Nutmeg

24 January 2023

Nutmeg is a spice that is a seed from a tree native to the Moluccas, also known as the Spice Islands of Indonesia, the same place we find mace. Now it is found in other tropical areas including India, Sri Lanka, and the island of Grenada. It does well in high humidity and growing zones 10 and 11.

Nutmeg has a slightly sweeter flavor than mace and can be used in sauces (especially those that are milk based), punch, curries, vegetables, pasta, and baked goods. A single whole nutmeg will yield two to three teaspons when ground.

Nutmeg is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory and was once sprinkled on wounds but it wasn’t quite effective enough. Considered as a lucky charm, the whole nutmeg was wrapped in a green cloth and carried in the pocket to the gambling tables. Wrapped in purple cloth, it was throught to provide success in legal issues. Sprinkle some in a lady’s shoe and she would fall in love with you.

Nutmeg Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons all purpose seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon thyme dried, or fresh with stems removed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

     

Nutmeg syrup:

  • cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon of scotch bonnet or chilli flakes
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ tablespoon of tapioca starch

Directions:

  • Place chicken in a medium sized bowl and season with all purpose seasoning, thyme, salt and pepper, and set aside.
  • Make the sauce: Place sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, chilli flakes in a saucepan. Mix soy sauce, maple syrup, water and tapioca starch together, then pour it into the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to simmer for 5 minutes but stir occasionally; then set aside.
  • Meanwhile heat oil over medium heat.
  • Saute garlic and onion until soft and translucent.
  • Add the seasoned chicken to the pan and cook until the chicken is “sealed” (turns white-ish in color). Remove any liquid before adding the syrup.
  • Pour the nutmeg syrup over the chicken and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low; cover the pan with lid and occasionally stir throughout the 20-25 minute cooking time.

Ricotta Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 14 ounces of short pasta like fuzslli
  • 10 to 12 ounces fresh ricotta
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, grated

Directions:

  • Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the box. When the pasta is ready reserve a cup of the cooking water and drain the balance of the water.

  • While the pasta is cooking, mix ricotta with grated nutmeg and ½ teaspoon of pepper in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and a little bit of pasta cooking water to soften the ricotta. Cream together using a fork or handheld blender.
  • Add the drained pasta to the ricotta. Mix well and serve.

Armenian Nutmeg Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cubed and cold
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1-1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  • In a small bowl, mix together milk and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Add brown sugar and combine.
  • Using a fork or your fingers mash in the cold butter cubes until you get a uniform crumbly mixture.
  • Press half of this mixture into the bottom of a springform pan to form a crust. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together egg and nutmeg for 2-3 minutes, or until it is mixed well and frothy.
  • Pour the milk/baking soda mixture into the bowl with the eggs and whisk until combined.
  • Pour this new mixture over the remaining half of the crumbly mixture in the bowl. Whisk until it is incorporated (it will be very liquid).
  • Pour the liquid over the crust in the springform.
  • Gently and evenly sprinkle the walnut pieces on top.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan, and then release.

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