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Spice of the month:Coriander Powder - Friday, November 30, 2012


Coriander is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to regions spanning from southern Europe and North Africa to southwestern Asia. It is a soft, hairless plant growing to 50 cm (20 in) tall. The leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the flowering stems. The flowers are borne in small umbels, white or very pale pink, asymmetrical, with the petals pointing away from the centre of the umbel longer (5–6 mm) than those pointing towards it (only 1–3 mm long). The fruit is a globular, dry schizocarp 3–5 mm (0.12–0.20 in) in diameter.

The use of coriander can be traced back to 5,000 BC, making it one of the world's oldest spices. It is native to the Mediterranean and has been known in Asian countries for thousands of years. Coriander was even cultivated in ancient Egypt and was used as a spice in both Greek and Roman cultures. The early physicians, including Hippocrates, used coriander for its medicinal properties, including as an aromatic stimulant. 

Cultivation and harvesting of Coriander Powder
Now cultivated in India, southern Europe as well as the Middle and Far East, and the Americas, Coriander is popular in cuisines worldwide. It grows from one to three feet tall and bears small clusters of tiny white or pink flowers. All parts of the plant are used for different cuisines in different ways. The fresh leaves (also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley) are used in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Spain, Portugal, and Mexico. On the Indian subcontinent, both the seeds and leaves are essential ingredients in curries. 
Coriander seeds have a health-supporting reputation that is high on the list of the healing spices. In parts of Europe, coriander has traditionally been referred to as an "anti-diabetic" plant. In parts of India, it has traditionally been used for its anti-inflammatory properties. In the United States, coriander has recently been studied for its cholesterol-lowering effects. 

Nutritional Profile: Coriander seeds contain an unusual array of phytonutrients. They are a very good source of dietary fiber and a good source of iron, magnesium and manganese. 

Yoga/Holistic benefits: Coriander is known to be a powerful aid to digestion, has anti-bacterial properties and helps to prevent infection in wounds as well as aids in combating allergies.

1. Protects against the Salmonella bacteria
2. Reportedly works as a natural chelation treatment
3. Aids in digestion and helps settle the stomach and prevent flatulence
4. Is an anti-inflammatory that may alleviate symptoms of arthritis
5. Protects against urinary tract infections
6. Prevents nausea
7. Relieves intestinal gas
8. Lowers blood sugar
9. Lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and raises good
10. A good source of dietary fiber
11. A good source of iron
12. A good source of magnesium
13. Rich in phytonutrients and flavonoids 

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Wine of the month: Cabernet Sauvignon - Friday, November 23, 2012

Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaking: We have always produced a Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It has been a part of us from the very beginning and as such, we have consistently procured fruit from both Cold Creek Vineyard and Pepper Bridge Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley. This year we have strayed just a touch from our usual vineyard selections for this bottling. We have sourced fruit from Windrow Vineyard as well, some of the oldest fruit in the Walla Walla Valley, originally planted between 1978 and 1983.

Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvgion 

Alcohol level: 14%

Vintage: 2008

Price per piece: $50

Tasting Notes: Besides vagaries of the vintage, the addition of this old vines fruit to the existing blend has produced a distinctive wine. Typical in color—a deep ruby red—the departure begins with aromatics. A slightly more restrained nose reveals very classic markers of Cabernet: dark fruits of black cherry and currant, leather and muted cigar box spices. On the palate, a distinctive note of ground white pepper, dried sour cherries and a splash of soy, give way to a hint of sweetness recalling dark brown sugar and tart, red plums. Such delicious nuances grace each sip, yet medium bodied in texture provides a wine that is approachable both with and without a main course. Perhaps it is best tasted in the cool of the evening, simply sipping it in the company of friends.


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Spice of the month: Saffron - Friday, November 16, 2012


Saffron is a spice obtained from the stigmas of the flower of Crocus sativus Linnaeus, commonly known as Rose of Saffron. Crocus sativus Linnaeus belongs to the family of Iridaceae and it is characterized for having a purple flower with red stigmas and yellow stamens. Each saffron crocus grows to 20–30 cm (8–12 in) and bears up to four flowers, each with three vivid crimson stigmas, which are each the distal end of a carpel. Together with the styles, or stalks that connect the stigmas to their host plant, the dried stigmas are used mainly in various cuisines as a seasoning and colouring agent. Saffron, long among the world's most costly spices by weight, is native to Southwest Asia and was first cultivated in Greece. As a genetically monomorphic clone, it was slowly propagated throughout much of Eurasia and was later brought to parts of North Africa, North America, and Oceania.

Human cultivation and use of saffron spans more than 3,500 years and spans cultures, continents, and civilizations. Saffron, a spice derived from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), has through history remained among the world's most costly substances. With its bitter taste, hay-like fragrance, and slight metallic notes, the apocarotenoid-rich saffron has been used as a seasoning, fragrance, dye, and medicine. Saffron is a genetically monomorphic clone native to Southwest Asia; it was first cultivated in Greece
Cultivation and harvesting Saffron.
The cultivation of saffron needs an extreme climate; hot and dry weather in summer and cold in winter.
The land must be dry, calcareous, aired, flat and without trees. Attributes that the Meseta of Castilla-La Mancha has, which has made it one of the most important production areas in the world.
The soil must be equilibrated in organic material in order to avoid risks of erosion, and have some depth that allows the water to drain so that the bulb is not damaged.

1. Take 1 teaspoon of sandalwood power, 2-3 strands of saffron, and 2 spoons of milk. Mix all ingredients together. Prior to applying this face mask, wash your face and wipe with a cloth. Apply this mask when the face is still wet. You can massage your skin thoroughly with this pampering face pack in a circular motion. Let it dry for 20 minutes and then rinse it off. Apply this sandal-saffron mask at least once a week for a radiant and smooth skin.
2. Saffron is teeming with anti-bacterial qualities, which make it ideal for curing acne. Saffron’s exfoliating qualities make it a wonderful aid in clearing and brightening up the complexion.
3. Soak up few stands of saffron in milk for 2 hours. Then smear this milk all over your face and neck. Wash off after few minutes. On continuous use, you skin will start getting fairer naturally.
4. Saffron is an excellent skin lightening agent that helps to lighten your skin tone dramatically. You can make a skin lightening face mask with 2-3 strands of saffron, 1 pinch of sugar , 1 teaspoon of milk, 1 teaspoon of water and 2-3 drops of coconut oil or olive oil. Keep 2-3 strands of saffron in one teaspoon of water overnight. By morning, colour of water will turn yellow. Then add milk,sugar and coconut oil/olive oil to this. Dip a piece of bread in this mixture and wipe your face with this piece of bread. Small pieces of bread can stick to your face but it will come off easily when you wash the face. Keep this mix on your face for 15 minutes. This saffron mask freshens up the dull complexion instantly. It helps to ease off dark circles and fatigue lines. The immediate benefits of applying this nourishing saffron mask is that it helps in blood circulation resulting in a glowing skin.
5. Soak up chirongi (Sunflower seeds) and saffron in milk overnight. Grind this mixture in the morning to apply on your skin. This face mask is very beneficial for making you skin fair and glowing.
6. Massage your face with malai(milk cream) with two strands of saffron added to it. On continuous use ,you will notice fairer and radiant skin all over.
7. If you mix few strands of saffron with milk and drink it regularly, your complexion will improve naturally.
8. You can mix few strands of saffron with olive oil, almond oil or coconut oil to massage your skin. Massaging your face with any of these oils gives lighter and softer skin.
9. You can mix one pinch of saffron with liquorice and milk. Apply this mix on your bald patches; this mask helps to arrest hair fall and promotes the growth of new hair.
10. Apply honey with few strands of saffron added to it. Massage your face with magical face mask that acts as a home facial. It is very powerful home remedy that provides oxygen to the skin stimulating blood circulationBenefits.
11. A 2007 University of Tehran study discovered that twice a day saffron works well in treating mild to moderate depression.
Sprinkle a pinch in a glass of milk, let it stay overnight in the fridge. Drink in the morning, or add half tea spoon of saffron to the water while cooking two cups of rice.

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