July 15, 2010

Fight Fire… with Kale

Summer Sneaks In

As Summer goes into full swing after graduations and all the schools have let out,  Labour Day commencing, July 4th celebrating and the lazy long days of late summer approaching, you might feel your energy slowing down…

Summer heat can sneak up and deplete energy, with increased activity outdoors, adding risks of dehydration, sunburn and exhaustion. My recent post on Chinese Traditional Tips for beating Summer Sizzle gave tips for eating to beat the heat. Every Season has a relationship with an element, taste, emotion, anatomy, direction, colour and energy. Balancing these elements of our natural world helps to balance our inner world.

Heart Heat

Summer is associated with Fire, the heart, small intestines and related to the emotions of joy and exuberance.  Summer is ruled by the element of Fire and is expressed outward in our environment as well as inward into the body.  Growth, joy and awareness of the heart and mind are the focus of this season. Indo-European philosophies see mind as the seat of thinking, while peoples of the Near and Far East imagined Heart as the seat of thinking. The Chinese word for Heart and Mind are the same and can be seen culturally as interconnection between these mighty organs of perception

"Heart-Mind Peace"

The heart is much like a compass, guiding our direction and giving us a broader view to determine “where I am and what direction do I go.” The mind conceptualizes, organizes and compares information, assimilating facts to “make decision.”

Mind ebbs with thoughts, while Heart throbs with emotions. Mind perceives, and Heart experiences. Mind is associated with Yang, while Heart is associated with Yin. Balancing and strengthening this symbiosis adds vitality to our essence,  nourishes Chi and regulates the system, so listen to the seasons and keep your body in balance!

Bitter Balance

The flavour to balance Fire in Summer is BITTER, and this is Not typically everyone’s first choice of tastes. I like to look for ways to bring seasonal flavours in as food Chi, so am sharing my favourite Summer snack!

One of the easiest and yummiest ways to add this flavour to balance Chi is eating delicious Kale Chips. Kale is full of vitamin A, C, calcium and iron and a great way to add vitamin rich greens into your diet.

These chips are crispy, but fragile, so not up to dipping. Make sure kale is dry or it will wilt in the oven, and don’t overload  baking sheet as the leaves will steam and brown. Watch these kale krispies, as they turn from good to bad in minutes. You want the chips to be light, crisp & airy, but if you bake too long, they will turn into black bitterness. It may take a few tries to find the ideal temperature and time with your oven. Add lean protein as a healthy snack to satisfy your  late night cravings.

Kale Chips

Here is a simple recipe:

  • Preheat oven to 400F (204C)  degrees
  • Bunch of Kale
  • Tear  kale into pieces, leaving out tough inner stalk
  • Rinse well in water and dry thoroughly
  • Pour olive oil lightly on baking sheet and lay out kale
  • Layer leaves, but piled too high will not allow them to crisp before edges blacken
  • Sprinkle with Sea Salt to taste
  • Toss to cover Kale with oil and salt
  • Place in oven and bake 10-15 minutes, or until crisp
  • Place in bowl & Crunch !

Try adding these flavors

  • Minced onion and garlic
  • Chili powder and cumin
  • Crushed red pepper and lemon
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Grated parmesan or other cheese
  • Roasted pine nuts
  • Nutritional yeast – nutty, cheesy flavour
  • Asian – soy, toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds
  • Pizza – oregano, garlic, parmesan, sun dried tomato
  • Spicy – cayenne, paprika or chipotle, adds smoky note
  • Maple syrup with oil, salt & pepper sweetens “green” flavor = kid friendly 🙂

Kale, chard, collard, mustard, black kale (cavalo nero), turnip, beet and radish greens all work as chips. I have tried sage and Brussel sprout leaves roasted to a crispy, crunchy texture. These chips are great as a side, ground up on popcorn or rice as a flavouring, or piled on oil rubbed bread and topped with a poached egg!

Enjoy these flavours of Summer and look out for some Yoga tips to stay Cool this Summer in my next post…

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