Seasonal Harmony

Seasonal Harmony

by © Ellasara Kling

Here it is July and the beginning of Late Summer in the flow of Five Seasons.  What a fabulous time!  Flowers, fruits, vegetables are abundant; the earth is blooming in a big way!  During Late Summer much of life is reaching its zenith and this season can easily thrill us with its beauty.  Even living in cities with all of their concrete structures, it is possible to appreciate the warmer weather, the small plant that is heroically growing between the cracks in the sidewalk or at the very base of the building. There is always the sky – that vast expanse above us which we often accept without marveling at.  I suggest gazing at the sky with fresh eyes at all times of day and night as if you were again a child and had not become so familiar with it that you can easily think you ”know” the sky.  What a wonder!

Eat Seasonal, Buy Local, Think Global!

Some foods for the late summer: Almond, Apple, Barley, Blueberries Buckwheat, Cabbage, Carrots, Cherry, Chestnuts, Chicken, Chive, Coconut, Cooked onion, Corn, Cow’s milk, Crab, Cucumber, Dates, Duck eggs, Eggplant, Figs, Fruits (sweeter), Garlic, Ginger, Grapes, Hazelnuts, Honey, Job’s tears, Lamb, Licorice, Lotus root, Mangos, Melons, Millet, Molasses, Mushrooms (especially button mushrooms), Oats, Oranges, Peanuts, Peaches, Peas, Potato, Pumpkins, Red Chinese Dates (Jujube), Rye, Squashes, Strawberry, Sugar, Sweet potatoes, Water chestnut, Watermelon

RECIPES:

Lotus Root Stir Fry*

Ingredients:

  • 2 TB grapeseed oil
  • 3 cups of lotus root sliced into thin circles
  • 1/3 cup scallion whites cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 cup sweet red pepper cut into julienne strips
  • 1 cup sliced mushroom
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 1 TB honey
  • 2 TB rice vinegar

Directions:

Heat your wok/skillet and add oil. Coat the bottom of the wok/skillet with oil.  When hot, add lotus root and cook for a couple of minutes.  Then add the scallions, mushrooms and red pepper – stir fry until they just begin to wilt. Add the seasonings and cook well.

Serves 4.

*Specialty food markets such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes as well as higher end supermarkets have begun to carry frozen sliced lotus root.  If you are not near an Asian market, this might be a viable alternative.

Basic Marinade for Vegetables for grilling/broiling

Ingredients

  • 2 TB grapeseed oil
  • 6 TB water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup mushroom flavored soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup black vinegar (or balsamic)
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp finely minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp finely minced garlic
  • some black pepper

Variations can include: the addition of any of the following: Toasted Sesame oil, finely minced cilantro/parsley/ celery leaves/sesame seeds/lemon juice – use your imagination.

Directions

Whisk together, set aside for at least 2 hours turning occasionally so that flavors can meld together.  Then add vegetables and marinade for about 1 hour making certain veggies are well coated.

This marinade is great to make in advance to have in the refrigerator.

Eggplant Squares

Ingredients:

A.

  • 3 cups diced tomatoes
  • Finely minced white of one large scallion
  • Finely minced medium clove garlic
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • ½ tsp dried savory leaves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper (and/or red pepper flakes)
  • Enough lightweight oil to coat bottom of your baking dish – preferably Pyrex – and not metal (9 x 6 works with this much food)

B.

  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow summer squash
  • 2 cups of julienned red bell pepper

Directions

  1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix together all the A. ingredients in a bowl, cover and set aside. (You will have about 4 cups of mixture)
  3. Peel and very thinly slice your eggplant lengthwise
  4. Cut the zucchini and the yellow squash lengthwise
  5. Put a layer of eggplant on the bottom of the baking dish
  6. Coat lightly with 1-1/2 cups of tomato mixture
  7. Put a layer of zucchini and coat with 1 cup of tomato mixture and do the same with the yellow squash and tomato mixture in between ending with a layer of eggplant on top and lightly putting the remaining ½ cup or so on top of the last layer of eggplant.  Then arrange the julienned red pepper on the top of the entire dish.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes to one hour at 400 degrees.
  9. Remove from oven, let it rest, cut into squares and serve.

Toasted mixed nuts and seeds make a nice touch on this dish after it is cooked so that they retain their crunch.

TEAS:

Looking for a refreshing, cooling, sweet tea?  Red dates and chrysanthemums with a sprig of fresh mint and perhaps sweetened with a bit of rock sugar (although the dates and flowers are pretty sweet on their own) can be just what you want on a hot and humid day.  When making this tea, do not boil the water.  Allow the dates, chrysanthemum flowers and mint sprig to steep in hot water for a 3-5 minutes. Use a couple of dates and a few flowers per cup/glass.  This is also a pretty tea that you might enjoy having in a tall glass so you can also have a lovely visual “drink.” Here is a large pot steeping for company.

Health Topic Stress/Over Thinking- Worry: The mayor in Lancaster, CA says there’s science to show that listening to birdsong makes people happier. In an effort to improve the quality of life in his community he is setting up speakers to broadcast bird songs and other nature sounds.  Here’s someone who is thinking “out of the box” to bring greater relaxation to his town. Did this “news brief” bring a smile or a critical assessment of the plan?

Over thinking/Excess concern create inner tension/constriction, reducing the flow of energy throughout our system and over time can create energy stagnation if this becomes a way of life and a habit. Do you over think/Worry about situations?  Take two minutes to sit quietly with your eyes closed and just breathe.  Not in any special way, but only focusing on your breathing in and out allowing it to become deeper and more relaxed as a natural progression. Letting your shoulders drop and all the muscles throughout your body just relax.  When you you’re your eyes, you might just see the situation/circumstances you were concerned about differently, find a new point of view to approach it, feel more relaxed and vital.

Cultivating vitality and health requires us to let go of the stressors in our lives and to learn to relax deeply, taking a more open approach to life.  The vitality we develop, the free flow of energy throughout our being, the depth of connection with the larger Universe brings us greater health, the ability to appreciate even a small blade of grass, the wonder of a bug, the play of light and shadow on a sidewalk, the rising/setting sun/moon, the magic of another person, light on a puddle of water and other manifestations of our individual expression that signify what some might call that elusive thing known as happiness.

Wishing you good health!  Remember to smile at all things.

 

Following the threads of her personal tapestry, Ellasara Kling, a long-time student of Master Nan Lu, weaves her life around the exploration and sharing of self-healing through a variety of modalities, primarily focusing on food, common herbal plants, Qigong Meridian Therapy and Qigong for Women’s Health. For comments, questions, consultations, ellasara00@gmail.com

 

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