I find that what I eat varies with the weather, which makes sense since diet is a reflection of our body’s needs. In summer I want light, refreshing, clean-tasting foods and in fall (or on a cold, rainy day) more complex, satisfying, umami-filled flavours are what I desire.

MANGO SALSA

SUMMER The combination of sweet and tangy notes in this fresh-tasting, light dish will energize and lift your spirits. When chilled, it is refreshingly cool and perfect for summer.

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INGREDIENTS (serves 1 as an entrée; over rice, salad, tortillas/ chips)

½ of a ripe mango

1 tomato

½ large cucumber

¼ onion

(optional) ¼ red/ green bell pepper

(optional) ½ large avocado

1 small lemon/ 2 limes

sprinkling of cilantro

(optional) 1 small bird’s-eye chilli/ dash of Tabasco sauce

–       Dice the mango, tomato, cucumber, pepper and avocado. Thinly slice the onion.

–       Place in a large bowl and squeeze the lemon/ lime juice.

–       If desired, add the finely-chopped bird’s-eye chilli or a dash of Tabasco sauce to taste.

–       Stir until everything is evenly mixed and coated with the juice.

–       Serve immediately or refrigerate for a few hours to get the juices to blend together.

–       Garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro before serving. Enjoy!

Black-eyed Beans with Shiitake Mushrooms and Hijiki

FALL The earthy flavours of this dish will warm and nourish your body, giving a boost of minerals like iron (from the hijiki).

IMG_3309INGREDIENTS (serves 2 as an entrée; over rice, salad, or in wraps)

½ cup of black-eyed beans

6-8 dried shiitake mushrooms

sprinkling/ ¼ cup of hijiki (dried Japanese kelp)

(optional) ½ of a long carrot

(optional) 1-2 teaspoons of mirin

–      Soak the beans in water for at least 3 hours or overnight. Drain the liquid.

–      Soak the dried mushrooms for 1 hour. Set the liquid aside and slice them into quarters or strips according to your preference.

–      If desired, peel and julienne the carrot into fine strips.

–      Transfer the beans to a pot and add the water from the mushrooms. Add another ½ cup of water and bring to a boil.

–      Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Add more water if needed.

–      Add the mushrooms and carrots and simmer for 5 minutes.

–      Add the hijiki and mirin and bring to a low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.

–      Serve and enjoy!

RICE PAPER ROLLS

To make these rolls, steam any kind of green leafy vegetable e.g. bok choy or use fresh lettuce. Sprinkle the rice paper with water to make it soft and pliable. Place the greens in the middle and the beans, mushrooms and hijiki on top. Fold into a roll and serve.

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