February – Turmeric Chicken and Rice

February – Turmeric Chicken and Rice

Turmeric has amazing medicinal qualities, mainly from its main ingredient, curcumin. This widely researched component of turmeric is highly therapeutic and is used in various drugs and pharmaceutics mainly because of its immunity boosting and anti-oxidant properties.

“5 to 8 times stronger than vitamin E and stronger than vitamin C, this antioxidant breakthrough may help boost your immunity, maintain normal cholesterol levels, and put the brakes on aging,” says Dr. Joseph Mercola about the curcumin in turmeric.

His claims are well substantiated by various studies. For example, Jagetia and Aggarwal at the Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA, reported – “Interestingly, curcumin at low doses can also enhance antibody responses. This suggests that curcumin’s reported beneficial effects in arthritis, allergy, asthma, atherosclerosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and cancer might be due in part to its ability to modulate the immune system.”

Curcumin down-regulates certain inflammatory transcription factors and hinders the development of those diseases. in addition to the effects listed above, it has been reported to protect against liver disease, Type 2 diabetes, promote weight loss, improve Rheumatoid arthritis and memory in Alzheimer’s patients. Whew! Those are a lot of reasons to increase the amount of turmeric in your diet. You can read more here.

This dish is a shot of “medicine” in a very delicious package. In addition you will only have one pot to wash. Add a salad or simple green vegetable and call it dinner. It’s also wonderful leftover.

Turmeric Chicken and Rice

Turmeric Chicken and Rice

Turmeric Chicken and Rice

  • 8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups jasmine rice (I used brown jasmine rice)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • Garnish for serving, one or more – plain yogurt, sliced cucumbers, mint leaves, lime wedges, chopped cilantro
  1. Trim the chicken to remove any extra fat or skin, wipe with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Melt the butter in a large stove top and oven proof casserole or Dutch oven IMG_4054and sprinkle with the turmeric. Add the chicken, skin side down and cook over medium high heat, turning once, until brown on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

    Turmeric Chicken

    Turmeric Chicken

  3. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic to the casserole and cook until starting to soften and brown, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, curry powder, cinnamon, cumin and rice to the pot. Stir constantly until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Return the chicken to the pot, skin side up. Add the bay leaves, fish sauce and stock; bring to a boil on high heat.
  5. Cover, lower the heat to low or medium-low to maintain a simmer for about 10 minutes. Adjust the lid to cover partially and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
  6. Remove from the heat, uncover, and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with one or more of the optional garnishes.
    Turmeric Chicken and Brown Jasmine Rice

    Turmeric Chicken and Brown Jasmine Rice

    I didn’t find the pictures really did this dish justice. It was really yummy.

    Turmeric chicken with rice

    Turmeric chicken with rice

    I am taking this dish to share at Fiesta Friday.

November – In My Kitchen

November – In My Kitchen

I can easily spend an hour in a new grocery store or anywhere food related. Exploring farmer’s markets, spice shops, cheese shops, wine shops, or other foodie places is one of travels greatest joys. I’m lucky that my husband is curious and likes to go along, he has the patience of a saint as I poke around and ask questions. Don’t you think that trying out a new ingredient is an adventure and sensory joy?

Following are a few new things I’ve found and brought into my kitchen during the last month.

Urumqui Lamb Rub from Oaktown Spice

Oaktown Spice Shop is a spice store at 530 Grand Avenue in Oakland, CA. They have an amazing variety of spices and house made spice mixes. The folks in this small store are knowledgable about how to use them, they provide recipes, and it’s fun to chat with them. When I was there we exchanged several cooking ideas. It’s a great place to get holiday gifts for your foodie friends. This Urumqi Lamb Rub is hand-mixed, a combination of garlic, cumin, pepper, chili and ginger. I plan to use it this weekend with slow cooked lamb shanks with yogurt. Stay tuned for the recipe on another post if it turns out like I think it will and my mind-tastebuds say it will.


This is fresh turmeric root. I grated it to use in the roasted squash soup (Halloween Soup). It made my hands yellow, but was delicious. I hadn’t realized how quickly ground turmeric lost it’s scent and flavor.

I soaked the peel of Meyer lemons (from my backyard tree) in vodka for making Lemoncello. The peels have been soaking for a month and will be bottled the end of this week, to be stocked in the freezer for the holidays. I like to serve a tiny glass of Lemoncello after dinner as a digestif. It also makes a great gift.

SalinityI found this salt from Salinity in Ashland, OR. It’s flavored with Blue Cheese from the Rogue Valley. They recommended using it as a finishing salt on a butternut squash soup. I’m looking forward to trying it.

These vegetable wraps (called GemWraps) came from in a store in Ft. Bragg, CA. They are made entirely from fruits and veggies, gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan. There are several different kinds, this one is mango chipotle but I also bought tomato and BBQ. You use them to make sushi like wraps for a zero carb, gluten free lunch or snack. I made a wrap with chicken, cheese, onion and avocado. I used some fresh goat cheese (called Laychee) from Penny Royal in Boonville, CA, and Chipotle Pineapple Chicken from Bruce Aidells. 

I made a batch of hot green chili spread. It was gone in a few days and I plan to make more. Sure didn’t last long!

Hot Green Chili Spread

Hot Green Chili Spread

And lastly, do you have any favorite flavor combinations? Have you ever tried avocado and soy sauce? Yummy!

avocado and soy sauce

Avocado and soy sauce


What’s new in your kitchen?


This has also been linked to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, the November edition of “In My Kitchen”. Check out the link for some fascinating posts about what is going on in other kitchens around the world.

October in the kitchen – Roast Squash Soup with Cumin, Coriander, and Turmeric

October in the kitchen – Roast Squash Soup with Cumin, Coriander, and Turmeric

Have you ever fallen in love with smells and flavors? I can’t seem to get enough of this combination. It is the essence of autumn. This mix of spices has taken hold of my imagination and I’m running with it. You’ll find the same spices used in my post “Chicken with Cumin, Coriander, and Turmeric”. As I said before, I didn’t invent it and can’t take credit. It first came to my attention in a recipe for roast carrots in the New York Times. Martha Rose Shulman used the same spices in a recipe for “Roasted Carrots With Turmeric and Cumin” (and she based hers on one by Suzanne Goin in the “The A.O.C. Cookbook”). That Cookbook is definitely on my holiday wish list!

This soup has that same winning spice combination; plus it’s the signature color of October and Halloween, bright orange. I used a combination of Red Kuri (a Japanese variety, tear drop shaped, in the picture below on the far right) and banana squash. You could use butternut or almost any other variety now available at your local farmer’s market or grocery store.



This is the perfect warming soup to serve in pretty mugs while you greet the little ghosts and goblins at the door on Halloween. Our doorbell rings constantly and it’s difficult to find time to eat a regular meal.










Turmeric is a very powerful medicinal spice and is frequently used in traditional Chinese and Indian cooking. It gives food that lovely mustard yellow color. It has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The presence of black pepper is said to enhance the absorption of curcumin (active ingredient in turmeric) by 2000%. Make sure you add it at the end.

This recipe is vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and delicious!

Roast Squash Soup with Cumin, Cardamom, and Turmeric

Serves 4-6

  • winter squash, seeded, cut into wedges, enough to make 4 cups, cooked
  • 4 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil – divided
  • Handful of thyme branches or 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of ground turmeric
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of chili flakes, depending on how spicey you want it
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can of coconut milk, I used low fat
  • 2 cups of coconut water or vegetable stock, plus additional to thin
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped cilantro, pumpkin and pomegranate seeds as a garnish  

First roast the squash:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add the squash
  3. Brush the squash with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted if required), top with the thyme leaves or branches, and about 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  4. Roast for 1 hour until soft and browned in places
  5. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh into a 1 qt. measuring cup or bowl. You should have about 4 cups of cooked squash.



While the squash is cooking, prepare the spices:

  1. Toast the cumin and cardamom seeds in a small dry skillet over med-high heat, keep tossing and watch carefully so they don’t burn
  2. When they start to brown and fill the kitchen with the most amazing aroma, remove them from the heat to a small plate
  3. Once cool, grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
  4. Mix with the turmeric and chili flakesIMG_0157

Prepare the soup:

  1. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat
  2. Sauté the onion until soft, about 10 minutes, don’t let it brown
  3. Add the spice mixture to the skillet or pan and stir until combined and aromatic, about 30 seconds
  4. Add the squash to the pan, sauté for a minute
  5. Add the coconut milk and water
  6. Bring to a simmer
  7. Either blend with an emersion blender or cool slightly and use a regular blender. Be careful to vent the top and fill it no more than half full so you don’t burn yourself
  8. If the soup is too thick, add more coconut water or regular water. The amount you need will be somewhat dependent on the type of squash, I used another 1 1/2 cups.
  9. Return the soup to the pot (if you used a blender) and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.
  10. Taste for salt (it might need quite a bit) and add some freshly ground pepper
  11. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro, toasted pumpkin and pomegranate seeds


I’m taking this soup to Fiesta Friday, hosted by Angie at The Novice Gardener, and Friday Favorites, hosted by Jennie at The Diary of a Real Housewife. Take a peak at the wonderful Autumn recipes on these two websites.



Note: There are garlic cloves in the pan with the squash. I decided not to use them in the soup so have not mentioned them. You won’t miss them and I think they would distract from the other flavors.

October in the kitchen – Slow Baked Chicken with Carrots, Turmeric, Cumin, and Coriander

October in the kitchen – Slow Baked Chicken with Carrots, Turmeric, Cumin, and Coriander

This recipe for roast chicken and carrots is a combination of two I clipped from the NY Times this year. The idea for slow roasting the carrots came from a column by Mark Bittman, and Martha Rose Shulman used the spice mixture in a recipe for “Roasted Carrots With Turmeric and Cumin” (she based hers on one by Suzanne Goin in the “The A.O.C. Cookbook”). Not much is entirely new in the kitchen! This combination of spices is addictive and I thought it would go well with chicken. It was a great success!

Slow Baked Chicken with Carrots, Turmeric, Cumin, and Coriander (Serves 4)

Slow Baked Chicken with Carrots

Slow Baked Chicken with Carrots

  • Two bunches of medium sized carrots, peeled and tops trimmed
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon of Aleppo pepper or mild chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons of softened butter
  • ½ cup of fresh mint, chopped, as garnish

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Place a large roasting pan in the oven to heat.

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small skillet. Watch them carefully to make sure they don’t burn. Remove them to a small plate and cool. Once cool grind them in a mortar and pestle or mini food processer. Combine with the turmeric and chili pepper, then all with the softened butter. Set aside.


Season the chicken thighs with salt. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the chicken thighs, skin side down. Cook on medium to medium-high heat until the skin is golden brown and they release easily from the skillet. Turn and brown the other side. You may need to do this in two batches. Remove the thighs to a large plate or platter.

Toss the carrots with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the fresh thyme leaves.

Without pouring off any oil, add the carrots to the skillet. Cook, turning them as they brown, until lightly caramelized all over. Remove them to the plate with the chicken.

Turn off the heat under the skillet and add the butter and spice mixture. Scrape up any crusty bits. Remove the hot roasting pan from the oven and add the contents of the skillet to the roasting pan. Add the chicken (plus any accumulated juices) and the carrots to the pan, turning to coat with the spice mixture. Try to spread things out so you have a single layer, keeping the chicken skin side up. Careful with the hot roasting pan, hold it with a thick potholder.

IMG_0105 Bake for one hour and 15 minutes, shaking the pan once halfway through, until chicken is cooked.

Add additional salt as needed and freshly ground pepper. Garnish with the mint leaves.