Posted on 06/11/2010 at 04:29 PM by Madhu Gadia
In the summer, when the days are long and the sun is shining, it’s hard to focus on work. This has become especially challenging since starting my own business, because I can set my own hours. Flex-time is nice, sometimes, but can lead to stress as the work piles up. So, I have learned that for me, working regular 9 to 5 hours is the most productive and freeing. On days that I have a hard time focusing I take myself to a coffee shop or library and work in a different environment. I like my evenings and weekends free of office-work, which allows me enough time off to enjoy the summer. I hope YOU have scheduled some favorite activities for this summer before it slips away.
Cookouts, picnics, and traveling are all part of the summer outdoors fun. Last week, on a hot, humid day, we had some friends over and had planned to grill corn in the backyard. As the guests arrived, the clouds moved in and it started to drizzle. But we “corn lovers” did not let a little rain get in the way of enjoying one of our favorite summer foods: one friend grilled the corn in the rain while another held the umbrella over him and the grill.
Grilled corn is now taking over America, but I have to say in India we’ve grilled corn for ages. I recently read an article in USA Weekend Magazine on Iowa native Ashton Kutcher and his love of grilling called “Ready, Set, Grill.” In the article, Kutcher says, “there’s nothing like grilled corn.” I can ‘t agree more, but I want to tell him don’t just butter the corn, try it with a squeeze of lemon and rub with salt and spices to really bring out the sweetness of the corn. For Indian grilled corn like what we enjoyed last week in the rain, see The Indian Vegan Kitchen, page 101.
Friends Cooking Together: Last month a group of women celebrated their friend’s birthday with my cooking class. The birthday girl wanted to learn how to make samosas (potato stuffed pastries), so that’s what we made. I used samosa recipes from both the New Indian Home Cooking (pages 72 and 74) and The Indian Vegan Kitchen (page 62). We made one stuffing, the potato filling, and used three different shells, the original crust where you make the dough and roll and fill the samosas, the tortilla shell samosas, and the puff pastry samosas. The participants said, “We’re glad you made all three types.” The only thing I can say is, tasting is believing, try each one for yourself. The easiest recipe is the puff pastry samosas. And don’t forget to make the cilantro chutney with it (The Indian Vegan Kitchen, page 185).
Step Out and Sweat it Out: Does the summer heat keep you indoors? We all love the air-conditioner and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but has it made us a little squeamish about outdoor activities. Early morning and late afternoons are a great time to be more active and tip the scale on the “energy in and energy out” balance, as you enjoy hiking, swimming, or playing ball. And as the weather heats up, make sure you drink enough water to stay cool and hydrated. And as a word of advice, be cautious of calorie-laden beverages advertised as energy drinks and fluid/electrolyte replacements as they can be a real calorie-trap.
After I just talked about liquid calories, this month I’m sharing some unique, wonderful, and nutritious Indian drinks. Water is the beverage of choice with Indian meals, but then sometimes you just want something different. In India, these drinks are primarily served in the summer to cool the body and quench the thirst. Mango Yogurt Drink or Aam Lassi is one of the most popular drinks served in Indian restaurants. The best tasting mangoes are available from June to August; enjoy them plain, in a salad, or make lassi. And for a beautiful and cold refreshing drink, serve this Pomegranate Tea over ice. Almond Spicy Drink or Thandai is a very unique spicy drink that may take a little getting used to, or you may love it right away. The first time I made thandai at a party, it was an instant hit with teens and young adults, which surprised me. For best results, let thandai refrigerate for a few hours and serve over crushed ice.
Mango Yogurt Drink (Aam Lassi)
Pomegranate Tea (Anari Chai)
Almond Spicy Drink (Thandai)
Happy and Healthy Cooking!
P.S. Have nutrition or diabetes questions or concerns? Frustrated and confused with nutrition information and science? Want practical healthy solutions? I work with children too. Contact me.