Friday, September 29, 2006

Spices of wife, especially cardamom

As I was cleaning out my spice drawer -- ok, thinking about cleaning out my spice drawer -- I made an ill-advised visit to my computer and happened upon a Blogcrictics posting about the health benefits of spices. Almost shocking to come across an article like this that doesn't mention turmeric.

Of course the king of spices himself must be Michael Ondaatje for his enduringly fragrant poem, The Cinnamon Peeler, featuring another most healthful spice.

The blogger does go on about cardamom though, which I'm definitely in favour of. I love it in kheer and I have a recipe for Cardamom Lime Cheesecake which was an old favourite (- just think of the comprehensive nutritional benefit you get from that one: vitamin C from the limes, calcium from the dairy, protein from the eggs, and eternal life from the cardamom!)
Cardamom Lime Cheesecake (8-10 servings)
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp sugar
1-1/4 c graham crumbs
2 envelopes gelatin
1-1/4 c sugar
1 c milk
grated peel of 3 limes
1-8oz pkg cream cheese
2 c large curd cottage cheese
1/3 c lime juice
1 c whipping cream, whipped
3/4 tsp cardamom
  • Press butter, 1 tbsp sugar and graham crumbs into a 9" springform pan and bake 5 minutes at 350f. Set aside.
  • Combine gelatin and sugar in a double boiler and stir in milk and eggs. Cook over boiling water, stirring until mixture starts to thicken (15 minutes or so). Remove from heat, stir in peel and chill mixture until syrupy.
  • Whirl smooth in a food processor or blender the cream cheese, cottage cheese, lime juice and cardamom. Stir in the gelatin mixture and fold in whipped cream. Pour into springform and chill at least 4 hours.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I assume this is powdered cardoman. Can you tell me how to use the pods themselves, I've always wanted to use cardoman and prefer pods but have no idea how to use them. Clodagh

6:37 a.m.  
Blogger Rhona McAdam said...

Hi Clodagh: You just split the pods and grind the round black seeds (the husk can be ground too but it's fibrous and tasteless and that kind of texture probably wouldn't add anything to a cheesecake). Electric coffee grinders make good cheap spice grinders (clean them between spices with a tsp of raw rice or salt) but I haven't tried grinding cardamom in one yet.
Otherwise in dishes like rice puddings or tea or curries you need to bruise or crack the whole pods and then infuse them in the cooking liquid. A bit like vanilla pods I guess; you should fish them out at the end as a kindess to your diners.
Merna reminds me that cardamom is popular in Scandanavian cooking. And according to one item I just read, consumption of cardamom has increased 657 percent over the past two decades!

7:35 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cheesecake sounds absolutely scrumptious. When I get through this flurry of activity I think I'll try it. I don't use cardamom very much and certainly never would have thought to add it to cheesecake. Unlike my daughter who has a bold and talented hand at mixing flavours and foods.

8:08 p.m.  

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