Sunday, July 18, 2010

Foods That Cool You Down In The Hot Summer - Cool Off With Tabouli With Sweet Corn

Record Breaking Temperatures Throughout the U.S.
Although it's been an unusually cool summer here in Northern California, the rest of the country seems to be enduring extreme heat. This weekend, a number of cities reached triple digits. This kind of heat can be dangerous and it's important to do everything you can to cool off. One method people sometimes miss is their diet.
The heating and cooling properties of food are very important qualities used in Chinese medicine. The type of food as well as the method it is cooked, or not cooked, all contribute to these properties.

Foods that Cool You
You've probably heard the expression, "cool as a cucumber". Cucumbers are one of the vegetables that can cool the body. Here are some others:
Fruits: Apples, bananas, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, watermelon and tomatoes
Beans and bean products: Alfalfa sprouts, soy milk, tofu, tempeh
Grains: Amaranth, barley, millet and wheat
Herbs: Cilantro, dandelion, lemon balm, mint and marjoram
Vegetables: Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, cabbage, lettuce, radish, sweet corn, Swiss chard, summer squash and zucchini

Cooking Methods
Foods eaten raw are more cooling that those that are cooked. Cooking foods over a long period of time at high temperatures will add warming qualities to your food. To protect the cooling nature of the food during cooking, it is better to steam or sauté and avoid deep frying and baking.

Avoid Warming Foods:
To stay cool, avoid foods such as butter, ginger root, anchovies and oats, to name a few, as they all have warming qualities.

Try this "Cool" Recipe
Looking at the list of cooling foods, I thought that tabouli would incorporate quite a few of them like; wheat, tomato, cucumber, mint and lemon juice (citrus). I even added sweet corn to the recipe which is not in traditional tabouli but is an additional cooling food that goes well with the other ingredients. Except for the cracked wheat which is just soaked in hot water, the rest of the ingredients are raw which also optimizes their cooling nature. For a completely raw recipe, check out my Raw Tabouli recipe.


Tabouli With Sweet Corn
[8 servings]
For the salad:
1 1/4 cups cracked wheat (bulgur)
1 1/4 cups very hot water
1 1/2 cups diced cucumber, (1 medium)
2 cups diced fresh tomato, (2 medium)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, both white and green parts
2 cups sweet corn kernels, (2 ears)
1 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
For the dressing;
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, (or to taste)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, (or to taste)

Mix hot water and cracked wheat (bulgur) in a bowl and let sit for about 30 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Stir occasionally. After it has absorbed all it's going to, drain any excess water. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients then add cucumber, tomato, green onions, corn, mint and parsley and toss together. Add the soaked bulgur and combine.
(For an easy method of cutting corn kernels from the cob, check out my post, Fresh Corn Salad.)
Adjust the salt and pepper and refrigerate covered for an hour so all of the flavors combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Per serving: 191.4 calories, 7.8 g fat, 1.0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5.0 g protein, 29.3 g carbohydrates and 7.1 g of fiber.

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