I am sure you have some or even many favorite foods that have a sprinkle or a bunch of cinnamon in them. Did you know that cinnamon has a great deal going for it Here are some fun facts to help in your health fitness--
1/2 teaspoon or more will--
Provide a high source of antioxidants
Contains Anti-inflammatory Properties
Protects Health and Helps Fight Diabetes
Helps Defend Against Cognitive Decline and Protects Brain Function
May Help Lower Cancer Risk
Fights infections and Viruses
Protects Dental Health and Freshens Breath Naturally
Can Help to Lower Weight
Can Help Lose Belly Fat
Cinnamon comes from the bark of a very special pine tree that has very thin bark. The best cinnamon in the world comes from Southern China or Vietnam, now known as Saigon Cinnamon. Most of the cinnamon sticks sold in grocery stores are not of this type and are very hard and thick--having less health benefits.
Always look for the thin, crumbly Cinnamon sticks and Chinese or Saigon ground Cinnamon. Often times the higher quality Cinnamon is sold as Canela, the Spanish word for Cinnamon. This is because until fairly recently the very finest Cinnamon had to be imported from China through Mexico, a Spanish speaking country and is called Canela. That is because after the Communist takeover in China an embargo was placed on all Chinese goods by the US Government. As we all know that embargo was lifted on most everything but many culinary items such as Cinnamon.
Recent research indicates that 1/2 teaspoon up to 1 teaspoon or 6 grams of cinnamon is an optimum amount to gain health benefits. Too much cinnamon can be toxic.
What and how can you place cinnamon in your diet? Through beverages such as Chai Tea, adding Cinnamon to coffee, making it Mexican style (pictured left), or placing cinnamon in hot or cold chocolate beverages. The ancient Aztecs discovered the amazing benefits of placing Cinnamon in their chocolate drinks before going to battle. (If they did not have Cinnamon available they used hot red chiles in their chocolate drink.) By the Way the word chocolate was created by the Aztecs who discovered it and the word chocolate in their language means bitter water. So the Cinnamon helped to make it more palatable.
Cinnamon is a frequent flavor for breakfast--in cereals, sweet rolls and breads and beverages.
Cinnamon is great on vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, and in soups and such.
In our Pecos Valley Spice Co. we sell the highest quality, very fresh Saigon Ground Cinnamon and we are making it 25% off for the next two days--until midnight on Saturday.
Following are recipes using cinnamon--
POLLO BORRACHO (DRUNKEN CHICKEN)
This is a popular Sonoran chicken dish that is somewhat reminiscent of picadillo. You can use flat beer, or even frozen beer that’s been left from a keg.
Yield: 6 servings
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 2 ½ lb. chickens, cut into serving pieces, or 8 chicken legs with thighs
¼ lb. cooked ham, coarsely chopped
1 cup raisins
2 cups beer
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup piñon nuts
½ cup pimiento-stuffed olives, halved
1 tablespoon capers, drained (optional)
1. In a heavy, flameproof casserole dish with a lid, heat oil and butter. Add chicken pieces and sauté until golden. Add ham, raisins, beer, spices, garlic, salt, and pepper.
2. Cover and simmer until the chicken is tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Add the piñon nuts, olives, and capers and heat through, uncovered, about 5 minutes.
APFEL PFANNKUCHEN (GERMAN APPLE PANCAKES)
This light, fluffy pancake was first introduced to me by a longtime friend, Janet Pugh, who years ago made them for me. She had lived in Germany a number of years and just loved these. They are puffy, golden and as pretty to look at as to eat.
They are started on top of the range and finished in the oven, kind of soufflé like. Serve them with crispy bacon or sausage and fruity jam such as red raspberry or warm maple syrup.
Yield : 4 servings
Temperature: 450 F oven
Baking Time: 20 minutes
3 Tablespoons unsalted sweet butter
2 large or 3 medium apples, peeled and cut into ¼ inch thick slices (Golden Delicious or similar apple is best for this)
2 teaspoons sugar
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Several grates of fresh nutmeg (about ¼ teaspoon)
4 extra large eggs
½ cup milk
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Using a heavy, non-stick skillet suitable for taking to the table or use any skillet and place the cooked apples in the bottom of a pretty, pottery pie plate or oven-proof casserole.
2. Place the butter in the bottom of the skillet and arrange a single layer of the apples on the bottom of the skillet, sprinkle with the sugar and spices and cook over medium heat until the first side is browned, then turn and cook the second side until tender and lightly browned. Arrange the slices in concentric circles for a very pretty appearance when cooked.
3. Whisk the eggs with the milk and oil. Then stir in the flour and salt, sprinkling it over the top of the liquid ingredients to make it easier to mix.
4. Add the egg mixture slowly and carefully to the top of the apples, making sure that the apples don’t start to float. Bake until it puffs up and becomes golden brown…approximately 20 minutes. Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar, using a small sieve to make a fine dusting. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.
LOW FAT BANANA ZUCCHINI CAKE
This cake was created to be baked on the grill in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. However, it bakes very well in an oven and is quite moist and flavorful, yet low fat. The fruits and zucchini add moistness. (It will bake fine on the grill when you are preparing a meat such as ribs or halves of chicken that take a moderate 350F temperature.) And, this is just one more way to cook zucchini! You can always substitute zucchini for carrot in breads and cakes and vice versa, carrot will substitute here for the zucchini.
Yield: 12 servings
Baking time: 45 minutes
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (1 large or 2 small--can be previously frozen)
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 ½ cups shredded zucchini
½ cup (8-oz. can, drained) crushed pineapple
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly grated nutmeg
Powdered sugar for dusting top (optional)
1. Preheat the grill or oven to 350F if not already hot. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan that will not get damaged on the grill or cover the bottom with foil. Or use a foil pan.
2.Combine bananas, oil and sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, bea until sugar dissolves. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in zucchini, pineapple and vanilla. In another bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients and stir until blended. Then add the dry ingredients one-quarter at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix only until all ingredients are well combined.
3. Turn batter into prepared baking pan. Place on grill rack and cover grill. Bake about 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out cean and cake springs back when gently pressed. Cool on a cake rack. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Reprinted with permission from Jane Butel’s Southwestern Grill.