In recognition of the passion, fertility, energy, and vitality late Spring brings to the Earth and to our bodies, I got my blood pumping, this beautiful May Flower Moon, with this spicy vegan pesto made with wild ramps, garlic scapes from my growing garlic plants, sunflower seeds, and nutritional yeast, which I generously dolloped over hot, steamy sweet potatoes. This meal features mainly aphrodisiac foods, as well as foods to balance the sacral chakra. I was originally going to add a dessert to this meal, but I decided last minute that I'd like to pay homage to one of my favorite appetizers: Watermelon. Yup, just plain old watermelon. I mean, it's amazing just by itself, and there's a little-known Ayurvedic way to eat watermelon (as well as all other melons), that I think is just fantastic. So first of all, why is watermelon so great? According to "The Ayurveda Experience", watermelon is "soaked with nutrients. It’s rich in vitamin A, B6 and C. It’s fat free and has high lycopene levels which trigger healthy reactions in the human body. It has antioxidants and amino acids as well." So, why should we eat melon alone, and then wait at least 20 minutes before eating anything else? As the same article explains, "Make sure not to combine watermelon with other foods or even fruits. Melons are generally easily digestible, and therefore once you combine them with other food the digestion process becomes slower. This results in fermentation of the melon inside the stomach causing gas and other digestive issues. It’s a good idea to have it as snack between meals or as a smoothie in the morning hours." So there you have it. Start this meal with some watermelon, and move on to the main course at least 20 minutes later.
For the main course, a simple wild Ramp and Garlic Scape Pesto over Sweet Potatoes. Prick the sweet potatoes and roast them in the oven about 1 hour, at 375F. While they're roasting make the pesto! I started out pressing some of the ingredients with my mortar and pestle, for the sake of keeping the pesto-making tradition (pesto literally means "To Press"), and because pressing the leaves releases the plant flavors in a way modern blenders cannot. Then I transferred the ingredients to my blender and it blended everything very smoothly. Then I just generously dolloped the hot, peeled, and mashed sweet potatoes, and life was glorious! And if you're in the mood for dessert, here's a pretty informative "Tantra Basics" article. In the name of Spring Fever, of course...
2 cups ramp leaves, blanched for 1 minute, then put into ice bath and drained, and chopped
1 cup garlic scapes, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
sea salt and pepper to taste
Add the prepared ramp leaves, garlic scapes, and sunflower seeds to mortar and start pounding and pressing together. After you've had enough pounding and pressing, transfer the ingredients to a blender or food processor. Add the nutritional yeast (or parmesan cheese if using dairy) and the olive oil, and blend until smooth. Dollop over hot mashed or cut-up sweet potatoes.