Sunday, June 30, 2013

Foods for Summer - Cool as a Cucumber Salad

We've had our first really hot summer day this year in San Diego, which reminded me that traditional Chinese medicine advises us to eat according to the seasons. In the hot months of summer, certain types of food--which happen to be in season this time of year--help counteract the heat of summer and replenish lost body fluids.

Good summer foods include watermelon, tomatoes, mung beans, cucumber, lotus root, coix, bean sprouts and ocean fish. In addition to their other benefits, fruits and vegetables help provide us with sufficient fluids and promote digestion. Traditional Chinese medicine also tells us that sour and salty foods ease irritability and insomnia from excess sweating.

Here's one simple and delicious recipe that helps counteract Summer Heat.

Cool-as-a-Cucumber Salad

1 medium-sized cucumber, peeled
1 clove garlic, crushed and then minced
1/4 cup wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

1. Using a blunt instrument, such as the handle of a knife, pound the cucumber's surface to soften it slightly an absorb the salt and salad dressing. (Optional.)

2. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon, if desired. Then cut the cucumber widthwise into thin slices or slivers.

2. Sprinkle and toss with salt, to taste.

3. Combine the cucumber, garlic, vinegar, and sesame oil in a bowl and toss well.

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