Inspirational Arugula

I guess I must be a food nerd because I am inspired by a big green fresh bunch of arugula, (or even big juicy fresh organic carrots and of course ripe summer tomatoes.)image But back to arugula…the power of greens to provide fiber, vitamins and minerals is now pretty much well-known in the food world. Kale might be the ultimate “super food” but really all dark leafy greens are pretty much excellent foods to put into your bodies. image Many people don’t know that greens are an excellent and better source of calcium than dairy! The body’s abilty to absorb and benefit from the calcium provided in green plants far exceeds that of dairy (which some now believe actually leaches calcium from our bodies.) Oh boy, so many of the food truths we grew up with are turning out to be food myths. But consider this: eating fresh greens, canned or frozen and preferably organic is and always will be a good choice. Choosing foods that are as close to the unadulterated source (Mother earth) is always best. So, I finished Week Two Week Three of my Nightshades elimination experiment and I have not gotten any relief from the pain and inflammation in my fingers but I have found some new ways to add flavor into my foods. Instead of peppers, tomatoes, cayenne, chili powder, paprika and hot sauces and salsas, I have turned to garlic and onions and black pepper. Horseradish is another option. Remember Nightshade plants are all peppers, tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant and tobacco.

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 Honestly, who would want to give up tomatoes and peppers?  Not me but at least I tried! Pesto has always been a flavorful garlic-filled favorite of mine to make and I discovered last year that you can make pesto out of lots of things like garlic scapes in early spring and parsley and other herbs throughout the year. (yes, there is kale pesto…) So because of the No Nightshade thing, and because of the wonderful bright and bountiful organic arugula I found at Whole Foods Market this week, and because it’s super peppery to begin with I was inspired by arugula to create this pesto:

Spinach and Arugula Pesto

​ warning: the measurements are approximate and unconventional! 1 large handful of raw, washed baby spinach ​ 2 large handfuls of arugula with most of the stems removed 1 medium to large garlic clove, chopped 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan or Romano cheese 1/3 Cup of pine nuts, raw 1/3 Cup or more of good quality extra virgin olive oil salt to taste, about 1 full teaspooon of sea salt lemon juice, to taste In a food processor, place the chopped garlic in the bottom of the bowl fitted with the steel blade and then pile in the spinach and arugula and pulse until roughly blended. image With the engine running, start to pour a nice quantity of the olive oil in until the mixture looks like a paste ( or pesto!) and then add in the cheese and the pine nuts; (I like mine to have some texture, so I don’t fully process the pine nuts.) image image You must taste to see if it needs more salt, cheese and or more olive oil. ​ This is nice on pasta or fish. In either case, adding some fresh-squeezed lemon juice is nice at the time you serve it. It would aslo be delicious spread over crackers with goat cheese or some other mild cheese underneath.

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