing spinach-sesame-lemon top. Dig in deep with a spoon and capture all 3 layers together for the full Ayurvedic 6 taste experience. I hope you love it as much as I do.
Read the digital version at VISTA ISSUE 112 (Pg 58)
PERFUMED CHOCOLATE GODDESS BROWNIES
Those four words individually rock my world and put together in one sentence are a ticket to Nirvana : )
I’ve been making versions of this easy treat for years. Now taken to a whole new level perfumed with Rose Geranium essential oil, extra shavings of dark chocolate, creamy coconut milk and nutty almond flour. They are light, aromatic and crumbly and go oh so well with coconut ice-cream or whipped coconut milk.
Read the digital version at VISTA ISSUE 112 (Pg 59)
Well my tasty friends that is all for now. Let me know how YOUR Summer #foodporn kitchen Goddess experiences go with these recipes, or imaginings of your own.
With Love and Fragrant Blessings,
Your Spice Mistress
Fulll Pink Moon Masala
Make your full moon wish. Declare your intention.
Manifest the wild scatterings of your dream seeds.
Does it feel that no matter how hard you try, how much you pray, how well intended your actions are, that you cannot manifest the one thing you truly desire? Then this Pink Full Moon is for you my gorgeous friend.
The April Spring full moon’s pink colour represents the blossoming of the flowers that appear soon after the last Winter chill. No flower can bloom without the planting of seeds or the wild scattering of so many dreams, and this gives us hope.
I too have struggled at times with the feeling of not achieving the full blossoming of some of my creative endeavours – they may have been utterly beautiful, useful, of service, and yet their time had not or maybe will never come in this lifetime. So what do I do? I continue to create because I’ve learned that timing is Divine and has nothing to do with our human agenda. And sometimes this is the hardest thing in the world because when we become discouraged we feel like giving up.
Like the full moon our creative desires always rise again. Some manifest, bloom and thrive and others just don’t. Do we stop planting, allowing the landscape of our life to become bleak as we impatiently pull hard at the delicate beauty we have created? Hell no! We plant, we water with patient trust, we imagine the flowers.
The moon always without fail appears in the night sky, and pulls at our most magnificent gifts from within us whether we can see it or not.
For many years I held a Full Moon Masala gathering, where we would chant our desires and grind a spice masala under the light of the full moon with the sound of stone on stone and seed on seed. We would then adorn our food with this lunar-energized blend, manifesting until the next full moon.
This Pink Moon Masala is for you medicine women, kitchen Goddesses, spice healers, moon worshippers, and for you who wish to adorn your food with this moon’s mighty manifesting energy. Make your wish. Declare your intention and sprinkle lavishly knowing that the seeds you plant today will blossom when their time has come.
PINK FULL MOON MASALA RECIPE
Lightly toast the whole spices until the volatile oils are aromatically released (so fragrant!)
Add 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp whole black pepper, 1/2 tsp pink peppercorns, 1 tsp cardamom seeds (not the pods) and grind them together in your mortar and pestle or electric spice/coffee grinder. Toast and then grind or ‘crack’ separately 12 TBSP whole sesame seeds, careful not to turn this into a paste. I prefer a ‘textured’ masala and avoid grinding the spices too finely.
Add 1 tsp ground beet powder and 1 tsp finely ground dried rose petals. Optional to add 2 drops of organic geranium oil. Add 1/2 tsp ground Himalayan pink salt. Meld together for a stunningly fragrant pink and spicy Springtime Masala. Sprinkle lavishly over grains, veggies, avocado toast, popcorn with ghee, salads, sandwiches. Adorn your food with pink!
This Spring Masala energizes your true desires and also stimulates the Kapha Dosha to move out of a stuck, cold energy and into strong action.
Chant, whisper, or declare out loud your desires and watch over the month as they flower into your mightiest manifestations.
Happy Pink Moon
Love and fragrant blessings,
Bird of Paradise
Happy Valentines Day my love.
Yes, indeed this Day of Love was created and is ritualized worldwide. Even though I believe every day to be a day of LOVE how can we not engage as lovers and beloveds everywhere ceremoniously declare their love on this day.
You may not be surprised that the spices come to mind when talking of amore. Swoon-worthy aromatics have been used throughout history and in the mystical realms of myth and magic to seduce, excite, and adore. Today on this auspicious day of love allow me to entice you with a spice that according to legend has Birds of Paradise swooning to the ground. The musky and intoxicating smell is so overpowering that these magnificent birds fall blissfully from the tree. This actually may have more to do with the narcotic properties when the birds nibble on the fruits of these psychotropic gems.
NUTMEG and MACE! This duo of sensual spices is created in a lovers embrace in the womb of the fruit on the branch of the Myristica fragrans tree. Entwined in a duet of aromatic intimacy, the two-spices-in-one make a most formidable psychoactive, aphrodisiac, dream-enhancing duo. The mace sensually embracing the nutmeg with it’s exquisite red lace, as one they emerge from their succulent temple.
As for love and matters of the heart…
The twelfth century mystic Hildegard von Bingen said of this mystical spice (and includes a recipe I am most definitely going to make)…
“When a human being eats nutmeg it opens her heart, and her sense is pure, and it puts her in a good state of mind. Take nutmeg and (in the same amount) cinnamon and some cloves and grind them up. And then, from this powder and some water, make flour–and roll out some little tarts. Eat these often and it will lower the bitterness of your heart and your mind and open your heart and your numbed senses. It will make your spirit happy, purify and cleanse your mind, lower all bad fluids in you, give your blood a good tonic, and make you strong”.
Oooooooooh I cannot wait to get home and make this. After a beautiful weekend of teaching and sharing and communing at the Victoria Yoga Conference. I am certainly filled up with love and now the nutmeg/mace calls me. Of course so do the arms of my beloved after being apart for 5 days!
Happy Valentines Day! Enjoy our gift to you of the MACE Spice Deck Card below. Grate a little nutmeg and mace (if you can find this rare gem of a spice) into your food today and be sure to have a soft place to swoon onto.
With Fragrant Blessings of LOVE,
Glynn and Mel
HAPPY SPICY NEW YEAR GORGEOUS SOUL!
A most auspicious sprinkling of sweet blessings in this 2017 year!
I could not resist sharing this particular Spice Deck Card on day one of the new year. I suspect you may have a Sankalpa (sacred intention) to further raise your consciousness around what you put into your amazing body temple this year.
CINNAMON! Definitely cinnamon. Not only do I put this enchanting spice in most of my warm beverages but the other day the lid of my cinnamon shaker plopped off into my Chai along with about 4 heaping TBSP’s of cinnamon. Whoops. Oh don’t think I did not skim off the top and proceed to enjoy an intensely cinnamon-laden chai. Usually I wouldn’t have so much at one time but it was DELICIOUS and I had not even added any honey yet. Sweet enough!
I call Cinnamon the SWEET STABILIZER because it has clinical data to show this healing spice as a stabilizer of blood sugar. In a 2003 article published in the journal Diabetes Care, a 40 day study shows improvement in Type 2 Diabetes subjects fasting blood sugar levels, as well as their lipid (blood fat) levels with up to 6g cassia daily (4g is about 1 tsp). In other studies authors concluded that cinnamon is effective at improving glucose control. There is as always controversy in scientific circles around the nature of these studies regarding the type of cinnamon used and the dosage.
From an Ayurvedic perspective though it seems clear.
Cinnamon is often used in ayurvedic herbal preparations to enhance the bio-availability of other herbs. With sweet, pungent and astringent tastes it pacifies Kapha, clearing congestion from the lungs and channels of the body. For Vata it is warming and sweet, assisting digestion and boosting the immune system. Cinnamon is also used in Ayurveda to regulate blood sugar. A daily dose of 1 tsp along with other conscious eating routines contributes to the overall health of the 7 tissue layers of the body producing a vibrant OJAS or immunity.
1 tsp daily? Not hard to do. Add cinnamon to your breakfast oats, afternoon pick-me-up tonic, and evening meal.
As a restorative aphrodisiac and a spice known to “activate the light of intuition” I’m all in!
Oh yay to these gorgeous spices. Take a read of the cinnamon card below and bring the “sensual intrigue of this lingering scent to places where all manner of fragrant dreams reside”.
Fragrant New Year Blessings,
Glynn (Spice Mistress) and Mel (Cinnamon Girl!)