Sunday, May 2, 2010

Anti-oxidant Spices

Hi friends. I gotta say that I'm loving this unseasonably warm weather in PA. Love it! We enjoyed some cinnamon apple walnut pie outside tonight while sitting in lawn chairs watching the clouds go by. Very simple unsweetened recipe below. The aromatic spices bring out the natural sweetness and curb the tartness of the green apples. Really flavorful!

Besides being flavorful, I sometimes forget that there are potent antioxidant benefits in these spices. I just use them because they taste so good. The website I linked to (click on the title of this post) gives you a big list and description of highly beneficial spices like cloves, cinnamon, oregano, tumeric, etc... Have fun with them!

Unsweetened Apple Pie Filling
5 thinly slices granny smith apples (your choice: peeled or unpeeled)
1/2 c. walnuts
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
Toss them all together. Set aside. Press half of the pie crust dough into pie pan to make the bottom. Pour filling into crust. Shape the other half of the dough over the top of the filling in thin pieces or strips (any random shapes are fine as long as the thickness of the pieces are even). Place foil over edges, and bake at 375 degrees for 25 min. Remove foil and bake another 20-25 min. 'til top is golden.

Pie Crust
2 c. flour (use fresh whole grain flour or buckwheat flour)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2/3 c. lard
4-5 TBSP. cold water (just enough to get a workable ball of dough that's not sticky)

Combine flour and salt. Add lard and work it into the flour and salt by hand until it's all combined and crumby. Then add just enough cold water to get a firm non-sticky dough. Work it in by hand pushing and kneading until well combined. I like to let my dough ball sit in the frig. overnight for maximum nutrient benefit so that it "soaks" and neutralizes the phytic acid of the whole grains. You can try a rolling pin to flatten, but I found that just pushing it into the pan and shaping it by hand worked best for me. Follow directions above to bake.

Further notes on antioxidants:
( Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as "free radical scavengers" and hence prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals. Health problems such as heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, cancer etc are all contributed by oxidative damage. Indeed, a recent study conducted by researchers from London found that 5 servings of fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of stroke by 25 percent. Antioxidants may also enhance immune defense and therefore lower the risk of cancer and infection.

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