Summertime, when we are at our most active, is known as Fire Energy Phase according to the Five Transformations of Energy (the ancient study of the energy of food, how it relates to the seasons, and how it feeds and nurtures our bodies). Summer relates to how we feed and nurture our hearts, brain, circulatory system, and small intestines. These are the most active organs in the body, so it makes sense that they are associated with the most active time of the year. The heart provides blood, nutrients, and oxygen to every part of the body and every cell. The small intestines digest the food eaten and transfers digested nutrients to our blood, determining the quality of the blood flowing through our bodies. The heart and small intestines are responsible for the action of the circulatory system. This system helps regulate the temperature of the body. It adapts and makes us comfortable in whatever environment we may find ourselves. When the Fire Energy is balanced, we can feel comfortable in the heat of summer and the cold of winter.
Below is a recipe with ingredients that support our summer needs. Quinoa and corn, the signature whole grains of summer, are small and cook up quickly, giving the body energy to help keep up with summer’s busyness. Cucumber, with its high water content, is cooling to the body for hot summer days. It also contains silicon, an integral part of calcium absorption. Dulse flakes are the dried leaves of sea vegetable dulse that have been chopped very fine. Dulse is known for its high amount of iron, calcium, Vitamin C, E, and B12. Ume plum paste is a traditional Japanese fermented food. It has tremendous flavor and imparts a salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and slightly sweet flavor to the salad, satisfying all five tastes. Ume plum paste also has antibacterial properties and helps alkalinize the body. Ume vinegar is the salty brine created when fermenting ume plums.
Quinoa Cucumber Corn Salad
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup corn
1 cup peas
3 scallions (thin rounds)
1 cucumber (seeds removed and diced small)
½ cup grated carrot
½ cup toasted walnuts (chopped)
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup minced parsley
1 T. dulse flakes
¼ cup olive oil
2 T. brown rice vinegar
2 T. ume plum vinegar
2 tsp. ume plum paste
Put quinoa and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to lowest possible temperature, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, until all water has been absorbed. Let sit 5 minutes after cooking, then put in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the corn and peas. The hot quinoa will lightly cook the corn and peas. Let sit for 20 minutes until cool. Add the scallions, cucumber, carrots, walnuts, raisins, parsley, and dulse flakes. Whisk the dressing ingredients together, add to the salad, mix all together, refrigerate, and serve cold.
*Recipe is from Chef Val’s fifth cookbook, Summer Season Healthy and Delicious Cooking, to be released in July 2020.
Chef Valerie Wilson, a.k.a, Macro Val, has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. Visit her website to purchase her cookbook Year Round Healthy Holiday Cooking, set up a phone consultation, or listen to her radio show, http://www.macrval.com. Facebook, Macro Val Food.