Greta, Magic Herbs and Cuba!

Snapseed
Greta is the name I gave this sweet lady, also known as Rosemary Kitchen Witch. This sweet kitchen helper is part of a collection by Witches of Pendle. She’ll most likely be making more appearances in these future kitchen blogs, so thanks for greeting her with an open heart!
Now moving on to some really COOL new reads for this month starting with….
Ten Spices for Health and Longevity
(REVISED)
By Valerie B. Lull
10 Spices
Hurray!!! Now THIS is the kind of information that seems to have gotten lost over the years that has lately been finding it’s way to us again!!!
Reflecting on reading through this book, it reminds me of an active mindfulness of actual ingredients…where energy gets infused simply by placing our attention to those ingredients and in our preparation of them!
Besides for household uses for the spices she goes into, the wonderful author also goes into traditional uses of each ingredient, followed by a few key recipes! Oh what fun I’ll have making some of these recipes, while practicing mindfulness WITH intention!!!
I love how the author also mentions possible issues with herbs and medications-let’s take back our health!
My first experiment was with the author’s recipe for CAYENNE TEA
Cayenne and Greta
I had been suffering from chest congestion from a cold and tried this one out. Just in the mindful preparation of it caused me to notice what I was experiencing from inhaling the steam from it…I was already feeling comforted.
Whether one believes or not, the energy we are feeling is the same energy we attract so…bring that on! (Achoo!!! Omg…it’s working!!!) Seriosly, even though it’s a spicy spice, it’s relaxing to me (especially after a night of restless coughing). I’m actually finally feeling sleepy!!!
I appreciated all this book’s fascinating and historical to present day uses of the 10 featured spices in this book, and found this book to be very fun AND useful!
I’ll try sage and fennel tea tomorrow (sore throat, colds, flu)
I feel the writer offers a lot in this book, simply through the ten spices for health and longevity she chose, and I feel it’s definitely worth the time to read.
An ideal gift not just for yourself but to a best friend!
**** GIFT IDEA****
A beautiful basket with labeled packets of herbs, Epson salts, a pretty tea cup and this book!!!
Revised version available at Amazon/10Spices
Author’s Website: valarielull.com
Valarie’s Blog: Simplewaystostayhealthy
 **************************************************************************
PALADARES
Author: Anya von Bremzen 
Paladares
Inspired by private restaurants of CUBA!
Cuban culture…Cuban history…
…an amazing book of stories and recipes, along with many vibrant and BEAU-tiful photos! (Well done, Anya Von Bremzen!!!!)
Of course I decided to try some of these recipes out, due to the fact that everything just looked REALLY GOOD (!) …plus, I feel that the author explained this book and the recipes well -which to me makes Paladares a nice and easy cookbook to follow!
My review here is all about the recipes so…
The first…..
Cuban Drink

Papa Doble Daiquirí

Ernest Hemingway’s regular drink, apparently. This one is called the Papa Doble Daiquirí. What I especially LOVED about this icy double is that there is NO added sugar -or any kind of sweeteners- in this one! A perfect drink for anytime, but especially during a chilly holiday season-one that I happen to be in now…so perfectly fitting!
Uh…
…although the results of my version came out a little bit foamy, it was probably due to my not so great blender. Still, the taste chimed, “Dazzling!” (Cheers to you, Ernest and Cheers to Anya and Paladares for sharing this drink recipe!)
Cuban Drinks
Next up, I made Potaje de Frijoles Negros, with sofrito. OMG…I wasn’t sure how eventful this dish would be but HEAVEN ON EARTH, these were amazing! This would most definitely make a meal on it’s own-very hearty and flavor-filled!
Cuban pre black beans

A photo BEFORE the magic of creaminess happened!

I learned here that when they say to “simmer” until tender, that really means (at least according to my own stove), to simmer on medium heat where it’s slightly boiling (like a low boil). That gave the best results for me!
Next up, Arroz con Pollo a la Chorrera (Chicken & Rice). I was moved by the book’s photo of this dish! I was also intrigued by the Annatto spice, along with all the other interesting ingredients like wine, lager-style beer, saffron, capers, etc…
Oh wait…speaking of wine and lager-style beer, I think it’s time to try the other drink that I also bookmarked….the Mojito!!!
Yes yes-this particular Mojito tasted TRULY AUTHENTIC! Meaning not American-ly sweet and BIG STYLE minty. Still, the California gal in me just couldn’t resist muddling in a lot more mint in my glass. My guy chose to stick with the authentic recipe. Either way, this one was another winner for us both!
Mojito for blog

Mojito

Yum!
Now back to the Arroz con Pollo a la Chorrera
I didn’t actually go for using the chicken thighs this recipe called for, due to I couldn’t locate any at the grocery store I was in, so I went for an already cut up chicken.
I’ve got to say that this dish was really FUN to prepare and cook. The whole experience reminded me of growing up watching my Mom make her famous Trinidadian curried chicken…..which at this point got me to look up that Cuba is only 1,327 miles from Trinidad via air travel.
Anyway…
By the end of my results….I recreated this REALLY BEAUTIFUL DISH…just don’t forget adding salt,  like I did…or maybe it’s the  kind of dish that’s even BETTER the next day where flavors get more enhanced! (Usually for me, these kinds of dishes are).
Still, the flavors DID stand out as a new and unique tasting experience for me-a total PLUS! Now I’m very much looking forward to trying the many other recipes in this book that I’ve already bookmarked!
Cuban Collage 2
That’s my review for Paladares! Many “Cheers!” to YOU for reading, and PLEASE feel welcome to share what YOUR favorite Cuban drink or dish is, in the comments below!
Cuban drink Tom

“Solud, por que la belleza sobra”, says Tom Richards as he holds up the Papa Doble Daiquirí

“Salud, por que la belleza sobra” means…
“To your health, since you’re already so beautiful”
– HuffingtonPostUK
PALADARES is available at Amazon.com/Paladares
For MORE books by Anya Von Bremzen, please visit AnyaVonBremzenBooks

QUICK LINKS

 

10 Spices

 Cuban Cookbook