by Chef James Day
Any time of year is ideal to cleanse and rejuvenate the liver. The liver performs more than 500 functions and, together with the gallbladder, promotes free-flowing qi energy throughout the body. To assist the liver, eat fresh leafy greens and sprouts, pungent or spicy vegetables, and dark root vegetables such as beets. Sour foods such as lemons, limes, pickles and naturally fermented foods, including sauerkraut and kimchi, will unblock stagnant qi energy.
The limes in this Thai-inspired soup help cleanse the body of toxins. The antioxidants in limes clean up more free radicals than dark chocolate or green tea. Each of these small fruits is also loaded with 22 mg of calcium. Limes provide more juice when warm, so place them in hot water before juicing. You will want to make this flavorful soup over and over again.
Coconut and Lime Leaf Soup
This soup may be made in advance and reheated.
1 – 6cm (2 ½ inch) piece of fresh ginger,
peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 small green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
4 lemongrass stalks, coarsely chopped
4 tbsp peanut oil
828ml (28 oz) unsweetened coconut milk
400ml (14 oz) water
4 fresh lime leaves, sliced, or dried
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
5x5cm (2×2 inch) piece of kombu seaweed
for additional mineral benefits and a savory flavor (Optional)
1. In a deep covered saucepan soften the ginger, garlic, chili, onion and lemongrass in peanut oil over low heat for 5 minutes.
2. Add the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil.
3. Simmer for 10 minutes; then add the sliced lime leaves and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
4. Strain through a fine sieve, add the lime juice and season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper. Garnish as desired with cilantro.
Pickled Vegetable Salad
Prepare the pickled vegetables the day before serving. Beets and kale star in this recipe, but you can add or substitute your preferred vegetables.
(cut in half length ways and then cut on an angle)
1 medium size golden beetroot, peeled, diced
1 red onion, root removed,
then sliced thinly from root to tip
½ lb (125 g) bean sprouts, mix of sprouts,
or canned pinto beans
3 leaves of kale, ribs removed, chopped
1 handful of baby spinach and/
or watercress, chopped
½ cup (125 mL) toasted pumpkin seeds
For the pickling liquid:
½ cup (125 mL) filtered water
½ cup (125 mL) white wine vinegar
1 tbsp (15 mL) honey
5 garlic cloves
½ cup (125 mL) cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 sprig of thyme
1 star anise
5 whole Jamaican peppers (allspice)
2 Thai red chilies, split in half
1 tsp (5 mL) sea salt
1. Bring all contents to a boil and pour over carrots, beets, onion, and beans, straining the thyme and spices.
2. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
For the dressing:
1 egg yolk
2 tsp (20 mL) grainy mustard
1/8 cup (25 mL) of the pickling juice
1/8 cup (25 mL) white wine vinegar
Splash of hot water
Pinch of chili flakes
3/4 cup (175 mL) grapeseed or vegetable oil (or until desired thickness)
1. Add all contents except the oil to a blender and blend.
2. Stream in the oil slowly until the dressing has emulsified to desired thickness. (The combination of hot water and vinegar cooks the egg yolks.)
To assemble the salad:
1. Make the pickled vegetables the day before serving the salad.
2. On the day of serving, drain the pickled vegetables, reserving ¼ cup (60 mL) of the pickling liquid to use in the dressing.
3. In a large bowl, combine the pickled vegetables, kale, and spinach with some of the dressing and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Divide and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds to garnish. Add extra dressing as desired.
About the Chef
Recipes courtesy of Chef James Day. Chef James Day is a holistic nutritionist in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.