Monday, September 06, 2010

Wednesday, Sep 1st - Cilantro and Cashew Pesto on Radiatore Pasta - Natural De-Tox

Cilantro and Cashew Pesto on Radiatore Pasta
So the thing about journalling and sharing everything you eat results in some, probably, healthy reflection points.  I start to notice trends and gaps in my diet.  For example, it is hard to deny that I have had the most bizarre dreams every night I have used a Serrano Chili.  :^P  Most recently however, meaning this week, I noticed that I had had fish nearly every night and some times at lunch.  Normally, one might think, well, that's quite healthy particularly since we buy local and wild stock.  Then you websearch. (Yes there is a certain search engine come verb in most vernacular that I actually used but refuse to mention since I am less than pleased with them right now).  I digress.

I had assumed that the concerns about Mercury levels in Fish were an isolated concern to small children and preggo moms.  Apparently, I was wrong.  Mercury is present in virtually all seafood.  The bigger the fish, because of the longer lifespan, the higher the amount present.  Effects on your health, according to some sites, include but are not limited to Brain Development, Cognitivie abilities, Memory, Hair Loss, Energy and possibly Autism in newborns.  You might think that makes a case for the farmed stuff but they have their own health related issues concerning toxins generated by the containment units.

Anyhoo, my mind started to reel.  Sometimes there is too much data.  I really do not like most meats.  There are exceptions but mostly dish specific and mostly where I cannot taste the meat.  I cannot stand, even sitting here in front of a computer, the thought of the smell of cold, cooked Poultry or the taste of Pork fat or the texture of Beef tendons.  They are not moral or ethical or environmental, my reasons for my dietary preferences.  They are purely aesthetic.  I do not like the way it tastes.  Even if I did, then I run into the dilemma of Feed Lots, Hormones, Pesticides, raising conditions, Listeria, and Cholesterol.  It is just easier to stick to Seafood.  But I think I'll need to cut back.  Poor D.  He'll start cooking separate dinners soon.

After having freaked myself out online, I did find some good news.  The impact is wholly dependent upon the individual and if you feel you are at risk you can have blood tests done quite easily.  Many people who have backed off of their Fish consumption for a few weeks demonstrated improvements on symptoms.  As well, I discovered some natural solutions to helping your body process and eliminate Heavy Metals like Mercury and Lead.  Among the cocktail of Vitamins that you could take, there are some natural extracts you could buy such as Milk Thistle, Cilantro or Garlic.  They are what are called natural 'Chelators', greek for 'claw'.  They 'grab' toxins add pass them through your pee. 

I looked and looked and could not find Cilantro Extract in Vancouver.  Milk Thistle yes but the shop was out of the way from my path home from the gym and I wanted to start to cleanse now!  I chose the even more natural alternative which was to eat Cilantro and Garlic and in heaping quantities.   I made a Pesto.  I laced it with some fresh Basil in case the Cilantro was too strong.  It was okay and probably would have been fine with out it.  I put in WAY too much Garlic and so in the recipe below, I have reduced the garlic to what you should use.  You can serve over warm Pasta or spread it on a Cracker or in Sandwiches.  Like all pesto, you can freeze it in ice cube trays then pop them in freezer bags and use 2 cubes per portion for a year. 

Cilantro and Cashew Pesto
Makes approx 1 3/4 c or 10 portions

2 bunches Cilantro/Coriander (I could give you CUP measurments but that is now how we buy Cilantro is it. Fluffed normally, it nearly filled my full sized food processor)
1/4 c fresh Basil Leaves
1 1/4 c Cashew Nuts
1 Lemon, zested and juiced
3-4 cloves Garlic (only 3 if they are large)
3/4 c good Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Wash the Cilantro and Basil thoroughly.  I removed the bigger part of the Cilantro stems but did not bother to pick all the leaves.  I could have just cut the roots off and kept the stems but I wanted to test the taste out first.  Next time, I won't fuss too much about the stems.  Place the greens, Cashews, Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, Garlic in the Food Processor.

Pulse a few times to break down the leaves.  You may have to do this once before adding more greens if you are using more Cilantro or doing double the recipe.  After a few pulses, remove the little spout on the top of the food Processor and start to drizzle in the Olive Oil in a thin stream as you turn the process ON.  Add as much or as little as you like to have the consistency you prefer.  For 2 bunches of Cilantro, you will need at least 1/2 c.  I did not measure as I was pouring directly from the bottle but it was more than 1/2 and less then a full cup. 

You may need to use a Rubber Spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you process throughout even at the pulsing.  You can add the Salt and Pepper while it is open. 

Use 2 Tablespoons per portion of Pasta.  There is no cheese.  I was tempted to add Parmesan or Pecorino as you would a Basil Pesto but I wasn't sure how it would taste with the Cilantro so I used it only as a topping on the pasta. 

Store in the fridge in a tightly sealed container or freeze in cubes.  Do not freeze as a whole chunk.  You will regret it as you try to chisel off a piece for dinner one night.



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