Part of my year of radical self-care is returning to the joys of cooking. I've been making it a priority to cook on the weeknights (granted, my meals must be simple!) and to reignite my passion for trying new recipes and ingredients. I sift through recipe books. I check my Pinterest boards for new culinary delights. Most importantly, I've gone back to hunting for different local, in-season ingredients to play around with, making each trip to the co-op a culinary adventure. I find I look forward to whatever I might cook up during the week or weekend simply because I've gone beyond the pure need to fuel myself and returned to the hedonism of feeding the five senses--and my soul.
Time in the kitchen at the end of the day helps me to nourish myself. Light a few beeswax candles. Put on some jazz records. Pour a glass of wine. And cook. It's a terribly civilized way to end the day. After giving out energy for the past eight hours, I get to tuck in, recharge, and pull back from the more extroverted demands of my work.
Better still: I get to indulge in the delights of kitchen conjuring--taking raw ingredients, herbs, and spices, and turning them into healing, nourishing meals. Which brings me to my latest love: burdock root. I found this knotty unsung healer in an unassuming pile at my local store this winter and haven't been able to stop eating it since. I'd used it for a long time in teas because of its terrific healing properties. Like dandelion leaves and roots, burdock is known for its detoxifying properties. It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and cleanses the lymphatic system like nothing else. Bonus: I found that's it's all kinds of tasty!
I gathered a large handful for my kitchen experiment, searched high and low for recipes, and finally settled on a nice, simple sautée. Burdock tastes like a cross between artichokes and turnips--similar to sunchokes. I toss them in lemon juice to prevent them from oxidizing and turning a dusty brown color. They're still edible oxidized...just not as yummy looking. I prefer to use ghee for this recipe, as it lends a rich, nutty flavor to the root, but feel free to use what you have. You'll notice I haven't given specific amounts here--you make as much or as little as you want. Sautéed burdock is great as a side dish or as a light main attraction over a bed of lettuce (pictured above).
ghee, coconut, or olive oil
sea salt (optional)
Wash burdock root thoroughly and let dry. Using a peeler, shave off darker outer layer--save scraps for compost. Slice root into thin medallions (diagonally works best to get larger pieces). Toss pieces in lemon juice. This prevents browning and also gives the root a bright flavor. Heat ghee or oil on skilled. Keep heat to medium. Pour burdock root (with lemon juice) into pan and let simmer until cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
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