March 6, 2013

Spring Foods To Renew You

As spring arrives with gentle thaws and maple sap, we can awaken our senses and prevent spring colds by choosing foods that support the lymphatic system. 

Simplifying your diet and increasing your intake of whole grains, fruits and vegetables will support lymphatic renewal. Spices and vegetables that cleanse the lymphatic system include fennel, coriander, fenugreek, kombu or kelp seaweed (Laminaria family), burdock, turnips, mustard, and horseradish. 

To learn about the healing properties of these foods, please subscribe to my eNewsletter.

For an two-week spring renewal protocol tailored to your needs, please email me.

Parsnip Soup

For those who planted them last fall, parsnips are one of the first root crops to dig out of the garden. If you do not have your own, ask a local farmer when the fresh crop will be available. 

You will need:
4 Tablespoons olive oil
4-5 large parsnips, chopped into rounds
1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 large onion)
1 teaspoon each: dried thyme, coriander and nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
A few grinds fresh black pepper
7 cups water 

Chop off both ends of each parsnip and cut them into ½ inch rounds.

Peel onion and chop into ¼ inch crescents along the ridges of the onion.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in the bottom of a stock pot. Add the onion. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the parsnips, herbs, salt, and pepper and cook for 10 more minutes. 

Add the water, stir to scrape up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, and bring to a boil. 

Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the parsnips are tender – about 30 minutes. 

Mash the parsnips into the broth using a hard spatula, immersion blender, or potato masher. 

Taste for salt. Garnish with fresh, chopped scallions or fresh, minced parsley and savor each velvety bite. 

***
Dandelion Leek Frittata 

You will need: 
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek
2 teaspoons each: salt and black pepper
1 bunch fresh dandelion greens
6 eggs
1 teaspoon each: cumin and coriander powder
Juice of half a lemon
2 Tablespoons stone-ground mustard (no salt added) 

Chop 1 large leek into rounds. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add leeks. Reduce heat to medium low. Add salt, black pepper, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add dandelion greens. Simmer for 10 more minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked out of the vegetables. 

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a pie plate with olive oil.

In a bowl, beat 6 eggs, cumin, coriander, and a splash (about 4 Tablespoons each) of water and lemon juice. Pour egg mixture over the top of the greens and bake for 40 minutes. 

***
Nettle Pesto
 
You will need: 
¼ pound fresh stinging nettles 
1 teaspoon salt 
½ teaspoon black pepper 
¼ cup lemon juice 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped 
¼ cup sunflower seeds  
Your best olive oil

To harvest stinging nettles, wear gloves and use scissors. Cut the nettle stem just below the first bunch of leaves. Choose leaf tops that have not yet flowered. You can find nettles in deciduous forests or plant them in a lonely corner of your garden. They thrive in poor soil. Nettles will over-winter and become perennial. Just make sure to cut them back and keep eating them so that they do not get unruly! 

To prepare pesto: 
Fill a large pot halfway with water. 
Add ¼ cup salt and bring to a boil. Submerge nettles in water and let them boil for a few minutes. 
Drain them and set aside. As the nettles boil, place garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, sunflower seeds, salt and pepper in a food processor. 
Blend until a paste forms. Add ¼ cup olive oil and the boiled nettles. 
Blend once more. You can add a splash of water to keep the paste-like consistency. 
Taste for salt and enjoy with frittata and sourdough bread from one of our skilled Vermont artisan bakers.

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