[Ah, if only I were truly still enjoying my salad days . . . in reality, I am firmly ensconced smack-dab in the middle of my “main course” days. But you can enjoy this salad at any age!]
Now that summer is undeniably underway in these parts (nothing spells “summer” quite like a week of temperatures soaring beyond 33C/92F), heavy duty cooking and baking seem so. . . unnecessary. I find myself yearning for more raw foods, more fresh foods, and fewer baked goods at the moment (though ice cream cravings do still “scream” rather loudly).
A heatwave such as we endured last week always takes me back to the first year the HH and I lived together, in a miniscule bungalow in the east end of town bordering Scarborough. Not the best neighborhood (there was a murder around the corner from our place, after which I never walked on that street again), the house was, nevertheless, the best we could afford at the time.
Our home was a post-war structure, so tiny it effectively impersonated one of those Fischer Price dollhouses (sans a live toddler, of course). The living room was replete with dusty rose Pier One loveseat and 27 year-old console television, with no room for much else; the bathroom was so narrow that you had to turn sideways to brush your teeth; and the master bedroom, located directly above the (uninsulated) front porch, was an icebox in winter and veritable kiln in summer.
Now, if you’ve ever been to Toronto in the summertime, you will likely remember one important characteristic about this city. No, it’s not the CN tower (no longer the tallest freestanding structure in the world). No, it’s not Toronto’s reputation as the most multicultural city in the world (even though it is). Not the fact that, for a couple of wild nights in June, 2010, its denizens blushed as the city lost its unofficial title of “Most Polite Metropolis in North America.” And not even that Jim Carrey, Mike Meyers, Alanis Morissette, Eric McCormack, Howie Mandel and Rachel McAdams all hail from here, either.
[No air conditioning? This salad will cool you down on those 30C days!]
Nope, the most prominent feature of summertime in Toronto is the all encompassing, overwhelming, whacks-you-in-the-face-the-instant-you-exit-the-air-conditioning, humidity. And as it happened during that first summer in our shoebox abode, the city suffered one of its hottest seasons in decades. With no air conditioning in the house, we were forced to rely on that age-old standard, the electric fan.
Here’s the scene: it’s 11:30 PM, and the temperature is still hovering around 30C (86F), 40C with the humidex. At the foot of the queen-sized futon (which on its own nearly fills the room) sits a dresser on which is perched two fans, one trained on me, one on the HH. In addition, a ceiling fan spins at high speed through the night, slightly off balance and wobbling like a magician’s spinning plate trick. To complete the fan club*, a free-standing fan is positioned on the floor off to the side so it sweeps across our bed every ten seconds or so. We settle down for the night.
But we don’t sleep. Even with our own little self-constructed Jet Stream, we endured a hellish, fitful seven hours, tossing and turning and perspiring so much that by morning our bed was practically transformed into a private indoor wading pool. (Okay, I exaggerate–but just a little. The upside, I suppose, is that I lost 2 pounds that night).
Happily, our current rental home came equipped with A/C, and, despite any residual guilt about the environment or the increased costs in summer (further enhanced this year by the lovely HST), we are glad we can use it when the humidex reaches 43C (110F), as it did last week. And The Girls appreciate it, too.
“Yes, Mum, we do appreciate it. And since we have no sweat glands, it’s especially nice to be able to inhale that cool air from the vents and pant to lower our body temperatures. We like swimming, too–just don’t put us anywhere near that ‘pool’ you just mentioned. Gross!”
This type of heat leads to lethargy; add to that my marking-induced stupor and I just haven’t felt like cooking.
Since we’ve been eating salad almost exclusively throughout the past week, I thought I’d highlight a few of my very favorites over the next few days. To begin, today’s installment is a long-time standard from my friend and colleague Caroline Dupont’s cookbook. Ever since I attended Caroline’s raw cooking classes back in nutrition school, I’ve loved this salad , a staple in our house over the warmer months. I can’t believe I haven’t posted it before this!
The lively mélange of colorful, fresh and crispy vegetables and fruit marries beautifully with the slightly sweet and tart dressing. Although I’m not a fan of fresh fennel, the ground fennel in this dressing adds just the perfect whisper of licorice to complement the juicy sweetness of the apples. Every mouthful offers up a different parade of colors, flavors and textures to treat your palate to some first-class, sparkly raw gustatory entertainment (and a whole rainbow of antioxidants and healthy fats to boot). And it’s ready in around 10 minutes–without heat or any real physical exertion (except for the chewing–of which there will be quite a bit, I wager).
The original recipe calls for raisins (I included them in the photo, which was the HH’s serving), and feel free to use them if you’re not following an anti-candida diet (which would be, um, the other 99.9% of you out there?). For those of us restricted to candida-busting regimens, there’s an ACD-friendly variation following.
* Sorry. I had to.
Today’s Question: What’s your favorite cooling meal in summer?
* * * * * * * * * *
Fruity Slaw (aka Cabbage Delight) for ACD Phase I & Beyond
adapted from Caroline Dupont’s Enlightened Eating
2 Tbsp (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, preferably organic
1 Tbsp (15 ml) light agave nectar
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) fine sea salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) ground fennel, or more to taste
2 cups (480 ml) green or red cabbage, shredded, or a combination
3/4 cup (180 ml) broccoli or cauliflower, chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) sweet onion, chopped
1 rib celery, diced
1 large carrot, grated
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh parsley, chopped
1 medium apple (I used Crispin), cored and diced
1/2 cup (120 ml) raisins or currants, optional
1/2 cup (120 ml) pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted
In a large bowl, combine dressing ingredients and whisk to combine. Add vegetables and toss to coat. Sprinkle with raisins and walnuts. Makes 4-6 servings. Will keep, covered in the refrigerator, up to 3 days.
*For ACD Stage 1, substitute fresh lemon juice for the apple cider vinegar and 5-8 drops plain liquid stevia for the agave. If you’re not having fruit, omit the raisins and apple , and sub grape tomatoes, if desired.
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