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  • Jane Sloan


Beet and Wild Mushroom Risotto

We’ve made it to the sign of Libra. The autumn season commenced with the Sun’s ingress into the sign of the scales, the sign of balance. On the first day of Libra we celebrate the equinox – when the day and night are shared in perfect harmony. Who really has balance in their lives? I can master the scales for one day...but I can’t seem to sustain it for much more! I know it can be done. I know people who live it and I bow to them with revere and humbled awe. Libra in our charts is where we are seeking balance and likely where it is most challenging. It is the place where we analyse our relationship to the other...where we step outside of ourselves and attempt to look through his or her eyes and strive for an unbiased perspective that will further our integration with the whole. Libra is ruled by the planet Venus, and this air sign taps into the aesthetic qualities of the Venusian nature. The social graces, the art on the walls, the music one plays, are all on show to delight those around them...and that they do, as they have great taste in the finer things. The Libran is so sweet and charming that we sometimes forget they are just how smart they are! This social sign can hold a thoughtful and provoking conversation which makes them a pleasure to engage with. Yet, it is a challenge, even for the Libran to keep the balance and when the scale tips, they are famed for their indecisiveness and may fall to emotionally instability from their inability to choose or from stuffing down an opinion or emotion in order to preserve a copacetic environment. They yearn to be liked, they love to love... Libras primary rulership in the body is of the kidneys and lower back. The kidneys are one of the elimination organs which filter blood and poisonous waste, maintains the acid/alkaline balance crucial for homeostasis, and activates vitamin D into a usable form in the body. Along with Venus, Libra plays a part in the venous circulatory system. And one must not forget Venus’ love of sugar, which makes Libra vulnerable to sugar imbalances like diabetes. Maintaining an alkaline diet is important for Libra native and the proper functioning of the kidneys. Diet high in sugar, alcohol, and excess protein all contribute to an acidic environment. Acidity feeds most ailments including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cysts and cancer, acne and skin conditions...I could go on. A high phosphorus diet will leach calcium from bones and may contribute to kidney stones. Soda pop is high in phosphorus, as is cow dairy (in relation to calcium and magnesium). Foods that benefit Libras constitution and serve the kidneys would include: blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapes, red bell peppers, artichokes, cabbage, kale, asparagus, cauliflower, celery, garlic, onions, sweet potato and mushrooms. Herbs specific to kidneys are parsley, cleavers, juniper, corn silk, uva ursi, thyme and yarrow. Ashwagandha is an adaptagenic (balancing) herb that builds strength, mental clarity, promotes fertility and has an affinity to the urinary system. The rose and its essential oil also promotes fertility, is restorative to the nervous system and a perfect Libra love tonic. So off to the farmers market in search of Libra loving food...and I came back with beets to cleanse the blood and strengthen my veins(and will make the meal look pretty), wild mushrooms full of vitamin D, thyme and parsley, garlic and onions and a basket of concord grapes loaded with antioxidants. I called a couple of friends for dinner, as Libra doesn’t like to dine alone!

Beet and Wild Mushroom Risotto 1 Tbsp olive oil 3 Tbsp butter 1 medium red onion, finely chopped 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 cup Arborio rice 2/3 cup white wine 3 cups vegetable stock 3 small beets, grated 1 cup packed beet greens, finely chopped 15 grams dried mixed wild mushrooms, soaked in 2/3 cup warm water for 20 minutes and finely chopped 3 cups fresh mushrooms (oyster, shitaki, chanterelles, black trumpets), coarsely chopped 1 heaping Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped zest of half a lemon ½ cup parsley, finely chopped 2/3 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated plus ¼ cup for garnish salt and pepper truffle oil garnish In a small pot add vegetable stock and the soaking water from the dried mushrooms and turn on low heat to warm. In a large skillet add olive oil, 2 Tbsp butter, onions and garlic and sauté on medium to low heat until soft. To the skillet add the rice and stir in the oil/butter mixture for 3 or 4 minutes. Lower heat to maintain a vigorous simmer. Add the soaked wild mushroom and white wine. Saute until the wine has evaporated. Add beets, 2 cups of the fresh mushrooms, thyme, lemon zest and a half cup of the warm vegetable stock. Stir the rice mixture frequently until the liquid has been absorbed and then add more stock ½ cup at a time, allowing the stock to be absorbed by the rice before adding more. It took about 40 minutes until the rice was al dente. Stir in parmesan cheese, ¼ cup parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Take off the heat and cover. In a separate pan, sauté the remaining cup of fresh wild mushrooms with 1 Tbsp butter for a few minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat. Divide risotto onto 4 plates and garnish with remaining mushrooms, parmesan cheese and parsley. Add a delicate drizzle of truffle oil on each dish.

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