Black pepper has a long history of medicinal use in Eastern cultures and some nifty new science shows that it may prove beneficial for weight loss. According to researchers from Korea, piperine – a plant chemical in black pepper that is responsible for its hot and spicy taste – blocks the activation of genes that drive the development of new fat cells. Past studies have also shown that piperine improves the absorption and activity of the powerful anti-inflammatory spice turmeric, which has shown promise in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry May 2, 2012)
Freshly ground black pepper goes wonderfully with this delicious cold-weather recipe of mine:
This is a fabulous Sunday night soup for the cooler months.
3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 in chunks
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4+ cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
Greek-style plain yogurt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a stock pot. Add onion and salt, cooking until softened, about 5 minutes. Add thyme and garlic and cook for 3 more minutes. Add squash and increase heat just slightly, stirring frequently until the squash is caramelized in some areas. Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover with a lid, and simmer until squash is tender. Add the sage. Allow to cool, then puree in a blender or food processor. Return to pot and reheat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with a dollop of Greek-style plain yogurt.
This soup allows for a lot of freedom in the kitchen. Here are some ideas for variations:
Click the image below for details on my mini e-course.
You can take it under an hour!