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Spice up your life with turmeric

In the last many years, I’ve enjoyed playing around with spices.  A trip to India two summers ago coupled with an Ayurveda course I embarked upon piqued my curiosity for Indian spices.  Intriqued, I recently used 1/2 tsp each of turmeric and salt to 1 cup of hot water as a gargle for a sore throat and it vanished in a day.  Repeated daily use kept my voice at above-whisper mode and pain-free. The only downside was my O-rings on my braces stayed bright yellow!

In India, turmeric tea relieves colds and respiratory problems due to its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. Newer Western research touts its abilities for managing heart disease, diabetes, even Alzheimer’s disease.

Other uses for this deliciously golden herb (it’s what gives curry powder it’s yellow tint) are to pair it with ginger and cloves and use in potato, rice and legume dishes.  It has a pungent and earthy flavor.  Enjoy this couscous and tumeric recipe!

Couscous Salad with Cranberries and Pecans
1 c. shelled pecans
1-1/2 c. Israeli couscous
1 c. dried cranberries (non-sugared)
1/2 t. turmeric
2 c. boiling water
1 c. thawed frozen early peas
3 scallions, sliced thin
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced
1/4 c. fresh basil, rolled together and sliced thin

Lemon Dressing:
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 c. olive oil

Toast the pecans in a shallow pan over medium heat stove-top until fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Cook the couscous with cranberries and turmeric according to package directions. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, fluff with a fork, then let sit another 5 minutes.

Stir in the pecans, peas, scallions, cucumbers, and basil.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously. Pour generously over couscous and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Adapted from About.com recipe.

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