It’s been over a year of Cook Togethers (wow) and as we round the corner of our 2nd spring, into our 2nd summer season – I can’t help but think back to some of the dishes we made this time last year. Of course the magic of Mother Nature is that no two seasons are ever alike – depending on small differences in rainfall, temperatures, days of sun, wind, frost and how early the pollinators wake up – seemingly little changes determine a lot regarding our food chain. So many of the vegetables and fruits that were at their peak this time last year, may not be now. Walking the farmer’s markets regularly can really give you a sense of this and it’s part of what makes eating seasonal, local foods so exciting.
According to Ayurveda, good health begins with good digestion – so the use of culinary herbs that enhance digestive fire is a predominate focus. Often thought of as just a garnish, parsley offers far more than pretty greenery for the plate – it is a superfood with many health benefits.
Parsley is very high in the antioxidants Vitamins C, A and E, helping to sooth inflammation in the body (vitamin C also makes collagen that gives skin structure and shape), while the presence of vitamin A protects the eyes. Parsley also strengthens bones – just 10 sprigs a day provides daily dose of vitamin K which helps protect bones. While you could sit down and eat those 10 sprigs on heir own, both the stalk and the leaves provide flavor and nutrients, it’s much more interesting to incorporate beneficial herbs into your daily meals. In Indian cooking parsley is often used to make a chutney and spooned on top of meats and vegetables, it can be added to fresh salads, soups and sauces, or juiced to enhance its diuretic and detoxifying properties. With BBQ season here, add parsley to grilled chicken, fish and steak to minimize the effects of hetrocyclic amines that develop from the charring of animal protein.
If using parsley solely for medicinal value, it can be made into a tea, but should not be given to pregnant women as it can stimulate uterine contractions. This powerful herb aids in digestion, helps prevent bloat, helps in treating bladder infections, kidney and bladder stones and has diuretic and detoxifying properties. So don’t push your garnish to the side of the plate – eat it!
1 qt blond quinoa,
2 each onions, chopped ,
3 cloves garlic, smashed ,
1 Tbs grapeseed oil ,
2 tsp olive oil ,
3 oranges, segmented ,
4 each bell peppers, shaved thin ,
2 each shallots, pealed and shaved thin ,
1 bunch parsley, picked ,
2 each lemons, juiced ,
2 qt water ,
1 each lemon, juiced ,
2 tsp salt, or more as necessary ,