February 25

SPICE IT UP – Black Pepper

Phytotherapy

Black Pepper- Piper Nigrum

Variously known as “The King of Spices” and ” Black Gold”, black pepper has since ancient times been highly regarded for its prized mysterious health promoting and curative powers in addition to its culinary impact. Pepper was often used in lieu of money for rents, dowries, and taxes much like its companion complement spice, salt. Pepper gets its spicy sharp taste from pepperine and a variety of other phenols which contribute to the citrusy, woodsy, or floral notes. Various studies show pepperine and other organic compound of pepper have, impressive antioxidant and antibacterial effects that promote the overall health of the digestive tract in an assortment ways. Pepper is known to stimulate tastebuds, salivary glands, and the pancreas to increase production of digestive enzymes and it may help other foods metabolize more efficiently.

Peppercorns are the fruit of a the flowering Piperacae, Family, vine, and comes in green, yellow, and then dark red when fully ripe. The best strategy to preserve the volatile oils of pepper is to use whole peppercorns in a metal grinder.


Adding Pepper to your food:

Use liberally in soups, stews, seafood, beans, meats, curries and other strong-flavored foods.

Add freshly ground pepper to sliced watermelon, strawberries, apples, pears, cheese.

Get Cooking:

  • Black Pepper Pasta by Mario Batali
  • 30 min prep
  • 30 min cook time

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups flour ( whole wheat preferably) plus 1/2 cup for dusting your work surface
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground fresh black pepper

Directions

Make a mound of the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add eggs, oil and pepper. Using a fork, beat together the eggs, oil and pepper and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well.

As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape. Do not worry that this initial phase looks messy. The dough will come together when half of the flour is incorporated.

Start kneading the dough with both hands, using the palms of your hands. Once you have a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up any leftover crusty bits. Discard these bits. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Note: Do not skip the kneading or resting portion of this recipe. They are essential for a light pasta.

Boil in hot water for 10-20 mins or until it rises. Drain and serve. Yields 1 pound.


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