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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Perky, Frisky Greens

"Pursue perky, frisky greens--they're a cheap thrill"(David Tanis, A Platter of Figs). Goodness knows I love a cheap thrill. I've been pursuing greens all spring, with most excitement on a slew of recent camping trips. A huge patch of mild-tasting miner's lettuce was just a few yards from our campsite in the Marin Headlands, and made a wonderful salad with baby lettuces, dressed with a sundried tomato vinaigrette. More often, I'll just chow down on them along the trail. Miner's lettuce is easy to spot--it has a distinct round leaf and central, tiny white flowers. Check out the darling video below for nutrition info and identification tips:






Another green I stalk regularly is dandelion leaf. They are all over the garden, and I add them to my salads regularly. Who says there is no free lunch? Liver cleansing, mineral rich, and excitingly bitter. Susun Weed, herbal elder extraordinaire, says that eating just 2 weed leaves a day will give you way more than the RDA of vitamin C. I only pick my weeds from relatively clean places, as plants are only as healthy as their soil. That said, I seldom bother washing them because I want to ingest some soil-based probiotic organisms.

Speaking of the wonders of greens, I've been doing a little more research on the heavy-metal detoxifying properties of cilantro. The herb’s chelating effect was discovered by accident by an acupuncturist and doctor, Yoshiaki Omura, when he discovered an increase in his urinary mercury after eating a traditional soup with cilantro (Omura & Beckman, 1995). A really exciting thing about this study is that Omura used cilantro in reasonable dietary amounts to assist his patients in detoxifying heavy metals. Based on this finding, a number of recipes for “Cilantro Chelation Pesto” can be found on the web. I’m a big fan of pesto (on anything and everything except pasta), so I’ve tried several recipes and offer my own below.

Cilantro Chelation Pesto
1/3 cup each Brazil nuts, walnuts and pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight and drained
4 cloves garlic or 2 stalks green garlic
2 cups packed fresh cilantro (stems OK!)
2/3 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dulse powder
sea salt to taste

Process the garlic in a food processor until fine. Add the nuts and seeds and chop fine. Add the cilantro and dulse and process until fine. Drizzle in the olive oil with the motor running until a smooth paste forms. Taste and season with salt as desired. 2 teaspoons daily is a good dose. Some sources recommend daily use for at least 3 weeks as an annual fall detox for mercury, lead and aluminum.

Carrot-Almond Salad
Here is a great way to enjoy spring’s darling bunches of baby carrots and consume a number of heavy metal detox supporters at the same time. Adapted from 101Cookbooks.com.
1 cup almonds, ideally soaked overnight and drained, or raw
½ cup cilantro
1 med clove garlic, peeled
½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and deveined
¼ tsp sea salt
1 raw pastured egg yolk (save the white to make coconut macaroons later!)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch baby carrots, cut lengthwise
1 bunch pencil-thin asparagus, stalks trimmed, cut into 2 inch segments
Squeeze of lemon


Toast almonds in a large skillet over medium heat in a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Once deeply golden, remove from heat and set aside. Make dressing by combining cilantro, garlic, jalapeno and salt in food processor or blender. Drizzle in olive oil while pulsing, continuing until dressing is creamy, vibrant green. Bring 1” of water to a boil in a large pot, salt generously and add carrots, wait 15 seconds, and add asparagus. Cook for just 30 more seconds, allowing veggies to retain some bite. Drain and run under cold water to stop cooking. Dry vegetables in a salad spinner or with a kitchen towel. Coarsely chop the almonds. In a large bowl, toss vegetables and almonds with a generous splash of dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add lemon juice, and serve topped with remaining almonds.

1 comment:

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Can you explain how an egg yolk can be both raw and pasteurized? I'm confused by this phrase, and how you might do this.