Seasonal Tips & Recipes

Nettles

Nettles are happening right now in many parts of the world. It is a wonder food! Use nettleNettle leaves and stalks as an everyday nourisher, an energetic changer, a marvelous kidney/adrenal tonic, digestive restorative, a respiratory strengthener and more. I eat it fresh, I dry it for tea, I dig the roots in the fall and make a tincture for my lymphatic system, I even rinse my hair in nettle tea. It is truly an ally for you. And it’s free!!

Nettles — Astringent, a bit sweet and salty, cool, dry. Enriches liver yin, nourishes the blood, relieves fatigue, restores adrenals and thyroid, restores the lungs, relieves coughing & wheezing, promotes detoxification, reduces tumors, promotes urination & relieves edema

NETTLE PESTO

Ingredients

1 cup raw almonds

1 (15- to 17-inch-long) baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices

10 cloves or 1 large head garlic

1 teaspoon mineral salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

4 cups spring nettles*

3 cups loosely packed arugula leaves

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 TBS fresh lemon juice

Dash of water to thin if necessary

*optional 3 cups finely grated parmesan cheese (I prefer omitting this and serving on top of goat cheese)

Adjust seasoning, oil, lemon, water to taste

*If nettles are unavailable, use additional arugula (7 cups total). Use just the leaves of nettles. They lose their sting once chopped, dried, or cooked.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. In shallow baking pan, toss together walnuts and pine nuts, then place in oven, stirring occasionally, and bake until golden, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.

Arrange baguette slices on large baking sheet and bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

With food processor running, drop in whole garlic cloves. Process until finely chopped, then stop motor and add cooled nuts, nettles, arugula, lemon juice. Process until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil and process until incorporated. Add a little water if needed, or more oil. Fold in grated cheese. Makes 3 1/2 cups pesto (with leftovers). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once I did a journey to ask nettle if it was alright to tell the world about it’s valuable medicine for us humans. I didn’t want to exploit it. Nettles response to me was, “Would you want to go through your whole life without your virtues being known?” I took that to heart and took steps toward offering my gifts in the world. I share this with you because I too would like to encourage all us women to let our virtues be known.

Beloved Parsley

My parsley has sprung back from winter ready to nourish me for spring. It amazes me how the foods that servekitchen2 me best in each season show up ready to be of service. Here is a little eye opener of what the common parsley can do for you with a simple parsley pesto recipe to support you to cleanse naturally with your spring foods.

Parsley — Sweet, a bit pungent, warm, moist. Tonifies digestive Chi, reduces liver congestion, enriches liver Yin, nourishes the blood and relieves fatigue, increases estrogen, and promotes menstruation, drains fluid congestion and relieves edema, resolves toxicosis, harmonizes urination and dissolves stones.

PARSLEY PESTO

Ingredients

2 cups parsley leaves washed and dried

3 cloves garlic chopped

2 TBS lemon juice

1/4 cup walnuts

2 TBS water

1 TBS olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place parsley, garlic, lemon juice, walnuts, a little salt and pepper in bowl of food processor. Run processor adding olive oil a little at a time. Adjust seasoning if needed.

This can be tossed with pasta, rice, or served with fish.

Simple Spring Tonic Salad

Spring Tonic Salad

Ingredients
4 cups fresh dandelion greens
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh romaine lettuce, or mixed baby lettuces
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
2 TBS chopped fresh chives
½ cup alfalfa or radish sprouts

Dressing
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 medium cloves pressed garlic
1 tsp honeysalt & black cracked pepper to taste

Directions
Rinse and dry greens in a salad spinner if you have one. If not, rinse and pat dry so excess water does not dilute the flavor of the dressing. Toss with dressing, and sprinkle with minced chives Serves 2

Spring is Springing!

Finally, after a long winter with more snow than anyone alive in my neighborhodd has ever seen the little green shoots are poking up through the crust of the Earth with their verdent green smile. The mountain is carpeted with blooming Trillium, soon to be followed by the lovely Bloodroot. Chickweed is everywhere! If you have Chickweed in your garden don’t kill it, eat it! It is a wonderful lymphatic cleanser that nature puts out right after a more sedentary winter lull. The system has gotten sluggish. It is not a coincidence that greens such as dandelion, nettles and chickweed are the first to be popping up. Time to do our spring cleanse. Here is a nice spring drink I make that helps to clear away some of the winter cob webs. I drink it every day for a good month while these plants have their new vibrant youthful energetic energy.

Spring Cleaning Tonic

This is a good tonic that you can drink all through spring. Go out in nature and gather as much of the greens as possible. Not only is this a good liver tonic, but gathering wild greens out in nature gets you in touch with nature’s reflection of spring energy.

2-3 handfuls mixed herbs: parsley, dandelion leaves, mint, chickweed, miner’s lettuce, nettles, plantain.

1 TBS chopped fresh ginger

2 cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.

2 TBS fresh lemon juice.

1-2 TBS honey

2 cups water

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until leaves are liquefied. Allow to stand for an hour or more and strain. Discard the solids and drink the refreshing liquid.

Seasonal Eating & Healing

Seasonal eating runs deep and wide in our lives when we look beneath the surface.

I was at a gathering of women the other night. There was a sharing about how it looks and feels for the Divine Feminine to be showing back up in the world now on a collective and personal level. Each woman shared how she was breaking through in her own life. There was a theme of having to do the shadow work and clean up all the old stuff so she can emerge out of the shadows free from the wounding of a patriarchal era.

We discussed the need to embody the Divine Feminine in our lives grounded in her Earthly energy. This is where she is needed. This is where she is. She is not just an archetype in another dimension, she is the Earth herself. Her wisdom, and integration of the vastness of the Divine Feminine is who we are returninmg to, reclaiming, and honoring.

The movement to “save” the Earth is a noble one. However, it is still laced with the flavor of the patriarch. Women are becoming more empowered each generation. The fantasy of being saved by the white knight as we swim in our damsel in distress is rapidly becoming an antiquated fairy tale. It is no longer the desire of women to be saved. We have moved beyond that. We are saving ourselves through honoring ourselves.  We have moved into a recognition that to create balance and union we must have our wisdom honored. We are self similar to the Earth goddess. We are all made up of her very body. It is also true of her.

The Earth is not a damsel in distress waiting to be saved by those who separate themselves from her. It is quite the contrary. If we want to save ourselves we need to honor her wisdom. She is the one that will guide us through and open the door. She is reflecting back to us just how to do this with her seasonal map. All we need to do is pay attention to what she is offering seasonal course by seasonal course.

I have found that healing a collective wound that is carried by us all that keeps us trapped in a belief that we are unworthy runs parallel to nourishing ourselves by this wisdom. When we honor ourselves we honor the Earth, and when we honor the Earth we honor ourselves. The first step is taking the time to nourish ourselves aligned with her wisdom.

This winter has been an enormous gift for myself and many around me to do some deep shadow work. And as true to nature we are rising in spring to give birth to ourselves free from much of the unconscious behaviors from old wounding. Each winter us another opportunity to dive in and heal what we can. I so love how the seasons support us to heal while we nourish ourselves.

If this resonates with you and you would like support in this collective and personal journey, not just in recognizing the wisdom of nature in nourishing yourself, but also the internal shadow work needed to heal old wounding, consider my book as a support guide that is designed to do both.

You may need to digest it one small bite at a time as you go through the possible resistance in the beginning of the journey of looking beneath the surface at what drives your life. But if you give yourself time to step back, reflect, and do the work, it will be a great guide that will support you.  It will also give you seasonal practical guidance in how to nourish yourself according to the Earth’s wisdom while you heal and reclaim your hidden treasures.

Great Nourishing Winter Soup

MISO, SHITAKE MUSHROOM, SEAWOOD SOUP

Ingredients:

6 whole dried medium shitake mushrooms

6 cups warm water

4 medium sized pieces wakame seaweed

2 TBS chopped dulse seaweed

1 medium onion, quartered and sliced thin

3 medium cloves garlic, chopped

2 TBS minced fresh ginger,

2 TBS soy sauce

1 TBS rice vinegar

3 TBS minced scallion greens for garnish if locally available

salt and white pepper to taste

2 TBS miso

Directions:

Rinse mushrooms and wakame and soak in 2 cups of warm water for about 10

minutes, or until soft. Save water.

Heat 1 TBS seaweed water in medium sized soup pot.  Sauté onion in seaweed water

over medium heat for about 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add garlic, ginger and

continue to sauté for another minute

When mushrooms and wakame are soft, slice the mushrooms thin and chop the

seaweed. Cut out stems when slicing mushrooms and discard. Add to soup pot along

with soaking water, and 4 more cups of water. Bring to a boil on high heat. Add dulse.

Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for about 10

minutes. Season with salt, pepper, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Add minced scallion

and serve. Stir in miso at the end of cooking. Serves 4.

Great Fall Recipe

Fall is a time of letting go. Pungent spices support the body to move unwanted debris outward. Here is one of my all time favorites.

When I lived in New Mexico, fall was a special time of the year. The chilies were harvested and the red ristras cloaked all the adobe houses. Narrow streets in Santa Fe and northern New Mexico were lined with rows of ristras. They were everywhere you looked. There was an earthy pungent aroma in the air as they dried, and the homes were literally covered with this beautiful harvest of cultural bounty. We shifted from cooking everything with green chilies to adding the dried red chilies to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The colder it got, the more red chili we ate. Combine these red chilies with our luscious, beloved friend, chocolate, and you’ve got a reason to celebrate life on earth. Instead of the usual turkey with dressing, or the vegetarian equivalent, try this authentic mole sauce to woo your holiday guests with. It can be served with your roasted turkey, chicken, tofu loaf, or simmered with cubed pumpkin. Because it is an elaborate ritual to make this sacred sauce I usually make a big batch and freeze small portions so I can pull it out and have it throughout the fall and winter. Enjoy!!

Mole

For the Ancho Chili Paste:

  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 8 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Generous pinch cumin
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • About 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

To finish the dish:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 ounces whole almonds
  • 1 small onion, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 5 ounces ripe tomatoes
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped organic dark bittersweet chocolate
  • About 2-1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste

Ancho Paste: Roast the unpeeled garlic in a heavy skillet over medium heat until soft and blackened in spots, about 15 minutes; cool and peel. Toast the chiles by opening them and pressing them flat in the same pan for a few seconds on each side. Soak the chiles in hot water for 30 minutes until they are very soft. Drain. (Save the chili water to thin out sauce if needed.) Process the garlic, chiles and remaining ingredients with 2/3 cup broth in a food processor or blender until smooth. Press through a medium mesh strainer into a bowl.

To Finish: In a medium heavy pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Remove the almonds with a slotted spoon to a blender or food processor. Add the onion to the pan and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove to the blender with the almonds. Add the raisins and stir for a minute as they puff. Put them in with the onions and almonds.

Next, roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on two sides. Cool, peel and add to the blender with the cinnamon, and chocolate. Add 1 cup of broth and blend to a smooth paste.

Reheat the heavy pot. When hot, add the ancho mixture and cook, stirring almost constantly until darker and thick, about 5 minutes. Add the puréed almond mixture and cook another few minutes until thickened again. Stir in the remaining 4-1/2 cups broth, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for 45 minutes. Taste and season with salt and sugar (it should be slightly sweet).

Serve the mole with roasted, grilled or poached poultry (chicken or turkey), either coarsely shredded or in whole pieces, or tofu. This makes about 6 cups of sauce and will serve 6 to 9 people. The recipe can be doubled.


Figs

Figs are happening right now. One of the most luscious fruits available for our sensual pleasures.  They are hard to improve upon, so I keep my preparations simple. Following are two simple ways I prepare fresh figs when I am blessed enough to have them.

  1. Cut your fresh figs in half lengthwise. Top them with a small dollop of chevre goat cheese and put them on the grill skin side down for just a couple minutes.They cook fast ad the cheese softens quickly if you put the lid on the grill. A little fresh thyme mixed in with the goat cheese is a nice addition. Serve immediately.

  1. Place about 1 1/2 cups sweet Marsala wine in a pan with a sweetener of your choice. I don’t like foods real sweet, so I go light. Simmer for about 5 minutes uncovered. Turn off heat and place about 10 fresh figs cut in half into the sweetened wine, stir and turn off heat. Let them sit in the wine for about an hour or more, stirring gently occasionally to make sure they are all getting coated. Remove figs with a slotted spoon and reduce liquid to a syrup. You can serve the figs alone drizzled with the syrup or over something like vanilla ice cream drizzled with syrup. Very simply, very delicious.

Late Summer Recipe

Late summer is a time to feel gratitude for the abundance in our lives. Visits to the garden and tailgate markets are a great testimonial for this abundance. Following is a recipe I created for a web site worldshealthiestfoods.com. I have gotten rave reviews on this soup. Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Mary

Golden Squash Soup

Offered by Mary Lane

This is a perfect recipe to celebrate the abundance of the late summer season. I created it for the web site worldshealthiestfoods.com. Enjoy!

Prep and cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into about ½ inch pieces, (about 3 cups)

1 large onion, chopped

3 medium cloves garlic, chopped

1 TBS chopped fresh ginger

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp curry powder

2 ¾ cups + 1 TBS chicken or vegetable broth

6 oz canned coconut milk

2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro

salt & white pepper to taste

directions:

  1. Peel squash and cut into pieces.
  2. Heat 1 TBS broth in medium soup pot. Sauté onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent.  Add garlic, ginger, and continue to sauté for another minute. Add turmeric, curry powder, and mix well. Add squash and broth, and mix. Bring to a boil on high heat. Once it comes to a boil reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered until squash is tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Place in blender and blend with coconut milk. Make sure you blend in batches filling blender only half full. Start on low speed, so hot soup does not erupt and burn you. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Thin with a little broth if needed. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Reheat, and add cilantro.

Serves 4-6


Seasonal Tips & Recipes

kitchenBerries, Berries Everywhere

It is berry season! I just finished gathering wine berries which grow all along the dirt road where I live. I have been picking them on every hike, walk, saunder along the river. they have been everywhere in abundance this year. Now, the blackberries are taking over the spotlight with wild blueberries right behind them. My strawberry patch is still providing enough strawberries every morning for my granola. I am in berry heaven. Following is an idea from my book that is fun and makes for a variety of usses for all the berries. Doesn’t matter which kind.

BERRIES & HERBS

Pick wild berries, or get them from your local farmer’s market. If you have fragrant leaves such as Rose Geranium, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, Mint, or Lavender make an infusion with one type of these leaves by removing just the leaves from the plant, rinse thoroughly and add to water. The amount depends on the amount of berries you have picked, approximately ¼ cup liquid to 1 ½ cups berries.

Use plenty of leaves for flavoring. Add raw sugar, honey, or agave according to how sweet you like things, and simmer these leaves in the sweetened water for about 20 minutes.

Strain out leaves and continue to simmer until liquid has slightly thickened. Let cool to warm temperature and pour over bowl of berries and let cool.

You can make several flavors and then freeze this mixture in batches for smoothies, or indulge in berry desserts for the summer such as berry crepes, berry shortcakes, berries with yogurt, the list is endless.