Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lovin' Your Liver in Springtime

Spring tulip after rainfall in Massachusetts

One of my favorite things about the season of Spring is getting to change the kinds of foods I eat to light, fun and refreshing! Spring is a time of upward rising energy, which means time to eat more foods that grow upwards out of the ground. Some really wonderful foods to emphasize in our Springtime cooking are:
  • leafy green vegetables like kale, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, scallions, parsley, bok choy, sprouts, and dandelion greens
  • sour tasting foods like sour green apple or lemon - help stimulate the liver to cleanse the body
  • sweet foods - help relax the liver if it is too contracted, i.e. you are are feeling too contracted and need to mellow out
Having these things in mind while cooking will aid our bodies in doing some internal "spring cleaning" and will also help us lighten up in this new season.

Another Springtime tulip in Massachusetts

Some ideas for Spring Cooking are:
  • Grain Salad with lightly sauteed colored vegetables, seasoned with some olive oil, sea salt and fresh lemon juice - this is a fun idea to jazz up your usual grain dish with bright colors and fresh flavors
  • Corn on the Cob - lightly steam it for a few minutes and serve with a schmear of umeboshi paste, this brings out the sweetness even more, yum!
  • Light Pressed Salad - choose a juicy vegetable like crisp cucumber, finely chop some bright purple cabbage or carrot and even add some sliced green apple. Sprinkle with sea salt and press with a weight for a few minutes. Rinse, then serve with an optional sprinkle of vinegar and sesame seeds.
  • Fresh Fruit Kanten- the most delicious way to relax, cool off and get yourself into a good mood. This is my all time favorite dessert.
Green Apple Kanten

I have been having fun making different types of kanten, and the two that I liked the best were Green Apple Kanten and Raspberry Peach Kanten. Check out this recipe I made:

Raspberry Peach Kanten Cups
2 cups peach juice
1/4 cup cold peach juice
3/4 cup fresh of frozen raspberries
1 flat Tablespoon agar flakes
1 flat Tablespoon kuzu
pinch of sea salt
  1. Put 2 cups of juice, salt and agar into a pot on the stove. Bring the pot to a boil while continuously stirring.
  2. Once the liquid comes to a boil, continue stirring and simmer on low. Keep stirring until the agar flakes dissolve.
  3. Dissolve the kuzu in 1/4 cup of cold peach juice by mixing it together in a small cup or bowl.
  4. Pour kuzu juice mixture and frozen raspberries into the simmering pot of liquid. Continue stirring until the liquid becomes translucent, this should only take a couple minutes.
  5. Take the pot off of the stove and spoon liquid into individual serving cups. Let stand on the counter at room temperature or put them into the refrigerator to firm up.
  6. Once the kanten has become firm it is ready to serve. Enjoy! 

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