Category Archives: Summer

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Ahh…Sweet Corn!

“As American as apple pie” is the turn of phrase for most anything associated with U.S. culture, but really—if you’re counting by the pound—corn is king! For that reason, and because it’s summer when sweet corn is fresh in local farmers’ markets or ready to pick in your garden, I will offer an easy and delicious vegan corn dish.

 

I’m not talking about just any corn. I’m talking about sweet corn, the delicious corn you can eat on the cob and that, when it’s just been picked or is still reasonably fresh, almost melts in your mouth with natural sweetness.

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Quick Vegan Meals

Now that it’s officially summer, I’ve created a new trio of recipes for you, dear readers: each one easy to make and cooling—or at least balanced—from an Ayurvedic perspective. Because one thing’s for sure: summer invites us all (even working people) to have a little extra time to relax so we can enjoy the balmy breezes or stay cool despite 90-plus degrees as the sun goes down!

 

Vegan Cilantro Coconut Sauce: For starters, let’s begin with cilantro because it is the most cooling of the fresh herbs and serves as an excellent tonic for summer when blended into a sauce. I’ve combined it with coconut cream (or coconut milk, whatever you have available), which is equally cooling and perfect for hot weather.

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Stay Cool as a Cucumber!

With the summer solstice around the corner, it’s the perfect time to plan for how to stay hydrated and cooled down during the hot months ahead. An easy way to start is with cooling Cucumber Water.

 

According to Ayurveda, cucumbers are one of the most cooling foods. Of course, you might be one of the many people (especially those with vata problems) who have difficulty digesting cucumbers. In that case, the best approach is to sip cucumber water rather than eat the full vegetable—a way to get cucumber’s benefits without the burps! You may want to scrape out the seeds, which some say is the problem. You might also peel the cucumber—sometimes grocers wax their skins, which makes them even harder to digest.

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Cauliflower Steaks Three Ways

I tasted this scrumptious cauliflower dish at The Well Fed Community Garden in Raleigh in late May when Arthur Gordon, of Irregardless Cafe fame, created the dish on the spot! He gathered up whatever looked fresh and interesting at the farmer’s market along with herbs growing in the community garden and—voila!—came up with this amazing dish! I’ve adapted it only slightly to serve eight instead of eighteen and made it a tad milder so it doesn’t bring on more heat in this sweltering summer.The complete dish is a cauliflower “steak” that is rubbed down with a mixture of fresh herbs, roasted or sautéed, and topped with a red pepper cashew sauce. The first time I made this myself, I ran out of time and served only the first part of the dish, pictured here—cauliflower with herb rub. That alone was delicious! So, if you want a simpler dish to make for a July 4th bash, you won’t be disappointed.

A third option, also simplified from the original, is to skip the marinade. You chop the florets, grill them (or sauté them in a little salted oil), and top them with the cashew sauce.

If you want to go the extra mile to impress your guests, I recommend making the full dish: rubbed cauliflower steaks with red pepper cashew sauce. The sauce is simple, and you can use it over any of your favorite vegetables. I’ve found it wonderful over grilled summer squash, plantains, and sweet potatoes—foods I like to see on a summer menu!

Finally, if you want to replicate Arthur’s dish more precisely, you can add some hot sauce to the red pepper/cashew mixture. It’s a flavor I always avoid, but I know many people love it!

Wishing you all the freedoms hoped for when our forefathers proclaimed their independence on July 4, 1776!

Lisa with Arthur Gordon, founder of the Well-Fed Community Garden and Irregardless Cafe.

 

 

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Seven Ways to Stay Cool this Summer!

With temperatures already in the upper 90s and above across the southern half of the country, we can expect a long, hot summer. Fortunately, Ayurveda has some excellent tips to help keep your body, mind, and emotions in balance—even in scorching heat!

According to Ayurveda, pitta—the dynamic principle of heat—is necessary to maintain life, but during the summer when our bodies can easily become overheated, pitta gets out of balance. Too much heat can trigger a host of physical problems, including acne, headaches, and hyperacidity. If you wake up at three or four in the morning and can’t fall back to sleep for an hour or longer, Ayurveda says it’s a sign of excess heat in the body.

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Easy Summer Sides: Yellow Crookneck Squash

Long before the June solstice, summer is heralded by Memorial Day, picnics, backyard barbecues, and abundant yellow crookneck squash. This colorful squash dish with red bell pepper and fresh basil or dill (suit yourself) is great for summer entertaining, and it travels well to a potluck. I tasted something like this dish once at a potluck supper way back, and of course, since I live in the South, it would have been smothered with cheese. I think this dish proves the winning possibility of creating a casserole without cheese that everyone will still love —

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Best-Tasting Gluten-Free Pastas

I’m delighted to say that the gluten-free industry is creating some better-tasting, better-for-you pastas nowadays, and this summer pasta recipe features organic chickpea spaghetti.

Both the chickpea pasta and red lentil spaghetti made by Explore Cuisine™ hold up well, without turning to mush. As important, a two-ounce serving of either product has 11 grams of protein, a plus for gluten-free vegetarians. If you’re like me and you feel better with more protein and fewer carbs, you can add some grilled tofu to the recipe. As for the vegetables, you can substitute the listed ingredients with whatever

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Refreshing Summer Soups: Roasted Beet and Fennel

It’s summer—at least it feels like it after a week of 88 to 90 degree weather here in Raleigh, North Carolina—so bring on the cool specialties like this Roasted Beet and Fennel Soup. Cool soups are a perfect way to refresh yourself when you’re over-heated.

Did you notice that I said “cool” rather than “chilled”? Let’s zoom in on that thought.

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