Not every ordinary pantry spice can claim its name comes from an ancient language. The word "ginger" derives from the Sanskrit "stringa-vera," which means "hornlike body." This antlerlike root adds a hot-sweet zing to foods including sushi and salad dressing, and a mere pinch will help yeast rise and meat tenderize.
Ginger is just as versatile outside the kitchen: For centuries, practitioners of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine have been harnessing its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to reduce anxiety, aid digestion, and alleviate ailments such as morning sickness, arthritis, and the common cold. Such is the power of the mystical horn.
Buying tip: Fresh ginger should be plump and crisp, not shrunken or fibrous. Store unpeeled ginger in the vegetable crisper of your fridge for up to two weeks. Freeze leftovers for up to six months: Break it into 1- to 2-inch pieces and defrost as needed. Dried ginger has a warmer, more pungent flavor than fresh; don't substitute one for the other.
Here, ginger adds flavor to an antioxidant-rich black rice dish. Black rice has more antioxidants than its brown and white siblings, and is also high in fiber.
This recipe calls for tamari, a sauce made from soybeans that's darker and thicker than conventional soy sauce. Serve this flavorful dish with a wedge of orange for squeezing over the fish, along with a fresh green, such as watercress, for some bite.
Green tomatoes are simply unripe red tomatoes -- hence their lower sugar content and slightly sour taste. Charring makes them softer and easier to peel. To grill the shrimp, use 8-inch wooden skewers, which you'll find in some supermarkets and kitchen-supply stores.
Grated fresh ginger gives the dipping sauce for this tuna a bit of zing. They may be tiny, but the sesame seeds for the tuna's coating pack a powerful nutritional punch.