The verdant colors of “new” at this time of year brings such excitement of potential creativity, and the birthing of a fresh start. My heart just sings, jumps a beat and expands when I am surrounded by the delicate greens of new plant life.
In Chinese medicine spring is the wood element and the color associated with it is green. Any wonder? The liver and gallbladder are the organ systems related to this element that embodies the rebirth time of the year.
Have you ever noticed when you walk or drive into a green area in nature how the temperature immediately cools down? Do you think it is a coincidence that these new fresh green plants that are bursting forth in the spring support the liver and gallbladder?
If they have a cooling affect in the natural world does it not make sense they would have a cooling affect on your liver? It is very common for our liver to heat up, especially during stressful times.
Your liver needs the support to “stay cool” in these stressful times. Think green. Think newly fresh, young greens. There are a multitude of fresh green plants popping up everywhere both in the garden and in the wild to support your liver.
Here are a couple pesto recipes that I designed specifically for this purpose. Not only are they good medicine for your liver, but they are delicious. For those of you that live in an area that nettles and chickweed grow you couldn’t have better allies. I have shared with many gardeners who thought they were plagued with chickweed taking over their gardens in the spring that is the best crop you could have right now. Not only does it support you greatly in the spring, but as it dies off it feeds the soil. Simply turn it under.
Enjoy these spring recipes. They are from my book, Divine Nourishment. If you already have my book this is a friendly reminder to pull it out and receive the benefits of the spring chapter.
If you are in a cleansing mode leave out the parmesan and walnuts.
CHEESE-FREE PESTO VERDE
1-1/2 cups fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 TBS fresh sage, chopped
2 TBS fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 cup scallion tops, chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 TBS chopped walnuts
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
2 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Blend pesto ingredients in food processor, or blender. You will have to put 1/2 the chopped herbs and all the liquid except olive oil in first. As you blend it some, then you can put in rest of herbs and drizzle olive oil while blending a little at a time at end. Store in air-tight container in refrigerator. Yields approximately 1 cup.
WILD CHICKWEED & MINT PESTO
Amounts are approximations, as it is according to personal taste.
4 cups packed wild Chickweed
1/4 cup wild mint
2 TBS chopped wild garlic
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Drizzle of water
Salt/white pepper to taste
Gather chickweed that has not yet flowered. Cut with knife toward top of plants, so you get a nice clean top. Do not pull plant out by roots. Do the same with mint. Rinse in colander and spin dry in salad spinner.
Toast walnuts on sheet pan in 350 degree oven just until you can smell them. About 10 minutes.
Chop garlic. Shred parmesan. Place chickweed, mint and garlic in food processor and begin to process. Stop and add parmesan, walnuts, a little lemon juice, salt & pepper.
While processing drizzle in a little olive oil until it becomes blended. Do not over blend. Thin if needed with small amount of water. This should be done fairly quickly so as not to over process walnuts.
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.
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.