Colleen Houck

“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

Colleen's blog


    August 19, 2014





    Welcome back to Mr. Kadam’s Spice Kitchen! It’s been awhile since he’s shared some of his wisdom on the uses and history of spices but he’s glad to be back! For those of you unfamiliar with who Mr. Kadam is, let me introduce you.

    Colleen Houck, author of the New York Times Bestseller, TIGER’S CURSE SERIES, wrote a character who has and always will be near and dear to her heart. He’s known as Anik Kadam, King Rajaram’s trusted military adviser. He was born in 1635 and has been Ren’s man-at-arms and handled all business affairs for their family. He was born to a military family of the Kshatriya caste and is skilled in hand to hand combat and wielding a sword. He, like Ren and Kishan, sustained long life as a result of the curse and the amulets they possess. He is both fierce and loyal, wise and kind. Mr. Kadam, however also has a passion for spices and cooking. He is like a walking/talking dictionary of knowledge on most any subject but, he loves spices!

    For this month, he’d like to share one of his go to spices, GINGER!

    First, he’ll share some history and uses of the spice and at the end he’ll share 2 recipes that are simply DELICIOUS!!!

    So, without further delay, introducing Mr. Kadam.

    To understand and fully appreciate ginger (in the voice of Mr. Kadam), we must first explore its properties and origins. As you may already know, ginger possesses an intriguing; sweet, spicy and pungent flavor rendering it suitable for a wide variety of dishes from soups to meats to desserts to ginger tea . . . Are you also aware that ginger root is not actually a root at all, but a rhizome?

    Let me see, ah yes, let us begin with ginger’s origins. I believe ginger was introduced to Europe in approximately 800 AD and was ranked second only to pepper as a spice for centuries. For your pleasure, I’ll give a brief synopsis of the benefits and purposes.

    Ginger “root” is characterized by it’s strong sweet, woodsy aroma. It has a light tan skin with a creamy yellow flesh that is coarse and stringy.

    It is typically found in the tropics and warmer regions such as West Africa, the West Indies, my home India, and also China. The best quality ginger was grown from Jamaica where it is most abundant. Later, it was grown in the United Sates in the more warmer and tropical climates such as Florida, Hawaii and parts of Texas.

    Ginger was used in ancient times as a food preservative and to help treat digestive problems. To treat digestive problems, Greeks would eat ginger wrapped in bread. Eventually ginger was added to the bread dough creating that wonderful treat many around the globe love today, gingerbread!

    There are many uses for ginger, I’ll mention a few.

    – Natural remedy for diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Ginger ale stemmed from a ginger beer made by the English and Colonial America.

    – Another remedy for motion sickness, nausea, morning sickness, or general stomach upset is ginger tea. Some have reported its use for providing some relief associated with nausea in chemotherapy patients.

    – Health benefits of using honey and ginger together in the treatment of respiratory problems and are said to be unmatched by any other concoction.

    Ginger-tea– Ginger oil can provide pain relief when treating skin burns.

    These are just a few of ginger’s medicinal uses and purposes. I’d like to focus the rest of my time sharing two recipes that use this spice. The first recipe will use fresh grated ginger and the second recipe will use powdered ginger spice. I hope you try them and like them as I do as these, in particular, are my favorite.

    pork tenderloin

    Crock Pot Honey Ginger & Soy Pork Tenderloin

    This recipe is not only deliciously savory but surprisingly simple. It’s a go to recipe on those busy days.


    • ¼ cup olive oil
    • ¼ cup soy sauce
    • ½ cup honey
    • 3 tablespoons Montreal Steak Seasoning
    • 2 cloves minced garlic or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1-2 Tsp freshly grated ginger (or pinch ground ginger if fresh not available)
    • pinch red pepper flakes (optional for heat)
    • 1 (2½ – 3 pound) pork tenderloin


    1. Spray slow cooker insert with nonstick cooking spray.
    2. Mix together olive oil, soy sauce, honey, steak seasoning, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl or 2-cup measuring cup.
    3. Add pork tenderloin to the slow cooker insert and pour olive oil mixture over pork tenderloin. Set slow cooker for 4 hours (if thaw) or 5-6 hours (if frozen) on low setting.



    Molasses Ginger-snap Cookies

    What makes this cookie superb in my opinion are the spices combined with molasses. The delicious aroma fills the home with “sugar and spice and everything nice”, making the kitchen the heart of the home! Of course, the way some feel about chocolate, I feel about these cookies.

    molassesground ginger


    – 1.5 sticks (3/4 cup) cold butter

    – 1/3 cup granulated sugar (plus extra for coating the dough)

    – 1/3 cup dark brown sugar

    – 1 large egg yolk

    – 1.5 Tsp vanilla extract

    – 1/2 cup molasses

    – 2 1/4 cups white baking flour

    – 1 Tsp baking soda

    – 1 Tsp salt

    – 1.5 Tsp cinnamon

    – 2 to 2 1.2 Tsp ground ginger

    – 1 Tsp ground cloves

    – 1/4 Tsp allspice

    – 1/4 Tsp freshly ground pepper for a little kick (optional)


    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    2. In mixing bowl combine butter and sugars and mix on low-med speed. Once light and fluffy, add the egg yolk, vanilla and mix until combined. Add the molasses and mix in.

    3. Combine all dry ingredients together in separate mixing bowl then slowly add to the wet mixture on low-med speed until just combined.

    4. Using a cookie scoop, make dough balls (about 1.5 inch in diameter) and then roll in sugar. Place the balls on a  cookie sheet lined with parchment paper 2-3 inches apart.

    5. Place cookie sheet in oven and bake for approximately 12 minutes (adjust time based on size of cookies). You’ll know they’re ready when their surfaces break out in crackles and the crevices beneath still look a bit underdone.

    6. Allow cookies to cool for a few minutes (I take a spoon and sprinkle a little extra sugar on top to look pretty) and then store in air tight container (they stay soft this way and taste SOOO yummy after they’ve cooled down for a bit).

    7. ENJOY!!!!

    It has been my pleasure sharing some of life’s simple pleasures. The art of spices and cooking. I hope you have enjoyed this segment on ginger and look forward to next month’s feature, cinnamon. Until we meet again, Bhagyashalin. May you be endowed with luck.

    ~ Mr. Kadam

    I hope you enjoyed learning a bit from Mr. Kadam. 🙂 I must be completely honest and tell you that these molasses cookies are MY FAVORITE cookie, my family’s FAVORITE, and I get asked for this recipe as much as the chocolate peanut butter surprise cookies everyone loves (the same ones mentioned in Colleen Houck’s book as Ren’s favorite cookie)! 

    That wraps up today’s spice, GINGER. It’s time to close the office doors, fire up the oven and get fancy with the spices! It’s time to cook! For fun, I have a question to see if any die hard fans happen to know Mr. Kadam’s all time favorite game? There may or may not be a fun surprise prize for the first person to answer correct. Just leave a comment on this blog.

    ~ Till next time,

    Linda Louise Lotti

    This entry was posted in Mr. Kadam's Spice Kitchen, Recipes.

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    Author Bio

    I’m Linda Louise, one of the bloggers on this website and Colleen’s little sister. I’m just a girl in her mid-thirties who feels thirteen when I play outside with my boys, fifteen when I sing my heart out listening to tunes while driving by myself, and sixty five when I go out past ten at night. I have a thing for junior mints, Mt. Dew, shrimp and kale (though not all at once) and I have a crush on Superman. I still get girlish butterflies when I read Twilight, cry when I read These is My Words, and smile from ear to ear when I read Anne of Green Gables. I have nightmares about aliens on a regular basis and I have a bad habit of midnight snacking. I love everything sports, except golf (although can that honestly be considered a sport??), and I hate anything that slithers, hisses, or stings. I have a problem with giggling at inappropriate moments and I sometimes wish life was a musical. I love science, hate math, love Dr. Seuss, and hate olives. My family is my world and my joys come from their happiness. I’ve learned I don’t know much about anything and I live for a good adventure, naps, cuddles, stories, exceptional food and The Shire.