Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Eats: A Cucumber Recipe to Cool You Down!

It feels like fall outside. Praise Jesus, Hallelujah!  I was beginning to think it was pointless to shower (or even try to look presentable). Embarrassingly enough, I was rotating only three outfits for work - the three lightest options in my closet - to be able to survive the blazin' hot subway stations. Even the 4 block walk to work from the subway was a test in endurance!

Last week, I wrote this post in anticipation of another sweltering summer day in NYC, and wouldn't you know it? My recipe for cooling down is being posted on a picture perfect day - a "not too hot, not too cold, just right" kind of day.

Oh the irony!

But since I'm fairly certain things will heat up again, I'm going to post it because you will surely need the power of the cucumber very soon! Cucumbers are about 95% water. By eating them, you help your body replenish the fluids you lose while sweating it out in the heat!

Not to mention, cucumbers have a number of other health benefits...

NATURE'S DIURETIC - The high water content of cucumbers encourages the elimination of waste and toxins through urination. Cucumbers can also help rid the body of kidney stones!

NATURE'S BREATH FRESHENER - The phytochemicals in cucumbers can help kill the nasty bacteria on your tongue. 

NATURE'S PAIN RELIEVER - If you suffer from arthritis, cucumbers might be just the thing for you! The combination of cucumber and carrot juice can help lower your uric acid levels, resulting in less arthritis-related pain for you!

NATURE'S DIGESTIVE AID - The high water content mixed with the high fiber content of cucumbers, makes them very effective at "pushing" things through your system! Consuming cucumbers every day can actually aid chronic constipation!

So, let's get busy and start eating some cucumbers! provided me with the perfect side for Asian night - Wakame-and-Cucumber Salad. It was delicious!

Here's the photo play-by-play...

The original recipe required a bit more work, but we simplified it by buying a pack of dried wakame seaweed. Fill a small bowl with water and add about 1/4 cup wakame. Let it sit in the water for 4-6 minutes until it softens up and grows much larger, then drain the water and set aside. You can find dried wakame at Whole Foods or other health food stores. It's very, very good for you!
Cut 1 large cucumber into 4 pieces and slice thin. 
Slice 2 scallions, discarding the white ends.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cucumber, scallions and wakame.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk 1/4 cup rice vinegar with the juice of 1 lime, 1 Tbs. yellow miso paste, 1 Tbs. freshly grated ginger and 1 tsp. raw honey.  Now whisk in 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil (we didn't have vegetable oil, so we just used 1/2 cup toasted sesame oil instead of the two and it worked out just fine!). Season with sea salt to taste.
This is what miso paste looks like (in case you were wondering). You can find it in the refrigerated section of Whole Foods.
Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.
Garnish with sesame seeds and serve right away to cool that body down!
Hope everyone has a wonderful week! Shanna will be back this week with her final post on GMOs. You don't want to miss it!

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