Cooking with the Seasons - Preparing for Springby Jane Georgini
With the coming of Spring, we find ourselves outside more. The longer days, warm sunshine, and the delight of finding flowers and early wild greens starting to sprout is renewing! However, spring doesn't happen overnight, but rather takes several weeks for the flowers to peek through the snow, unfold, and open up. There is a similar process that happens with our bodies.We need to begin before the warm weather to slowly change our winter-style cooking to make way for the coming adjustments that our bodies will be going through as spring approaches. One way to help to make that transition smoothly is by adding lighter cooking methods, such as boiling, light sauteeing, and steaming more often.
During the Winter months, we cook to bring our energy deep inside to help us adjust to the cold. In the spring, however, this energy needs to move up and outward. To do this, we use foods that have an upward energy such as sprouts, scallions, leeks, dandelions, barley, and wheat. Tempeh, sauerkraut, light pickles, lemon, rice vinegar, and pressed salads are also especially helpful.
Springtime is associated with the liver and gallbladder and the sour taste supports this. So let's begin now for the coming warmer months and adjust our cooking so when the first flowers appear, we will be able to wholeheartedly enjoy them!
Barley with Mixed Vegetables
- 1 cup barley, washed and soaked 6-8 hours or overnight
- 1-1/2 cups water
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup fresh green peas, shelled
- 1/2 cup sweet corn, removed from cob
- 1/2 cup carrot, diced
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, roasted Scallions, diced
Place the barley and water in a pressure cooker. Add sea salt, cover, and place over a high flame. When pressure is up, reduce the flame to medium-low and place a flame deflector under the pot. Pressure cook for 50 minutes. Remove from flame, allow pressure to come down naturally, and then remove cover. Let barley sit in cooker for 4-5 minutes before placing in a serving bowl.
Bring a pot with 3-4 inches of water to a boil. Place the corn into the boiling water and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes and then remove to cool. Next do the same with the peas for 2-2 1/2 minutes and remove to cool. Lastly, boil the carrot for 1 minute and cool. Place vegetables in a mixing bowl and add the cooked barley. Mix in the sunflower seeds and scallions. Place in a serving dish and serve.
Tempeh Sausage Patties
- 8 ounces tempeh, steamed for 15 minutes
- 1/4 teaspoon sage
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
- 1 tablespoon shoyu
- 1 tablespoon whole wheat pastry
- 1/4 cup tofu
- 6 tablespoons water
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until creamy. and mash with a fork well. Form mixture into 4 patties using your hands and pressing firmly into patties. (If patties are too wet and not sticking, add more flour.) Place a small amount of sesame oil in a hot skillet. Cook on both sides until golden brown. Serve on a plate or in a sandwich with ketchup, mustard, lettuce, or sprouts, or your favorite topping.
"Greens" Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing
- Chinese cabbage, sliced in thin diagonals
- Broccoli rabe, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
- Leek, sliced in 1/4 inch diagonals
- Frisee, cut into 3 inch pieces
- Radicchio, torn into bite-size pieces
- Red onion, sliced thin as a garnish
Bring a pot with 3-4 inches of water to a boil. Start with the Chinese cabbage and place in the boiling water to blanch for 1 minute, remove, drain, and cool. Do the same with the broccoli rabe and leeks. However, when blanching the watercress, the time in the pot should be only 5-10 seconds. Place the remaining vegetables in with the cooked and toss gently.
Jane Georgini is a macrobiotic cooking teacher in Kensington, CT.