Have you heard of cardamom?

My week was sort of busy, but nothing like the past few weeks have been. Now, I’ve been working on checking about the speaker for our Auxiliary banquet, that will be on January 11, lining up someone to be our MC, getting the members time bars into envelopes with their names and hours on them, getting an order written up to order more to replace the ones I’m using and last, but not least, picking up the plaque honoring our new Pink Lady of the Year! Luckily, I have some really good help, we just had sort of a hard time getting to be in the same place at the same time with everything we needed in the place we were. It’s done, at least as far as it can be at the present time.
In my spare time, I’ve had a young man use the leaf blower around my house, and the yard mowed, hopefully the last time for this year; and, since my Dr. decided I needed therapy to help with a few pains I’ve been having in my feet and legs, I’m doing aqua therapy three times each week. So far, it seems to be helping as I’m having fewer problems.
Our city sponsored “Christmas on Grand”, (which is our main street through town), began with a lighted parade on Friday evening, with over thirty entrants and it was very enjoyable; Saturday brought vendors out on the sidewalks with items for sale and items to taste. At this same time, there were eight or ten different booths set up where folks were working on their entrants for the chili cook off. On Sunday, a friend had invited me to go to another small town for something similar. It was more like our recent craft show with lots of vendors, many of them the same folks who had been here in town a couple of weeks ago. We had a great time, and finished up at her house, playing a board game for a couple of hours. Now, it’s time for me to get to work!
Many times recently, as well as in the past, I’ve come across recipes calling for “cardamom”. Since I’ve never used it, maybe it’s time to find out a little bit about it. Of course, getting on Google left me with lots more information than was needed for a column!
Basically, cardamom comes in two main types. “True” or green cardamom comes from the species Elettaria Cardomum and is distributed from India to Malaysia. White cardamom is actually Siam cardamom, or Amomum Kevanh.
Black cardamom, which is also known as brown, greater, larger, longer, or Nepal cardamom, is from a different species and is native to the eastern Himalayas, and is cultivated mainly in Eastern Nepal, Sikkim and parts of Darjeeling district in West Bengal of India and also in southern Bhutan. Cardamom is the third-most expensive spice in the world, and this is pretty surprising, since many people have never heard of it in our country.
It is used in both spicy-hot ground masala and other milder curry blends. In some areas of the Western world, cardamom is used when making sausage. Both forms are used as flavoring and cooking spices in food and drink and in some instances as medicine.
The recipes I’ve found call for ground cardamom, however in reading the information that is available on Google, it seems that it can be used whole after removing it from its pod; and for recipes calling for whole cardamom pods, the generally accepted equivalent is that 10 pods equals 1½ teaspoons of the ground variety.
While it is a common ingredient in Indian cooking, it is also often used in baking in Sweden, Norway and Finland in certain of their baked items.
There is still a lot more information. If you’re interested, just type ‘cardamom’ into Google and you’ll find as much as you can possible handle! The above is just a condensed version of the 3½ pages I printed.
These following recipes don’t have cardamom as an ingredient, but they are both delicious. My November issue of Every Day with Racheal Ray has an apple pie recipe that uses 1 tsp. of cardamom, however, it sounds rather labor intensive, so I didn’t copy it for y’all. You might also check a cookie cook book because some of the spice type cookies use it as an ingredient.
Honey and Spice Shrimp
½ lb. peeled, deveined shrimp
1 tablespoon cooking oil or olive oil
¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (I used 3 shakes from the bottle)
3 times around the skillet with your honey bottle (bear shaped bottle)
Barbecue sauce
Heat skillet with oil, stir in shrimp, pepper flakes and liquid smoke, stir shrimp until they begin turning pink, making sure there is no liquid in the pan. Add the honey and stir until the shrimp appear glazed, add barbecue sauce and heat through. Serve hot with a salad.
Texas Gulf Shrimp Nachos
1 lb. unpeeled, medium or large shrimp
3 cups water
1 can (4-oz size) diced green chilies, drained
1 small can (4-oz-size) sliced ripe olives, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8-oz package)
½ cup sliced green onions and tops
½ cup mayonnaise
Large package round tortilla chips
Bring water to a boil, add shrimp and cook 3 to 5 minutes. (Do not overcook, as shrimp will be tough). Drain well, rinse with cold tap water to stop cooking. Peel and devein shrimp and chop into coarse pieces. (This would work well with the shrimp described above). Mix together the chilies, olives, cheese, green onions and mayonnaise. Place tortilla chips on baking sheet and top each one with about 1½ teaspoons of the shrimp mixture. Bake at 350ºF until cheese is melted. Serve hot.
The following snack mix is great for gift giving, if you put it in a zip sealed plastic bag and then into a pretty Christmas box or can; or, you can put it into a decorative jar, tie a ribbon around the top and you have a cute gift without a whole lot of work.
Cinnamon Snack Mix
1 box cinnamon Teddy bears
1 box cinnamon Chex
2 cups pretzels
1 can mixed nuts or peanuts
2/3 cup butter
½ cup honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup vanilla, butterscotch or cinnamon chips (the cinnamon chips may be a seasonal thing, but if so, should be available now)
In a large bowl, combine the Teddy Bears, Chex, and nuts. Melt together the butter and honey, stir in the cinnamon and drizzle over previous mixture and stir to coat. Transfer to two lightly greased or lined with parchment paper pans 15x10x1” size baking pans. Bake at 350ºF for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring once. Cool completely, stir in chips. Yield about 6 quarts. (Works best to cook 12 minutes, stirring after first 6 minutes).