Spring is here!
After the inward time of winter, spring awakens our senses, brings new shoots and new growth and vibrant colours all around us. Naturally we want to spend more time outdoors in order to absorb the fresh air and welcome the return of vegetation all around us.
In Chinese medicine, spring is the season of the liver and gall bladder. It is associated with morning and the wood element, the colour green and the wind. The organs that relate to wood are liver, gallbladder and eyes. The tissues are tendons and sinews and the emotions are impatience and anger.
In the spring, there is a natural tendency for our body to eat less, cleanse and remove the extra pound accumulated after a winter of heavier foods. You can help this process by following the cooking methods for spring and eating spring foods.
Cooking methods for spring:
With the beginning of spring, we start to use lighter cooking methods, a little less seasoning with a greater emphasis on boiling, steaming, and quick sautéing. In the earlier part of spring the choices in seasonal produce is scarce; you’ll need to wait for the first warm days to bring young greens filled with new life-energy.
Make sure you include a variety of spring foods that include all five flavours for balance.
Sour: Young sorrel, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar
Bitter: Asparagus, chicory, dandelion, lettuces, parsley, watercress, young kale and any other young green leaf.
Sweet: Grains, fennel seed, honey, pea sprouts, squash.
Pungent: Black and white pepper, garlic scapes, ginger, minor’s lettuce, mint, onion, peppermint, and radishes.
Salty: Alfafa sprouts, fish, kelp, miso, nettle
Spring Aïoli with Garlic Scapes
Garlic scapes are the flower of the garlic plant. These curly, deep‐green stalks are
the shoots that grow from garlic bulbs. You can use garlic scapes anywhere you would use garlic. Much milder than regular garlic, raw scapes are easier to digest and don’t leave a garlicky breath.
Garlic flowers are not as pungent as garlic cloves. They are an interesting alternative
when you want to add a delicate flavour to food.
To prepare them, trim the roots and chop the entire scape including the flower.
When carefully handpicked and quickly refrigerated, these flowers will keep for up
to two months in a sealed plastic bag.
1/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes
1 teaspoon coarse unrefined sea salt
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, at room temperature
1 large egg or 2 large egg yolks, left at room temperature for 30 minutes
Combine scapes, salt and 2 tablespoons oil in a blender at high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks and, with motor running very slowly, add remaining oil in thin, steady stream, blending until aïoli is thick. This will take about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
The aïoli can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days.
Aïoli makes a wonderful sauce for vegetables, grilled meat and fish.