Fall is here, and it's a beautiful one indeed! As I write this, it's a rainy day, the tempurature the coldest it's been, preparing the body and mind for the next phase. I'm so thankful for the seasons, because each one gives us an opportunity for renewal. In the case of autumn, our energy starts moving inward, as we watch the trees letting go of their leaves, preparing for the dormant season.
Poetry aside, it's important that during this time of year we prepare for the cold weather that will be soon upon us, and to clear out any latent heat in the lungs that we've accumulated over the summer, in order to prevent catching colds during the winter. In Chinese Medicine, the autumn season is associated with the lungs and the larg intestine, and also with the spicy, or pungent, flavor.
I invented this little pesto as a medicinal food for the fall, and it's delicious! Often when we think of cleansing we think of eliminating all food, which is not necessary. Many foods, such as the ingredients in this recipe, can be "cleansing", in that they provide lots of nutrients to assist your body in the cleansing process, they contain anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties to keep the system clean and clear of unwanted pathogens, and they can help the organs move and do their job correctly.
Since the flavor of the fall is spicy, this is an ARUGULA pesto! The main inspiration for this is the big aruguala patch growing abundantly in my garden.
So start with a bunch of arugula in a food processor.
If you don't have it growing in your garden, it's easily obtained in the grocery store. Make sure it's organic. The baby arugula is not quite as spicy as the mature arugula, but it will still do the job. Since it's fall, however, the spicier the better!
And speaking of spice, what better fall spice to use in a pesto than GARLIC! In Chinese medicine, white is the color associated with the fall season, and spicy is the flavor, so garlic is the winner! Also, onions and radishes.
Add as many cloves of garlic as you wish. I added 3 cloves to my mix.
The garlic is going to get into your system and eliminate the unwanted pathogens, preparing your body in advance for the cold and flu season (which actually is the candy and unhealthy food season, but that's another story).
Next ingredient is Walnuts. I added these because I had them in my pantry, BUT, they are perfect because guess which organs this Chinese Herb effects? The Lungs, Large Intestine (fall) and the Kidneys (winter).
Add a bunch of Walnuts
Last ingredient, to be added in whatever quantity feels right:
Organic Olive Oil
Good for the liver, good for the Gall Bladder, good for the body. The idea behind using the pesto as a cleanse was that in the fall season there is a propensity to dryness, so adding oils and nuts was the perfect solution to prevent this. Not to mention, who doesn't want to eat pesto!?
As you make the pesto, you'll probably have to do it in batches, depending on how big of a food processor you have. Mine is mini, so it took a few batches, but I used all of the arugula shown above. Add your ingredients and use some sea salt as you go along.
Important: this pesto is going to be more bitter and spicy than a normal basil pesto. That's the whole point!
One of my favorite Chinese proverbs goes like this:
"Good Medicine is Bitter"
This pesto is not intended to be eaten with pasta, although you'd still receive benefits if you do. Here's what I did and it was delicious!
I harvested kale and chard from my garden (you can get any salad green you'd like from the store. ORGANIC!). I cooked up some quinoa and bought a fresh jar of kim chi. I placed the salad greens in bowl and added a couple Tablespoons of the pesto, some cooked quinoa and a large amount of kim chi. Voila! A delicious, healthy, cleansing salad, good for everything and preparing my body for the season to come!
Let me know what you think!